Janey's Blogs - September 2008
Tuesday the 2nd of September 2008
“You are really good on stage. I loved you as an MC. Maybe one day you could even do comedy,” the blonde girl in the silver top shouted at me as the disco banged out its cheesy tunes in Leeds Jongleurs Comedy Club.
That is the best compliment I could ever receive as comedy club host.
A comedy MC is someone who holds the gig together, someone who chats to the audience in between comics hitting the stage. This is the person who sets the tone and gets the room ready for the big event.
A funny fluffer…if you will! Rubbing the audience into a height of comedy readiness, the foreplay of fun.
The MC is not supposed to be the big hitter of jokes on the night; people should be happy to hear them talk but, equally, anticipating the arrival of the comic coming on stage. No MC worth their wages should eat the show, bask in the headlights or try to out-do the big name coming on; the MC is a scene setter - not scene stealer.
The MC can also be the front line defence on the coal face of live comedy.
Christmas parties full of reluctant comedy goers are the biggest trial for a good MC; I know this as last year I spent a whole Christmas week as MC at Leeds Jongleurs. Trying hard to get the large group of men from Barstock’s Garage to shut up and pay attention to the stage, whilst they shout ‘Show us your tits!’ can be a hard slog.
Knowing that the comics are sitting watching the crowd, hoping you can educate that audience in the art of listening within ten minutes can be nerve wracking but really rewarding when you get the heaving mob to sit back and relax.
In the event of an aggressive rowdy audience, you are sent out as the scout, it’s your impression on them and your consequential conquering of the ensuing enemy that will secure the safe passage of the acts that grace the stage.
Being defensive and shouty doesn’t always work; it can serve to aggrieve the men who are not used to a woman speaking out loudly. Though a good funny put-down followed by some witty charm directed at the growlers usually works.
I know this from my past life as a pub landlady. When a huge gang of antagonistic men descended on my bar, I always made it my point to find the ‘leader’ and recognise his management qualities.
I would make sure he knew that I was aware of his influence over ‘his men’ and played on the power conflict within that dynamic. Basically, if he couldn’t contain his troops, then he was a weak man and I would make sure that the watching public were aware of his flaws. Men also assert themselves quicker when you relate to them as female figure in their lives. Emotionally remind of them of their mother, sister or daughter and the mood can change…usually for the better
The same applies with mixed groups and females who seem to be getting out of hand.
Mutual respect and acknowledgement of status can level most playing fields; undermining people will always serve to fan the flames of anger.
And to think we all thought it was just talking for money?
Friday the 5th of September 2008
My great Niece Baby Julia is slightly eerie at times. She is almost two years old and very different to the other kids in her family. Shaun and Abi are brown haired and brown eyes, whereas wee Julia is pure white blonde with huge blue staring eyes. Shaun and Abi were really funny chatters and very sociable, whereas Julia is slightly quieter and a wee bit more solitary. But she is very funny, smart and kind.
Lately, her mum Ann disposed of Julia’s cot and replaced it with a small bed, so Julia could be in a big girl’s bed like her elder sister. But Ann tells me there have been problems with this arrangement.
“Janey, the problem is that Julia can now get in and out of her bed on her own and last week I got up at 5am to pee. As I tiptoed through the big tenement hallway in the dark, I spotted a movement down the far end near the door. I struggled to see through the dense shadows and there stood Baby Julia with her big pale moon face, wearing a white nightgown; she had the pet rabbit in one hand and packet of dry noodles in the other. She was deathly still; the rabbit was blinking in fear. The only light that was coming through was from the stained glass window of the door and it cast a yellow-ish glow over her, I nearly pissed myself with fear. Julia just kept staring at me then whispered, ‘Hello mummy’. She dropped the rabbit and glided into the kitchen and it was really creepy. I chased after her and found her sitting at the dinner table in the dark; she is quite odd. I tucked her back into bed and hardly slept a wink listening for her. So the cot is back out and she is caged in until she can stop her night time creeping.”
This story made me laugh out loud. Wee Julia is a character all on her own; she is very individual and loves you to read books to her. Her attention span is awesome and she watches your mouth as you read the words. Her speech is coming on heaps; I love her wee happy face, though she has never been a big smiler. Julia smiles when she feels like it and does reward you with a big grin if she feels you deserve it.
She told me last week, “Love you Nanty Jenny,” and kissed me on the cheek. I was so touched, but I still won't keep her overnight. I would crap myself if I saw a wee scary baby stalk the house in the twilight hours.
Sunday the 7th of September 2008
Not Neglectful? Think Again Gerry McCann
Recent news on the hunt for Madeleine McCann has revealed that their parents have spent ‘about a million pounds’ so far in trying to find their missing toddler.
The fund that was set up to find their daughter is still active and the cash has been spent on various forms of investigation it has recently been revealed.
There can be no cost on finding your missing child, I agree with that, but what really got me angered was the Team McCann statement at the end of the press release when it states that Mr McCann again expressed his anguish at leaving Madeleine alone with twins Sean and Amelie as they went for dinner in Portugal's Praia da Luz resort.
He said the couple were "not negligent" but "profoundly regret" what happened.
I hastily and angrily disagree with Gerry McCann and would like to ask him that, if he doesn’t see his actions as negligent, will he be leaving his twins unattended on their next holiday? Can they not just admit that leaving their babies without proper supervision was wrong and irresponsible?
Constantly defending your own reckless behaviour smacks of either naivety or arrogance and someone needs to raise this subject matter. Some areas of the press have been scornful and even accusatory towards the McCanns and newspapers have either been sued or threatened to have legal wolf hounds snapping at their throats. Recently the detective who handled the case when Madeleine originally went missing has written an inflammatory book. He too is being threatened with the suing stick. Yet no-one actually holds Mr McCann to account over his own seditious statement about being innocent of neglect.
This isn’t another diatribe against the press-hungry parents because, if my child had gone missing, I too would move heaven and earth to find her, but I wouldn’t deny neglect if it were my own careless actions that originally rendered my child vulnerable. Appearing stoical in their own defence over what actually is a dangerous attitude to parenting will not win the public’s heart and spur them onto help finding the missing child. The subversive behaviour of the McCann family has managed to distance people from their cause.
Just put your hands up, Mr McCann, and admit you were both wrong. People make mistakes and you and your wife are paying for that more than anyone I know, but just don’t tell me that leaving your kids alone in an apartment is not neglectful. If you don’t believe me and feel like suing, then click on the NSPCC website and check the law out for yourself.
Tuesday the 9th of September 2008
Bobby the Hamster is King
Ashley got soaked in yet another downpour that represents Glasgow’s wonderful late summer weather. She came home completely soaked and stomping about cursing the rain. She accused me of neglect for not birthing her in Florida or some other garden state where the sun shines regularly.
“Why didn’t you consider me when you were pregnant? Why didn’t you say to yourself: ‘My child will hate Glasgow, I shall migrate to Australia,’ Mum? It could have been easier all round," she whined as rain water cascaded onto the floor from her big giant amount of thick hair; it clung to her shoulders like soaking wet ship ropes.
“I didn’t consider you when I was pregnant because your internment inside my womb almost killed me!” I shouted back. I had suffered terrible during the pregnancy and almost died in a coma as I had a horrible illness and that’s why I only had one child. I wasn’t medically allowed to have another baby; making Ashley feel guilty for this is abhorrent, but she annoyed me for blaming me for the weather. So bring it on.
Luckily, she laughed at me. She always does.
I decided on a trip to my niece Ann Margaret’s house. It is a fun house with many children and small animals. A bit like a petting zoo cum nursery, but only filled with kids that I love.
Ann Margaret has three kids. Shaun is 11, Abi is 5 and Julia is nearly 2 years old.
They have a cat called Squeak who is moody and slightly evil and hates being stroked.
They have a rabbit called Tufty who is pathologically attracted to Squeak who HATES it.
They have a small goldfish called Bubbles who sucks on and drags the paraphernalia in its tank; therefore it rearranges the ferns and sunken ship into its very own floor plan, it may have been a gay decorator in a past life.
They have a hamster called Bobby who, up until last week, had no personality; but more about that later.
There is a guinea pig, who I have never seen, but am assured exists somewhere in the house.
Squeak the cat is a surly, dreary cat for one so young. No stroking or purring or playfulness with this beast. He skulks about the big tenement flat with an air of discord and glares at all who look at him. Poor Abi was desperate for a cat and she now owns one that has the personality of an angry disenchanted pensioner who demands food, prime couch space and no touching whatsoever.
Tufty the rabbit has learned no lessons from the spitting angry cat , used to demand regular pretend rabbit-cat sex and tried to hump the insane-looking cat that constantly clawed at the poor wee black beast. The wee rabbit had to be neutered to halt the attempted cat rape incidents that the kids were constantly curious about. Too many questions arose from the kids for Ann Margaret to cope with. I thought it was funny; the cat glared at me when I laughed and I knew it was plotting some deep revenge.
Bobby the hamster was always quiet and his cage sat atop the rabbit hutch.
Squeak the cat would often stare at Bobby and hiss at him. This stressed the wee creature, so the cat and hamster were always kept apart. But, with a busy household it was hard to keep this rule going. Especially when baby Julia left every door open in her wake as she explored her own home.
Last week, Squeak was on his usual sentinel duty staring at the hamster, his nose right up at the cage. The hamster furiously tried to run five hundred miles on his wee wheel, but was getting nowhere away from the big moody cat.
Ann Margaret shouted: “Squeak, stop threatening the hamster!”
Squeak slowly dragged his head round to look at Ann Margaret and, as he did, his his big pointy papery ear peaked in between the hamster cage bars. Bobby saw his chance; he scuttled up and bit hard right into the cat’s ear. Squeak howled in pain and almost dragged the hamster cage off the hutch as the hamster would not let go.
The cat’s tail bushed into full toilet brush mode and he finally escaped the jaws of Bobby the hamster. The cat ran up the walls terrified and squawked about the kitchen hissing and spitting in fear. Bobby clung to the bars, watching the cat scream; his beady eyes were taking in the whole scene.
The rabbit was inside the hutch beneath, peeping out to see what just happened to his beloved sex kitten. All hell broke loose as the animals screeched, hissed, thumped and rattled about their various cages!
Ann Margaret laughed her head off and checked the cat’s ear; it was fine; no skin broken; but he was even more surly and skulked off under the baby’s cot for some rest.
Bobby the hamster escaped last night.
Wel,l I say escaped... Julia let him out. She is all for freedom in animals and often lets the rabbit out at teatime just to add to the melee that is her home.
Squeak spotted the hamster. Ann Margaret watched closely as the wee hamster strolled past the cat, looked at it and walked on. Squeak walked backwards away from it.
Bobby looked like he was wearing a wee leather jacket and carrying a flick knife. He is king of the Beasts now and nothing will stop his reign.
Squeak hid back under the baby’s cot. His spirit is broken, he will have to go back to threatening the goldfish, who regularly rearranges his tank and ignores the feline.
Sunday the 14th of September 2008
Fights and flurries
September 11th was a really bad day; husband and I had a monumental fight. I left home in flip flops and it rained. To make matters worse, Ashley got involved and screamed at us both (quite rightly). I stalked the streets of Glasgow (well, I flip and flopped the streets to be correct) and muttered angry words of hatred.
Why is it, when you have a big marital fight and run out of the house, you meet fucking loads of people you know but really don’t want to chat with?
I met my accountant, a TV producer and a radio host. ‘Great!’ I thought to myself, if I had organised to meet these people it would never happen, but give me teary eyes and soaking wet flip flops and there we go…. meeting accomplished.
My hair was in a top knot (which I forgot about until I spotted myself in a shop window) and I was wearing a pyjama top under my jumper and yes… yet again... the fucking flip flops in the rain. Did I mention that already?
Husband made me insane to the point where if I had had a gun I would have shot the fucker. I ended up walking about for ages then spotted him in the street as well. So we then had a big shouty fight in the street. People stopped and stared. Stupid people asked if we were OK and other people pointed at the crazy woman in flip flops and funny hair. Husband merely muttered and stomped about angrily. I got so exhausted we headed home and slept like pretzels all curled up, twisted and angry.
There are no answers; we both need a personality transplant or a divorce.
Thursday the 18th of September 2008
Animals that bite back
There was an article on the news about some looney Spaniards that chase an angry bull and yes - you guessed it - the wee bull stamped on someone and badly injured them. Well, here’s the deal folks, keep back from angry, agitated animals.
My favourite all-time animals biting back had to be the white tiger in Las Vegas that clawed the skull off that scary blonde homosexual guy of Ziegfeld and Roy fame. I am not sure which one of the glittery-frocked guys copped the injury, but it was totally fucking well deserved. That’s what you get for making a big jaggy toothed tiger dance to ABBA every day. Here’s a newsflash, guys - tigers are not meant to be living in a hotel in Nevada.
I once saw a man outside a supermarket in Glasgow with an eagle tethered to his wrist. The poor bird was wearing a leather gimp mask and the freaky man was doing some wild bird display. When ‘Eagle Man’ lifted the bird up, it pecked his face. I giggled and ran off.
Folk who go into a bear's cave and then poke a stick at it deserve all they get. I know poor Steve Irwin did so much for ecology and wild life but, for fuck sake mate, what did you expect when you spent years jumping on a crocodile's back and swimming underwater near dangerous killer type mammals and fish-type floaty biters. Shit will happen.
I was taught as a small child that, if you see a strange dog or cat, do not under any circumstances approach the damn thing. There was a reason for that rule and I bear the scars to this day. I once ran near a dog in the blistering summer heat of 1973 and the dog savaged my hand. It was stressed and I annoyed it deeply by screeching, “Hello, wee black dog!” at the top of my squeaky voice.
I still can’t understand people who let their kids poke fingers through the cage of a parrot in a pet shop or the nutters who let kids lean dangerously over the pens of wild animals at a zoo. If the animals chomp at a kid, then parents should be jailed for neglect of their own children and the animal should get a party thrown for it.
I think I have ranted enough, so there is today’s lesson from Aunty Janey - Don’t annoy animals - especially if they have the capabilities of biting your face off.
Monday the 29th of September 2008
Very long overdue Blog
Two weekends ago I was in Bristol and I came upon a right bunch of nasty wee fuckers. You know the kind…the people who do anything to piss you off. Firstly I got off the plane and walked into the taxi office. It was mobbed but I asked for a cab to the city centre. The pinched face bitch behind the counter waved at the crowd in her office as if that was some indication to the waiting time. Like she couldn’t say, “We are busy if you don’t mind waiting”.
I asked how much a cab to the city centre was and she replied, “£24,” and then she added, “Do you want to share a cab?”
Now I am all for sharing cabs and reducing my carbon footprint so I said, “Yes, how much will that be?”
“£18” she answered. I looked at her and said, “So, two people pay £18 each to share a cab but one person pays £24?”
She nodded and said, “That’s just how it is.”
“Well, let me tell you how it is for me. I will take one cab and then invite someone here to get in the cab with me to the city centre and ask for them for £12 in the cab,” I snapped.
She asked me to leave the cab office. I dragged my ass and my luggage out and headed for the city bus stop at the airport exit. There I met ass pain number two.
“No-one better give me a twenty pound note as I don’t have change, I am warning you!” the tiny-faced arse bus driver shouted from his bus to the queue.
I only had a twenty pound note. I climbed on the bus and handed it to him. He shouted: “I don’t have change! - Didn’t you hear my warning?”
“Well, here is an idea, why don’t you carry loads of change on you as you work with the public and you deal with cash? I am not getting off, so go get change." I sat down on the bus and made him get off and leave. Everyone behind me had twenty pound notes and the airport shop wouldn’t change their cash.
The wee fuckwit moaned and moaned but had to provide change for us all…. as that’s his fucking JOB.
The good news is… the sun shone so brightly in Bristol. It was awesome and I love that city. Despite the eerie fact that most of the city was built on slavery money you can’t help but admire the architecture and the wonderful city buildings.
I had to leave Bristol on Saturday night straight after my comedy gigs and get driven to London in the wee small hours. That all went fine. I arrived at the Groucho Club in Soho at 2am and checked into my bedroom. I was staying at the Groucho for two nights and was doing a corporate gig the next day; I then get news that the gig was cancelled, so I looked forward to having two days off in London.
The bad news was that NO-ONE in the world can sleep in Soho as the noise is fucking unbearable. At 4am a truck drove up and then glass was tipped in and the crashing noise made me almost have a stroke!
Then the homeless people and drunks decided to have a big fight about a kebab they had found right under my window. You have no idea how long the kebab debate went on for. Then a dog attacked them (I like to think I induced that to happen) and I presume the dog got the kebab and the drunks started screaming and ran off. Then two men of indiscernible race bickered on the special argument spot that was right under my window. It may be a special place that people come to fight; they all know where the spot is and wait their turn to scream their debate, despite the ungodly hours.
They left and two cats started hissing and screeching at each other. I would like to think they stood in a queue and waited for the ‘Argument Spot’ to become free so they could hiss loudly. I lay there awake the whole night. At 9am it went quiet for about an hour, then the street became busy again. I never slept a wink.
As if the day could not get any worse, I got up and went to visit a mate. I got off a bus at Wandsworth Bridge and a woman threw herself to her death from the high flats and died in front of me.
A huddle of wee kids came round on bikes and one shouted: “That white boy Steve’s mum has just killed herself!” The teenagers stared and then one flipped open her phone, music blared out and some of them danced.
None of them seemed too affected by what they saw.
Why? Was it a weekly occurrence?
Seeing someone die in front of you is really awful. It made everything in my life seem fucking stupid and insignificant. Was this woman depressed? Was she pushed? Did she finally have too much shit in her life that she very publicly killed decided to end it all?
All of these thoughts rattled through my head until I reached my mates door and just hugged her for ages. I couldn’t bring myself to tell her what happened. Then I felt stupid for being so affected by it, it wasn’t me who died, I am ok, why am I so fucked up?
Life goes on – kids dance to music, buses keep running, people get their dinner ready, traffic speeds past and some white boy called Steve will be without a mother.
Last weekend I was in Leeds doing my comedy thing, it was all cool and I stayed at the new KSpace Apartments which were lovely and awesome. I really love staying in apartments as opposed to hotels. Husband and I end up fighting when we are stuck in one room.
Then on Sunday I was MC at The Scottish Comedian of The Year award in Glasgow. I had just been driven home from Leeds, managed to get a shower and some slap on and went straight down the Glasgow Fruit Market where the show was being held. My feet were sore and I was quite tired and fucking hell it was going to be a long long night.
All the comics were lovely but the winner is Scott Agnew; he is a bright young comic who features in ‘Make Me a Lady’ which is a big hit on YOUTUBE filmed by my daughter Ashley and features me in it as well. Just copy paste ‘Make Me a Lady’ into YOUTUBE search and check him out.
I am so sorry this is a late blog, but I was so bloody knackered and busy.