Glasgow to the Bafta Awards to LA & NZ….
So very sorry I have been missing in action BUT I could not get online. We got to London after a big dash and landing at Heathrow I managed to call the taxi people who always look after me, well in theory that should be straight forward BUT….oh NO…the guy arrived late, he was the blackest man I have ever seen and was wearing clothes that were way too big for him. Like he had just killed the real driver and stolen his identity, Strange you may think that I assume this but get this….as he helped us out of the airport he then discovered he had lost his car. Ashley and I were exhausted and desperate to get to the apartments that Crown Lawn had sorted.
So we waited patiently but he then dragged us and the huge fuck off luggage all over Heathrow’s car park (which is the size of Glasgow). He was running up and down the aisles of cars frantically and then I lost it completely “Did you actually park this car?” I shouted as I saw Ashley sweating dragging a big case behind her in the rain.
“Yes, I am new” he answered in his broken English. I do feel for people who come to UK and learn the language and try to earn a living but fucksake mate, find the car or I will stab you with my pen.
I called the taxi company to assure me he was my driver and they were horrified to find out he was lost in Heathrow.
Eventually he found the bloody car and then got lost trying to find the way out, and then he hadn’t paid his ticket and got lost trying to find that. I had turned into scary mental Scottish crazed killer. I screamed at him to get it right and get us to our destination.
He then told me he had a Scottish friend ‘ who doesn’t shout’ I asked him where he was from and he replied ‘East Africa’ and I said “I have a friend from east Africa and guess what…he doesn’t lose cars’ Ashley laughed he frowned and drove like a nutter almost hitting cars in other lanes as he negotiated his way out of Heathrow.
Finally we got to Marsham Street in one piece, Ashley and I settled down and stopped trying to use mental voodoo to kill the man. He never got a tip, let me tell you.
We had a quiet night in and on Sunday (the day of the famous BAFTA TV awards) we got up and went shopping for bits and bobs that wee needed. Ashley got dressed in her beautiful outfit and looked stunning, I threw on my clothes and looked OK for an old woman.
We were so excited getting to the red carpet in our cab (not from that company) and we could hear the fans and press screaming at the celebs as the sashayed up the carpet. My heart was pounding as we passed the famous people from television and film. All those faces we see so regularly walking beside us smiling and grimacing as I stepped on their long flowing frocks! (every time I do this) Ashley looked like a pro, some paparazzi took her photo as they assumed she was famous; she turned and smiled and walked on in front. Meanwhile I just got in peoples way as I managed to block at least forty photographers just by walking, they were screaming at me ‘Move you in the black skirt, move!’ I laughed and just hurried on stepping onto Gillian Andersons dress in my haste!
When we entered the Grosvenor House Hotel, Ashley walked behind Sir Alan Sugar and we went into the champagne reception then I suddenly realised that this was the ‘Important celebrity party entrance’ and not the ‘Regular Bafta member party entrance’ I took a deep breath and carried on as if I deserved to be there, Ashley looked like she did belong, I looked like a waitress on a night off.
We spotted a free seat over beside a lovely looking middle aged couple.
“Can we sit here please?” I asked the man.
“Yes, its nice to the younger people coming out tonight” he smiled as he nodded at Ashley, I smiled and took the compliment and replied “Why thanks, most people think I am old” He laughed and we chatted.
He told me he worked in television and asked me what I did. I explained I was a Scottish stand up comic who has written a play and a book and that Ashley and I are performing a Sketch show at the fringe as well as me doing the play and my one woman show.
His wife was beautiful and she complimented on how Ashley was stunning and I should be proud and we talked about her child, like any other women do on any other given night out!
Then a woman came over and interrupted the man and tried to pitch a sketch show to him. I noted this and wondered who he might be but we were to busy chatting about old Scottish comics Lex Mclean and Chic Murray, the man (his name was Michael and his wife Francesca) told me at least ten anecdotes about these wonderful old Scottish comics and I laughed my ass off as they were fascinating, he really knew his stuff. We talked about comedy and he asked me loads of questions about my career and then I told him I am famous for my social faux pas and was he really important and was I supposed to be trying to kiss his ass and get on telly.
He laughed out loud at this and said “I used to commission stuff but not now”
Then Ashley whispered to me “Mum he is Sir Michael Grade, the head of BBC”
I turned to him and said “I am sorry I did not recognise you”
He waved his hand and answered “You met me, not some person you were trying desperately to impress and I love talking about musical hall and comedy, so stop worrying”
I noticed that many famous faces were trying to get his attention, but he was too busy telling me yet another funny story about Chic Murray on the Parkinson show, the man was absolute delight and was very charming and fucking great company. To hell he was important, he was good fun and we laughed away until we had to go to dinner. He then accepted my business card and told me he would look me up sometime. It really was just a woman meeting a bloke at a party, and how cool was it that this guy was so down to earth….oh and by the bay he is the chairman of BAFTA as well!
What can I tell you about the party? Well there was an annoying man who chatted all the way through the night at our table, it was so rude, so Ashley and I shut him up and he left and then the highlight of the night was the famously talented Ken Loach’s acceptance speech for his BAFTA Fellowship. It was awe inspiring, he berated the UK press and news association (who were sitting there in front of him) about there continuous use of the words ‘War on Terror’ when in fact it was an illegal war, all this in front of his peers and the live audience and television production ( I wonder if the edited it?).
Ken Loach is UK’s most famous and talented director who brought many innovative social issue type documentaries and films to British Screens.
He often used non actors and made films about racism, social problems like drugs addicts and single parent problems, his most famous back in the 1960’s was ‘Cathy Come home’ and ‘Kes’.
He made a docu/film about the miner’s strikes in the 1980’s that is STILL banned in this country!
My daughter worked with him when she was five and she stood and applauded him loudly after his speech. She then plucked up the courage to go speak to him.
He was walking up the main staircase and I watched proudly as my very nervous child tapped his arm, got his attention and said “Mr Loach, I am Ashley Storrie and I worked with you when I was five and I am so very privileged that you gave me that chance to work with someone who is so talented and honest, I loved your speech and agree with every word you said. I am now working and studying in documentary and film making and you will always be such a huge inspiration to young people like me who aspire to enter this industry, I just want to thank you for that”
He looked at her and said “My goodness you have grown I am sorry I don’t recognise you now, thank you for those lovely words, I appreciate that Ashley”
She walked away and told me her knees were shaking so much but she is so glad she said it to him.
Robbie Carlyle the Scottish actor was with him when Ashley spoke to him and when I chatted with Robbie later he told me the Ken Loach said that Ashley’s words had made his night, he was so touched that there were young people who understood the need to tell the truth and loved his work, he added that ‘I don’t want to impress people who don’t care, but to make young people care about seeing and recording issues’ was more important than anything!
How good was that?
So we had a very late night at the after party, I danced all night and Ashley had an odd man stare at her for five hours who eventually approached her and asked her to ‘get rid of your mother’.
Now my daughter being raised by East End Gangsters comically thought this was cue to kill me…. She replied “No I can’t get rid of my mother, but if you continue to assume I need to I may organise to get rid of you”
Turns out he is a writer for a very famous TV show, but Ashley thought he was extremely odd and disliked his attitude, meanwhile I was unaware of this man’s intentions to get rid of me because I was dancing sexily (much to Ashley’s visible horror) with a young guy from the hit show Shameless, we were grinding and ass rubbing and generally enjoying the music….and I must add doing all of the above to embarrass my daughter as the young guy knew it was making her cringe, so we did the sexy dance to the full max!
The night was over and we made it back to Marsham Street, we re packed bags and got up early to catch the flight to Los Angeles.
My mate Craig met us, checked us in and managed to bag us great seats for the flight (I love him).
So we made it across the Atlantic in a fit of sleep, excitement and cups of weak BA tea.
We easily made it through US customs until one US Homeland Security man stopped me, checked my visa and asked me what I did for a living.
“I am a stand up comic going to New Zealand sir” I spoke clearly.
He looked around at his fellow workers and added loudly “Tell me a joke”
“Please mum don’t” Ashley hissed.
“Ok….who is the worst world leader that everyone hates, he cant speak good English, is clearly mentally affected and the most people with a decent IQ cannot stand and want dead?” I smiled at him. Ashley gasped audibly.
The atmosphere turned sour in seconds, he looked down, shook his head and barked “I don’t know ma’am who would that be?”
“Saddam Hussein, that’s who….you thought I was going to say George Bush didn’t you?” I laughed.
“Yes, I did ma’am” he smiled.
“That’s because you have that opinion of your president sir, don’t blame me for that one” I laughed out loud, Ashley glared, the man stared and people all around didn’t know whether to laugh or not.
We walked straight to the Quantas check in with that guys eyes boring into my back.
After a short wait we got on the flight with FOUR seats each, lay down snuggled into a deep sleep. The only sad thing to report was that at 5am in the morning Ashley cried for her dad, she missed him she told me and felt down without him. I knew this would happen but did not expect it to happen when we hadn’t even reached NZ!
So here we are in Auckland, we met up with US comic Dom Irrera, we had a chat over breakfast in this lovely hotel. He is a huge comedy God to me, I can’t wait to work with him at the Gala and on various projects the comedy festival has lined up for me.
Ashley has been filming various parts of the journey and we will have a live blog from Auckland up soon on Livedigital, we just need to settle for a few hours.
I will be performing at the Silo in Auckland and Downstage in Wellington over the next three weeks, see my website gigs list for details if you are in NZ!
It is now 11am in Auckland and 11pm-ish in UK, so I must go and unpack. Keep watching this blog!_