Janey's Blogs - August 2009
Sunday the 2nd of August 2009
It's all GO
I am up to my eyes in doing last minute stuff, Ashley is home and that's great. Dad is basically breaking things in his house and needs me to go up and look at the broken things he has broke, which is always fun. It really is cool getting to spend time with him though; he has stopped swearing too much; he was swearing a lot after mum died and I think he had one big sweary week and got it all out, so its all over. I love my dad. I will miss him when I go to Edinburgh and am slightly worried he will befriend the squirrels in his garden and start buying them Brazil nuts.
Ashley had fun in London and thanks to Sue she had a great place to stay. I adore Sue for looking after her, also my mates Angela and David who gave her heaps of support. Ashley had been helping out with some filming with Dodgy Dave Courtney and decided to back out of the last day, just as well as Dave got raided by the police and got put in prison. The last thing I needed was my daughter being caught up in a gun raid, again! The last time she was involved in a gun raid she was 8 years old and it was me and her dad being dragged out in cuffs. She doesn't need to go through that again.
So it is good to have Ashley home; she is holed up in her room listening to some geeky Star Trek podcast. That's what she does.
I have to get my hair done, I have to get a radio show done, I have to get packed and I have to make sure everything is sorted for my opening show on Wednesday. The house basically looks like Paddy's Market, with heaps of clothes everywhere.
I love the opening week of The Fringe. I have about six opening parties to go to and probably won't make any of them. I have an acute ear infection AGA... and am convinced the big dull pain that sits on the side of my head is a big evil brain tumour waiting to burst and kill me! If I die like that you can all say, "She knew that was going to happen!" and then I will be right after all. (I like being right).
The show is all set to go and I am as happy as punch and I love getting to see all the comics I know in one small city. Then, after about a week, I get bored as hell and end up watching too much telly and being boring.
Looking forward to meeting some of you at the Fringe!
Friday the 7th of August 2009
Fringe Stuff and things like that
Monday I was at STV doing The Hour show which was live! Apparently I did very well and managed to catch up with the Chippendales who are performing at Gilded Balloon! I loved the live TV interview: good pre-press for my Fringe show.
On Tuesday, we moved through to Edinburgh. Ashley managed to bag the big double room with balcony and en suite bathroom. I don't understand how she gets the best room and I am the performer! Anyway we managed to put together an amazing flyer team; they are just a great enthusiastic bunch and they are working their asses off. If you see one of my flyerers please tell them I love them! Ashley decided to buy a tartan Hurley trolley; you know the kind - the wee tartan shopping trolley! She puts all the flyers in it and heads off to replenish their stock.
My first night went great. I didn't really have a show, I just put together a bunch of stories and hope for the best. It went go... people liked it!
It was also cool catching up with comics that I haven't seen in a while.
The second day I took my friend's wee boy to the park; he is such a delight to be around and really is well behaved. There were some annoying posh-looking lanky teenagers (one was wearing a dinner jacket and jeans, with side-combed emotional hair - he needed punched for that alone) on the roundabout and they were making it go extremely fast and scaring all the kids around them. It was such a hot day and the park was crowded, so I walked over and said to my wee charge: "Shall I throw them off?"
He nodded and smiled. Other wee kids watched and started to gather as they could smell adult trouble happening. A gaggle of chubby faced toddlers gathered around me, silently chanting me on with eager cheery faces; how could I let them down?
"Get off now!" I screamed and pulled the roundabout to a stop and the wannabe crew of skinny jeaned fuckwits who looked like bad extras from Skins all stared at me and clambered off and skulked off the playground. One big lanky boy with his jeans hanging off his ass waited till he was far enough away and gave me the finger and shouted: "Bitch!" - I stared at him and a big daddy who had two kids near him stood up and booted his skinny bony ass. We all cheered and clapped, even the kids joined in. The skinny assed kids ran away and you could tell they were all about to become Emos or Goths but didn't have the staying power to learn the shite music and show commitment to the dyed hair cause.
A few things bother me about the Fringe and the big thing is - people who give away FREE TICKETS to shows. It means that people coming up to Pleasance Dome and are about to buy tickets then get swayed into taking a free ticket. I disagree with the FREE ticket scenario. People don't value the show, they sit with other people who have paid and that's not nice and it creates a culture of people EXPECTING a free show. I don't mind the Free Fringe etc... but, in venues where the tickets do cost, it really does antagonise me. A woman came up to my daughter and asked if my show was free and Ashley said "No" and the woman just said she would wait to get a free ticket.
It's called papering a room. I really believe that if you can't play to 6 people then you should piss off. I played to small audiences and I earned my stripes. The thinking behind papering a room is they believe people will walk away and then tell people to go buy tickets. But maybe the folk will walk away and think: "Why buy tickets if you can get them for free?"
I take the free tickets and throw them away, as I believe it undermines everything me and other comics are doing. I know people disagree with me but I get pissed off with it, especially when they are still giving away free tickets into week 3. That's just wrong.
Other than that, I am having a great time. I have done two shows already and am getting prepared for my Just a Minute performance which always scares the bejebus out of me. Day three coming up, so do come and see me: it will costs you money but I am sure you will like it! (hopefully).
Thursday the 13th of August 2009
You know how late I am don't you?
When an audience member asks why I haven't written a blog in days, you know you are a bad blogger.
Things are going great, husband is back in Glasgow and life in Edinburgh ticks on and on. Audience numbers are up on last year and as I am in a 175 seater THAT'S a lot of seats to fill!
Everyone had a great first weekend, numbers were great and now we are onto the dip in the midweek section and you can see some comedians walking about looking glum. But it is just the midweek slump, especially if you are in a BIG room that gets filled up at weekends, it can leave you feeling odd. Chins up, though!
I still haven't had a review printed yet, though I have had reviewers in.
Watched some comedians who got slated by a reviewer actually being dragged away from said reviewer in Pleasance Courtyard; now that was a frisson of gossip for you. Nothing happened, they just looked angry and shouty, but reviewer just sat there laughing his head off at them.
I had a woman in the Fringe queue ask me if I swore in my act as she doesn't like women swearing. I asked her if she asked the male comics that question and she said: "I have never spoken to a comedian before." Fair enough, so I asked her had she seen any women comics at the Fringe. "Yes, I have seen a few," she answered.
"Did they swear?"
She went quiet for a moment and reluctantly replied, "Yes, but they were very English and middle class. It wasn't really swearing, they were making a point"
The people around her just gawped at her and I burst out laughing. Because basically what she is saying is that my working class Scottish accent makes swearing vulgar!
"Well, if I swear onstage, I will make sure I do my best Queen Elizabeth accent and pretend to have once ridden a pony if that helps," I replied.
The folk around her just kept laughing and she kept trying to justify her point of view that swearing is OK for a woman as long as it's done tastefully and in a nice Home Counties accent.
Which brings me onto my next point. Every time I see a female comic's review, I notice that the reviewer spends precious sentences explaining how and in what manner the female comic swore. I have never seen this in male comic reviews and have realised that all these so-called liberal journalists and folk who claim to be in the 21st century have a 1950s attitude towards women using the same language as men onstage!
Life is strange at times. Ashley and I are having a good time together; we watched season two of Everwood on her laptop last night; it really is corny but made us giggle.
Saturday the 15th of August 2009
Yet another late blog
I have been very sleepy lately. This always happens when I am at a festival, I get knackered, and I eat too much or too little and then hunker down in the duvet and snore away my life. Only getting up to perform or go to press things and then slotting my life into units where I can squeeze some more sleep in! I am possibly turning into a hedgehog.
Ashley is SO OVER the fringe and spends her nights watching TV on her laptop and making tea for me. She has given up on hanging out with disenchanted malfunctioning comics, that was so exciting when she was 17 years old at 23 she thinks me and my fellow performers are fully functioning freaks. Though I am not one of those!
The palpable power of the reviewers makes me feel vomity. I am sick of reading that some of my fav comics are getting slated for either making loads of people laugh (but not the reviewer) or having a hot room that the reviewer feels the need to blame the comic for!
I still haven't yet had a review printed though I did have some TV/radio people in and sealed a few deals and week two isn't even over, so that's good news and the reviewers can't stop that from happening nor can they MAKE that happen, that's all down to my and my show. I love this year's show more than I have in ages; it's not about my childhood, my past, my family or anything sad, it's all about strange things and funny incidents that occurred.
I haven't seen any shows yet either, as my units of sleep would be disturbed if I started to do that stuff!
Had a great chat with Anthony who runs the Pleasance and he is such a good dude to hang out with, he did nothing but praise me up and make me feel welcome and lovely, what a nice bloke! He enjoys the fact that he and I always make cash at the Fringe and we share that common bond!
The other thing I love about my Edinburgh run is the sheer amount of regulars who come to see me year after year: that actually makes me cry a wee bit when I see folk make a huge effort to get to Edinburgh come see me and then go home! Many just come to see me! That is touching!
I am also having great fun with Ashley as I missed her terribly when she was in London and it's good hanging out with her. I have had a few late nights up at the Gilded balloon loft bar and met loads of kind folk, nice people who aren't creepy or too sycophantic. My mate Monica is coming up next weekend and I can't wait to spend time with her; she is just a big fucking bag of love and fun for me. When we are in London she is always too busy as she owns her own PR Company and looks after famous chefs like Heston Blumenthal and other giants of cooking, so we never get a minute to ourselves; now we can PARTY in Edinburgh.
We can eat burgers and giggle; that's what we do... yes I know it sounds exciting doesn't it? Well to us IT IS!
Had a laugh the other day when I jumped in a taxi to get to Nicholas Parsons' show where I was a guest; the cab managed to mount the pavement and almost kill a man. That man was Steve Bennett from The Chortle website; he is a big reviewer and it made me laugh. When Steve jumped out of the way of the cab, I hung out the window and shouted: "Next time, Bennett!" I am sure he got a fright and that made me laugh yet again!
I am still well into Spotify though now that it is very popular the irritating adverts on it are getting more frequent and longer than ever, so I have developed new finger skills to automatically mute the sound when the incessant Paulo Nautini music advert comes on and especially when that awful Amy McDonald advert appears. Am so glad my mute button is handy and I switch to iTunes library when the fucking long adverts kick in... that was a tip for people like me who hate adverts! Just put your iTunes library on a new tab and switch!
So, things are going well. My big giant 175 seater venue with aircon and disabled access is selling well and that is good. The show is going great guns and do come and see me. Pleasance Dome 7pm (it's just beside the big upside down cow). Come say hi.
By the way, if you feel like voting for your favourite comic go to this link register and do so! http://www.misterpoll.com/polls/447325
Wednesday the 19th of August 2009
Tinsletown in the Rain
Edinburgh loves its rain and it likes to mix it with wind. The weather has been a bit iffy but we are storming through it. I am past half way through the Fringe and I have only had one review. It was a five star review but one nonetheless.
PR companies are good at getting reviews in for comics; they meet the reviewer for a drink, chat with them afterwards, explain parts of the show that deserve five stars in case the reviewer didn't get it and then let the reviewer go as soon as they have secured a date for it going to press, preferably early on as it helps numbers.
Well, I don't have PR and am relying on the reviewers coming to my show, not drinking my cash but enjoying what I do and then heading off without so much as a by your leave from me, but hopefully happy with my work!
My audiences have been just wonderful and the numbers have been great. Some people are still doming 2 for 1s and/or cancelling their show on the night due to low numbers. The Fringe is screaming 'best ticket sales ever' but that includes all the free tickets printed and there are more shows across the board this year, so it does appear to be more ticket sales but there are just more shows!
I am lucky that, despite practically no reviews and no PR, I have a core audience that come to see me. I love chatting outside on the wee wall after my gig. Come down for a natter!
I did an episode of Just a Minute and it really is funny and scary at the same time. Sue Perkins is a genius at the game as well as Paul Merton; I was just constantly repeating myself over and over again - as if repeating was the real object of the game.
Ashley and I are having good fun. I love having quality time and a good old natter with her. Her love of all things geeky astounds me; she is obsessed with William Shatner, podcasts about sci-fi and listens to some ancient station podcast about Sherlock Holmes which is constantly interrupted with adverts for tonic wine! It's proper old and makes me giggle when I hear Basil Rathbone's plummy tones.
The late night gigs have been fun as well. Girls with Guns at the Gilded Balloon are just awesome and, if you have time in the afternoon, go see King of Everything at GRV - just some recommends from me!
Edinburgh is cold but my best mate Monica is coming up from London and spending the weekend with me! Hurrah!
Am missing husband and Ashley is off to Amsterdam this week, so all things are go. Come see the show. If nothing else just to be astounded at my interpretation of a church name in Maryhill, Glasgow. It even makes me snort out of my nose.
Pleasance Dome 7pm every night till 31st August.
Friday the 21st of August 2009
What A week!
Friday is awesome; I got another FIVE STAR review today and that's my third they all came from these sources - Scotsgay-one4review- The Mirror- and got named as number four in the top ten comedy blogs in Britain! I am chuffed to bits.
During the week, I recorded Just a Minute and Comic Fringes for BBC Radio 4, the Comic Fringes was a short story I had written and read out to a live audience. The short story is broadcast on BBC Radio 4 at 3.30pm on 25th August 2009. Hope you like it!
Life at the Fringe is ticking along wonderfully; my Twitter followers alert me to any press they notice and they send other Twitterers updates about me. Who needs PR? I love Twitter!
The show has been going great guns. I did a whole show without swearing which was nice, as everyone likes to point out how much I swear (but never mention the boys, because this is still 1953) So I proved I can be funny without being 'cursy'. I was going to dress in a floral frock and bake, but I guess that's been done to death.
I love the Fringe - though the stinking rainy weather in Edinburgh makes me want to blow up the Castle and kill all the happy jugglers. The folk who stand still dressed as statues fill me with hatred and bile - my brother used to down methadone and he could stand staring at a dead fly for eight hours after his dosage. We didn't call it art, we called it a 'habit'.
But today the sun is shining and we all know tomorrow is set for a tsunami of epic proportions as the puddles overwhelm the punters in the street. Why can't we have the Edinburgh Fringe in Barcelona? That would be awesome. Why do we have it in a city where we need a canoe to get to the venue?
In my show, I talk about being on a train when a man gets killed and, funnily enough, my mate Monica is late getting into Edinburgh as a man died on the line during her journey today. She is like that: she copycats everything I do. (OK, that was a rather heartless remark about a death; I am sorry but I have a headache today and feel somewhat nasty, forgive me).
Ashley is still in Amsterdam and husband is still at home in Glasgow. He is happy without the constant madness of the Fringe. I know how he feels when I hear loud comics projecting their voices saying: "My sitcom in LA is awesome, the writers just can't believe my life when I explain stuff, seriously; I am so off-the-chart, edgy; anyway one night I was with these models and they were so into me... blah blah..."
It can make your cranium vomit blood... The best fun to be had is getting a reviewer to tell you what she has been to see, then hear the gossip about whose show is 30 minutes long and who is repeating old shows and who is boasting about sell-outs when ten people are in the room. It's evil but funny and I am sure I will go to hell for giggling.
Life is mental in Edinburgh. I still haven't drunk a drop of booze, as I am not really a drinker and keep planning a late lie-in and getting scuppered as people keep asking me to do things early in the morning.
This week I am going to take it easy. Life is good!
Sunday the 23rd of August 2009
The Night it all went wrong
Just told my pal Monica: "I need to write a blog, so you must ignore me."
"Easy done," she sniggered. She will suffer for that remark when I start vomiting again and she has to hold a pot for me to puke in. That's what friends are for.
My illness started on Friday night. I did my show, it was great fun, Monica clapped loudly, Dean Friedman (my lovely friend and musical hero) laughed loudly and we headed out of the venue. Monica and I walked up to the Gilded Balloon loft, I had some tea, Monica had a gin and immediately I got horrendous cramps in my lower abdomen.
"OK, maybe I need a poo," I said to Monica and headed for the toilet. The cramps continued. I broke out in a hot sweat and I decided it was time to go home. Poor Monica was on holiday and I just cut the night short by organising diarrhoea and stomach cramps.
When we got back to the flat at around 9pm as we were total rock and roll. I stripped half naked and headed for the loo. I sat there for ages expulsing everything from both ends whilst Monica mopped my brow.
I felt so guilty that this was her holiday and I was ruining her day with my personal colon problems.
I must have eaten something crap and my stomach rebelled. I really didn't need that on a Saturday morning. I hardly slept a wink due to cramping and shitting my skeleton out, but I had to go do the Breast Cancer Pink Comedy Show.
When I walked out on stage, I noticed that there were two wee kids sitting there. Jenny Éclair had been onstage and done some pretty adult material, swearing and rather sexual content. I can't swear in front of kids - fair play to Jenny, she is a top compere and the other mostly female comics weren't prepared to face toddlers, yet they still put on a sterling show and made the gig shine like a perfect beacon. Bu,t believe it or not, I just can't be 'nasty' in front of small kids.
So I held in my vomiting and got the wee girl up on a chair and the whole audience got to hear about her albeit very short life; she was 3 and 3/4 and wanted to be a vet when she grew up.
I love entertaining kids and adults at the same time. I did six comedy for kids show in NZ and it was a huge success. So the audience had a lovely time with me playing up to the kids. I even got a nice email from the organisers thanking me for my patience with the babies; that made me very proud of myself.
I am a bit sick of being labelled a 'vulgar' 'sweary' comic when in fact, when it comes to it, I can do a whole hour without any expletives at all and small kids don't throw me off the mark.
So, after that, I went back to some expert shitting and some sleep before my own show at 7pm, which was just awesome fun. I managed to stay out late and not vomit or deface any Edinburgh toilets with my nasty colon.
Though I did manage to embarrass myself when I chatted to a man who I thought was an old pal of mine called Ashley, who wasn't the bloke Ashley at all - but Stephen Merchant! I am such a knob. I don't know who he is as I have never seen Extras or anything he is in and I really don't watch much telly. He was gracious and we giggled and I walked away still semi convinced he was my mate Ashley from London! Maybe all that vomiting had expelled some of my brains. Life is OK, I feel better, I got rave reviews, I got great houses and I am not longer squeezing yellow bile out of my throat.
The good news is I feel better and, due to the illness, may have lost some weight. There is always a positive side to dysentery.
Thursday the 27th of August 2009
Get a Grip Godley!
After the fiasco of having food poisoning and still managing to do my shows, am excited it's all nearly over... not my life, the Fringe!
We are on the home run now people! Had some lovely people come to see my show, some Glasgow Celtic players (who I don't know), Dean Freidman, Jimmy Carr and Roland Gift, his wife Louise and the actress Diane Quick, all lovely!
Though Jimmy Carr's distinctive laugh had me giggling throughout my own show; it really is infectious! The crew from BBC Scotland's comedy department came in as well and we all went off for drinks. They are awesome now that they are under the helm of a new head of comedy and it seems they like me... how unusual! Took an English woman to introduce them to me! Maybe one day I will make it onto the Fred MacAuley show (he did keep promising, but it never materialised). Never mind, I was on BBC Radio 4 this week with my Comic Fringes short story and I did a Just a Minute on BBC Radio 4 as well!
I spoke to the previous producer of Fred's show and he said: "Maybe they couldn't have you on because you swear." That made me giggle as I must be the ONLY comic to swear onstage in the world! I am truly unique indeed, but am glad BBC Radio 4 don't worry about such things; they must be really cutting edge, good old Radio 4, especially as I have NEVER sworn on radio or telly in my life.
Have had such a good week numbers wise as well. I never succumb to giving away free tickets or give up 2 for 1's either; people come to see me because I am a decent comic and NOT a bargain cheap away day ticket! I feel that it can demean the Festival when big acts are giving away tickets this late in the run; it creates a cheapening of the entire spirit of the Festival in my own opinion.
I would rather play to 60 full paying punters during the week than half full of uncommitted punters who don't really invest in your show mentally; full payers also tend to value the show more as well.
The 2 for 1s and free tickets also discourage full payers coming in as they know some people in there got in for free and that annoys them. I know this coz I asked my audiences how they would feel knowing they booked in advance for a show at full price and then found out had they waited they could have got the tickets 2 for 1 and they agreed with me that it was insulting to them! I think am right which what I always think when I am having conversations with myself!
Have some great radio and TV work in the future as well, which made me happy: the Fringe isn't about what happens in Edinburgh but what happens AFTER it all and therefore this one has been a huge success. I got more FIVE star reviews this year than ever! Though I might be wrong, as 2004 garnered a huge swathe for Good Godley as well, am too tired to go check my website! That's the other great thing about talking to yourself; you are under NO conditions to correct yourself!
Well technically I am talking to you lovely people but because I am quite tired it feels like am talking to myself and you inadvertently get to listen in! But I like that as well.
It was my husband's birthday during the week and we never got to share it. I did call him up and remind him how I recalled every detail of his 17th birthday back in 1979 and how we shared that. I recall that I made him spaghetti Bolognese and we ate it on our knees in my grandfather's back bedroom. Then we went straight to work in his dad's pub. Was that really 30 years ago? Did we ever think that 30 years later I would be performing comedy and he would be celebrating his birthday alone as I stood onstage making people laugh? I don't think we could have ever foreseen that!
Life is good; I have stopped being sick and made new friends!
Sunday the 30th of August 2009
What's not to love?
The gigs are all going well, we are near the end of the run, I got three Five Star reviews, two Three Stars and one Two star - now that's a show! I have to admit that this show is my favourite one in ages and the most successful as far as future work off the back of it.
After my publicity stunt at the McTaggart Lecture, I got heaps of telly people come see me. I stood outside the lecture hall and said: "I might have the idea that saves your career!" Folk gawped at me, then I whispered: "There are secret cameras watching to see who takes the flyer," and even Murdoch took my one off me. Everyone snatched them and took them into the McTaggart Lecture for me. Only one bloke knew I was lying. He sniggered: "There are no cameras, are there?" I said, "No," and he laughed out loud and took a bunch of flyers off me and took them into the hall. I liked that man; he is lovely and waited for me after my show came out for a chat! I didn't know who he was; now I do. Edinburgh is good for that kind of thing.
This Fringe has been harsh as well, though.
The venue owners always say 'Record Breaking Sales', but they fail to tell you that 2-for-1s and free tickets are included in that count up. Also, there are more shows on, so the audiences were spread thinner across the board.
The first two weeks were great and these last two weeks have been pretty quiet for the majority of acts. People who have their PR/agent etc with them this year will be scratching for a profit. It's all swings and roundabouts. Without your manager/agent/PR, you miss out on good press opportunities and will be missing the chances of some top TV people coming to your show. But it really shouldn't be like that. Why do comics need a manager to push the TV people their way? Isn't it the TV scouts' job to go find them? Do they need talked into it?
The Edinburgh Fringe has grown a huge industry of folk to 'help' your show become a success; none of them actually stand onstage and do the job but, by fuck, do they get their share of the profits!
The big hyped shows do sell well, but most of the cash (if not all of it) barely touches the hands of the performer - bu,t then, Edinburgh Fringe isn't about what happens at The Fringe but what happens AFTER it... and that's where the agents/PR/managers come into their own. I have always been naive. I always believed my shows would stand up for themselves and I wouldn't have to line the pockets of swathes of folk to promote/publicise and manage me. Surely it will always work out OK in the end and the talent is the thing that gets you work?... But then I always believed in fairies as well!
In the Sunday Mail, there is an article about Scottish actress Siobhan Redmond. She explains about how she read my book Handstands in The Dark to help her prepare for the role as a gangster's wife in her latest play The House of Barnarda Alba. You can read it here http://tinyurl.com/nm6xox
I also wrote the foreword for the Scottish National Theatre's programme and the play opens at Citizens Theatre on September 15th in Glasgow.
The good news is all is well in Godley's World, I will leave here with a happy heart and excitement and anticipation in my veins... I love The FRINGE and nothing can change that!