Janey's Blogs - December 2010
Saturday the 4th of December 2010
A weird thing happened at the gig
I stood onstage at the Glasgow comedy club, the first of the Christmas comedy nights for me and there were 98% of men in the room. This is fine for me; before comedy I owned a bar in the roughest part of Glasgow, so heaps of men don't bother me. Men pointing guns in my face was scary, men holding a knife at my throat was frightening but just men waiting for comedy wasn't bothersome at all.
As soon as I stepped onstage I noticed that all the men were varying ages and looked like a 'works party'. Turns out they all worked for British Rail. One young guy screamed at the top of his lungs before I could speak.
"I would fuck you, doll!" he shouted and then sat and cheered in his seat. The older workmen slapped him on the back and some of them banged the table with their fists in delight. He then added: "I would rape you!"
The audience who weren't with the railway men stared at me agog!
"You would fuck me? Rape me?" I spoke in a soft voice. "I sat with my dad today, who is recovering from a stroke. He held my hand and told me he doesn't mind me leaving him to go to work as he loves that I make people laugh and that I am a comedian. He doesn't know that, when I come to work, men shout 'I would fuck you'. My daughter gave me a hug leaving the house and said 'Mum, have a good night'. She doesn't know that when I walk onstage someone's badly brought-up son is going to sexually harass me. When a young girl starts work in the railways, she worries that some dirty horrible member of the public, some drunken man will grab at her and shout filthy words at her as she does her job. She doesn't know that her workmate is the man who sexually harasses me in my job... does she?"
The whole room went quiet.
"Who is the boss who booked the night?" I asked politely. They all pointed to an older man sitting at the corner. "So, you are the leader of these guys? You have a wife? A daughter? Imagine she went to work and faced him, the guy you have nurtured at work, and his first words were sexual?"
At this point the whole room was staring at the railway mob, which was now incredibly uncomfortable. The guy shut up and then, after a few minutes, they started shouting and getting unruly again. I managed to keep their heckles at bay by being smart mouthed and funny but, underneath, I kept thinking In what other job is it OK to assume you can sexually harass me? The crowd outside the railway party were responding to everything I said and laughed at them; the acts did a sterling job of maintaining the attention as these dobbers annoyed everyone.
It just made me think Why is it, in 2010, when a woman walks onstage SOME men think its OK to shout filthy sexual references at her? I know that as a female comic I say sexual stuff to an audience and I know the heckler was shouting stuff he would never do, but not once did they shout filthy stuff at the men. Obviously they wouldn't shout, "I would rape you!" to a male comic but they didn't make any sexual references to them like, "Mate, women wouldn't fuck you!" as the male comic spoke about sex. They just interrupted the male comics... or tried to finish their punch lines.
Maybe I am getting sensitive in my old age? Maybe I just don't expect blokes to still be the way they were in the late 1970s; either way it ended up a cracking night and, after the show, the shouty men tried to get me to them hug them and chat.
"No, don't touch me. I am going out to see if my husband is ready to pick me up. He will be interested to hear about the baldy man who wants to 'rape' his wife. Now fuck off," I said calmly as I walked out of the room.
The nice thing is other men and the few women who were near the back said: "You were awesome and so funny when you brought that sexist bastard down, good on you Janey".... See, not all people are cunts!
Tuesday the 14th of December 2010
Things that happen to me
I walked into the Co-op shop in Shawlands on Sunday; it was deathly quiet. I was picking up some smoked salmon for my niece and strolled around at my leisure - there was nobody about except for two old women who stood beside me bemoaning the fact they couldn't get tomatoes during the snow snap. The silence was broken by a staff member screaming: "Hit the panic button, Tam! There's a man with a knife stealing!"
The old women looked startled. I languidly pulled out my iPhone for, if there was going to be a Co-Op stabbing, I wanted it on YouTube.
"Where's the panic button?" screamed the panicked Co-Op team member.
"Under the till, you fucking knob!" shouted the other panicked Co-Op team member. "He stole a selection box of Terry's Chocolate Orange and ran out with a knife!"
The underwhelming robbery was over in seconds, I got no stabbing on my Iphone and nothing to upload to YouTube. The staff all stood outside and squinted against the cold sharp sunlight beating down on the South of Glasgow as they watched a man run off with a box of Chocolates and a knife. I wanted to ask did he steal the knife as well, but they all looked too panicked to deal with such questions.
I took the smoked salmon and headed to Ann Mag's house to spend some time with her kids whom I adore. Just then a pensioner slipped beside me, grabbed my arms and pulled me down to the wet frozen ground. She was still upright, I was on my arse, with smoked salmon lying out on the pavement.
"Am sorry, hen, you OK?" the wee woman muttered as she tentatively walked off leaving me to slide about getting up onto my feet.
So now I am wet, sore and carrying smoked salmon towards Ann Mag's close and a dog ran into my legs and knocked me on my arse again. The dog owner didn't even apologise and yet again the pack of smoked salmon skittered on the pavement. Eventually, I got into Ann Mag's house and her youngest daughter Julia, aged 4, said: "Your bum is wet and the salmon packet is dirty. Did you find that in a bin?"... How we laughed.
The downside of the snowy streets is that my wee dad can't get out of his house as he lives on a big sloping street. You would think, when he was 50 and bought that house, he might have thought, "When I am nearly eighty and it snows, this is going to be hard for me," but he didn't think like that; he bought an inconvenient house on an inconvenient street which turns into the local ski slope in the winter time. Then he moans he cant get out!
I am lucky this winter and am working all month in Glasgow. I will be at either Highlights Glasgow or Jongleurs Tiger Tiger in Glassford Street, Glasgow this December at weekends.
Monday the 20th of December 2010
Early Morning Shenanigans
Recently, I have had to get up at 7am on a cold winter morning. I know this is nothing new or wildly awesome but to me it's insane. I am a comedian. I sleep till midday, then stagger about the house with slippers on the wrong feet and start to wake up around 2pm.
The last time I had to get up early on a regular basis was when Ashley was about 11 years old. Then I got her up for school and watched her from my window as she skipped off to the underground and went to school herself. Even then I was only awake for 30 minutes maximum.
Before that, I was awake really early when she was a tiny baby and we lived in the East End above the pub and you see a different world at 5am. I used to sit beside the window in Springtime feeding her watching The Calton wake up. There were the early risers off to work from the flats across the road, that woman with the purple dyed hair whom I didn't know off in a cab in a fur coat with sexy shoes, the wee widow in the brown coat with her slow ancient Alsatian both hobbling on cracked hips on the grass and the junkie who hadn't slept and looked like he was on his knees in pain sitting on the red fence across from the bar watching for… I don't know really. His jittery jumpy agitated behaviour made me feel stressed. Back then if the sun was up and Ashley was happy to get dressed after a feed, I would get her in the stroller and walk her into town at 6am!
Glasgow city centre was empty at that time, save for a few commuters and homeless wanderers. It gave me time to be with her for as soon as 11am hit I would be behind the bar and Ashley would be with her dad and I wouldn't see her till teatime and then it would be my turn to be parent and his turn to be barman. So I enjoyed early mornings in those hazy crazy days of the mid 80s!
Now, I practically scream if I have to be up before 9am: it's like some type of torture!
Anyways, Christmas is almost here and I am not really that fussed. Ashley is going to stay with mates and husband and I are planning a steak dinner, some cheap wine and a BAFTA screener DVD session on the box. My dad hasn't been great and may end up in hospital over the season, so we have to be prepared for that.
I love my dad, he is funny and witty. I told him me and Ashley were going to Australia and husband is staying behind to look after him (not that he needs much to be honest).
"Dad, if you die when am away in Oz, I won't be coming back for a funeral as it will be really hard to get a quick flight and to be honest I don't want to come back to look at a dead body. Are you cool with that?" I asked him.
Dad and I talk a lot about how we will both deal with his death; we have that kind of relationship.
"Oh don't come back, but don't let your husband organise the funeral. As much as I love him he will probably organise a shit singer with an accordion or a balloon animal guy or something odd like letting Glasgow pigeons flap into the air as my coffin gets burned," he laughed.
"No, he is not that imaginative. He will have a dull funeral with no booze and cheap sausage rolls," I replied.
"That's what I want. No booze and your husband dishing out cheap meat," he giggled.
Although I joke about it, I really don't know how I will feel when he goes. I am lucky to have a great daddy and I adore him as much as he loves me.
I am off, am crying for no good bloody reason now.
Saturday the 25th of December 2010
It's the most awkward time of the year
This year has been odd for me. I haven't put up a tree, I didn't bother with presents and Ashley is away at her mate's for Christmas. That's what's happening in my life. Husband and I had some small dealings with dad who was in and out of hospital with his impending hernia op (which still hasn't happened) so we weren't really Christmassy!
Oh and something I found out - old people in Glasgow are all incredibly racist - my dad is convinced that the reason he didn't get his emergency operation wasn't because the hospital was busy, but because Polish and Romanian people are hogging all the NHS beds. He moaned and shouted about foreigners taking over our country and got all racist and angry. It didn't help that his surgeon was Polish and tried to calmly explain why they couldn't operate this week. Dad was purple with vile angry racist shit being kept inside his mouth for, if nothing else, he isn't mental. That's the man who will actually cut him open at some point. My dad is no fool.
We bought some nice food and I did my last Christmas gig on 23rd December and we got prepared to stay in over the seasonal holiday.
I had some odd experiences at the comedy Christmas shows. I don't know if you know but we have a telephone exchange box outside our front door that belongs to Virgin Media. The problem is the box buzzes really loudly if you don't believe me here is the link on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ppB4SoNVGDY&feature=related
Anyway, I contacted Virgin by email, twitter and phone. I also got the Glasgow council noise pollution people to come out and check the constant buzzing out. The guy who attended was appalled at the constant horrible noise and has made a formal complaint. Ashley and I have both had terrible headaches and my migraine came back after 2006; it seems the low level constant buzzing is making us ill.
So I was onstage the other night and 25 guys were sat on the side and as soon as I walked onstage they all started doing a loud buzzing noise. The audience were startled and I have never been heckled by a big bee before. Anyway, turns out they all work for Virgin Media and for some reason they ALL know I complained about the buzzing box and decided it was funny to scream about it at a comedy club.
"Guys, you work for a major corporation, it's not a small privately owned local company that I pissed off and as soon as Sky + takes over Glasgow you lot are out of a fucking job. I don't understand why you are annoyed that I complained about your multi-million pound company that pays you shit wages."
It's like some burger scraper getting annoyed I pissed off McDonalds.
The guys started heckling again and doing buzzing noises and howling with laughter; the audience all stared at me scared. I shut them up and got on with the show. Later on, as I was walking past the Virgin Media table, one of the big men offered to shake my hand, which I was happy to do.
"Fuck you, bitch!" he screamed and made a buzzing noise and all his mates started laughing and slapping each other on the back pointing and laughing at me.
At this point, all I could say was, "You are a grown adult man, what is wrong with you?"
Just as I went to walk away the man grabbed me and, at that point, the bouncers threw him out. They were so ready to spring him, I couldn't stop laughing and as he was taken away the rest of the audience made a buzzing noise!
What I don't get about that whole situation was this. Why would employees of a huge fuck-off corporation take issue with a woman who had a valid complaint? To round this story off in a Christmas fashion, I have paid someone to batter the box with a sledgehammer and take out the whole computer system within. It will, Iam afraid, knock out 3,000 phone lines in the West End of Glasgow, which I am not one of - I am with BT - Anyway, on Christmas Day, when 3,000 people scream at Virgin Media and have to get emergency cover, then I think you will find that I will be hanging out of my window making a buzzing noise and pointing and laughing. Fuck you Richard Branson! (This is obviously a joke).
Meanwhile, in our flat, the storage heater in the living room has broken. I know it's broke because we took it apart and saw how fucked up it was. Like the thing not working wasn't enough, I had to dismantle the whole heater, drag out bricks and finger broken elements and finally declared, "That heater is fucked!"
We are now heating the whole room with one small floor blow heater; the bedroom is frozen, also, as Glasgow is actually 7 degrees below freezing. So we now are basically shoving hot water bottles up our asses and are piling blankets on the bed. The covers are so heavy that you can't turn in bed, it's like behind crushed under concrete. The ice and snow is so thick on the ground outside that we all now walk like deformed pensioners. I am worried dad will go out there and fall on his head, so he has been well warned. We are waiting for the snow to go and we are hoping to get a new heater soon.
Other than that, Ashley and I have been planning our Adelaide trip and I am organising my one woman show at Glasgow Comedy Festival in April.
So I hope it's been a good Christmas for you all out there, hope all is good and safe in your world and, if you get bored, you can always listen to our weekly podcast and let us know what you think about it.