Janey's Blogs - May 2010
Saturday the 1st of May 2010
London and me and Ashley
It's Bank Holiday Weekend in London and I am here doing the Soho Theatre – fun times!
Ashley and I are having a ball, but the downside is I didn't explain fully to Ashley how long we are leaving Scotland for, as we go from here to Atlanta to do some comedy and she thought it was 6 days the round trip.
There is a point to this conversation: she only packed a small case and screamed when she found out we are actually travelling for 14 days in all. She has three pairs of knickers, one pair of boots and a few tops and one pair of leggings. So we need to go shopping for clothes for Ashley.
The shows so far at the Soho Theatre have been great fun. I had some nice Twitter people come to see me - GOD BLESS TWITTER - and that was amazing. I love the internet.
Ashley has been hanging out at The Groucho on her own as I go onstage; she is now a fixture in the corner reading, drinking and nattering to the staff. I am just the old mother who turns up and kills the party with a sweaty head, a boring story and penchant for cups of tea.
Ashley told me a funny story – but here is the back story first - At home, Ashley doesn't swear as it annoys her dad so instead of cursing she does a big childish 'raspberry' with her mouth when something pisses her off.
Anyway she sat in the club watching the Election debate and there were some serious intense blokes sitting alongside her. Ashley is into politics and loves the whole debate thing, but got so carried away that, every time David Cameron spoke, Ashley blew a big spitty raspberry with her tongue snaking out and cheeks puffed up. Then she looked to the side and spotted three pretty interesting actor blokes staring at her like she was slightly special.
She almost cried with horror when she told me: "Mum, I love that actor, he is my favourite and all he will know of me is that I sit in a winged backed chair and blow big baby raspberries at political debates in public!"
I told her not to worry, as that is a marriage proposal in Soho.
The other night, we were in a bar and three very skinny girls dressed in Twiggy mini dresses, blonde bobbed haircuts and big heavy eye make up came tottering in. They were totally into the whole 60s thing. They were wearing white thick tights, big black T-Bar shoes and pouting.
Ashley whispered, "Do you think they know the Pill has been invented?" and that made me snort, but the girls were awesome, I love people who stick to a theme and go for it in public. You can't beat Soho for whacky dressed folk and a homeless man who will scream poetry into your face and demand cash for his 'Art'.
Yes, that actually happened. The homeless in Soho love a performance, whether it's pissing at your feet whilst you try to recall your pin number or throwing a kitten at you when you try to eat a pasta pot before a show... I love Soho.
Being with Ashley makes me happy, though she is missing her mates; she is insinuating that I duped her into travelling with me. I will let go of her one day... one day indeed.
Wednesday the 5th of May 2010
The London trip so far
Ashley and I have been having full-on fun.
The first night we got here I was doing my opening night at Soho Theatre. I had cracking fun; Twitter certainly is the tool for marketing shows! It was lovely to see so many Twitter folk come down and see them in the flesh. The Soho Theatre is just awesome and despite it being Bank Holiday Weekend we got good audiences.
Then I got some odd press as I forgot that in my press release I mentioned that, back in 1993 when Gordon Brown was Shadow Chancellor, he came into my bar and I managed to obviously over-charge him and he did nothing about it. The press loved that and it got mentioned all over the place as there was some Gordon bashing going on. The election takes place the day I leave for America and I want Gordon Brown and the Labour Party to win as the Conservatives here in the UK are horribly homophobic and love killing foxes.
Do you know what else is amazing? I got to meet up and have dinner with Paul and his gorgeous man John, two guys I met through a blog site 6 years ago! They are in London living here now and it was just cracking to meet them and finally seal the friendship! They have an awesome flat in Finchley where I expected to see Mrs Thatcher tottering about in a fur coat and shiny handbag, but she doesn't live there anymore. Ashley and I even checked the local bar 'Destiny' in Finchley and she wasn't in there either. We gave up and instead ate dinner in a posh flat with smart furniture.
I really need to think about giving my flat a make-over and giving it some fashionable furniture, but I don't have the interest in that... does that make me lazy?
My mate John Fleming had his film premiere for Killer Bitch the film he produced and it is being slated by the press as having awful rape scenes and there is no rape in it, just gratuitous sex scenes and Jordan's husband Alex Reid being odd and trying to deny he is in it!
Anyway, I got to see Monica my best pal and hang out with some mates over the week in London. Ashley meanwhile has taken up a penchant for the cocktail Sidecar and, after three, she was giggly and ate a bag of Maltesers and listened to the Ricky Gervais podcast till 4am. That wasn't so much fun for me.
Also, on a more touching note, I did a benefit gig at The Hospital Club for my pal and fellow comic Jason Wood who died back in February; it was just sweet seeing all his family in the front row and a pleasure to make them laugh. I just felt Jason near as I was onstage. I still miss him.
I am missing husband and Ashley and I are off to Atlanta this weekend for some gigs. We were told that ex-president Jimmy Carter does some preaching near the hotel and we can go meet him, but I decided not to do that in case I said something inappropriate as I am want to do; he is a lovely man, though, and I don't recall him parading as an evil super being when he was President of the USA.
It's amazing how London changes you. The first days in Soho, I was engaged in the homeless people's plight, listening to their long stories and giving them some cash. Then, after three days of being constantly begged on by the same three people, I got grumpy and asked them to stop interrupting my phone calls as I stood outside a club trying to speak to people. They didn't care; they simply waited till I finished my call then expected more cash. One night my cousin, who drives a cab in London, actually spotted me on Dean Street and drove up, shouted me over and chatted. We hadn't seen each other in years and the 'Soho poet' (who isn't a poet but a big hairy burly man who screams poetry and demands cash) was talking over the top of out long-lost relationship. "Go away, mate," I asked and yet he threw limericks and disjointed words into our conversation till I finally screamed, "Shut up, poetry man!" and he didn't. He simply said: "Give me money and I will let you both chat."
What he didn't know was my cousin and I are quite Glaswegian and don't tolerate mild threats. We both shouted, "Fuck off!" at the same time in the same accent and he finally walked away. Now bear in mind this dude had gotten enough cash out of me during the week. I am not mean to the homeless but there comes a point where they can't threaten your social life in exchange for cash.
Today I set up a direct debit for Shelter and that made me feel better about screaming at the homeless man.
Wednesday the 12th of May 2010
Who likes Turbulence?
Finally am home from Atlanta - Ashley and I had the best time ever on our recent trip. There is a part of me that wishes she wasn't my daughter and just a good pal and then people wouldn't think it odd I take her with me on trips! Somehow it's OK for pals to work and travel together but slightly odd if mother and daughter do it!
Ashley and I are doing a kids show together at 12.45pm at the Edinburgh Fringe in August as well as me doing a one woman show at 7pm and we are writing together for a radio/TV project, so we do enjoy working alongside each other.
Anyway, now that I have excused my rather close happy relationship with my daughter (it does worry me that people think its odd), I have to tell you what fun we had in Atlanta.
On arrival, we were picked up at Atlanta airport by a lovely bloke called Henry who treated us like a pair of special princesses and got us straight to the hotel. The heat was stifling and we were both exhausted. We did the normal thing and tried to walk out of the hotel and explore the area. I had forgotten how much Americans dislike walking and don't actually provide many pavements/sidewalks for people like us to enjoy such an event.
We were in a suburb called Roswell and the sidewalk only goes so far down the road and abruptly stops – there were two giant four car lanes of traffic speeding past and not many crossings to get across! We were stuck! I suppose we could have gotten a cab but when you don't know where you are going it's hard to tell people the destination: that's why I like walking! We ended up back at the hotel.
The venue for the comedy gig is called Andretti's which is a kind of adult playground with go kart racing, rock climbing and squillions of gaming/racing/skill computer games that kids can enjoy. It really is awesome and Ashley had fun getting free tickets and corporate cards to play everything she wanted. The actual comedy club is inside the bar/restaurant area and really nice to play.
They were a lovely crowd night after night and the guys at Andretti's were so lovely looking after us; they picked us up and dropped us off anywhere we wanted to go. During the day Ashley and I sat by the pool and, despite wearing Factor 60, still managed to sunburn her shins!
I loved the trip especially after the time we had in London. By the way did I tell you what happened on our last night when I tried to do comedy at the Groucho's 25th Anniversary party? No? – well let me tell you!
The room was heaving with members, famous folk and actors getting FREE cocktails and booze - and shouting ensued! The space for the performers was just a small area beside a window with a microphone that didn't actually work. Me, some guys from Avenue Q and a lovely singer stood staring at our doom-laden night ahead!
They got on and off quickly without much effect and I just wanted to fling myself out of the window. I finally stood on a piano stool, grabbed the microphone that didn't work and spotted Ashley with Paul and John (my mates) standing there like a clutch of worried mothers watching their child get up and 'do a turn' and they looked as nervous as I felt.
No-one listened to anything I said. My chest hurt with horror. So I finally burst into song. Yes - you heard me - I SANG a funny impromptu version of Pearl's a Singer with Groucho references mixed in with rude suggestions about what happens at the club. The crowd joined in with the chorus and everything ended with 'In the Groucho' it was at least the best I could do with circumstances I had and people after the gig told me they couldn't really hear me but liked the song!
God love wee Bernie (the fabulous famous character that he is) who joined in and whipped us all into a happy bunch of folk.
What a night! BUT am glad I took on the challenge and did the best I could... but I promise not to ever sing again!
Anyway, back to Atlanta. Ashley and I had the best time, but I do have to mention that the sheer amount of food that you get served in every restaurant in that part of America stunned me. Everyone takes their leftovers home in a box, I couldn't imagine anything worse than walking about with a box of food but, then, no-one walks about - they all have air conditioned cars and can accommodate boxes of leftover food.
So finally the trip was over and we headed to the airport and worried about not getting sat together as the plane was full. Turns out we managed to get two seats together surrounded with screaming babies and we willed ourselves into a fitful sleep. It was horrible as the turbulence on the flight was horrifying. I have flown all over the world BUT the sheer amount of shaking, creaking and bumping was scary. In the dark, all I could see were Ashley's big staring eyes pleading with me to reassure her we weren't about to crash and die.
It went on for hours! My fear factor was finally drained after 3 hours of bumpy turbulence and, at one point, I wanted the plane to crash just to get a break from the battering about. The thought of lying broken on the ground was more attractive than 5 more hours of being shaken about.
Well, we didn't fall out of the sky; we made it home and this weekend I am off to Spain to do some gigs and hopefully avoid a volcano flume and turbulence. Speak soon...
Saturday the 15th of May 2010
Liverpool- Barcelona and Beyond
My train to Liverpool was on Thursday morning at 10am. I still had jet lag from Atlanta, so a grumpy dull mangled-hair Janey got on the train at Glasgow Central. Old people opposite me got on with a whole chicken, a flask of tea and a loaf. I don't understand why folk need that much to eat on a train journey. It's insane! Is there a famine?
The smell of the chicken was making me nauseous and all I wanted was a sleep. But it took THREE trains from Glasgow to Liverpool! How can that be possible? Didn't the Victorians sort that out years ago?
Anyway, got to Liverpool as I was hosting the Funny Women heats at the Unity Theatre and I managed to get an hour nap before the show. The show went good, loads of women up on stage doing their thing and then I headed off back to the hotel as I was up at 4am for a flight from Liverpool to Barcelona. I didn't bother sleeping as who can get up at 4am without screaming into a mirror and trying to get the tugs out of their own hair. The last time I got up at 4am with any purpose was to feed my new born child in 1986 and even then she didn't like being awake and just slept more.
The taxi got me to the airport and I still find it odd to see loads of people awake at 5am drinking beer in an airport bar! The place was heaving with stag and hen parties, men dressed as women and girls dressed in pink glittery cowboy hats, all drinking booze and screeching in funny accents. I wanted a gun, a self-loading never-ending bullet gun to mow them all down. Am not good in the mornings as you can guess!
At least I am going to a sunny hot country, I thought. I sat at the back of the Easyjet plane and hoped I could be alone but, alas, a big stag party of young men squeezed their big obnoxious beer-smelly bodies in beside me.
"I am scared of flying!" one spiky-haired fat sweaty boy cried.
They all refused to turn off their mobile phones in case 'Tracy Ann' called and the poor skinny orange-clad air host bloke had to plead with them to turn off their phones. Again, I wished for the gun.
Finally we took off, the big bloke beside me took off his trainers and the smell of his disgusting feet made me heave. No-one in my family has stinky feet and I was dying crushed into that chair. Again, the gun wishes took over.
"Are we gonna die?" the scared-of-flying, acne-ridden fat boy from Sheffield bleated. Finally, I turned to him and said: "Yes, I hope we crash and finally I can get away from your annoying voice and his stinking feet!"
They all laughed at the old lady stuck in the corner, but they didn't know she was eyeing up their foreheads for potential gunshot practice.
As we finally landed in Barcelona I looked out of the window and rain lashed the plane. It looked like Glasgow in July out there, not Barcelona in May. The wind and rain pounded our backs and faces and we ran down the stairs to get into the hall to collect our bags.
Finally, I got to the hotel and the lovely Stephen who runs the Giggling Guiri comedy club looked after me all the way. He is a cool guy and took me out for some coffee and walk round. We sat at a café table, I plonked down my phone and we chatted. A big tall dull-eyed Romanian guy came over and covered my phone with his plastic covered begging letter then started chatting and asking for money. We both said 'No' and I realised he was trying to work my phone out beneath the sheet of paper into his hand. It is a scam they do here. I looked at his face as he pleaded with me and I slid my hand quickly under the plastic covered letter and whipped my phone out of his fingers and he panicked. Stephen got ratty with him as he noticed the guy was trying to steal my phone as well. The man walked off and went to try another stupid person who leaves their iPhone on a café table.
The gig at night was great; I have never played in an authentic cave-like venue before. It was as if they scooped the earth out with their bare hands and covered it in small coloured glass in an amazing arty fashion. Barcelona has amazing architecture as you can imagine.
The show went awesome, though I was tired near the end of it. To help people to see me I stood on a chair and then realised my knees would be locked standing on a hard stool for an hour; my legs ached like hell after it!
After the show, I was so exhausted I headed to the hotel and straight to bed and crashed out. So now Saturday will see me back at the gig in Barcelona and then Sunday I get a train to Madrid and do it all over again. The sun has come out a wee bit....hoorah!
Friday the 21st of May 2010
The lazy blogger is back
Yes, forgive me people for I have sinned. It's been 6 days since my last blog and I am guilty of being lazy. Am not a Catholic but that sounded like I might get three hail crazies and a how's your father for that bad behaviour.
Anyway, where did we leave off? Oh, yes I was in Barcelona and heading to Madrid! Yes - I recall now - the train journey to Madrid was lovely and speedy; they even had air conditioning on the train. I felt spoilt.
The shows went really good in Barcelona so I was full of optimism for my Madrid sojourn and the weather was hot! Me and the promoter Stephen checked into our hotel in the busy main street somewhere in Madrid: I don't know exactly where as I was only there for one night.
We had a heap of fun, walking in the sun and then we happened upon really grumpy, maudlin, gloomy hookers who, to be honest, weren't that hot or hooky and I believe they shared my aversion to stupid men. I realised that, if I give up comedy, there will always be a place for me in Madrid with the angry old prostitutes. I always thought women who sold sex were needy and eager to please... not this lot; these middle-aged saggy chicks looked like their tax bill had arrived with their period. Maybe they were unhappy sex slaves and I have just completely undermined their plight. Sorry, I always get it wrong.
Anyway, I ended up outside the hotel round the back having a fag when a wee Spanish fat old man came over and asked me: "How much?" I smiled and then flicked my ciggie at him and was secretly pleased I somehow fitted in with that amazing city. "Go away!" I screeched and he looked nonplussed. I would be a real grumpy hooker, to be honest: my sunny disposition can sometimes be hard to find and I don't like slimy old fat men.
The other women smiled at me in that knowing way of "Yes, tell him to fuck off," but that sisterhood ended when they thought I was doing a number on their patch. I tried to explain I was a fat dishevelled comedian having a fag, but they merely sucked something noisy in their teeth and spat at my feet. We bonded.
So Madrid went good, the comedy show was lovely and then the volcano in Iceland went cranky and suddenly I was stuck in Madrid an extra day with no way home. Luckily, Lee Mitchell was a nice bloke I met at the gig and he was general manager of the Vinnci Hotel in Madrid and looked after me like a princess. He got me a cracking room, plied me with Tetley tea, offered me the spa and took me for dinner. (Maybe he thought I was an old hooker and that was his thing?) NO... he was lovely and made the extra stay WONDERFUL and I possibly owe him my kidney for that.
The hotel is AWESOME I can't tell you enough so check it out on the web at www.vinccihoteles.com - it's just stunning.
I realised my flight to Edinburgh was out of the question and, as I was going to Nottingham on the Friday coming, it seemed to make sense to just head to London and get the train to Notts and go have an enforced holiday in London with my long-time mate Monica.
She is a diamond. Her flat is like a day spa and her spare bed is always fresh and ready for her pal... though the white room with the stark white ceiling, the white windows with sparkling white bed linen with the strong sun shining through in the morning did give me snow blindness. Monica's bathroom is marble with more expensive products than Harvey Nicks could shake a Jimmy Choo at. I had the best shower and body treatments ever! I love Monica! Though realised I would miss Ashley and Husband for another weekend... he doesn't mind though and she couldn't care less if I ran away and became a gloomy hooker in Madrid!
Ashley, though, kindly wrote my Sunday column last week for the website as I was under pressure and between flights etc... she is a good writer indeed. Well, she did graduate Uni as a writer, so she should be!
London was sunny and I had a few days to pass the time and catch up with Monica, though she works more hours than anyone I know. She owns her own PR Company and I don't know anyone who puts the hours in that she does and in high heels!
I headed into Soho to have a few drinks and catch up with mates. That's where the second sexual proposition of the week came along. Yes, I am a sexy hot babe magnet... well... a man offered me a date. He had one eye, a profound limp and a dog called Smack; he was homeless but at least he did see the potential of my lady skills right there with his one good eye!
I had to say no and tell him I was married already. "Lucky bastard of a husband!" he muttered and tripped over a street bin. He then didn't get up and just fell asleep in a heap. He was hot and I have still 'got it' people.
Constantly beating off sexy men is becoming second nature to me: it must be my tufty thick hair and slightly dry scabby eye that's attracting the fellas - what can I say? You can't explain sexual attraction; you just have to live with it.
I managed to rope a few meetings in London and use the time to my advantage and things worked out well, actually - sometimes serendipity works but am pissed off rebooking flights either due to the volcano or the British Airways strike which seems to be constantly on/off and making me insane!
By the way, I have noticed that my iPhone keeps running quickly out of power. It needs more battery charging than Katie Holmes vibrator... is it just me or is everyone else pissed off that it doesn't last any longer than 6 hours off a socket?
So Nottingham here I come. Life is good, the sun is shining and somewhere in the East Midlands is a drunken broken man waiting on me coming to his city. I hope he has a dog!
Wednesday the 26th of May 2010
I love it here
At home I mean. I do love travelling but sometimes it can make you mental. The journey from Nottingham back to Glasgow was a strain, the bus trundling through the East Midlands was hot as hell and with no air-con - it made me heave and the bloody charges for a suitcase by British Midlands were enough to make me want to walk back!
But it's good to be back, my own house, my TV all recorded and saved made me smile. I don't think anyone watches the telly randomly anymore: who wants to sit through adverts? Not me. I haven't seen an ad in yonks now. Everything I watch is recorded and played with a speedy button to skip through the adverts and is it just me but when the adverts do come on they are LOUD as hell? When did that start happening? I heard it when I went to the loo and then left the programme running; I was in the right place to get a fright that's for sure.
It's the same with my favourite music site Spotify. I play it and when adverts come on I simply push the headphones in until the wee pie chart showing the advert time diminishes. I don't want to hear British Gas lie about waiting for you to come home before they come to your door, not after they kicked my niece Ann Mags door in, changed her meter and broke her door illegally and left her a tool kit to fix it. She got them back through and was on BBC Watchdog after British Gas admitted she wasn't a customer of theirs! So the irony of them letting you know they will send a text to let you know they are coming is a lie; they waited till she went to the school gates and entered her house illegally. She got compensation from them and threatened to sue. That's my girl. I never want to hear their lying voices ever again.
I am off to see my dad tonight as well, I do miss my dad and worry about him but he is fine and, since my step mum sadly passed away, he has been a bit lost. There is that never-ending feeling that I can't do enough for him, though he is very independent and doesn't need that much looking after, I just miss him. He is also wicked fun and has the same sense of humour as me, so that helps.
He told me he went into Georges Square for a walk and in my head just the image of him sitting alone in that square in the blistering heat watching families having fun made me cry. He didn't see it that way; he was keeping himself going and likes going to visit nice parts of the city.
So our sunny spell has vanished from the skies. It was hot as hell in the UK for the past week, but Scotland is dull again with just a mild heat coming through. To be honest I prefer the spring to the bursting sun.
I am off to London again this weekend, though it's bloody Bank Holiday weekend and am not sure am gonna get a seat on the train to Bournemouth from Waterloo and I don't fancy standing for two hours before a show.
It irks me that the first class carriage is empty and the economy carriage is heaving with people standing at the toilets for space. That's why I always end up in First Class just sitting on a seat demanding to be left alone and NO am not paying an extra £94 for the seat... it's a train for fucksake, not a gold plated diamond encrusted cushion. I paid for a train journey not a human traffic experience.
It's going to be exciting... I can't wait.
Friday the 28th of May 2010
Things I hate
I despise sitting on a crowded train and we all know first class is empty with just one fat bloke touching his willy in there, enjoying the solitude as he alternated fingering his silk tie and fighting the good fight of keeping his spectacles on his sweaty nose as his upper body shuddered. I merely walked past him and headed off to find the manager to ask about an upgrade.
The train manager sat in a cubicle watching the solitary man in first class touching himself on her personal CCTV in her wee special manager's cubby hole. "Can I get an upgrade to first class please?" I asked.
She never took her eyes off the CCTV screen.
"Yeah, if you have a hundred pounds to spare," she muttered as she watched the grainy screen.
"Really, that much to sit beside a lone masturbator?" I said as I nodded at the screen she was watching - the man was no longer fumbling… he was wiping his hands.
The train manager's head snapped straight at me: "I beg your pardon?"
"Him on his own in the yellow shirt in first class: he was having a wee fumble when I walked past him," I answered.
She glared at me through narrow eyes and said, "Maybe you need to clean your filthy dark mind; he could have been adjusting a colostomy bag or dealing with a clothing issue."
"Or touching his willy in the privacy of his empty carriage and pretending to have a clothing issue," I smirked.
We weren't friends after that. She never discussed my need for an upgrade, she merely snapped the door closed and I went back into first class to annoy the man who liked fumbling in an empty carriage. I just walked up and down lots so he couldn't get into any type of rhythm.
Back at my seat, however, there was a rather zonked-out young woman with a small boy; she was boring him to death about all the details of her journey. He finally got fed up and said: "I hate you. I am going to find another sea,t bitch." Turns out he was her son.
She then had the world's most irritating ring tone and, when she answered her phone, I am sure people in Botswana could hear her call. The whole busy carriage were staring at each other wide-eyed as she proceeded to tell whoever was on the phone to her EVERYTHING she had done that day since actually waking up in the LOUDEST voice in the world.
So now am in London finishing this blog that was started on a train and the world is OK.
Tonight am at Jongleurs Covent Garden gig, which am heartily looking forward to.
Things for the Festival are heating up. Am wondering about getting PR as normally I do it all myself… but sometimes I just think… I might do it… and then think… maybe I won't.
Who knows… Odd blog I know… but watch this space.