Janey's Blogs - June 2009
Monday the 1st of June 2009
People in the sun
After falling asleep at the unbelievably early hour of 8pm last night (jetlag rules) I awoke at 7am this morning, I now have the sleeping pattern of a toddler, though I didn’t wake up pissing the bed or screaming for toast and jam (like most toddlers). I just stumbled about staring at the excruciating sunshine blasting through my bedroom window. I hoovered, I washed clothes, I washed dishes and it still wasn’t even 8am yet. My life is officially over, gone are the days when I could sleep till 3 o’clock like a right good comedian. I am going to be like one of those old ladies who wake up at 6am, put on a housedress and then fall asleep on the sofa listening to The Archers.
As it was extremely hot again in Glasgow, I headed out to The Botanic Gardens which I like to call The Satanic Gardens... no good reason, I just like mixing my words up. As I am now old I can get away with kind of batty behaviour.
The park was already full of young mums and babies who could now walk, albeit like wee drunken Scottish men. I saw one pink dressed girl with wee croissant type chubby legs. She wobbled about, got into her stride and then the slight slope of the grassy verge took her into a speed that gathered momentum; she was practically sprinting. She surprised herself at the speedy gait she was going at, her upper body was trying to balance and catch up with the bendy robotic legs that just swept her all the way. Her mum dropped a full picnic bag and belted after Zola Budd the baby. I watched wondering how it would all end and it did end: the baby tumbled full tilt into a big blue flowered bush head first and screamed! It was fine, the mum picked her up and the chubby legs sped off again in another direction.
It was funny for a wee while; I got quite broody watching the baby and then recalled how every time we went to the park Ashley always managed to run in the direction of the only moving car in the park or the only rabid dog in the park or managed to run into a bees' nest in an old tree trunk. So, with that in mind, I pitied the poor mum who was constantly chasing fatty leg the sprinting baby and lay back for a snooze.
Then annoying students turned up with an electronic glider plane that made girls scream like referees' whistles as it dive-bombed their heads. I sat on my blanket reading happily but silently decided if that glider hit me I would ram it up the ass of the skinny boy with emotional hair, who was running about trying to control it with a small black box. The box seemed to have no control over the object whatsoever. It was pitching and dipping all over the place.
A brood arrived beside me, all middle class moms with Boden clad babies, wooden ethically-approved bikes, raffia mats and followed by cucumber-eating kids who sported tie dyed tee shirts and fat t-bar sandals.
Couscous, quiche, carrot sticks and organically grown fruit was scattered on a scabby looking blanket (it was probably very expensive and hand-hewn, but to me it look smelly) and the kids all gathered round chomping into the grub. Two mums breast fed as the other women organised a sing song. Just then the black glider came out of nowhere and belted a baby on the neck.
It was a joy to behold, watching Middle Class Mummy go mental and snap the expensive looking electronic aeroplane over her gypsy-skirted knee. The student tried to protest but the breast feeding mummy was rubbing ‘Hugo’s’ neck and screamed: “Are you trying to kill our children?”
People stared and people giggled. I watched and hoped Middle Class Mum would ram the broken aeroplane up his ass, but that didn’t happen. Skinny student skulked off and the mummies had a rousing sing-a-long of “Incey Wincey Spider”.
But things then perked up when a bunch of really fat women in strappy yellow and pink vests, with random tattoos over their arms and chests, threw themselves on the grass and cracked open a case of cider. They shouted, swore and started singing “I see you baby, shaking that ass!” to the park keeper who was cleaning up the grass.
The mummies, the kids and the babies were all dragged off to the corner of the park under a big tree and hopefully out of earshot of the fat singing tattooed ladies.
The heat cranked up and before long everyone on the grass slumped down and snoozed for a while. It was like some sleeping drug had been sprayed over the crowd. Even the chubby babies who had been screaming shut up and lay back.
Finally I gave in and headed off home. It got too hot for me; even in the shade I was starting to melt. Hope it's sunny tomorrow at the park or maybe I should stay home and write that thing I am supposed to be doing.
Friday the 5th of June 2009
Into the Night
Not only did I dream about being pinned down by a strange evil man, but as I looked over his shoulder I could see he had put another woman behind the wallpaper but had left holes in the paper for her to stare out of as she slowly died. Amongst all the floral swirls there was this woman’s two eyes glaring at me.
Yes, my dreams are not always happy rainbow filled mirages.
Then I woke up with fucking evil ear pain.
Every year my left ear (that sounds like the start of a limerick)... anyway my ear is blocked up with hard thick wax; my left ear makes more wax than a hive full of bees. Then it all coagulates into one thick plug and stops my ear from hearing properly and the pain is unbelievable.
I usually have to put in ear drops until it’s all soft and then go to the docs and get it syringed out. I must admit getting that hot water scooshed into my ear hole is rather amazingly wonderful: you get shivers and it could be described as sexual. Maybe my erogenous zone is inside my ear canal? Maybe I have an ear clitoris? Who knows? But the water goes clockwise in a swirl and I go woozy!
So the pain is a problem but the result is quite nice.
During this short heat wave that Glasgow suffered, I have been useless at getting things done. I am supposed to be writing a 2,000 word piece for BBC Radio 4 but all I can do is lie in the sunshine and watch fat people slap babies in the park.
Why can’t I get motivated? The good news is, the sunshine is fading and it will probably snow in a day or two.
I am off to Inverness Ironworks on Saturday to do some comedy. I had to cancel the last time I was due to go there as my step mum was gravely ill and she died days after I got home.
Life is moving on, my Edinburgh stuff has all been done; all I need to do now is get the posters and flyers done. And I may need to organise my own flyering team as Ashley might not be able to make the Edinburgh Fringe this year. Now that she is a big script writing commissioned person, she will be too busy to work for me! So - I will have my first ever Fringe without Ashley since 1996. That will be weird.
OK, am off to start a fight with husband as I am bored and he is laughing in the other room and I want to know why he is laughing without me being near him. Why is he happy when I am not there? That’s a great start for a fight, eh?
Friday the 5th of June 2009
What my dad says
I went to meet my dad in town. As soon as he saw me he said: “Do you need a pee before we set off?” in front of all his old mates.
“No dad, I am fully toilet trained, thanks,” I hissed.
When we got on the bus, I sat beside him in the old people’s seats. Then an old lady got on and I moved to let her have my seat.
“I don’t want to sit beside her!” dad shouts loud enough for everyone to hear.
“Shut up” I snap at him.
He lets the old woman sit beside him and, after a while, she finally gets off. Dad indicates that I have to rejoin him on the front seats. I glumly slope over like a big useless teenager.
“Do you want anything from the Asda?” I ask him as he stares out of the window.
“No!” he yells too loudly. “I have loads of food, Janey!” he shouts.
I shut up and sit quietly.
“A small loaf, brown, half a dozen eggs, a tin of spam and a Daily Mail!” he then shouts at me.
I take note and try not to shout into his face: “You are a crazy old bastard!” Instead, I comment on how comfy looking his wide-fitting beige shoes are. Just then a wee old man got on the bus with a lively Scottie dog; it was all white and really friendly looking. People on the bus made cooing noises and the old man was revelling in the glory of his happy wee cute dog.
“Aye, he is really friendly and likes being patted,” the old man says as elderly women move over to him to pat the dog.
“He is just using his dog to get all the attention,” dad grumbles and then adds loudly, “Dogs should only be allowed on the bus if they help the blind or mentally handicapped.”
I looked at dad and said: “I am getting you a fucking dog, do you want attention?”
“I don’t want a dog and you stop swearing and I don’t like attention!” he snapped back.
“Then stop being strange and be nice to the wee dog: it's offering you a paw,” I whispered.
My dad looked at the cutest wee dog in the world with its paw up at him and he leaned down to it and said “Meow!” in a real cat style. The dog went mental and started barking.
“That dog needs trained!” dad shouted and was happy he made the dog think he was a cat. My dad is rather cantankerous today.
As the bus trundled along the Glasgow streets, dad decided to have one of his favourite conversations. It always starts and ends the same.
Dad - “Do you recall big Betty Smart; she used to live above the bookies and was famous for killing cats? You went to school with her daughter Katie.”
Me - “No I don’t remember her. Was the daughter a cat killer?”
Dad - “Yes, you do remember her." (At this point, he prods a finger at me) "R e member Alex Cummings who used to do the football coupons? Well, you know his brother Archie with the one leg?
Me - “No, I don’t remember any of that, dad. Who are these people?”
Dad - “Yes, remember we all thought he was queer and it turned out he just like model aeroplanes? Anyway they had a sister Bella who used to sell shoes down the Barras. Now her man Tommy Gunn...”
Me - “You knew someone called Tommy Gunn? Was this during the war? Did he fire blanks?” (Dad ignored this sper-related joke.)
Dad - “Listen, his name was Tommy Gunn - get over that. He was the husband of Bella who sold shoes. Now, he ran away to Dunoon with a lassie called Fran; she used to wear a beret to the side of her head and we thought that made her a lesbian but she wasn’t; she just liked hats at a jaunty angle... Anyway, Tommy came back to Glasgow and he went blind and then he had a care worker called Sally who never washed his windows because he couldn’t see them. Anyway, that Sally is now working at the meat counter in Asda. So, if you see her, don’t buy anything off her - she is filthy; that was my point.”
Me - “You told me that big story just to get to Sally who works at the meat counter?”
Dad - “Well, aye, I did.”
I stared at my dad and wondered why on earth he thought I could recall all of those bizarre connections between people who were my neighbours when I was a kid 40 years ago.
I had to go buy spam and The Daily Mail and that is something I have never done in my life. I have never bought Spam and I don’t buy the Daily Mail.
The upside of the day was when we went back to dad’s house. Last week, he said he saw a mouse in the kitchen and demanded I call the environmental people out to kill the mice. I waited for the mouse killer man to come and, just as the time drew close for the mouse killer man to arrive, dad disappeared upstairs for a nap and left me to deal with the mouse killy man.
The mouse man was clearly gay. I was glad dad was upstairs napping; he gets odd around openly camp men. It’s not that dad is a homophobe, he is just really old and doesn’t know how to cope.
“Why do the mice gather behind the display cabinet?” I asked the mouse man.
“Oh, they like to groom themselves behind cupboards,” he said with a lovely lisp.
“So they just huddle behind my dad’s collection of ships in a bottle and wash their wee faces and comb their wee tufty hair?” I laughed.
The mouse man made a face-licking motion and wiggled his hips as he pretended to comb his hair. “Yes, they like to be near knick-knacks as they groom,” he giggled. I laughed again and was glad that dad didn’t see the mouse killing man do a hip wiggle; it would have frightened my dad somehow to know that the man who was setting out poison was also good at mouse mime.
Finally, I made it home in time to see Gordon Brown get his balls toasted at a press conference where he was trying to convince the country that there is no divisiveness in the Labour Party!
Thursday the 11th of June 2009
Good days and bad
There are about 15 kids who run around outside my back court who do fuck all but constantly scream like Ian Huntley is on their wee heels every single minute of the day. There is a wee boy who lives through the wall and the screamy kids yell up at his window for hours; his name is indecipherable to me but I think it Rizwall. He never answers and I think he is either dead or moved away. I wish someone would tell them - I can’t shout down at them as they are all Asian and I will look like a scary racist. But the poor wee kids take turns screeching ‘Rizwahhhll” every hour until their throats hurt and they give in or their mums come out and take them all up to their beds.
They are all as cute as hell, but they never stop screaming and it echoes all the way round the car park and bounces off the circular architecture and the noise is deafening. I want a tea time nap without it sounding like kids are chained to a radiator and screaming for their God Rizwall to come rescue them.
Maybe I was a screamy annoying kid when I was a young and probably I annoyed all my neighbours with my incessant yelling but payback is in my way.
Husband and I finally fall asleep (despite the screaming kids); we lie beneath the wide open window at the headboard of our bed and husband managed to lay his heavy arm on my face and almost suffocate me. He then wrapped his body around mine and snored into my one good ear. It was cute when he did this when he was 16 years old, when both of us used to sleep in a single bed (IT WAS AGES AGO!) and we used to tangle each other up like pretzels and sleep sound. Now we need acres of space and room to spread out and I don’t need a tree trunk on my face cutting off the air supply.
I loved my gig at Ironworks venue last week in Inverness, which is really cool and the people look after you lovely. Inverness is actually a lovely town and I really enjoy being there. The train journey back was rather gruelling as it took 5 hours. I paid the £5 to get a decent seat in first class and it was cool, except there was a father who turned up with an adorable wee boy aged about 18 months. The baby was great but the dad gave us a constant running commentary of everything the baby did.
“Oh, Thomas, look at your face, look at the mess, look at your hands, now Thomas, don’t touch that, Thomas give that back to me, Thomas, why are you touching that? Thomas now pull your jumper down, Thomas give me that back, why are you touching that Thomas?”
Thomas never made a bloody sound the whole time. ‘Daddy talks out loud’ never fucking shut up! He was a nice man but for goodness sake a full constant running commentary of every single thing that happens is annoying. I thought about doing it as well. Imagine I sat there talking to myself?
“Janey, what the hell are you doing tangling your IPod up like that? Now, come on Janey, really? Do you really need another chocolate biscuit? That’s a good girl, now turn your phone off and put it in your bag, get your tickets ready for the inspector, well done!” Folk would think I was mental.
The dad did this talking out loud thing for nearly four hours until the baby finally got grizzly and tired. Probably bored to death of hearing his dad talking constantly. I managed to plug in my IPod and could just about hear him in the distance as Steely Dan banged out in my sore ears. I then decided to help the dad get the baby to sleep.
Just as we got near Glasgow, I made a wee bed on the seat, tucked down my pillow and wrapped baby Thomas into my jacket and he fell asleep happily.
The journey went quiet after that and I saw Glasgow come into view. Home at last. My next journey is to Dunoon this coming Saturday; I think I know people in Dunoon, though I can’t quite recall who it is I know in Dunoon. Maybe it’s an old aunt or something? Who knows?
This week, my fight with PRS continues. PRS are a great agency that makes sure artistes get their dues if people use their music etc... Now, I didn’t have music in my past Edinburgh Fringe shows so, therefore, I don’t owe them any money. Yet, in 2007 and 2008 they took 3% of my over all takings without my permission. Finally, after many emails, phone calls and mail offs they have managed to reimburse 2008 cash. Of course, they didn’t send the cash to me, it went to the Fringe Office who still didn’t send it to me. The Fringe Office sent it to Pleasance office, who still didn’t send it to me. They have yet to let me know they have received it! I HATE paper chases... I fucking hate it and now I have to go back to PRS and now chase them for the cash from the 2007 show and hope they eventually find it for me and refund me soon as possible.
OK, here’s something that just made me laugh. I just saw the Ladbrokes gambling advert and it depicts a big grey monkey chasing people through city streets, crashing cars and destroying lives as it goes. Don’t Ladbrokes know the symbolism of a ‘monkey on your back’ when it relates to having an addiction problem? That was funny and awful at the same time.
OK, am off to watch The Unit. I am in love with all of those sexy hard men in that series.
By the way, if you want to boost my followers on Twitter my user name is:
Sunday the 14th of June 2009
Life and people
So things have happened. Ashley got her exam results. She got an ‘A’ and 3 ‘B’s for her Honours and we are well chuffed; am so very proud of her. She on the other hand has begged me to stop bragging about her. I almost vomited onto her new dress with shock! Brag? Me?
Of course I will brag about my child, what else can I do? No-one in my entire family history finished fucking school never mind went through a full private education till they were 18 years old and then onto University and stayed on right through till they got their Honours, with a commissioned writing job at BBC... Brag? Oh fucking yes I will!
Most females in my family line got pregnant or married before they were 10 years old! So am very proud and happy, I walked out of school on my 16th birthday, have no qualifications and no education to speak of unless you count the street level of East End Glasgow-ness I got after running a bar in the Calton.
My education was based on 16 old men, two old hookers and a street fighter who all collectively taught me how to
A) Fight with a stool
B) Get Semtex off a wall without it exploding
C) Check 20 pound notes for authenticity
D) Spot a plain clothes police officer at 50 feet
E) To scam money from posh people
F) The best way to avoid paying electricity bills
G) To siphon petrol from other people's cars
H) A great way to win at dominoes
I) The use of hot coffee in oral sex (the old hooker told me this)
J) The way to shoplift using tin foil in your bag
So my education, though not formal, has been interesting.
My week has been cool; I attended a party at Film City in Glasgow with John Smeaton and Ashley. We met heaps of TV and film industry people who were all nice and a few really irritating young actors who actually used the words “nice speaking to you but I need to go network”. Who uses the word ‘network’ in everyday conversation? I wanted to punch their wee annoying faces. The only time I use the word ‘network’ is when my laptop fails to connect to the internet and I have to choose which network to piggy back and steal (see that East End education worked - am now stealing invisible electric waves).
On Saturday I went over to Dunoon to do a gig. I haven’t been there before.
Dunoon used to be a big draw for Glasgow women in the 70s and 80s when the American navy had a base there. They all used to get on the ferry and head over to the peninsula (most people mistake it for an island but it is connected to the land, it’s just quicker by ferry) and the women would go ‘date’ the American boys. A good few of my school friends met, married and consequently divorced an American guy they had met in Dunoon. Though I know there still are thousands of Scottish women all in their 40s and 50s who live in the US after meeting their love in Dunoon.
Frankly, the draw of handsome Yankee boys would never get me to go to Dunoon because the sheer amount of tiny midges that bite you to death at sundown is horrific. I don’t care how sexy, different, lovely and rich those guys were, those midges would take the edge off any illicit sexual encounter as far as I am concerned. So back in the day I didn’t head off to Dunoon for a Yankee boy, I stayed at home and married the local publican’s son; the courtship was insect-free and that’s all that matters to me!
Anyway, I went to Dunoon. The gig was in a rugby club, which doesn’t bode well. The place was fine. There were some very drunk boys and they looked like trouble, but what really worried me was there was a woman in her 50s who looked like she regularly won the ‘drink like fuck, and scowl a lot’ Trophy. She was with her husband who looked uncomfortable. Big Graeme Mackie was onstage and the crowd were laughing their heads off but angry scowl woman and stony-faced husband sat with their arms folded. The woman finally burst out: “You are shit and not funny!” but she couldn’t really be heard as everyone was laughing loudly at Graeme. She really needed to get attention so she waited until he was in the middle of a joke and she screamed: “Stop laughing!”
Her husband was duty bound to back her up so he nodded with her. Everyone stared at them; everyone knows them coz Dunoon is a tiny place. The crowd stop staring and laughed at Graeme’s punch line.
Graeme coped admirably and told her to stop yapping. The crowd carried on laughing until the break. The grumpy husband took that opportunity to grab me ( I hadn’t been onstage yet) and say, “If you get up there and say the word motherfucker, I will be really offended. That’s an American saying and I really hate it.”
I stared at his fat bulbous face and answered: “You just said ‘Motherfucker’ to me and I find that offensive!”
This made him stare at me in confusion. I don’t have a problem with any words but I just wanted to throw it back at him. Then I added, “Why don’t you like American sayings? Did something happen with an American sailor years ago?”
At this, his grumpy wife jumped up and shouted at me: “The comedy isn’t funny!”
I suspect there are many underlying tensions between these strange wee middle aged people but I didn’t see why I had to get involved.
Then the crowd around them started telling them to leave as they were all having a great time and they were spoiling it for everyone. The look on their faces when they realised that their own neighbours and friends wanted them out and wanted us on made them so fucking angry. They just wanted EVERYONE in the room to agree that the comedy show was rubbish. Only one act had been on and he was awesome: the crowd loved him, the angry couple didn’t want to like it and wanted everyone to leave with them.
Finally, scowling woman and strange husband got up and walked out as the crowd clapped. I felt sorry for them a bit as they seemed to be so unhappy and felt ostracised by their own people. That scowling woman looked like she normally got her own way and this wasn’t going how she wanted it to.
By the time I got on at the end, the crowd was fucking amazing. They loved the show and they just sucked up comedy like proper comedy junkies. It was a shame that the start was odd, but that does happen occasionally in small places when comedy comes to town. There will always be one person who decides that they don’t like it therefore everyone else has to hate it and not laugh out loud for fear of upsetting their plan to destroy the evening.
The only down side to Dunoon is the fucking tiny midges who swarm into your hair and face and bite like fuckity till you cry. I think I will never go back because of that. Angry women I can cope with, biting insects... NEVER!
Friday the 19th of June 2009
London so far
The flight down from Glasgow was OK. I was rather annoyed as I got a BA American Express credit card and on the phone the Amex people reassured me TWICE that this British Airways Amex gets you access to their executive lounges and I asked my mate who works at BA when I got the airport and she told me it didn’t give you access; MANY people had been duped by that sales technique. Shame on Amex for lying to people. Anyway, flight was fine.
The downside of the flight was I was feeling horrid. I had a spiked fever and my throat hurt. I was convinced I had swine flu. You see, I had been in Dunoon and Shawlands over the weekend and both places have been hot spots of swine flu, so in my head I was about to die. The thought of going to the NHS and saying: “I have a fever and sore throat and by the way I have just travelled through Los Angeles, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Dunoon and Shawlands over the past six weeks...” I would be strapped to a bed and quarantined like a Guantanamo Bay prisoner. So, instead, I waited till I had infected everyone and did my shows. I am now fine and the symptoms have gone. I suspected I was Typhoid Mary for a few hours though.
Am staying in Westminster Crown Lawn flats which are superb; the place is awesome and it has an underground swimming pool! It is just round the corner from Big Ben.
I lie in bed and can hear Big Ben chime all the time; it’s really nice to hear it.
Did my preview show and was worried sick as I don’t really do preview shows at all, I wait until the first night of the Edinburgh Fringe and that’s when I do the show for the first time. I never really have any material ready until that first show. Scary and fucking weird I know, but that’s how I work. So, the crowd were lovely as I battered out some new stories that may or may not make it to Edinburgh and the crowd were lovely as hell. They even told me at the end what to keep and what to discard come the Fringe! Well, I did ask them.
Had a staring competition in Costa Coffee when I popped in for a pee without buying a tea. A woman who had been sat down drinking watched me come in and got up and decided that she was going to use the loo before me. She stood in front of me and I stood in front of her.
“Have you bought coffee?” she asked as we waited the queue for the loo.
“Yes, I have bought coffee, just not here, and am going to pee in their toilet. Do you own Costa Coffee then?” I asked her.
“You are passive aggressive!” she snapped.
“So is everyone; sometimes we are aggressive and sometimes we are passive. Now take your pseudo-psycho-analysis bullshit and watch me pee for free.”
I stared her out and got into the toilet and just for badness read a chapter of my book as she waited outside in a huff. That’s what she gets for being the toilet Nazi.
After my show, I headed down to the Groucho Club with Fran and got to see my best wee mate Bernie. He is the vanguard at the door of the club and filters out all the celeb wheat from the chaff & Chav! He is really funny as fuck and makes me giggle when he does his thing. That club is worth joining just to watch Bernie the Prince of Soho.
Anyway Fran and I had a great time and there was some funny high jinkery going on. I didn’t get home until 2am. Feet killing and make up slid down my cleavage, that’s what happens when you dance and sing round a piano with a few gins inside you.
So onwards and upwards.
Sunday the 21st of June 2009
I got an email from my past. A woman I knew called Maria when I was 14 years old got in contact. We knew each other through a friend of mine, but we didn’t attend the same school as she was a Catholic and because I am bereft of a religion so therefore assumed as a Protestant (this is normal in east end Glasgow) – we never really moved in the same circles.
Anyway she emailed me to say hi and that she enjoyed my comedy set when she saw me at Tron Theatre back in March.
It got me remembering about her. I was always in awe of Maria as she wore thick black kohl pencil eyeliner and bright blue eye shadow. We were the same age but she had a curvy possibly plump demeanour with big ‘woman’ type boobs, which always made me stare at her. I had two very less -than -perky nipples that sat completely flat against my teenage ribcage with breasts that threatened to defy my sexuality and make me possibly the famous man/girl of Glasgow.
She had bigger back boobs than me and always had an ‘adult woman’ BO scent about her; it was a smell that reminded me of my mum’s drunken pals. It was a dirty smell that always disturbed me and she wasn’t a dirty unkempt person (like I was!). She was always immaculately dressed and came from a lovely home. I had been in her bedroom and it was lovely, pink and didn’t have a dog that ate its own fleas or a mum who crushed cigarette ends on the floor, like mine.
I can’t quite explain that smell, but it was definitely something disturbing and I recalled it immediately when I read her email. It can’t be a good sign that, when you remember someone from over 30 years ago, you get instant recall on their body smell.
She always had steady boyfriends at a time when I was still thinking about Donny Osmond and dreaming about kissing a Bay City Roller. I remember one day I spotted her as she crossed the road near my home in her school uniform and an older man was waiting for her with a giant teddy bear. I thought it was her dad, but he swept her up and sang ‘Happy Birthday’ then kissed her full on the mouth, a big proper kissing. It was her latest boyfriend and he had a moustache - I decided there and then to get to know her more. She fascinated me: how did she manage to be a woman at the same age as me and grow big boobs and have boyfriends with facial hair and a car?
She was an only child and her mum and dad let her boyfriends come to their home and sit in her room with her. This astonished me beyond belief. Who would have a boyfriend that came to your house? That was exotic.
One day, my mum was chatting to her mum Chrissie. When Chrissie mentioned she was getting some steak for Maria’s boyfriend's dinner, my mum asked her why her daughter had a boyfriend at that age and why the fuck was Chrissie feeding him.
The woman explained she’d rather have her daughter’s boyfriend in the house and get to know him. “She’s only fourteen, Chrissie. Too fucking young for boyfriends at that age, especially ones that eat steak,” my mum said. As far as my mum was concerned, steak was an adult’s meal and children didn’t eat good meat - that was for ‘men’.
The woman shrugged her shoulders and walked off.
My mum couldn’t believe this woman was buying steak for a boyfriend of her fourteen year old daughter. I told mum her boyfriend wasn’t a boy he had a moustache and a car and wore a jacket with elbow patches on.
“That’s fucking Catholics for you!” my crazy mum spat. My mum liked finding things wrong with Catholics; it reinforced her sectarian attitude.
She looked at me and said, “Don’t even think about wanting some fucking boyfriend that eats steak.”
So I made it my business to get to know Maria more. It was hard work; she was always busy with her boyfriend. Occasionally I would turn up at her door and her mum would let me in. I would go through to Maria’s bedroom and sit there staring at all her makeup and high heel platform shoes.
“What age is your boyfriend?” I asked her innocently.
“He works on the buses; he is 24 years old,” she spoke as she painted her toenails, that smell wafting towards me when she lifted her leg.
Maria would let me try on her fashionable shoes and new coat. She would dress me up and put her thick make-up on my face and let me stare into her mirror as she played The Rubettes on her tape deck. Then she told me I had to go as her boyfriend was coming up. I was leaving her flat with clogged black eye lashes and pink lipstick on my mouth.
Our friendship never really took off, as she got pregnant at 15 and became an old woman overnight. Literally. She looked worn out with greasy hair, fat calves and pushing a big Silver Cross navy pram when I was reaching fourth year at secondary school.
I went from being fascinated by her exotic highly fashionable lifestyle to being horrified that she was a mother when I was trying to grapple the rudiments of French verbs for an exam. No more Rubettes, no more Bay City Rollers for her; it was all leaking breasts, screaming babies and stretch marks.
The last time I saw her was when I was 17 years old. She was going to the bingo with her mum and they were wearing the same coats, American tan tights and worn-down smiles, clutching handbags, buying fags and heading to St. Barnabus club for the Sunday night social.
So, back to present day. She told me in her email that she got married on her 16th birthday to a man in his late 20s. They subsequently had four kids and they got divorced after he beat her so badly her youngest child was born disabled. Turns out he was a bad lot.
She is now a great-granny herself as her own daughter, who was born when she was 15, had a baby boy herself at 16 years old and that boy fathered a child when he was 17 years old. She managed to go back into the education system and became a nursery teacher.
I wished her well and sat here tonight thinking about her and I thought it was worth sharing.
Monday the 29th of June 2009
Janey is late as usual
So London has been such a fucking pain this time. You see, here is the truth. I was sick on arrival; I flew into Heathrow last week feeling hot and yucky. I secretly thought I had swine flu; mentally I was plotting my funeral.
So, then I just got ready for the gigs and getting myself into gear. The coughing during the night freaked me out so much I had to stop smoking all over again (yes I slipped). So breathing is better since I stopped again but, seriously, I am concerned and need to go get my lungs check.
So I called NHS Helpline and they asked me all the countries I had visited lately, I gave them New Zealand, Hong Kong, Los Angeles and Scotland. She ignored all the exotic locations and dug her teeth into Scotland. “There are big outbreaks of swine flu in Scotland!” she shouted. After I listed all my ailments, she reassured me that I don’t have swine flu but just The Flu.
The gigs have been great though. I managed to do an Edinburgh preview which wasn’t really an Edinburgh preview. I just made some stuff up and watched if it worked or not. Meanwhile, the illness was ranging from snotty thick nose goo and coughing up green kites out of my lungs, then hacking coughs during the day that almost made me pee myself.
Wednesday last week I headed up to Manchester for a casting. I made the fatal mistake of jumping on an early train (instead of 9.20am I got on the 8.20am) which apparently is evil and costs an extra £160 - as if I was going to pay that because I sat on a train an hour earlier. That is just mental. I told the train man to fuck off; the train was empty and I refused to be robbed by those people.
He just stared at me and said, “You got on a train that is peak time and your ticket is off peak. You have to pay”.
“I am not paying. Look, I am sorry but this train is empty, I am not taking someone’s seat, the sheer amount of times the train I paid for never either never left the station or never quite got to its destination is many fold, so I am not moving or paying, so call the police. Look, mate, I know you are doing your job but this is just wrong.”
He stared at me and said, “OK,” then smiled. I like the train man now.
The casting went fine and I headed back to London on a train that wasn’t actually my ‘time train’ but I was now addicted to screwing with the system and felt quite crazy. Nobody bothered.
London has been really hot. At night I was sleeping in the lovely room with a big fan in my face which was awesome but in the morning my mouth and nose were dried up.
On Friday, I woke up to the news that Michael Jackson had died, I really liked his music but went off him years ago when he paid a kid not to take him to court for sexual offences. I know he was found innocent in another child sexual case, but I just didn’t like him much after that. No-one likes talking about this, not many people liked my tweets about this, so I will leave it at that!
On Saturday, I did a comedy stint on Loose Ends on BBC Radio 4; it can be a tough gig as you basically shout stuff at five people sitting round a table in a small studio. The lovely Gerry Anderson was ther;, he was the man who made the Thunderbirds puppet series amongst many other puppet-based TV shows.
He was really a cool old dude and gave me a big chat about stopping smoking; really he should be doing the circuit as a stopping smoking guru as he was awesome at that. Then he went on radio and as Clive Anderson asked him about Thunderbirds etc... Gerry told him “I hated working with puppets.” That made me giggle; nice man though.
The comedy slot went OK but, honestly, I think I have done better before.
I coughed my way onto a bus and headed back to the flat to get ready for Jongleurs Bow.
I have been bothered by my ove- eating campaign that started back in 1980. I know I am too fat and decided to diet (again). This time, to help motivate me, I stood naked and took a photo on my phone of me from behind with the help of the mirror and OH FOR FUCKSAKE... I am never eating again. If you ever want evidence of how bad you look take a pic of you at an angle you never see and you will soon stop eating biscuits. I am now going to get an exercise programme into action and will take photos from behind to chart the progress.
One day when I am thin enough to be acceptable to society I may show those photos to people. I am horrified, I don’t have a waist I have back fat that just goes up to my neck and what are those two big indentations? Back Boobs? I am gutted. Husband never told me how fucked I look from behind and the amount of lumpy fat on my ass is scary. Treadmill/yoga/swimming here I come.
I get home in time to watch Ashley graduate. She wasn’t going to go to the ceremony but I talked her into it. She will wear a gown she tells me but not a hat. That’s my girl!
So it’s been a long twelve days in London, I hate being away from home and having an illness. The sun is shining today and I am all better and heading home.
By the way, Twitter cannot find me on its search so if you want to follow me go to: http://twitter.com/JaneyGodley