Janey's Blogs - February 2008
Friday the 1st of February 2008
On the Road again
I flew to London on Tuesday; sorry my blog has been so bloody late, but have been so busy and incredibly tired beyond belief. Though am still on the diet, killing me no end is my lack of chocolate!
London was great as usual, I do love it. Stayed at the awesome Crown Lawn apartments who always look after me wonderfully and the place is just palatial. I was working on a TV thing that I can’t really discuss as yet, as it probably will all fall apart at the final hurdle, but it was intense and great work.
I was also very chuffed to find out I won BEST PERFORMER Award from the Fringe Report website and I am down in London soon for the award ceremony. I am very touched that, out of all the comedians at the Edinburgh Fringe, they chose me! How cool?
I had to get up early today and get on a train from London to Leicester as I am gigging here for two nights at Jongleurs comedy club. The train almost got cancelled as there has been a crash north of Leicester but it all worked out.
I am currently living out of a suitcase and really miss my own bed, my own man (that sounds like I have a replacement man, but I really fucking don’t, though wouldn’t that be a good idea? Probably not; he would most likely annoy me to death) and I miss Ashley of course.
I miss just chatting with her and, the busier my life becomes, the less I get to see of her and that kind of kills me. Husband copes well, he is cool about it and fuck knows how I would feel if he wasn’t. He knows this is my job, but I sometimes wonder if he gets pissed off, though he would never say.
I still haven’t found a decent frock to go to the BAFTA awards in yet; everything makes me look fat and old. I really must lose weight or I need to start wearing leggings and stretchy sports wear as that’s all that’s going to fucking fit soon.
Am getting well up for my big gig at The Garage in Glasgow on March 6th; do come along if you fancy seeing my award-winning comedy show?
Speak soon, am off to sleep and to dream of chocolate-covered sexy men.
Sunday the 3rd of February 2008
Leicester 7.30am. I am out of bed and off to the railway station to catch a train back to London. There, I will get on the tube to Heathrow and catch a flight home. I need to be home. I am tried and feeling very low. How bad can the day go, you ask yourself… Well, fucking really bad. Let me tell you.
Firstly, the ice-cold wind whipped me near to death as I strolled through the deserted frozen streets of Leicester towards the rail station.
I almost missed the train due to a mix up in my head about times, but finally got on the train and sat down desperate for a cup of tea. Of course, the tea bar was shut and wasn’t going to open as there was a problem with the hot water.
So I had three hours of no breakfast and not even a fucking hot drink.
I finally arrived in London parched, yet I had strange grumbling noises coming from my lower stomach. Suddenly, I was gripped in pain and I needed to get to toilet immediately. I had a patina of cold sweat draped over my whole body and I could hardly contain the pain. Then I had the worst shits EVER in my life. I thought I was going to die in a freezing cold railway toilet. It felt awful.
I sat there on the loo, wondering how I was going to walk to the tube station in this state to get onto the very long journey on the Piccadilly line to Heathrow.
I gathered up my suitcase, laptop and handbag and hobbled out of the toilet and towards the Underground. My Oyster card was refused as it didn’t have enough cash in. “Fuck!” I shouted and hobbled towards the huge queue to top my card up that allows me to travel within the London Underground.
I was in mid-credit card pin number situation when a big guy from behind dipped down beside my leg and started to shove his hand up inside the ticket machine.
“What the fuck are you doing?” I shouted.
“Shut up!” he shouted back.
Then I realised I needn’t worry as no tickets were coming out of there. He couldn't steal my ticket as I was only topping up my Oyster card and you don’t get a ticket; maybe a receipt, but not an actual travel ticket.
“Fuck off!” I shouted again, as he jammed his hand so far up the machine.
People were all standing in queues either side of me and no one helped or even made eye contact. I simply lifted my foot and stood on his hand and jammed him into the machine till he was stuck, then calmly finished my transaction. Then I saw his right hand go up and attempt to pull out my credit card from the machine!
I swiftly got the card and screamed: “You bastard! You are trying to steal my credit card!”
He could do nothing as he was still jammed on his knees with his hand stuck in a machine with me having my foot rammed on his wrist, locking him in.
“Let me go,” he hissed.
“Is no-one going to fucking help me?" I yelled. "I have a guy here trying to steal my ticket and now my credit card!” No-one blinked. “No wonder you fuckers get attacked all the time. In Scotland, we attack the nutters. Here you all fucking stand round watching it happen.”
I shoved my foot harder into his wrist and he was screaming in pain.
My bowels hurt, I was sweating and this fucker picked the wrong old woman to fuck around. Finally I let him go and my receipt dropped out of the machine. The stupid guy picked it up quickly and, realising it was a ‘not for travel’ ticket, shoved it into his mouth and chewed it, then spat it at me!
“I needed that for my tax returns you fucker!” I spat back.
“Well, you hurt my hand and I am poor,” he replied.
“So, because you are poor I have to let you steal off me?” I screamed back.
He ran away.
I looked around at all the people who watched me jam a nutter into a ticket machine and who didn’t help and I said, “Thanks everyone for watching me struggle with a thief. I hope you are all very British and proud of yourselves.”
I went to the toilet and had even more diarrhoea!
The journey from St. Pancreas to Heathrow is about an hour and I sat on that journey clutching my tummy and begging to get to another toilet, which I did at Heathrow.
My legs were shaking and I think I may have lost a kidney and half of my stomach.
So finally I am home, I have taken some medication and have had a shower …Life sucks.
Tuesday the 5th of February 2008
Shopping & Screaming
I met up with Ann Margaret my niece who is mother to the now famous baby Abi - (Abi features in my videos and my Scotsman newspaper column).
Ann Margaret came into town with me to help choose a frock for my forthcoming red carpet BAFTA awards in London on Sunday.
As you may know, John Smeaton the now famous Glasgow Airport hero is my lovely guest at the awards.
John is going in his kilt and full national dress, I had nothing to wear.
Ann Margaret decided I should wear the lovely black dress that I already own and purchase a new lacy wrap to go over the top and some new jewellery to dress it up a bit. I agreed, as I fucking hate dress shopping, especially when you are my size!
My big boobs inhibit any nice frock from looking good.
I found the perfect lacy bolero wrap and am now convinced I will look OK-ish on the big day. Why the hell I don’t lose weight months in advance for this event I will never know. Everything looked odd on me in the shops, though I did try on a new fancy jacket from some gay designer. But you had to wrap it around you and then tie bits of it up in black satin and it was like wearing origami - I had no idea how to tie this thing onto my body and my left boob hung out like I was a breast feeding militant lesbian - only a gay man would assume women like walking around with a tit hanging out of a jacket.
I came out of the dressing room in the wrap-around expensive piece of shit and Ann Margaret howled with laughter and the young man assistant was horrified. It was worth it just to see the look on his face. I paraded around as if I was unaware one big boob was flapping about - thank god I was wearing a bra!
We finally exhausted ourselves looking at fancy sequined dresses and headed off to a bar that had outside seating so we could grab a fag and a coffee.
Husband is still in productive mode and has successfully emptied every single cupboard, wardrobe and clutter-filled dresser and gave millions of stuff to the charity shops in our street. I mistakenly gave away Ashley’s old teddy bears and she managed to salvage them from the charity shop bag. Why she needs old bears I will never know… but you would think I had thrown out a couple of foetuses the way she was carrying on.
So I am finally exhausted and getting ready to fly to London yet again this week… I swear to God I think I will meet my own arse coming round a corner!
And every time I come home there is an uneasy sense of every trace of me being slowly wiped out of my home. Husband has thrown so much stuff away I get the feeling I will only own what I carry in that suitcase and then slowly even I will be eradicated from the history of my own life.
He has arranged my wardrobe into tops-skirts-dresses-trousers - and they are all colour co-ordinated now! His Asperger’s Syndrome is in full swing! It’s pretty cool in a sense. He sat me down and made me organise my diary.
I even managed to organise my smear test at the doctors for Valentine’s Day - so, no matter what happens, my cervix will be getting some action come hell or high water!
Friday the 8th of February 2008
London in the Sunshine
So it’s so lovely here in London. I am working hard gigging and getting ready for my big BAFTA party on Sunday night. As you all know by now John Smeaton is my guest. My dress is ready but I decided to pop into Harrods and buy a SPANKS tummy control body stocking…I heard they were good and I need a wee bit of support.
I bought the thing, took it home and tried to pull it on. Basically it’s like a big pair of tights that go right up under your bra. The thing was SO tight I couldn’t get it over my fucking knees, it was like trying to pull on a baby’s swimsuit!
I was stuck with it wrapped tight across my legs and then discovered I couldn’t get it OFF… I hopped up the hallway of my flat and fell on my face. I now I have a scabby elbow.
Finally, after much struggling, the damn thing did get over my tummy and I pulled it right up and all my fat bits were drawn in… but I could hardly breathe.
It took ages to get it back off… I am not wearing it to the BAFTAS. I am going in my normal pants and will suffer a flabby tummy.
The only reason to wear that thing is to prevent rape; not even the strongest man in the world would get them off you in a hurry. Though there is a gap at the crotch to pee out of…don’t ask me if it accommodates a back bottom situation as I didn’t check.
I am off to starve myself for Sunday…
Monday the 11th of February 2008
BAFTA Awards 2008, Me and Smeato
I had such a great time at this year’s BAFTA film awards on Sunday in London. I was already in London gigging at comedy so, by the time Sunday came along, I was exhausted. I had a lovely dress and amazing necklace I bought at Harrods the day before, but I had to do so much on the day I was knackered.
I forgot to go into the BAFTA offices in Piccadilly to pick up the tickets - so had to wake up early on Sunday to jump the tube into town and pick them up.
I looked like a ghost. You see there had been a big drama on the Saturday night.
Here’s what happened –
I called husband at 8pm on Saturday night just before I went onstage at Battersea Jongleurs. He never answered and then I called his mobile - he never answered that either… I was slightly alarmed as he is always on call.
So that whole night, in-between getting acts on and off stage, I was calling husband and still getting no answer.
In my mind, he was dead. Or my dad was ill and husband was with him and unable to answer a call.
Then I called Ashley - She was at a party and I didn’t want to scare her but when the clock hit 1am and I still couldn’t get hold of husband, I asked her to go home and check on him.
Poor Ashley was at a party with her mates and I had interrupted her. I was convinced my man was lying dead with a heart attack, as why else would he not answer the phone?
Then I panicked that poor Ashley would find her dead father and that would scar her for life... my imagination was working overtime.
WHY oh WHY would he not answer the phone?
Finally Ashley called. “Mum, dad is fast asleep, you panicky old cow!” she shouted.
So, by this time, it was 3am… I had such a bad night.
So Sunday comes and John Smeaton is arriving and we have to be on the red carpet by 5pm. There was so much to do.
I shaved legs, armpits and moustache and set about doing my hair nice.
Everything was all laid out and ready to go, then I had a last minute dilemma with my Scotsman column which had to be amended at the final minute to deadline (like I needed more stress on that day).
Finally John was dressed to kill in his lovely dinner suit and I was all made up and ready to hit the red carpet.
The noise of the crowds was amazing; people were screaming for their favourite film star as Harvey Keitel, Cuba Gooding Junior and Keira Knightly strutted up in front of John and me.
We were gobsmacked by the sheer event. Then some crowds recognised John Smeaton and they were shouting “Smeato” and John and I both got snapped by the paparazzi… it was odd feeling like a celeb for three seconds!
The show was amazing and afterwards John was introduced to James McAvoy, the Scottish actor who was up for a BAFTA award for his starring role in Atonement.
We also met Viggo Mortgensen, Cuba Gooding Junior, Andy Serkis and many more stars on the night.
John Smeaton was such a lovely guest to have at the party and we had a great time, but my feet were killing me in those evil high heels and we both headed home after 1am.
I am home now but have great memories and will upload some pictures when I get the chance of us both on the red carpet.
Wednesday the 13th of February 2008
Janey, You Talk Too Much
All my life people have told me ‘Janey, you talk too much’. Like from my mum when I was child and my mum let me chat to Mr Simmons our neighbour and I told him a big story about how my dog has fleas and how my mum connected her own electricity whilst standing on a chair in the hallway and how we got evicted and I got to sit on our sofa on the pavement outside our close.
“You talk too much!” she shouted and dragged me indoors.
Like when my dad took me fishing at six years old and I met two men on the river bank and asked them if they were married to each other because, in my naïve childlike head, that would have been possible and the two men told me they weren’t married but they lived together and loved each other and I went and told my dad this really loudly and he said to me: “You talk too much. Now be quiet.”
Like the time I used to stand behind our bar and chat to the customers and my in-laws would say, “She talks too much,” to my husband who, incidentally, always backed me up and loved me talking.
All my life “Janey shut up” and now I have won an award from The Fringe Report in London as Best Performer at the Fringe…all because I talk too much.
People pay me to talk now! How cool is that? I am very excited and will be in London on 25th February at the Arts Theatre to pick up my much adored award.
Thank you Fringe Report…I love talking too much!
Friday the 15th of February 2008
I don’t know which is worse, my husband doing nothing OR my husband being so efficient that he has thrown out almost all of the contents of my home. For the last three weeks, husband has been in superman mode and cleaned out every cupboard, drawer and wardrobe. It is making Ashley and me insane.
“Do you want this? Or can it go in the bin?” he shouts, holding up Ashley’s old school memorabilia. “Can this go to charity shop?” he yells holding up my favourite handbag.
Ashley has loads of old VHS tapes of her doing stand up on TV at various clubs at age 11 years old and he declares them all worthless as no-one uses VHS, though they are very valuable to me and Ashley. I convince him we can get them converted soon. “How soon?” he asked impatiently.
They may end up in the bin.
“Lets get up at 9am and wash all the windows, clean out the hall cupboard and start doing next year's tax return by clipping and bagging all your recent receipts, then we can wash down all the skirting boards in the house and hoover out the corners,” he smiles, all anticipatory.
I balk and decide to hide in bed. I am faking a serious illness at the moment, it has no name and the symptoms change daily.
He was more fun when he was lazy. The house was messy but I knew where everything was; I could lay my hands on everything I wanted. Now even my make up boxes have been cleaned and I can’t find a fucking thing.
He has arranged the hair brushes in a drawer according to size and thickness and my hair clips are all wrapped tightly in elastic bands, then put in a small see through box with a label. It says ‘Hair clips’ in case I get confused.
He cleaned the oven and it now looks like it belongs in a show room: there are no traces of that thing ever having cooked a meal. The metal trays shine like a silver bumper on a new car. It has a new light and fan and, in my food cupboards, everything is in boxes with printed labels. It’s like living in a flat share house. There is a box that says ‘Mustard sachets’ on it. That scares me.
My clothes are all co-ordinated by colour in my closet…think bloke from 9 ½ weeks but without the food sex. My scarves are all hung in a row and my shoes are all laid out perfectly in boxes at the bottom of my wardrobe. I liked it when I had to scuffle through them; I loved finding a shoe I forgot I had. Not now.
Tomorrow, we are going to organise all the stuff beside the computer and take yet more boxes to the charity shop. I am going insane. When will it stop? Is this grounds for divorce?
Saturday the 16th of February 2008
Some Things Are More Important than eating
The year was 1978. I was standing in the blazing sunshine on a beach in Redcar, in Yorkshire. Wearing a woolly jumper wasn’t a good thing, but I didn’t own a tee shirt or any semblance of summer wear.
Redcar was the place I ran to when I left my home in Glasgow; I was 17 years old and constantly hungry. My mate Maggie and I were starving most of the time as all our cash went on paying our bed and breakfast. We were literally left with £5 a week each to pay for laundry, shampoo and food for each day. We lived on slices of cold meat and things that could be eaten by a plastic spoon as we were not allowed to use anything from the kitchen of the B&B.
Totally unprepared for hot weather and homelessness, we stuck together and did our best to keep each others spirits up.
We couldn’t get a job as the woman who owned the small family-run guest house made us clean the rooms of the B&B daily. If we didn’t do her menial tasks, she threatened to evict us. She knew we were vulnerable and immature. She was a clever and cunning woman.
We were too young and naïve to work round her bully tactics. So every morning we ate the breakfast she was legally obliged to provide and we filled up on toast to see us through the whole day. Sometimes we would sneak toast into a bag, but she would catch us and make us either eat it then or give it up. She had issues!
We never had the cash to eat an evening meal and the smells from her kitchen at tea time was unbearable at times. We survived on a cooked breakfast at 9am for almost a year.
Once, we stole food from a self service café. We walked in, grabbed scones and ran right out of the door, hysterical with excitement, stuffing big dry scones into our mouths as we ran like the clappers down a cobbled back lane. Hunger makes people do things.
But, that sunny day, Maggie and I sat on the hot beach and watched families sit around having picnics. We jealously stared at big cuts of meat being draped onto thick slices of bread, flasks pouring out hot sweet tea into big plastic mugs. How we really wanted some of that food!
Then I found 50 pence in the hot sand. It was warm in my hand and Maggie and I giggled and I ran up the beach clutching it hard in my palm.
We walked up to the Bar-B-Queue grill, it was a local seaside café and the tables had little jukeboxes fitted into each table in the booths.
Maggie and I slid into the seat; we could afford a cup of tea between us. The woman knew us and simply smiled as we sat down and she said: “One big mug of tea?”
We both nodded in unison. We got 10 pence change. I could have bought a biscuit to share, but I knew what I really wanted.
I wanted a song.
I dropped the coin into the metal box and flicked through the screens on the top with my index finger, I found the song I wanted and sat back with my eyes closed, anticipation simmering through me.
The box clicked and the speakers above the door hummed as the record spun.
‘Take the long way home’ by Supertramp came blasting through. I loved the song and Maggie and I sat in peaceful harmony, ignoring all the other noises around us.
Sipping hot tea and sharing our love for music was wonderful.
Food is unimportant when good music is on offer.
Redcar is a long way off in my memory now, but I recall the music of 1978 more than anything.
Friday the 22nd of February 2008
My Old Uncle John
Back in the late 1970s my old Uncle John came to live with my highly dysfunctional family. In our small two bedroom flat there was my brother Jim, his girlfriend and their baby, my other brother David, his best pal Charlie, my mum and my old Uncle John.
Uncle John was my dad’s brother and, when my dad and mum split up, Uncle John would sporadically live with us. He always seemed to never have a home of his own. I never questioned it at the time; he just lived with people; that’s what he did. And, in the later half of the seventies, he stayed a lot with us.
My mum and Uncle John hated each other. Most days were like a Mexican stand off with the pair of them.
“Is he drinking tea again? How many fucking tea bags can that big bastard use in a day?” My mammy would shout when she heard Uncle John clattering about in our wee scullery.
Uncle John never really shouted back at her much; he would just skulk off to his room, which he shared with David and Charlie, who were in their late teens at the time. He slept on a mattress on the floor and listened to the radio a lot.
Uncle John was maybe 15 years older than my mum at the time, so he was probably in his mid 50s at that point.
He was cantankerous, funny and I loved him. The feeling was mutual. Uncle John had a dodgy past. I knew he had been in prison before, I knew he had never had a wife nor kids, but he rarely spoke about his past and refused to be questioned when I tried.
I knew he loved me back.
I was just 16 at that point and I adored his quirky ways and stoical sense. When the madness of our living arrangements exploded and everyone was arguing, Uncle John would take me for a walk. We walked everywhere together.
He was a bit of a drinker, yet I don’t recall seeing him staggering about drunk or incapable.
On Friday nights when I got off the bus from my work with my wage packet in hand, he would be there.
“Now, what are the chances of bumping into my favourite niece today? Your Old Uncle needs a few bob to go for a beer; don’t forget who saves you bread for your breakfast,” he would giggle.
I would laugh out loud, as I knew his old tricks and I knew he was as poor as me but, with a wage packet in hand, I would always give him some cash. I never missed it and he was good to me.
He must have been watching every single 62 bus that stopped waiting for me to get off.
What made me really giggle was the time he decided he wanted some of my mum’s cigarettes.
“Janey, here’s what we will do, I will get her in the hallway and argue and you sneak two fags from her packet.”
“No, Uncle John, she will know and I will get killed” I hissed.
He ignored me and shouted loudly from the kitchen: “Who the fuck used my last tea bag?”
My mammy screamed and ran through the house like a snarling wolf; she was well ready for this fight - tea bag occupation was her domain.
“You fucking have never bought a tea bag in years you big bastard!” my mammy screamed as she grabbed at my uncle.
Uncle John winked at me and I ran into the living room and tentatively opened her cigarette box with the quiet careful dexterity of a bomb disposal expert.
I could hear them screaming in the background, I slipped two fags out of the box and froze as I heard my mammy shout from the kitchen: “Are you opening my cigarette packet? I can hear you, Janey!”
I was stunned. How did she know? Did she have extrasensory hearing?
I quickly slipped the fags into my pocket and shouted back: “No, I don’t smoke! You know that, Ma!”
She came screeching into the living room, hair messy and spitting: “Where are my fags?”
I pointed to the packet sitting beside the fireplace.
She grabbed the packet, opened it and I watched her face trying to work out just how many fags she had. I knew by her actions she didn’t know and Uncle John and I were home and safe.
I quickly left the room and threw the cigs at Uncle John as I passed him in the hall.
“See? It was easy,” he smirked.
Uncle John died in 1993; I miss his quirky, mad ways.
Sunday the 24th of February 2008
Glasgow, London and Me
I had such a great time being the compere at Glasgow Jongleurs over the past weekend. The acts had a good time and the audiences loved the shows.
But last night (Saturday) as I stood on stage I noticed a wee red light in the back of the room shining every time I was onstage and I realised I was being secretly filmed!
It’s not legal to film comics onstage, I don’t like it as people can easily tape you, upload it onto their PC and send it round the internet. I like to control what is seen as it represents me.
Standing on stage I spotted it and shouted to the bouncers: “That guy on the back balcony is taping me - Can someone go check it?” and sure enough they showed me his phone and he had about six three minute clips of me. So I explained they had to be deleted. The guy was OK about it and, to be honest, he could have been thrown out for taping me, I told him to go to my website and he can see comedy clips of me there.
People watched me chatting to him and I think they thought I was being a wee tad over the top, but this is how I make a living and you really should get permission to tape people. He could easily have manipulated the footage and made me appear naked onstage with George Clooney in a Photoshop way… Hang on, I would like that!
That aside, it was great night and audience members told me they were coming to see me at The Garage on March 6th in my one woman show. So that was good news.
I am off to London tomorrow night to pick up my Fringe Report Award for Best Performer and am all excited.
By the way, I have lost ten pounds on my diet; I have been very strict and, at last, my knickers fit me!
Tuesday the 26th of February 2008
Fringe Report Awards
Landing in London on Monday I was exhausted. I had been up half the night with nightmares. Sometimes I suffer really badly from the scary dreams and that night had been a spectacular horror fest. My emotions were ragged and I felt as though my brain would explode.
I didn’t want to let the bad dreams spoil my special night. I had won Best Performer at The Fringe Report Awards and I wanted to feel really good and enjoy the moment.
I arrived at the lovely flat in London and had some lunch then a quick sleep. Around 5pm I got up and got myself ready.
I arrived at The Arts Theatre in Great Newport Street in the West End of London and there were loads of people milling around. Me and my best mate Monica managed to get a coffee and a sit down in a nearby café before the event, as she was knackered and had been working all day.
Eventually we got into the main Theatre and we chose a row where some crazy lady had brought her entire belongings and stuffed them beside her. Monica and I nearly fell over trying to get onto the seat.
The room went dark and the ceremony began. I had planned on a quick smile and thank you as I took my award, but as people started getting their awards they were making lovely emotional speeches.
My nerves kicked in and I realised I had to make a speech. I was nervous as hell. Monica giggled and I asked her to let me out to go for a pee.
“No, your award might be next and I am not going up there to collect it for you.”
“I really need a pee! - Now, move,” I hissed.
“No, now shut up and be respectful of other people up there,” she snapped.
My bladder got bigger. I swear it went to the size of a scatter cushion, my nerves got worse and I REALLY needed a pee.
Finally, the lovely man John up onstage read out a lovely testimony to me and people cheered and I had to get up and collect my award. The woman with the bags refused to move her stuff, my bladder swished about and I tripped over a bag on my way out of the row. Monica laughed.
I got to the stage with shaky legs and possibly a leaky bladder and made a touching (I think) speech and thanked people and made off with my box of champagne and lovely certificate. The crowd gave me resounding applause.
I was so touched at the award, truly I was.
To be given an award in London by such a prestigious set of critics was awesome.
I made it back to our row and tripped yet again over that scary woman’s bags and Monica pissed herself laughing as my head dropped almost to the floor. My legs were entangled amongst that woman’s shitty baggage. Monica laughed her head off.
We had a great night; I am so very pleased and now am home.