Janey's Blogs - August 2011
Monday the 1st of August 2011
Life makes me stay awake
"Janey, you awake?" my husband asked me at 5am. "No am fast asleep - fuck off!" I answered. Truth was I was wide awake. I was wriggling about and doing pretzel shapes and trying to switch my brain off. One minute I was drifting off into a submerged world of shifting memories, me and my dog Major galloping at speed across Greenfield park, then my mammy standing beside the sink dabbing my face with a cloth, then I was suddenly awake again... like I was falling through layers of my life and getting a snapshot of the visions. I miss my dog and my mammy.
Am rather discombobulated lately. Those of you who know me will be expecting me to be prepared for the Edinburgh Fringe, and those of you who have been paying attention will know this year I am not doing a one woman show. Every year since 2002, I have done a one woman show and on some years as many three different shows a day for the whole run. I just decided this year not to do it. But the good news is I will be going through for some gigs and heaps of slots and the chance to see shows that I can enjoy without worrying about my own show!
Unusually, Ashley is doing some shows at Fringe: she is in a show called Alchemy EH1. It's on every weekend – she is doing sketches etc and am so happy that she gets to enjoy her Fringe without producing my show as she has done for about ten years! Go Ashley!
I am having a great year actually - having been to Adelaide, Singapore and Canada with Ashley on tour – I feel as if I am the luckiest person in the world to be doing a job I love and enjoy. I didn't think I would have a decent year since my brother died on December 31st last year. The good thing Jim taught me was to live a bit and don't look back. I am doing that now.
The holiday in Salt Spring Island was amazing and I still miss Sarah and her two awesome dogs Parker and Abbey. But you have to realise that you cannot spend your life going on holiday week in and week out - sometimes life catches up and you end up back on a train or plane heading to the next gig. Talking about gigs, every time I step onstage with a comic who says: "Hey! I was on TV recently!" they normally die on their arse onstage. Isn't that funny, at least in an ironic way?
Had fun on Twitter - I love watching comics suck up to famous TV comics yet backstage and in company they slag them to death. The shallow two-faced-ness of it all makes me somehow warm inside. It's the same as how Michael McIntyre really riles the likes of Stewart Lee (as was much reported lately). I am not a huge fan of MM but by fuck do I enjoy how he annoys at least 400 comics on the circuit, it makes me giggle that the 'intelligentsia' of comedy hate him. But the public will get what the public wants and Mr McIntyre is what they want!
It almost equates to the level of unbridled hatred that Mrs Brown's Boys - the comedy show that won a BAFTA - received en masse. Mrs Brown's Boys just about reduced half of the comedy circuit to suicide with anger and spitting hatred at their 'Irish shenanigans' - all sorts of abuse and screams of 'lifting of material' went on. Truth is, I never saw it and have never enjoyed men dressed as women on telly - we have women to do that job.
So life goes on. By the way, have any of you ever listened to the song The Tin Man by America? I love that song but it's like someone has just randomly picked phrases for a song OR verbalised a dream! "So please believe in me when I say spin around, Oz never did give nothing to the Tin man that he didn't already have!"
Anyway back to "Janey, are you awake?". Husband finally got my attention. I turned round in the wash of dawn light, untangled my legs in the twisted duvet and leaned over to him and whispered: "What is it?"
He looked at me with strained, blinking eyes, his pupils adjusting to the light flooding into the room and said: "Did you remember to pay your tax bill?"
Friday the 26th of August 2011
Where have I been?
Yep, been about a month since I blogged and am blaming the Edinburgh Fringe. I know! I didn't even do a show this year. For the first time since 2002 I never actually put on a comedy show, I merely hung out and boy was I surprised. Firstly, I never realised how many people I dislike and can avoid easily and cannot believe how many people I now love and made new friends with. I had more productive meetings, castings and gigs NOT doing a Fringe!
I got to hang out with Steve O - him of Jackass fame - and Tom Green of Freddy Got Fingered fame and just so many amazing comics, playwrights and cool dudes. I have to say though my old buddy Paul Provenza has a show at the Fringe called The Set List Show where comics go onstage and in 15 seconds get told what subjects they have to weave into a live set. It is the most exhilarating frightening satisfying comedy show I have ever done – so much so I did it five times and with gusto! It's like that very first gig; I wanted to keep doing it till it broke me like a bad boyfriend!
So here I am finally updating my blog which I am ashamed of ignoring but, seriously people, I was out till 7am some mornings partying like I was born in 1999. The other news is Ashley has been performing in an awesome sketch troupe and finally didn't have to produce my show after 10 years; she has been my Fringe anchor since she was 15 and she deserved a break. I haven't been to see her show as she doesn't want me there and I respected that but glowed under the amazing comments everyone has been giving the show she worked in. So proud of my girl.
So here I am in London sitting in the dark after midnight writing a blog, wondering if anyone missed me and wondering if you are still there listening to me after 7 years of blogging. I am at Soho Theatre this week and it's been amazing getting to do a one woman show again!
By the way, I have had weird dreams about my dog Major. He died in 1975 and yet, as darkness falls and the sound of my own breath comforts me, I slip back into my skinny teen body and run through the park as Major runs ahead, barking and encouraging me to chase him. I wake up exhilarated and with a new spring of joy in my step; it doesn't make me sad - I get to see him again.
So I have come back blog readers and I am not being lazy any more. Please keep coming back to see me?
Monday the 29th of August 2011
Stuff and words
Just back from London and I have to say I love the Soho Theatre more than ever, now it has moved downstairs to the cabaret space. I did miss the Edinburgh Fringe which I unexpectedly fell in love with all over again by NOT doing a one woman show. I am sure I have bored you all about my happy time at Edinburgh.
London was buzzing last week and I did miss all my comedy buddies and the vibe of the Fringe, but I do also adore Soho and its unique blend of madness. I saw my favourite transvestite - the man who dresses as a milk maid on Saturday but is a traffic warden during the week.
The past week in London was cracking fun. Me and my pal Shirley caught up with my dear pal Monica and all my circle of pals in my fav city. The last night of Soho run, I ended up partying very late and managed a disco night which included some awesome dancing with Bill Murray my favourite American actor – I know, how bizarre? He was charming and a pretty good mover!
I also met an awesome wee guy called Starbuck Coleman who works for an MP, who carried a book called CHAVS and who was passionate about how the working classes are demonised by the word. He was so lovely, posh and so caring and was everything the name Starbuck wasn't! I just loved that he cared about not labelling people and his name will stay with me always. Bless... his parents must have been back from Morocco and pretty high the week he was born.... Starbuck!
Anyway, on my last night in Soho, I decided that I would stay up very late, pack quickly at the last minute and head to Euston train station at 7am and not worry about lack of sleep. So that's what I did. All sounds so easy doesn't it? Throwing computers and knickers into a case and dragging it through London! But me and Shirley arrived safely at a busy and cramped train station. The platform was announced and the crowd surged forward.
The problem was my friend has some mobility issue with her hip and when we got dragged en masse down onto the platform at Euston we somehow got separated. I had jumped onto the first available first class carriage and Shirley ended up way down front of train which was mobbed out and chaotic.
The seating plan went tits-up and it was first come first served, so even my carriage was now heaving. So my pal Shirley was effectively isolated without a seat and yet I had two seats secured, so we called each other on the phone. Turns out she couldn't walk down the train towards me at the back of the train for two reasons. One - the train was over booked and people were all over the floors and two - the trains were separate trains that were hooked together up the front and no way you could walk through and so she had to physically come out of her carriage to get to mine.
So, after the scramble for seats, the train also broke down. I waited till the train set off again, checked Shirley was OK (she was sitting in the guards box up the front train) and I set off to ask the guard at the back about getting Shirley down to her seat.
"Where is she?" the guard barked at me.
"She is up the front. We got separated and someone is in our official seats, but I have seats for us both here," I explained and pointed to my seats. "She is disabled, so when the train stops at Milton Keynes can you make sure she will have time to walk down from the top train to here?"
"As long as she doesn't dawdle" he added.
"We don't call it dawdling, she is disabled and we call it walking slow and carefully" I stated.
"How long will she take?" he infuriatingly asked.
I sighed out loud and said, "Well, we haven't timed her lately. We did mean to get round to it but we haven't done it. Sorry."
My sarcasm didn't escape the bloke who was the train cleaner standing beside the pedantic guard. He snorted out loud and giggled.
"Well, we will see what we can do," said the train guard.
"Look, I need you to get to the point where you will say Yes, we will aid your disabled pal best we can for her to get from one over crowded carriage to this one. Can we do that?" I snapped.
Finally, at Milton Keynes the train stopped, I jumped off and ran down the platform under the watchful beady eye of the guard and managed to help Shirley up to our part of the train then, at the last minute, he indicated by shouting and pointing that we ‘get on there' which was the door before the one we wanted to board. So we clambered onto the train with a suitcase and landed on top of heaps of people on the floor.
A baldy tall angry man and his wife glared at us, the man wiped his hand over his sticky forehead and shouted "There are NO SEATS in there" and he pointed at the carriage where I had two seats secured with my luggage and coats. I supposed he assumed we had just boarded the train at Milton Keynes and that we had no knowledge of the crushed train from hell and to be honest I couldn't be bothered explaining. So he just watched me and Shirley board that train, climb over their cramped bodies and luggage and walk to a miraculous empty seat – let me tell you that annoyed him the whole journey and at every chance he got, he quizzed me about my seat. I never fully explained and left him seething.
I tweeted Virgin Trains and explained the whole situation. They have suggested we get a refund and that's exactly what I will be doing. Train journeys do make up a big part of my blogging and train companies need to know we have power at our finger tips. The prices we pay for trains and the general way we are treated is abhorrent and we should all complain!