Janey's Blogs - September 2011
Sunday the 4th of September 2011
Stings and Things
Few things make me feel tiny and sad and hearing my dad tell me he tried to go to the Transport Museum on his own this morning is one of those things. He got on a bus to George Square in Glasgow to catch a bus to the museum, but there was a marathon race on in the city centre and he got overwhelmed with the crowds and just headed home. The thought of him being pushed about in crowds and feeling vulnerable makes me feel deeply scared for him.
It makes me sad because he wanted to go somewhere and, at almost 80 years old, he didn't bother asking me and tried to go on his own. He was heading somewhere where there were heaps of families all milling around and he would be that one wee man on his own. Why didn't I think to ask him? Why did I sleep to midday and not notice his loneliness? I hate feeling like this, this guilt and stupidity when, in actual fact, he likes going places on his own and feels independent. Having an elderly parent is amazing and also a blessing - don't get me wrong - but I always worry he will die the minute I step on a plane to another country. Paranoid and negative I know, but I also know I am not alone with this worry. I have heard other people with elderly parents say the same thing. I just say aloud on here.
Yet I always feel I should be doing more since my step mum died over two years ago. He has been doing well and he doesn't want me to feel like I need to look after him.
Still, imagine you were at the Transport Museum and saw a wee man in a beige jacket with a slight limp and a skip hat walking round alone. Would you look at him and think, "That's a shame he is on his own, where is his family?" or would you think, "Look that wee man does things himself?" I don't know but it makes me feel sad that I wasn't there to help him today.
I was asleep after being up half the night as I got stung with a wasp on the ankle that sneaked into my bed at 3am. All those years of avoiding wasps and screaming through worldwide parkland areas to get away from the dreaded sting and the thing finally got me at my weakest, asleep and tucked up in bed. How did a wasp get under my duvet? Why?
So now I am all healed up after my screaming fit in the middle of the nigh. (I am sure the neighbours think I am a battered wife.) I am going to organise a trip for dad out to the Transport Museum. In fact, I am signing off this blog and going up to see him now.
Monday the 12th of September 2011
Nothing to do with 9/11
I was in Leeds last weekend working at a comedy club. Incidentally Leeds is apparently the hotbed of Islamic fundamentalism... Who knew? All I saw was a typical English town and a few nice art galleries. There were no men in long beards burning flags or strapping bombs and running through woods. Then again I always miss the action so what the hell do I know?
I tell you what Leeds does have and to me this is a new phenomenon - and it's happening more in major towns across the UK and makes you kind of want to own an AK47 and go crazy - it's drunken screaming at night. I am not talking about three people having a sing song - and believe me I am from Glasgow the city of madness, religious hatred and angry football violence, I know a mental city when I see one and I know what they sound like.
Leeds, Newcastle, Nottingham, Cardiff and like minded cities on late night weekends are just full of drunken people walking about screaming, eating and trying to not walk into moving cars.
It's as if some fucked up psychotic film director is standing atop a Victorian monument and persuading the crowds of young people to squeal till their throats bleed. Alcohol is the main factor and possibly an overload of processed meats mixed with a glut of ‘express yourself go girlfriend' loud stupid TV shows. After the gig I walk back to a city centre hotel and literally have to dodge through the screaming fuckwits like a light footed first league footballer. They stand in crowds just simply screaming, arguing and yelling unintelligible shit, some of them fall and burst open their heads and some women prefer standing in city bus shelters and yell at full pitch, so the loud noise resonates through the glass walls and makes the fillings in your back teeth pierce and rattle. There are urban foxes somewhere begging for silence, I blame the human attacks from feral animals on this late night caterwauling. The animals deserve their revenge is all am saying.
I don't recall screaming when I was younger growing up in Glasgow and I will tell you why.
In Glasgow, if you screamed in the street and it wasn't the result of violence or sudden death and you startled people.... They would inflict violence on you for scaring them. You have to have good valid reason for making that noise and it better be good. Other than that we tolerate the odd singing gang of drunks heading down the street but just barely.
In my city streets we get loud teams of shouty wankers during the football or marching season. (Marching season is when The Orange Walk come through town and sing songs about not liking other Christians - Look it up if you don't understand: it's called sectarianism and has nothing to do with secretaries.) Anyway we have our share of shouters but nothing on the scale of English cities that are destination towns for party/stag and hen weekends.
The worst part is trying to sleep in a city centre hotel. The noise levels can be horrific and that's when you wish you had the gun. You know that one woman screeching "Stevie" at 3am on the street corner for about an hour? She would be in my sights and you know those loud girls in glittery pink cowboy hats singing "Here come the girls?" down the hotel corridor? They would be splattered as I went trigger happy.
I would take those fuckers out along with the fat baldy checked-shirted-bedecked kebab-fingering hotel-door-kicking men with one rat-a-tat with my big angry gun and happily suffer the consequences.
Okay, am exaggerating and glorifying violence but if they think it's all right to trap me in a lift and suggest I would like a gang bang in their room then I can think about them dying in a hotel corridor as I run about like something from a menopausal version of Black Ops with my control pants full of weaponry.
Violence is bad, but when did adults start running about city streets yelling through big angry mouths? I don't recall getting the twat memo that says Stop being a responsible adult with a full time job, get badly dressed in man made fibres and go shout at cars in a strange city! - Did you get that memo?
It's becoming the blight of my life. I love comedy and I don't mind the shouters in the comedy club because I can control them. It's when I just put my head down to sleep that the madness really kicks in every Friday and Saturday night and doesn't calm till about 4am.
Bars in these towns advertise that you get drunk as much as you possibly can for as little cash as possible and then they let you stagger out into their granite towns to hit the statuesque squares with your own brand of pissing, vomiting and screaming at stone lions and cenotaphs. The dead soldiers of two World Wars would be horrified if they could see what happens above ground but then again isn't this the freedom that they fought for? People died in the trenches so generations down the line could drunkenly scream at their monuments in the moonlight whilst full of cheap cider.
In retrospect writing this has made me realise maybe our culture of drunken screaming does help blow off steam and lets society feel less intense within itself.... What's the opposite? Religious, pious rule makers taking over and shutting everyone up?.... No, I think the answer is earplugs and tolerance. Peace out.
Monday the 26th of September 2011
Time reminds me
You know how when you think back to something... maybe a few years ago... and you recall the night you are thinking of in acute detail and you laugh and then you realise it was 15 years ago and not 2009? Yes... thats happening to me. In my mind's eye I see that am wearing a black velvet long shirt top, tan leggings and ankle boots and dancing with Ashley who barely reaches my chin... That was a long time ago.
Time does go fast doesn't it? Fuck I am 50 years old... How did that happen? It was only a few years ago I was thinking about becoming a comedian... wasn't it? No – it was years ago. I remember the first night the TV show Friends came on, don't you? I remember ER was on at same time and suddenly here were shows that were funny, with snappy sharp dialogue and George Clooney looking sultry was introduced to our world. Just then Oasis smashed the charts and we all wanted to be in London wearing parkas looking moody and being Liam Gallagher's girlfriend... It was like the 60s all over. Those days are gone. We suspect Clooney might like being single for various reasons and I have met the Gallaher guys - They are ... OK and I am old now. So are they and a parka looks like pensioner winter wear. I suspect me and Liam Gallagher both make grunting noises getting off a sofa and even he has started plumping cushions when nobody is looking.
In 1995, comedy in Edinburgh was all new to me. I recall me and Johnny Vegas catching a ride together to the Gilded Balloon comedy venue trying out for the latest comedy competition. Johnny was my pal and lived in Glasgow. The Fringe looked so huge, overwhelming and out of my reach and I didn't know then I would eventually do 14 shows (sometimes 3 a day) in ten consecutive years at Fringe. I didn't know I would get to 50 and be this tubby round the middle. I can't believe my boobs are so huge and I have an actual moustache that could be combed if I let it grow.
Did you know the guy who played Luke Skywalker is 60 and sexy 1970s heart-throb Scott Baio is older than me? Yes - Chachi from Happy Days has white pubic hair... If I am getting the sneaky odd one then so is he. Scary isn't it? Have you seen David Cassidy? He looks like a craggy weather-beaten chamois leather cloth; I used to kiss his poster when his skin still fitted him.
I don't mind being old. This blog isn't about being old, it's about forgetting how long ago the long-ago actually was. Do you meet people you went to school with, stare at them and think, "Fucking hell! She is ancient looking!" not knowing that she is looking at you thinking, "Fuck! I hope my face isn't as bad as hers.” Yes... that happens.
So I am still doing stand up. The job isn't hard at my age but, like the old hooker says, "It's not the job.... it's the stairs ” I am off to wax my moustache.