Janey's Blogs - April 2011
Sunday the 3rd of April 2011
Who wants to buy kittens?
"Who wants to buy kittens? I have got two black and a ginger one with a sticky-up ear!" my local drug addict John shouted out randomly, scaring the old man who was muttering out Korean War stories to his own reflection in the tobacco stained mirror.
It was 1981 in my old bar in the East End of Glasgow. That was a normal Tuesday afternoon.
We got old men who were gnarled and tired of life that wandered in; they would look at me then sit down. Then suddenly shout: "Get me a half and half pint and bring it over! I fought in Korea to save your life!"
Well, far be it from me to question why I was in danger of Koreans invading Shettleston in the 1950s and taking over my council scheme, so I would serve him at the table.
"OK, Archie? Any requests for the jukebox today?"
I would smile and encourage him to talk and maybe give me a smile back.
"Nobody likes you, you talk too much and you annoy me with your singing in the background. Why don't you a have baby to keep you busy? Where is your man? He is fucking quiet and doesn't bother me at the table. Don't play any shite, in fact, why don't you turn the music off? I fought in Korea for your freedom!" he barked at me.
"John's selling kittens if you want one of them to eat with your beer?" I replied.
He laughed and smiled at me through glazed rheumy eyes: "You're funny, Janey. You do make me laugh sometimes, you should be a comedian," he answered then went back to calling the Tories bastards as he read the newspaper.
John waited at the bar.
"So, you want a kitten, Janey?" He threw an arm round me, jumped back and pulled a tiny trembling kitten from his pocket. Supertramp pounded through the speakers and I reached to turn the volume down as Archie screamed: "Korea, you bastard!" at me, I placated him by getting the music down to barely a beating whisper. John was right there at my face when I came back to the counter.
I looked at his trembling body. The heroin was probably depleted from his shaky veins, his face was snaked with sweat, the once clear blue sparkling eyes were now deadened from behind and the pupils zooming in and out camera lens style and the smell of his desperation scared me. I had seen alcoholics beg for drink, but this was different. What the fuck was heroin and what was it doing to these people? Each morning I would watch a stream of thin juddering bodies with hollow eyes walking across the Green to The Gorbals like a clutch of zombies all quiet but focused on getting to their destination. Later, they would come back with a chemical spring in their step.
John was still there begging me for £5 for a few kittens. I took the kittens and put them under my jumper to keep them warm till I could figure out what to do with them. Only a junkie would grab three baby cats and try to sell them, I was worried they would die. The tiny kittens just huddled together on my tummy and I tied my tee shirt at the bottom to stop the falling out.
Archie demanded another whisky to his table and he wanted it now because he had fought in Korea for my freedom. I walked across the bar, leant over his table and placed the drink down. The kittens mewed and squirmed under my thin top and Archie recoiled at the sight.
"Are you now stuffing kittens up your tummy because you can't have babies? Is this what I fought in Korea for?" he shouted.
"Yes, that's right. I like shoving animals up my jumper and, by the way, I am on the pill - I don't want kids."
I laughed and Archie smiled at me.
"I fought in Korea so those kids out there could just kill themselves with the needle up their arm. The world is fucked, Janey."
He looked down, grabbed the glass and threw it down his neck.
Outside, in the April spring, the daffodils swayed their necks and nodded at the tall tenements, the cars sped past, the birds tweeted and people got ready for the Royal Wedding of Charles and Diana. A nation waited for a dream to form.
Thursday the 14th of April 2011
Why am I so sleepy and my Irn Bru day out
Am starting to worry. I sleep till midday and don't have jet lag and have a dull ache in the side of my head and am now convinced I have a big brain tumour: that's what I am like! It can't just be stress or a headache, it has to be a dangerous illness. I am going to shut up now.
So life has been busy. The one woman show at Oran Mor was just a delight. I did about two hours and the place was packed to the gunnels, so lovely to have that many people come see me despite me not being on telly! The problem with doing live shows and not having a TV presence is that people don't know you enough and assume if you are not on telly then you are not worth coming to see! A few comedy mates who are brilliant are suffering the same issue; they have small tours on but folk won't attend - unless Michael McIntyre has validated you, you are not worth watching.... it seems.
Anyway, Oran Mor was a triumph and I loved being there and Ashley got up and did some warm up for me. I am so chuffed that she is that confident and funny. Doing the podcast with her has been awesome and it is going from strength to strength. If you read this and don't know how to get to the podcast, just Google Janey Godley's Podcast and you will be there in a click.
We had a lovely time, husband and I: we went down to Balmaha which is on the shores of Loch Lomond where my niece Ann Margaret was camping with her wee brood of kids and I got some lovely pictures of Abi, Shaun and Julia, three wee city kids who stood for hours trailing a fishing net into shallow waters whilst tucked into ill-fitting wellies but happy as Larry! They didn't ask for shots on the iPhone or moaned for a DVD player, they all happily ran about in the snappy cold or sat in the tent eating crisps. Husband managed to organise all their food, cooking utensils and gas equipment into a neat row beneath a folding table he brought, as Asperger's and camping do sort of clash. He doesn't cope well with chaos and Ann Margaret, her husband Rob and the kids do chaos very well. Husband managed to sort things into size ratio and keep it that way whilst he was there. The kids don't care about his oddness and couldn't wait to get big warm hugs and a sit on his knee wrapped in his special blanket that husband keeps folded in the back of his car.
Ann Margaret is such a good mum. Shaun is 13 and at that age where every single thing he wants or says is loaded with conflict, yet you should see him love his wee sisters. He is so tender and caring and adept at getting them on and off swings and he guards them like a lion near bigger kids and he is better than a life guard when they stood on the edge of the loch. You can see the photos on my Facebook page. Shaun is at that age where he is waiting to be a man, arguing with everyone and yet is still capable of holding wee Julia age 4 round his waist and loving her with all his big heart.
Abi is seven and knows everything and everyone in the world it seems. There is little she doesn't understand and what she doesn't know she makes up but tells it with complete conviction that you are convinced she will be a politician in at least six months time.
It was good being with the kids; it always brightens my day to be around them. But I need to get back to work and back to writing, which I am procrastinating about. It feels as though I have jetlag again for no good reason; you can't get jetlag after driving half an hour to Loch Lomond can you?
This week was brightened up by Irn Bru (for non-Scots, Google it and find out about our real national drink). Anyway, the people at Irn Bru have made a new summer advert and it's really good: it's a pastiche of a jolly summer postcard image set in Scotland with awesome animation. The music is, of course, Paolo Nutini and I loved it. The Irn Bru adverts are legendary, so watch out for this one. We also got some nice freebies! Thank you Irn Bru.
Monday the 25th of April 2011
Sunshine in London
I have had an excellent weekend, arriving in London in time for its mini heat wave and long Bank Holiday! I got to lie in Battersea Park and enjoy the weather, though the incessant noise of gurgled screams of kids did drive me a bit mental. Kids don't really like parks. Adults like parks; kids don't like sitting on a blanket and staring at a bee for ages. They arrive in a park and suddenly require a selection of cold treats, a bug-free seat, a three-wheeled cart that you lie down in and pedal and possibly a magician to keep them entertained as you try to read an article in the Sunday Times about how Princess Diana would love the upcoming wedding and would probably outshine the bride and Carole Middleton. I need some shit Royal gossip written badly; I don't need someone else's whiney child irritating the wasps into a bad mood near me. I have served my time with a kid in the park; Ashley was duly dragged to picnic blanket hell many times in her childhood and spent hours poking a Rhododendron with a stick for fun as I devoured the latest pile of pretend lies from Jeffery Archer.
People need to know babies who sleep a lot like the park, babies who are learning to walk like the park but every other child from two upwards to twelve hate the park unless dogs get into a bloody foaming-mouth fight - that's something they can stare at. It's a boring hot sticky toilet-deprived place is the park in the blistering heat... and yet adults don't get that. In their mind they will drag some chairs, some food and a wine cooler and they can enjoy the summer haze. Not if you have kids. Then it will be hell for you and for people sitting near.
So, I moved far away from the annoying people but still managed to meet a stupid twat of a woman whose dogs slabbered and leapt all over me, which meant she and her friends now had the right to ask me questions. I think it's called socialising but it felt like interrogation... with dogs.
"Do you live round here?" the tall lady in the elasticated jungle print maxi dress drawled at me. Her accent was one that Katie Middleton's mum was hoping to attain - she was old money and very posh. (I knew this as she had on odd sandals and it wasn't irony.)
I chatted to her and her pony-trekking, horse-faced friends for a few minutes. I told them I was staying with my mate and then I told them I was a comedian. The circle of chinless Oxbridge bed-wetters went silent, their crystal decanter and tall glasses were sending twinkling shards of light like a glitter ball all over the grass. Who brings a decanter to a park? Alcoholic rich people that's who. The woman in odd sandals leaned her head to the side and her eyes became flinty, like she was trying to understand what a female comedian was, then she stepped forward and the bottom of her strapless elastic maxi dress was trapped beneath a dog's ass and her bra-less left tit slapped out and just hung there - nobody said anything. Maybe if you are rich enough to own a decanter and take it to a public park, you can have a tit hanging out and that's OK. It was a saggy limp tit, like a small bag of cold porridge or one of those balloons that have slowly deflated behind a chair, days after a birthday party.
I am not saying my tits are awesome, but they are huge and well firm and I don't let one flop out in full public view. Anyway the woman hadn't noticed her tit was hanging out, her friends said nothing, nobody giggled or came to her rescue and so I continued the conversation.
"Is being a comedian actually a job?" tit-flap asked me and a few of the men and women smiled and sniggered at this. "I mean how does one become funny? Do women actually get a laugh?" she continued.
I stared at them. I bent down, stroked a dog, I looked up and stared at her flabby tit hanging out of her sundress and I said: "Your tit is hanging out of your dress and that makes me laugh and I am going to tell heaps of people about this so, trust me, yes, women do get a laugh."
I don't think it bothered her. Rich people can take sherry to the park in crystal, they can wear odd sandals and let a tit hang out, but they can't wind me up. I just accept everyone is weird in their own way. I would be mortified if my tit came out in public, but she wasn't; she just folded it back into her frock and kicked the dog off her skirt. Life in the park is like that.