So I got dropped off at Banbury rail station to get the train into central Oxford where I would be hosting the Jongleurs comedy gig. Sitting at the station I started to much into crisps. They were yummy as I hadn’t eaten all day.
I noticed a middle aged grey haired man sitting beside me in the station concourse.
“You will spoil your tea eating them” he said in a Glasgow accent. I smiled and carried on as the last thing I wanted was to do was chat to a Glaswegian. He insisted I talked back and as soon as he heard my voice he chipped “Where are you from in Glasgow?”
So I filled him in quickly and explained that I was a comedian etc etc…
He went quiet and listened as I told him that I travelled the world doing my job and that’s why I was sitting in Banbury station.
He looked straight at me, his old Glasgow teeth crookedly smiling and he asked in all seriousness “Does your husband let you do this?”
I just looked at him, took a breath and eighty million images flashed through my head, scenarios’ where I am in a crinoline dress, batting a fan and begging my husband’s permission for me to go to a hat shop without an escort. I laughed out loud and couldn’t even begin to explain the dynamics of my life, and why should I? Then over the intercom came the announcement that my train to Oxford will be delayed with no time limit on when it would arrive.
I immediately got up and headed for the information desk. I quickly ascertained that a taxi was needed to get me to the gig.
After realising that there was no other way to go I stood amongst about 79 people and said loudly “Does anyone want to taxi share to Oxford?”
A young guy with dark hair and headphones piped up “Yep, I am in” and a well -dressed quite distinguished man in a suit came forward and said to me “Yes, I am in”.
The bunch of strangers but taxi chums that we had become headed for the exit of Banbury station.
We got in the car; got the price that we had to split between us all and belted up. I sat quiet in the cab still laughing to myself that there were still men who thought your husband ‘allowed’ you to work in a job that I have created and am good at!
Just then the distinguished looking man in the front seat turned round to me and said in a really lovely posh accent “I know you, I have seen your show at Edinburgh”
The black haired guy sitting beside me looked at me full on and I smiled at the front seat man and said “Really?”
“Yes, you are Janey Godley; I am Ed Bartlam’s dad”
I gasped and laughed out loud, Ed Bartlam is the co owner of the Underbelly Venue at the Edinburgh Fringe where I have been performing for the last four years, and will be performing two of my three shows this year.
Ed is a lovely posh middle class educated guy who I love loads.
I quickly said to Mr Bartlam Snr “Give me your mobile phone please!”
He looked at me and then fished out his phone and held it to me.
I quickly scanned his address book and saw Ed’s number; I pressed call and waited as it rang out.
“Hello dad” Ed said.
I spoke slowly and clearly “You are probably wondering why a woman is on your dads mobile aren’t you Ed?”
“Janey Godley is that you?” Ed sounded surprised.
“Yes, it is – now listen up you wee posh fucker, I have your dad in a fast moving car in Oxford, we are going to kill him unless you agree to let me perform at the venue this year for free” I shouted.
Ed went quiet, “Why are you with my dad?” he muttered…shocked.
“I told you, it took me ages to work out his movements and now I have him, so if you want to see him alive agree” I snapped back. I took a picture of Mr Bartlam Snr and sent it to Ed by text.
“Is your husband there Janey” Ed sounded terrified.
“Yes, he has a gun at your dads head; you wanna speak to your dad?” I asked him.
I handed the phone to the now laughing but pretending to be scared Mr Bartlam Snr
“Hi Ed, Janey is right, they have me hostage Ed so just agree” He spoke.
I took the phone back and heard Ed agree to my hostage terms and handed the phone back to his father.
Mr Bartlam Snr sat in the front seat and hung up on Ed. The young guy sitting beside me looked shocked and scared throughout this whole conversation, it was fucking funny.
The taxi driver sat quiet.
Mr Bartlam Snr and I laughed our heads off.
We did eventually explain to Ed the whole coincidence of us both being together in a cab in Oxford, we did all laugh at the situation, but Ed did agree about the venue terms….so it was a fruitful journey, and I love Mr Bartlam Snr, he said he was witness to the agreement and it is legal and binding…looks like I will have a cheap venue this year and possibly free drinks and food the whole run!
The cab hurtled towards Oxford as my deadline to get on stage was drawing near.
I got out of the cab and ran towards the venue, there were loads of people outside waiting to get in, I could see the venue manager standing outside waiting on me.
As I negotiated pavements and cobble stones in Ancient Oxford, I tripped stumbled and fell flat down on the pavement with palms smacking the concrete and just lay there, all sore and shocked.
Two Chinese people came over and tried to help me up, the crowd stared, the venue manager laughed and I simply looked up and muttered “Just roll me on the road and let the traffic kill me ….please?”
Everything hurt, my fat ass, my twisted ankle, my stinging bleeding palms…my ego.
So it was an eventful night, I met a cranky misogynist old Scottish man, an influential hostage victim and left my skin in Oxford – a good night all round._