Janey's Blogs - December 2009
Friday the 4th of December 2009
Is it December?
Yes, it truly is December. I know this because everywhere I look is fake snow, bright baubles and scented shopping malls. I do love it though.
Husband isn't a big Christmas fan; he has made it clear the tree can go up, but it mustn't get in the way of the flat screen telly and it better not flash too much, as that exacerbates his Asperger's Syndrome.
I told him that him talking about the happy Christmas tree exacerbates my hormones and makes me feel like taking him straight to punchy town - He told me such a place didn't exist.
I said it was a metaphor - He said he didn't like metaphors - I said, "Shut up or I will poke your eye with a Christmas bauble" - It went on for ages. Suffice to say I won and he dragged the tree from the cupboard with an annoyed face.
Every year, we go through the same crap. I don't want a gift as I don't need anything and I can buy stuff myself. He doesn't want anything as we can never get him what he wants (his own house with padded corners, a butler and a Lazy-ee Boy seat) so we compromise by just buying Ashley stuff.
She loves it and has made a list of what she wants. Husband, who is great at searching online for cheap deals, ends up buying two things and getting loads of stuff thrown in for free - that's Asperger's and too much time on your hands as far as I am concerned.
He doesn't have the 'interesting' Aspergers Syndrome, just the annoying type.
Why can't he just count cocktail sticks thrown on the floor? That's a great party trick, yet his Asperger's Syndrome doesn't accommodate such tomfoolery. He is just good at repeating verbatim all the stuff I say in anger.
He would make a great actor if he could just tell his face which emotion his words were displaying.
Anyway, I must stop saying things about him; he will find out and smile but shout fiercely, which is disconcerting to say the least.
I have just realised - that's why he doesn't get on well with cats! They also smile and bite you at the same time... or wag their tails and purr.
Cats are Aspergic animals and don't mix well with other Aspergic sufferers.
The past week has been busy as hell; I gigged at Edinburgh Stand and got the most awesome review...
"The queen of Scottish comedy... A bold, take-no-prisoners type of comic... Comic gold. Brilliantly painted scenarios, uproarious and touching in equal measure.... Intelligent and skilful comedy of the highest order."
(Edinburgh Evening News, 2nd December 2009)
That is a lovely thing and cheers me up no end. It is nice when you get good things said about you, especially when you work hard!
I wrote a comedy article for a newspaper this week as well and did warm up at the BBC, which can be tiring and long, yet fulfilling.
Am off out today to get myself a pair of leather gloves, as this is what I am buying myself for Christmas.
Monday the 7th of December 2009
Have A Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year
Best Wishes from Janey Godley, her family and the team!
Wednesday the 9th of December 2009
Where do I begin?
Wee baby Julia is now three years old and is my great niece; she is small, blonde and the perfect Aryan child that Hitler would have shoved on posters of the propaganda type. Her giant blue eyes that peep at you under the white blonde hair are disarming; she is the wee sister of Abi (famous in her mouse-killing video on my YouTube site) and just gorgeous.
Luckily, Julia hasn't started killing small mammals; her favourite thing at my house is to pull down the collection of miniature hedgehogs in my hall and make them all kiss each other on my wooden table. A lot of kissing happens and American type chatter. It's funny that small Scottish kids use a Californian voice when they do 'play'.
American TV has such an effect on children: that annoying nasal voice that inhabits all the cartoon characters eventually comes flooding out of the mouths of wee Glaswegians.
Julia asked me to switch on kids TV which I did and I was agog at the adverts for Barbies who were wearing what can only be described as prostitute outfits. Crotch-skimming glittery skirts, high pony tails and tops that revealed pert plastic boobies, all for wee girls to dress and undress; suddenly the kissing hedgehogs seemed positively dull.
It made me think of the dolls I got as a child. We had a Tressy doll, which was a teenage skinny doll that, when you pressed her tummy button, her hair grew long out of the crown of her head. Long hair/short hair... that was Tressy's thing and I managed to get ALL her hair pulled out and cut it off at the roots. My big sister Ann nearly battered me to death over that incident.
I wasn't good with dolls. I remember one Christmas morning waking up to a stiff Spanish doll in the corner of the room. It was about 3 foot tall, as tall as me. It had a big bee hive hair do and dirty red slashed lips; it resembled a small Amy Winehouse. I thought it was a dead toddler standing beside the electric fire and screamed myself sick till they took it away. Who gives their child a dead toddler for Christmas?
So anyway I had fun with wee Julia; she makes me smile and she has a high-pitched squeal of laughter when you chase her with a spatula round the kitchen. She squashed Jaffa cakes into small paper cake cases and then proceeded to hand them out for us to eat. They were all sticky and yucky-looking, but she declared "I made these myself," which I loved.
Any girl who can learn about baking cheats so young is a friend of mine. Good on you, Julia! Baking is for nutters; just buy a cake.
So tomorrow I have to get my hair cut and coloured, I have to buy gifts and get the house Christmas ready. That doesn't mean anything; it just means that I buy a scented cinnamon candle and burn it.
I am working the majority of December and looking forward to having a wee holiday in January. I may get back to LA in January, who knows?
Saturday the 12th of December 2009
About Last Night
I had an awesome wrap party night at the BBC gig, just lovely and my daughter Ashley came along and made me happy.
She makes me laugh; she suggested that she buy me a small red duffel coat so that I can run around the river bridges of Glasgow in a Don't Look Now manner. She says I look like a child from behind but have a wee old wrinkly face at the front. What a nice child I gave birth to, eh?
Last week I met up with my dad who told me to walk him to the bus stop; he then told me, "That bus takes me home," and pointed to a big Glasgow bus. I waved him off then, ten minutes later, he called me shouting: "This is the wrong bus you put me on!"
"Dad, I never put you on a bus. YOU said it was YOUR bus!" I laughed loudly on the phone.
"No I didn't. It's like going to Belsen horror camp on this bus," he muttered.
Now, before you get all umpity and suggest my dad is anti-Semitic, he isn't: it's a generational catchphrase - old Scottish people use the term 'Belsen' to describe any type of mildly uncomfortable situation.
Scots use exaggeration and shock to display humour.
If they see a skinny model on TV they say things like 'She looks like she walked out of Belsen. She should eat'. I know that it sounds offensive and probably is to some people, but my dad and other elderly relatives do throw the word 'Belsen' about at an alarming rate. It's a generational thing I suppose.
I had a neighbour who once described a Butlins holiday camp as Belsen. Now that is just wrong. Old Scottish people do have a rather savage sense of humour, yet we contemporary comics get our balls kicked for less!
So apparently an over-crowded bus hurtling through the foggy streets was akin to a horror ride to a death camp in my father's mind and guess who sent him there? Me... according to him.
I do love the crazy old nutter.
Today I got up early and went to see wee Abi my great niece in her nativity play. She was the lead part in The Bossy King, and she really did take the stage with gusto. All the other kids were mumbling, stumbling and shuffling with downcast eyes. Abi was belting out her lead role with a performance that Dame Judi Dench would have been proud of.
"I am the bossy King, everyone bow down to me NOW!" she yelled and startled all the babies in prams and on the knees of the parents sitting in the school hall. I gasped out loud and laughed. Abi winked at me and a huge grin split her face, then she went quickly back to grumpy face of the Bossy King. I am so proud of her!
Baby Julia was on my knee silently waving at Abi and getting annoyed she wasn't getting a wave back. "Hi, Abi!" she finally yelled out in toddler frustration. I giggled and hugged wee Julia close - or almost suffocated her in my bosom... you decide!
It was lovely watching the wee school play and Abi is destined to be a top actress. I can see her Oscar acceptance as I write.
I have been at Glasgow Jongleurs all week. The Christmas nights can be really hard work but, all in all, it's been fine.
The downside was wearing a new bra I bought. Honestly, it felt like a torture device from the Spanish Inquisition (see my dad's use of genocidal events to exhibit exaggerated mild discomfort has been passed onto me) and I spent the whole night in pain. How can a bra be that sore? The side bones literally cut into my ribcage; my tits looked great but my lungs were being crushed.
So it's been a good week. Talk soon.
Tuesday the 15th of December 2009
Long life energy saving light bulbs are total bollocks. They don't last ten years and they are so dull you have to buy the highest wattage, which still feels like a flickering candle and end up buying another lamp to brighten the room.
How is that 'energy saving'? I now have two lights running to make up for the ONE light I used to have. Apparently if you use the energy bulbs on the ceiling they don't last long with heat reflecting from the ceiling and they are only going to last ten years if you only use them for 3 hours a day and, to make matters worse, if you continually switch them off and on, THAT reduces their lifespan as well!
On top of all that, the light gives me a dull thudding headache and I end up with a battery lamp beside my laptop!
So, basically, I am going through these energy saving bulbs at a rate of 2 a year!
My old bulbs lasted longer and I don't know if that's less energy used but, when you work out the carbon footprint of supplying these bulbs at the store on a bigger demand as they last less time, they might be just as bad as the old bulbs!
How am I going to save penguins with that attitude?
How can I stop Scotland from breaking off and floating to Norway unless I can stop using so much power? I am worried about my green house-ness.
So that's ONE rant over. Second rant is - Why does the big store Marks and Spencer insist on charging me cash for a carrier bag, yet wrap every single piece of food in acres of plastic?
Try opening their pate, cheesecake or salad boxes and you will come up against plastic fantastic wrappy ville! So, come on M&S, make up your own bloody mind about your commitment to less plastic and start using biodegradable cardboard boxes for food - or stop making me feel like a child-killing, crack-smoking, herpes-ridden hooker, when I want to buy a bag to carry home your plastic over-wrapped goods.
That's it, no more rants. It's nearly Christmas.
Thursday the 17th of December 2009
Mary in the stable
Just watching the Nativity scene in my local town square, I was struck by how bare it looked. Having given birth myself once - and I do say once because it was so painful and distressing I never done it again - I was shocked at how serene Mary always looks.
Personally I would be thoroughly gutted that, after giving birth to the most important child in all millennia, the only visitors I received were a trio of Kings bringing totally useless gifts - not one women pops in with a hot mug of tea and a couple of pain-killing tinctures.
It was bad enough for Mary having to go through a painful labour (she was a virgin as well; that stuff would have hurt) amongst straw and some farmyard animals, but to have to entertain guests without as much as a shower first must have been horrendous. How does she remain that peaceful and happy-looking, I personally couldn't sit down for a week and don't even ask me how my boobs felt, as to describe that would involve a flip chart and an overhead projector.
Now, let's look at the gifts. Only men would bring such obscure objects. It seems even back in those days men still didn't know the protocol of presents for a new born. Today's fathers and men friends still turn up to see a new baby bearing flowers, balloon animals and fluffy toys, all of which are useless to the point of stupidity.
What every woman needs immediately after any birth is:
Big knickers that hug under your boobs.
Giant sanitary pads with at least a 10.5 tog rating.
Maternity bra with supporting straps that could dock a ship.
Clean towels, favourite shower gel and moisturiser
Drugs supplied by Keith Richards.
Mary - I don't know her surname, does anyone? Does Jesus have a surname? - anyway, Jesus' mother Mary must have been made of steely stuff. Joseph (her man) wasn't that bright to start with, dragging a heavily pregnant woman to what can only be described as Vegas: Bethlehem was at its busiest time.
He never booked ahead, he didn't plan for the birth and he shoved her onto a donkey during the early stages of her labour, gave her a pat of the rump and headed off into the desert. She calmly agreed and headed off to Bethlehem.
At that point, I would have kicked his head and turned up in Bethlehem alone, screaming and demanding a doctor - after all, this was no ordinary child that was about to be born.
Mary must have literally been an actual Saint. If it were me, there would have been swearing, bitching and at least some Joseph-bashing with the local chicks round the waterhole.
But not for Mary; she calmly accepted her fate; she serenely smiled through labour pains with a beatific smile.
She simply cleaned up behind her, washed her own child, combed her hair, washed her face and pulled the blue scarf around her head and got on with job of being Jesus' mammy. Then accepted the clumsy gifts from the strange blokes who came to visit and thus showed up all us women as bleating, screaming whingers who couldn't handle a contraction. Thanks for that, Mary!
Thursday the 24th of December 2009
This past week
I don't have a Christmas rush, because I take time to go buy food we want to eat on the 'big day' and contrary to popular belief, shops DON'T run out of stuff. My problem is having time to organise myself and the work, and the amazing evil deathly snow didn't help.
Luckily I was based in Glasgow for most of December, no flapping off to foreign climes for me during the season, just good old Glasgow! Usually husband & I are snugly ensconced in a serviced flat in Leeds, Nottingham or Canada around this time of year as I do my comedy thing, but this year I stayed home and did local gigs.
Mainly because my dad is spending his first December as a widower; we lost mum early this year. It has had a devastating effect on him; luckily my dad has an awesome step family who care and love him. I do my bit by turning up, chasing squirrels from his wheelie bin or convincing him that one mouse does not equate to an invasion. Sometimes we talk about stuff or I have to cancel Virgin Media yet again as he managed to go on the phone and, instead of ordering one football match to watch, he gets charged for a whole month's worth. I love him: he is hilarious at times and his tales of old make me giggle.
His penchant for leaving the house during a snow storm to go for a newspaper makes me want to send him to punchy town, but he was a hard Glasgow steel worker and doesn't see why he can't handle a bit of slush!
I have yet to work out why he is obsessed by his wheelie bin, but I suppose it might take a therapist and some dolls to get through that issue.
My best mate Monica was stuck in Milan airport for three days due to the thick freeze over Europe. Husband drove me through to Edinburgh to do a few gigs and the drive home was so scary I wrote a note and placed it in my jacket which stated "My name is Janey Godley. If you find me in a car accident, please contact (my pal's name and number) and tell her to contact my daughter". I started to freak out thinking that, if we both got badly injured, the police would go to my home and Ashley would have to deal with it herself. I don't want her ever to go through that. I worried what would happen to her if we both died in a car crash!
But it felt like a sure thing in that snowy road.
Our car was sliding all over the road and giant belches of dense fog smacked against the car like flour bombs as it plummeted through the dark winding part of the M8 motorway. The frozen white trees looked skeletal and eerie as the car lights flashed on them through the darkness. I was terrified; every muscle in my body was tensed for the whole journey there and back. I was like a coiled spring when I got home.
Luckily and clearly we both survived, but we passed loads of stranded cars and a few accidents.
So last week I went up to Easterhouse to see my old pal Janie; she is awesome fun. I have known her for over 30 years. Both of us headed up to the big shopping mall near her home. We saw a swan stuck in the ice. I offered to go free it and she told me "Don't! - They are evil and can bite the face off you. I know a woman who got her eye taken out by a swan! They can peck their way out of the ice - It's a Scottish swan!"
I watched as the swan batted giant white wings, throwing up a flurry of snow and run towards me; it hissed and tried to bite my leg. It was an evil swan indeed, yet looked magical. With the frosted snow scene all around it, it was a big Narnia angry beast.
Janie was right yet again, she knows stuff!
We went food shopping and ended up back her flat after trudging through the snow and had a wee lie down. Yes, we have reached that age that we need a nap after a shopping mission. Just as we were about to fall asleep she darted out of her bed and ran downstairs to drag in her wheelie bin. I fear that fate will get me soon. It an age thing I suppose!
She then ranted about global warming, which was funny as it's a subject she is no expert on.
"What is global warming and why do I need to recycle milk cartons?" she asked.
It took me ages to go through it all and even I got lost in the quagmire of information. She just butted in, Janie-style, and said: "So if I stop throwing milk cartons out, will polar bears stop dying?"
I laughed and said: "Yes".
"There are kids up here dying of drug addiction; there is now anthrax in heroin killing folk; there are people losing their homes as bankers sit snug in castles; there is devastating poverty in Glasgow that even frightens the MPs; and I have to wash out milk cartons? Don't tell me the priorities are all wrong, Janey," she said.
I found it hard to disagree with her.
"I have never seen a polar bear and don't care about them, so the milk cartons will get tossed into my big wheelie bin," she spat out. I knew we would get back to those wheelie bins sooner or later.
Well, the Christmas spirit is definitely out and about; the lights are twinkling all over The West End of Glasgow and the snow looks awesome when it isn't seeped in dog poo or dead drunks.
Have a Happy Christmas, people!
Monday, December 28, 2009
That was the Decade that was
We are about to go into 2010. How was the last decade for you? Here are the highlights of my last decade.
I watched the Millennium firework display on a balcony overlooking the Thames in London on the eve of the year 2000 with my daughter Ashley. She was the youngest stand up comic at the Edinburgh Fringe in 1999 and was finishing the year by retiring from stand up - she was 13 years old. I was running a comedy club at Mansions Café Bar in Glasgow's West End, it was great fun but it closed suddenly due to non-payment of bills or tax problems, whichever is easier to believe. My cousin Sammy died due to infected heroin.
I hopped over to NZ and did the Comedy Festival for the first time. I ran a comedy club in London at The Atlantic Bar. It closed due to the 9/11 bombings in New York and lack of tourists or non payment of bills & tax problems, whichever is easier to believe.
No one died in my family.
I returned to the New Zealand Comedy Festival and won Best Concept Show; I also went to the Edinburgh Fringe and got no reviewers through the door, but sold out the ten day run. Ashley passed loads of exams which made me think she was adopted.
The Gilded Balloon venue in Edinburgh burnt down, due to non payment of bills or an accident whichever is easier to believe.
My baby niece Abi was born and made us all smile. I did my first full length show at the Edinburgh Fringe and performed my first serious play which I wrote called Point of Yes at the Underbelly. It never closed or burnt down, which made me suspicious of them.
I had all the comedy award Perrier panel into my comedy show, but they deemed me to be 'making it all look too easy and not sticking to the same show every day and improvising too much' so, after much debating, they chose not to nominate me and instead told me to theme my shows and stick to them. I was offered a book deal with Random House and wrote what became my bestselling autobiography. Nobody died and nothing burnt down, but a man tried to jump off a building during the Fringe and I talked him down; he later set fire to his house, so that was mildly interesting. He hadn't paid his bills.
Ashley turned 18 and left school to have a year out; she passed all her exams and that made me proud and further convinced she wasn't my child. She then became a DJ, a care worker, a catering assistant, a shopfloor worker and a secretary. She hated all of that and decided to go to Uni. I took a show called Good Godley! to the Edinburgh Fringe and it got hordes of FIVE star reviews. Everyone liked me for a short while. It tackled death, child abuse and gangsters and was called confessional comedy. Some comics mocked it but it did become a specific genre at the Fringe later on in the decade. People who never spoke to me crossed roads to say hello; it was an odd experience. My book was finished and the publishers were happy with it.
I went on a TV reality show called Kings of Comedy on Channel 4 and managed to grab Russell Brand's face live on telly, because he was being awfully annoying and loud. But he is a nice man; he was just shouting in my ear. I learned that reality TV and sober people don't really go hand in hand. I started writing my blog. I did my first run at the Soho Theatre in London and appeared on 100 Greatest Christmas Moments on Channel 4 and I did Glastonbury for the first time. A plastics factory near me exploded, many people died and I was so close to the event I took photos of it and they made the front page of the Glasgow Evening Times.
My book was published and made it to number 3 in the Sunday Times bestseller list. I did a show at the Edinburgh Fringe called Janey Godley is Innocent. It got great reviews, but some people didn't like it because I didn't have anyone killed in the show. Who knew? I also took my play Point of Yes to the Soho Theatre. I appeared on BBC Radio 4's Loose Ends for the first time and met the late great Ned Sherrin. Ashley started university and studied screenplay writing. Nothing burnt down, but the amazing 'Godfather of Comedy' Malcolm Hardee died in London.
My daughter and I took three shows to the Edinburgh Fringe: a sketch show that we both performed, my one woman play Point of Yes and my stand up show Janey Godley's Blog Live. We also did Glastonbury again. Ashley and I toured New Zealand together and had great fun on the road. Reviews were good and I appeared on BBC Radio 4s Just a Minute for the first time. My favourite printer Tam made all the posters, but had been printing his own cash (again) on the side; that ended badly. My wee niece Julia was born. I was nominated Scotswoman of the Year, but lost out to a Polish woman. No-one died and nothing burnt down.
My favourite printer Tam became famously known worldwide as 'Hologram Tam' (due to his expertise in making bank notes), got caught and put in prison. I was photographed by the cops going into his shop late at night during their long stake-out. I needed to find a new printer and I did. I landed my weekly column in The Scotsman newspaper. I performed my play and my comedy show off-Broadway at the Bleeker Street Theatre and performed two shows at Edinburgh Fringe, called Janey Godley's Chat Show and Tell it Like It Is! Both got five star reviews. No-one died and nothing burnt down.
I won the Fringe Report Award; I won Nivea Funny Woman and my Edinburgh show Domestic Godley went great guns. I got my hair cut, stopped smoking for three weeks and tried not to fight with everyone in a three mile vicinity. I also headed back to the NZ comedy festival and got nominated best international guest. No-one died and nothing burnt down.
At the start of the year, I appeared in the Scottish TV soap called River City. It was great fun and scary. I headed back to NZ and got nominated again and met Wayne Brady who was presenting the Gala TV show we were on. I dressed up as Susan Boyle and asked him "Are you Kanye West?" He pretended not to know Susan Boyle and we all giggled at him behind his arrogant back. I had a great time with my comedy show Godley's World at Edinburgh Fringe. Life got difficult for us all as my step mum died and left a huge hole to be filled in all our lives. The good news is nothing burnt down.
So that really is a quick rundown of my decade.
Thursday the 31st of December 2009
Is it the end?
Yes, it is the end of the year. That time when we look back and think... screw that... I am looking forward!
I am NOT looking back to see what I could have done differently. I refuse to mull over old shit and worry about it. I am old enough now to just look ahead!
I have just discovered the delights of PS3 - Ashley got it for Christmas and I love watching her play. I may even try to do it myself. The last time I played a 'video' game was at the Weavers Inn pub in the early 1990s. It was a Space Invaders game and the sound effects made me nervous, so I am not that great at them but am willing to give it a go.
I was watching Ashley create a digital image of herself on the PS3, then she entered this digital city centre and seemed to 'run' around meeting strange folk who wanted to either fuck her or swap sex files with her, not much different from real life I suppose. Except that smart cityscape looked very clean and didn't have dog shit or have drunks vomiting into unattended baby buggies. There was no mini bingo, sunbeds shops or a chipvan so I reckoned it wasn't anywhere in Scotland that they used as the template for the virtual city.
Though everyone who was online and in virtual form in her strange online city seemed to be obsessed with her vagina or they were desperate to show her online cams with their cock out. They all looked sexy and young in their virtual image as well. Well, not all were sexy, there was one man dressed as an armadillo with three swords over his back constantly chasing her shouting about his penis. I wanted to climb into the telly and kick his face hard.
I told her to 'get out of that town quickly' and go play Space Invaders instead.
I suspect the online world of meeting virtual strangers is liberating for people who like rape, fucking dogs and punching babies... I wish Ashley wouldn't go back to that strange game she was in. I may introduce her to real life needle point: you rarely meet an armadillo-dressed man who carries pictures of his erect cock in the world of cross-stitching, cushion making and stretched canvasses.
Why don't they invent a video game where you have to learn to set up direct debits, manage a budget, shop for a mortgage and understand house management? That would be more conducive to young people instead of running about chatting about your titties on live cam and could actually teach you stuff that makes sense!
Or maybe I am just really old and need to get with the times!
Happy New Year, everyone, and may 2010 be the best ever for you!