Happy Birthday To me…
The Real Janey Godley!
Yes, I am finally 45 years old! I have hit middle age today and it’s good. Can you believe it? I was so looking forward to this age. I am not in the business of letting shit get me down, I am currently having my teeth whitened and am losing weight, yet I do know this is the beginning of the downward slide, who cares?
I also realise that I have been married longer than I have been single, that’s an achievement I suspect. So I am sitting here alone in Westminster, its very late or very early depending what you make of 1am, and I feel good about my stuff so far. I don’t see this really being the end as its only half time realistically and goals can still be scored in my life.
I remember my tenth birthday clearly, my leg was encased in plaster due to the ‘Brownie’ road accident (see yesterdays blog) and I was lying in bed and my mammy got me a magic set. I was so very excited and the magic set really ignited my imagination, I loved the wee tricks I could do for my brothers and sister. I thought maybe one day I could grow up and do magic!
I suppose on reflection, life never does turn out the way you expect it to. I really thought back then that the best you could do was get a job in a factory and live in my street in a wee council house.
People like me didn’t have grand ambitions; we grew up, got married and had kids. That’s how it worked; we didn’t know people who did anything different.
Well I did kind of know someone sort of different, I had an aunt who lived near London, got married and never had kids, and she then travelled a bit. She eventually divorced her husband (unheard of where I came from, women took shit and lived with it).
She would descend on my family occasionally to see her sister (my mammy) and would turn up talking so posh with her English accent, she sounded like the Queen.
I knew nothing of her life, I did know that she would look down her nose at our poverty ridden home, which was strange, coz that was where she came from…anyway as years went on, she would arrive in a flurry of fancy cashmere scarves, wearing sunglasses and talking to us as if we were the cast of Les Miserables and would take my mammy out to the local pub and let the people who knew her from back then gaze on her expensive handbag and leather purse that bulged, talking of her travels to America.
I recall my mammy standing in cold piss smelling phone boxes calling my aunt on the phone begging cash from her, I know she did give it and my mammy probably exasperated the woman…my mammy was like that.
She once took me to her home in Maidenhead when I was 14 years old, she gave me a list of things I was not to talk about, stuff I wasn’t to mention and then dragged me around all her posh friends and have me sit there and chat to them. It was awful.
I do know now that she was a very lonely woman, she had been having an affair with her boss and when he got bored he turfed her out of her fancy cottage and she went to live in a small but expensive flat in Sussex. My mammy told me all this when I was a teenager.
As I got older and got married and went into owning a bar and some property, she would occasionally come visit me, I started to dislike her as she would pick fault with my life. I think she hated that one of the ‘poor family’ had actually made something of their life and she was no longer the woman with cash in the family…maybe I am wrong?
When I finally came out about the abuse from her brother David Percy, (my uncle) she went ballistic and refused to believe me. When I had successfully prosecuted him, she told me on the phone, she was no longer my aunt. This was no great loss; in fact it was good as I never regarded her anything but a shallow false woman who was quite lonely.
The good news was, my dad, my sister, my brothers and , I were still very close and nothing changed on my side, expect we all got stronger because we pulled together with other members of our extended family. That poor woman was left with the child abusing rapist brother. God help her. I do hope she has come through her life and is sitting somewhere happy after everything she has been through.
I don’t hate her, and the reason I am talking about her tonight is, I looked at myself in the reception hall downstairs in the big gilt mirror as I talked to the concierge and I saw that for a shocking moment I looked just like her, I don’t know why I recognised this as I don’t even think about her, but I did see her face in mine for a brief moment -she is also called Janey Godley. My mammy called me after her.
That’s no bad thing I suppose as she looked like my mammy slightly but I wish I looked more like my mammy!
Anyway life is still good at 45 years old.
I am organising to go to New Zealand on tour with my award winning comedy show with my daughter who will be making a documentary of the trip.(Ashley is at Uni studying film making and screen play studies).
I am on Radio 4 this weekend as the guest interviewer. My life is good just now and I am very lucky to have that, I do appreciate it.
I think that magic set I got back in 1971 did work, I have a blessed magical life and I never had to fuck the boss to get it.
Will the real Janey Godley please stand up?_
Crap! I just turned 45 last month and I never even knew that I was “middel-aged” until you said so. Thanks a lot Janey! 🙂
Oh, and Happy Birthday!