Janey's Blogs - April 2008
Friday the 4th of April 2008
Janey in London
I am so knackered – I am also so happy. My show at the Soho Theatre is selling great and my first night was packed. I love the Soho Theatre.
I was tired from running around all day. You see I had to get up early (again) and head off to the New Zealand High Commission and organise my work visa, which I did.
Though I had some trepid thoughts about this week, as the second of April was the day I finally outlived my mammy. She was murdered in April 1st 1982 and died at age 47.
I am finally 47 years old and have lived past her death date. That is a wonderful thing although, when I mentioned this to my husband, he merely said: “The night isn’t over yet,” like I could be dead by midnight!
He was joking and I am still here!
I am staying in Westminster in the amazing St. Johns flats and I adore this place. You can lie in bed and hear Big Ben clang its ancient bells, it’s so peaceful. Husband loves it as well. He likes the area.
I have two more nights at Soho Theatre then am off to Brighton on Sunday, then Munich on Monday and back to London for the rest of my working trip.
Life is good, I am older than my mum and I never had a nightmare last night!
Monday the 7th of April 2008
Soho was Fun
My run at the Soho Theatre was awesome. The three nights sold out and I had great shows. I love that theatre – so thanks for all who turned up to see me. I loved that you did.
My best mate Monica came to see my show and it was so funny to see her sitting there in the audience. She told me that my scoop neck tee shirt made a funny weird optical illusion as I held the microphone close to my cleavage when the lights illuminated me from above – basically it resembled a big black penis nestling between my boobs every time I held it close to my chest and that made her laugh all night!
I am off to Munich to work tonight and will miss London – and my man - he has been wonderful keeping me well fed and watered as I run from the flat and go to work night after night.
I am never back at the flat until way after midnight, as I always end up at The Groucho after my gigs. I met some cracking comedy people and had great nights hanging out with Simon Pegg and his lovely Glaswegian wife Maureen. On Friday night I caught up with my old mate Allan Carr (Friday Night Project TV show) and even shared a quick ciggie break with Tim Roth! (Who was lovely and very down to earth; he is a top guy)
The best part was meeting all the people who came to the Soho Theatre shows after the gig. The audience were the best I could hope for and are such a great crowd.
On Sunday night I was on at the Komedia in Brighton with the delicious Topping and Butch; their show is just a joy to behold.
I am having a great time here – talk soon!
Wednesday the 9th of April 2008
Munich and beyond
I flew into Munich on Monday afternoon to do the English Comedy Club gig. Terminal 5 was fine, I was expecting a fist fight but… all quiet on the terminal front. Mind you. I did not put any luggage into the hold. I carried a small bag over my shoulder.
Munich looks nice, though I saw nothing really! I don’t even know what part we were staying in.
I did ask a local person what the area the club was situated in was known for and he explained: “It used to be a slaughter area” – I never asked what was slaughtered, though I am hoping it was cows.
The club is awesome: it is so long and the stage was at the bottom of the room. It was really hot and the lights were blazing on the stage. Then, when I was onstage, an odd thing occurred.
The strange thing that happened was this. I was onstage for over 30 minutes and had over 15 minutes left when I felt slightly dizzy. I thought I was going to faint. Inside my head I was completely blanking out BUT my mouth continued with the act. All of these words I vaguely recognised were streaming out of my gob and yet my brain was screaming: “Janey you are going to faint!”
People laughed at my punch lines, yet my body was totally spaced out – I held onto a table onstage and asked for a drink of water. I explained quickly to the audience: “I feel a bit dizzy, I am going to sit down for a moment and have a drink of water,” which I did and then stood up and got on with the show. All the while feeling really faint. It was the strangest thing I have ever experienced. I finished the show without incident and went straight back to the hotel and slept all night.
I was aghast that I had fucked up but everyone told me they never even noticed: they were aware that I sat down for a few seconds - but they really enjoyed the show.
Last night I was back in London and I performed at Comedy Camp and I worried that my ‘stage illness’ might secretly return. I was fine and the show went fine.
I assumed that the room in Munich had little oxygen that far down; that, mixed with the strong lights, made me slightly faint.
Tonight I am in at the Vauxhall Tavern in South London and appearing in the Topping and Butch School Assembly comedy night with Neil and Christine Hamilton. I am excited.
Speak soon all….Janey
Saturday the 12th of April 2008
Marriage isn’t what I expected
Husband and I are nearly 30 years together now. I lay awake this morning and thought all about that. I have no idea why the idea of our marriage made me stay awake when I really needed some sleep, but it did.
Maybe it’s because Ashley will 22 years old next week and I have been thinking all about middle age and motherhood or maybe I just go through these periods of self reflection…I am not sure.
Either way, there I was staring at him at 5am.
He sleeps so peacefully and I wanted to wake him up to ask him thousands of questions but I didn’t.
Husband was 16 years old when we met back in the late 70s and since then this relationship has suffered at least three civil wars, constant mental warfare, fifteen near peasant revolts and one Armageddon. Still we are together.
It doesn’t make sense but then what does?
We were always so different and so completely opposite in our outlooks.
I recall when husband was my boss for fifteen years when we owned a bar together in the 80s and early 90s.
He was the manager and I was his wife. I looked to him for all direction and business sense and did what I was told. I cooked, cleaned, ran the pub, cared for a new baby and starved myself to look good in hot pink leggings and carefully maintained my big curly hair-do. (Forgive my fashion sins but it was the 80s). I taught myself how to make chicken Kiev embraced aubergines, garlic bread and ratatouille (again…new fashion in food in the 80s) I was a perfectly good wife.
Now the tables are completely turned and I own the business and do all the wheeling and dealing and he makes the dinner. Life is strange, if you could go back twenty years ago to 1988 and predicted I would leave that bar, become a stand-up comedian, author and newspaper columnist and husband would be following me around the world, I would have probably think you had overdosed on infected heroin.
Nowhere in my wildest imagination (and believe me I even had a wild imagination back then) could I have even perused the idea of being who I am now. Not ever!
It takes some believing at times. When I do the bigger one woman shows and watch all of these people whom I have never met before buy tickets to hear me talk, I have to do a reality check in my brain. Somewhere in my consciousness a wee voice whispers: “Janey, tell these people you need to go and get the bar ready for opening time, stop fooling folk into thinking you are a comedian, now go boof your hair up and change the Guinness barrel.”
My deepest insecurities creep up on me and for a second I get scared, then the lights go down and my name is announced and people applaud as I grab the microphone and the scared little voice in my head that berates me admits defeat, pulls on Lycra leggings and sits down in the back of my brain. It is joined with fear, shame and uncertainty. They all squeeze their tired little personalities into one dark hovel and listen to me be funny and they hear a crowd laugh at my stories. I have quietened the beasts in my psyche for one more night.
Husband never questioned my ability to do what I wanted, not even years ago when I would moan that I wanted to be a writer. He always encouraged me and pushed me to do what I wanted. I suppose I never believed that he believed in me.
Now, he is not in the least bit amazed at anything I do. He simply smiles and puts on the dinner and waits for me to come home. Where did he get such confidence in me?
What if I fail spectacularly? Will he still love me?
I never woke him up to ask. I let him sleep. He has a washing to do, shopping to get in, packing to organise and breakfast to cook, so I let him snooze more.
Wednesday the 16th of April 2008
I love my bed
The smell of my own bed welcomes me. It isn’t a bad smell, but a me smell. There are fragrances of washing powder and nightmare sweats, but they are mine. At night I snuggle under the soft cotton duvet and flatten my face against my own pillow. I can smell my hair shampoo on the pillowcase and there are hints of make-up forever stained on its white cotton sheen. I adore my own bed and I miss it when I am gone.
There is a hollow on the mattress that hugs me like a lover. It knows all the places to caress me and keep me warm. Strange beds have no idea how to touch you and feel like a bad one night stand that refuses to accept their elbows are jutting into your flesh.
My bed has seen me through the worst and the best of times. It supported me when my marriage became a war, sometimes right there on its very surface. It held me close when I cried in pain through illness and it welcomed me every time I dropped into it travel-weary and exhausted.
That bed opened up its strong, comfy heart when babies like my great nephew and nieces Shaun, Abi or Julia needed hugs in the night when they stayed with me. All of these children have been newborn infants tucked up safe within its billowy borders; now they come over and bounce up and down on its springy spines!
It has comforted Ashley in the dark nights when she had nightmares and the bed miraculously seemed to grow bigger to make space for her frightened angular teenage body.
My bed is the best place in the world and I will miss it when I go to New Zealand on Sunday.
I will miss my family as well, but at least I can talk to them, I can only dream about my own bed as I lie between stiff, dry cotton sheets in a host of strange beds that will treat me like a rapist who overstayed their attack.
Saturday the 19th of April 2008
Kangaroos and Abi
I was invited to open a new shop unit in Shettleston, the place I grew up in Glasgow. It is Kangaroo Self Storage Units. Shettleston is being slowly regenerated and it was amazing to see my old home town again. I don’t go back as often as I like. Too many bad and sad memories, but being there today was awesome.
I felt really odd as I have never ‘opened’ anything before other than a few Pandora’s boxes and a clutch of Visa bills, both which scared me to death!
Anyway, it was lovely and I took along my favourite wee niece Abi. She was all dressed in pink and pretty; she was so well behaved; I was very proud. She is such a wee smart intelligent social butterfly. She actually shouted out: “I declare this shop open!” as I cut the ribbon. What a wee star.
Abi ate too many chocolate cakes and the sheer amount of sugar made her even more chatty and animated! She stood up and told a very long complicated joke about a Red Indian who does a hard poo….I was in hysterics, it was so funny and she cleverly got the punchline bang on. She even managed to insert the pauses: the pull back and reveal technique was spot on and her wee voice was so clear. She executed the whole joke perfectly. I was outdone by a toddler! Apparently her grandfather told her the joke and she had memorised it. I was stunned!
She is such a comic in the making. Watching her wee face light up and pausing for breath as she said the final line - and her smug smile as the adults all laughed - was amazing.
So that’s been my day. Meanwhile, I am all set to go to New Zealand on Sunday. I have a sell out show tomorrow night at East Kilbride Arts Centre and I can’t wait to get back onstage there, I loved it the last time.
I have bought loads of new clothes for New Zealand and I just got my itinerary and, believe me, it’s a punishing schedule! I am tired just reading the damn thing.
I am STILL waiting on someone from Qantas getting in touch to help me get an upgrade as I literally hit the ground running in NZ… Anyone out there? Please?
Tuesday the 22nd of April 2008
Flight to NZ went Fab
I have arrived in New Zealand and all is good so far…I may fall asleep and miss my first night, who knows?
On the flight from London to Hong Kong, Air New Zealand was quiet and I got four seats to myself and on the flight from HK to Auckland I got three seats to myself, so I slept a lot. I am happy I wasn’t squashed in tight with nutty people.
I am excited about getting my first night over with and a whole night in bed sounds better than sex with George Clooney right about now, that’s how sort of out of synch I am at this moment.
At least I wasn’t exhausted on arrival and the Museum Hotel here in Wellington is awesome beyond belief! One of the best hotels I have stayed in. Right now I have a washing on as I am in one of the hotel apartments they have assigned me. I am lucky.
Wednesday the 23rd of April 2008
First Night in Wellington
I was so jetlagged and tired but my opening night in Wellington went awesome. I recall vaguely standing onstage and my legs hurting with the need to collapse, but I know it all went good. The show sold out and the people were so lovely they gave me loads of energy back. It was brilliant; I love this city and its people.
As soon as the show was done I went straight to my hotel and fell asleep and didn’t wake up until the sun come streaming through my window this morning. The view is awesom. My window looks right over the harbour and it is just a delight to watch the sunset, if I ever stay awake to see it.
Tonight has sold out as well and tomorrow morning I am up bright and early to do the Good Morning TV show. I had lunch today with a wonderful lovely NZ comic called David Cormack. He is very funny and you should catch his show. David has been a wee rock of support since I got here yesterday; he gave me a mobile phone to borrow and loads of kind words when I was brain dead and knackered yesterday.
I had a bath earlier tonight; you should see the size of my bath in this hotel room. It is HUGE, I mean I could have swum a lap in its foamy waters. OKthat’s an exaggeration. I could lie there, move around and not touch the sides or bottom it is so deep and wide.
I am off to get ready for tonight’s show.
Saturday the 26th of April 2008
Farewell to Wellington
I am so happy, my show in Wellington sold out every night and the reviews were just awesome. I love this place. I did a Good Morning TV appearance as well and some radio and that was fun. The people here in NZ are just so welcoming and supportive.
Every night the people came to The San Francisco Bath House to see the show and they were such a giving audience; so many Scots turned up as well.
The weather here in Wellington is really hot and sunny; I even have a wee tan on my face.
So now I am off to Auckland to finish off the tour and perform my one woman show at the Classic Comedy Basement.
More exciting news…Time Out magazine in London had an online voting poll for the TOP TEN BEST STAND UP COMICS and I made it to number 3 in that list, I was the only woman and the only Scot in there! I am so happy.