Janey's Blogs - May 2011
Sunday the 8th of May 2011
Life, Cats and Great Scots
Being away from home and arriving expecting adoration does put a little strain on a relationship. When my daughter Ashley and I got back from Adelaide in March, I was shocked to see that husband had not only grown his hair sideways out and bushy up top with a huge greying beard, but he had another daughter in place. It was like whilst we were away he got a replacement.
Had he stolen a girl? No - it was, of course, Ashley's close pal Bobbi. She is a lovely girl, same age as Ashley, who had moved in as she was in between homes and jobs and possibly blokes. Husband and I have known her since she was a teenager and Ashley had of course agreed to have Bobbi stay; it was just slightly unsettling to see husband looking like a tufty bushy father of another girl fussing and making dinner for her. Husband possibly had plans for a whole month of freedom from Ashley and I, where he could walk about in his pants or even naked, pee the floors round the pan and clean it later, live on chocolate biscuits and watch racy online movies as he drank bottles of cold beer and threw them in a pile on the floor for a full six weeks. It's a middle aged man's dream: he could eat cheap cuts from Lidl and not face our gloomy stares over unbeknown Eastern European cans of strange soup, he could watch back-to-back episodes of Family Guy and CSI without me asking him to turn it off, he was basically planning to emulate an Oliver Reed type holiday but Bobbi arrived and pyjama bottoms and fresh milk were now his agenda.
Having another girl in the house is good fun, except I am starting to boss her about like I do my own daughter and am questioning her about where she is going, what she wants from life and can she please stop eating crisps in bed... I think she will move on soon, bless her wee soul.
My other daughter-type relationship is with my god daughter and niece Ann Margaret. She has three kids: Shaun, Abi and Julia. She also has a mouse, a rabbit and a very evil sneering house cat called Squeak.
Squeak has managed to resist all attempts to 'be a pet'. It's practically OCD and has anger issues concerning everyone in the world. I have never known a cat that can slink and sneer at me at the same time. It visibly hates me; maybe I shouldn't have taken its two front paws and shown it how to scrape its litter tray as it used to shit in the box and then claw all the woodchip wallpaper off the wall beside the litter tray ignoring the shit and just staring intently straight ahead like a victim of some deep dark experiment from a Russian laboratory. Now, when it sees me, it gets flashbacks and runs sideways like a stilted hobbled demented gymnast and lets out a deep horrid meeeooow - it doesn't sound nice at all.
Even Julia, who is only four years old, knows the cat is hates me: "Squeak called you a bad name!"
Julia can interpret all the cats meaows and is scarily accurate: "Squeak is evil and wants the mouse to die and land in her mouth," Julia added.
She was right. Squeak was standing by the low cage patiently waiting for a cage malfunction to occur or her maybe the mind messages she was emitting to Julia would come to effect and the kid would open the cage.
The good news is the mouse has a flinty look in its eyes and I believe the cat may be in for a fight; meanwhile I am hoping Julia's next pet doesn't have a personality disorder.
So back to this past week.
Yes, despite all evidence pointing to the contrary, I was recently nominated Great Scot at the Great Scot awards at the prestigious Boisedale Club in London and had to attend wearing blue or tartan then, as the night progressed, I had to spend heaps of time stopping Roland Rivron from shouting at Annie Lennox whilst he was blabberingly drunk and watch Lorraine Kelly be a better Scot than me and win the award. The same night Willie Carson the jockey and Sir Jackie Stewart the racing driver shared a ride in a lift with me and comedy writer Danny Wallace. It was the first time I had been taller than two other men since I visited a panto. Anyway, Mr Carson mistook me for Danny Wallace's wife - that was after everyone assumed I was Roland Rivron's wife since I was containing his drunken madness.
That same week I had been called a polymath by some amazing Rangers fans, then BBC called and asked me to be a commentator on Scottish football and the Scotsman newspaper asked my political opinion... who knew anyone was interested in anything I had to say? In my house, I am the person nobody actually cares to answer; in my family I am the least opinionated person; in the alpha female group I move amongst I am not called on anything for advice as it is generally known that I will make a joke before I will take anything serious.
The other good news is I gained heaps of new followers from Rangers football club websites. It would appear that I am so blue to the bone and popular with them and then Celtic football club followers came on board; it was nice to see sectarianism put aside and people coming together to share a chat and a joke!
The Royal wedding made me slightly uneasy. We paid for a big party and not one brown face was in that royal line up! The whole gamut of white Anglo Saxon Germanic history was there in full display! How can a modern family today not have some colour in it? I do... I have a half-Asian nephew on my husband's side and am sure on my mother's side there is a half man half goat uncle we try not to mention. I am hoping Ashley will bring some diversity into the gene pool when she starts reproducing: a big brown baby with my curly afro hair would be awesome.
The week was topped off by the scary news that Jack Bauer from US TV actually killed Osama Bin Laden and we saw squillions of Americans foam at the mullet and scream "USA" at the White House in case Obama forgot where he was. There is something distasteful about watching folk celebrate the death of an enemy. Anyway as I speak Osama is working his way through 70 virgins, which must be hard work; all that screaming and bleeding can't be fun.
Two things happened this week, the first being my daughter Ashley broke some bones in her feet dancing to Tinnie Tempa which isn't technically a real name but he does good music. I myself have thrown a few shapes to Tinnie. She is feeling better and has vowed never to dance near a SLIPPY vomit covered floor in our prestigious dance halls here in Glasgow.
The second thing is the SNP swept the board at the election and, despite what misprint the newspaper stated, I like the SNP. Good on them!
Tuesday the 17th of May 2011
Thoughts of me
Last week I was laughing as my daughter Ashley paused a TV show we were watching to check IMDB (internet movie data base) to find out what previous movie the actor had been in. Ashley does this a lot; personally I don't care. She cares and must check and chat about these entire movie related facts and trivia. It's her thing.
My mammy used to do that back in the 1970s - back then we couldn't stop a programme or pause anything and we had to have huge interruptions whilst my mum nattered on about "what was she in before she was in Crossroads? What was that guy called who was in Poldark who was married to that woman from The Onedin Line?"
If my mammy had lived long enough to see 150 channels on her TV and had seen how you could pause a TV show and check the internet IMDB at the same time, it would have blown her mind. Of all the things I am sad my mammy missed, this is one of the biggest! Besides meeting Ashley that is, My mum would have LOVED her. Both of them love US TV shows, Liza Minnelli, Hawaii Five-O and both of them had huge crushes on James Garner and William Shatner (how odd?).
My mum also loved Star Trek and loved Captain Kirk (Ashley's favourite character); mammy hated Spock and was convinced he was a Catholic, though explaining to her he was a Vulcan meant nothing - anyone she didn't like was relegated to Catholic (she wasn't really into sectarianism, she just used Catholic as blanket of hatred and she was a bit mental). This was a woman who thought King Billy was cute and had many images of him - he was like a latter day Beiber - everyone in my direct family had photos and plastic images of him. Mum was not even a Protestant, she just wasn't a Catholic and that means something to some people of Shettleston. She never attended church and often sneered at nuns: it was just how she was brought up.
Funnily enough, when she ran out of valium, her first port of call was a wee Catholic woman called Kitty who lived up the back road. Her hatred of Catholics didn't extend to drug dealings... obviously. Ashley isn't into King Billy or Catholics so they do have their differences I suppose.
Yet mammy loved the TV and Ashley loves the TV, they both love musicals and both adore old movies. And I am sure if my mammy had met Ashley they would get on so much. Both of them are funny, smart, mentally nuts and sharp witted all rolled into one and Ashley does have a similar sense of humour as my mother. When I told Ashley this she wept big tears and told me how she wished my mother had seen me onstage doing comedy: "She would have loved you doing comedy." So then I wept big tears thinking about everything mammy missed not being here.
We miss people who pass away. Today I just found a text from my late brother and it said: "Saw you on BBC News, sis. You were funny, miss you x"
Miss my mammy and my bro.
Monday the 23rd of May 2011
Holidays and hotels
I am old enough to really appreciate the internet. Years ago, in the dark days of pink and grey striped wallpaper, big perms and china in our hands (the 1980s) we booked holidays solely based on the glossy photos in a holiday brochure that got sent in the mail.
You picked your hotel, town and free weeks and looked down a chart to see what the price was, based on two people sharing and then got a big train ticket all the way to Cornwall only to discover the bed was made of sticky foam, the sheets were pink bri-nylon, the TV in the bedroom had a slot pay-to-view box and the sea view was nonexistent. They had your money, via a cheque sent in January, and the Hotel Kon Tiki in St Ives was nothing but a rip off. It was the 1980s. We didn't have 360 degree images on the laptop, we couldn't drag a wee yellow man onto the street in Google maps to see the location nor could we check various other peoples reviews of the place.
I recall having to share a breakfast of cold ravioli (for breakfast!) with a dull couple from Durham who were made to share our table at the Hotel Kon Tiki. Hubby and I quietly slipped away from the table, packed our cases, spoke to the manager, got our deposit back and got to the famous Headland Hotel in Newquay.
It was a beautiful Victorian castle type building, old fashioned and with a huge dining room that required a tie and a very 1980s dress code - husband and I have photographs from that holiday where we both look very dressed up and old for 24 year old kids. And they didn't serve ravioli for breakfast nor did they make us share a table with a woman wearing slacks that worked in a pottery factory and liked Cher.
The bedrooms were still Victorian but adorable, it had a huge claw-footed chest of drawers, a giant wooden framed luxurious bed and a solid brown wardrobe that would have survived a bombing campaign during WW11 (which it did) and the bay windows looked out to the rugged Cornish coastline. We had such a great time there that we conceived Ashley in that room... she just couldn't be conceived in a room with man-made fibres, bad lighting and cheap food. I came home relaxed and pregnant from Newquay.
Anyway, nowadays we go online and stare endlessly at the destination we are going to; we can get 360 degree views of the toilet we will be using; we can see the view we will see from the window; and we can check every bus, train and bar open within 3 miles of our door! The internet is good... but I still recall with affection the surprise I felt when I opened the door in The Headland Hotel and saw the amazing room... somethings are worth waiting for.
On the other hand, times have moved on and hotels are no longer exciting for me. Especially lately when I went to Newcastle. I love Geordieland but the city is now a destination for drunks, stags and hen parties so it feels like one big giant wobbly fairground ride at the weekend. Like almost everyone has stepped off the waltzer and can no longer cope with walking or talking straight at all. They both dress up in various outfits including men as women, cowboys, babies or sailors and the women dress in pink cowboy glittery hats or as cats and, in one case, 1980s wrestlers... it's all very strange.
Late night coming home from the comedy gig, my stomach is in knots as I zig zag behind big staggering groups of men in the city centre. I am not scared of them but I worry one will fall and bang his drunken head in front of me, a phobia I have had from my years in a bar in The Calton where I once saw a man's head split open like a deep red coconut as it smashed off the concrete outside the pub. I never want to see that again.
I also get really nervous as I watch drunken walkers all over the road: it makes me anxious but the worst feeling is when they all come back to the hotel I am staying at - the budget chain that the comedy clubs book for me - and the stags and hens run riot all night. These are adult men and women on a drunken weekend: they feel they HAVE to have something happen and get up to all sorts of shenanigans late at night as the booze seeps in. The clubs and police keep them basically in check as the night progresses but, when they are let loose in a hotel corridor, they seem to go ape shit mad and make sure other guests don't get much sleep.
They bang on doors, scream and giggle in the corridors and fight in rooms until I basically wake up exhausted in the morning. I think there should be dedicated Stag and Hen hotels so folk who don't like Simply the Best screamed at 4 am in the doorway can go elsewhere.
Yes, I complained to the hotel. Yes they apologised and offered compensation. But it doesn't change anything. I want to go back to the 1980s when hotels were genteel and suits had to be worn for dinner not drunken men and women screaming in pink glittery cowboy hats or with plastic penises dangling off their heads throwing bread rolls at each other and pissing in the lift.
I am whiney today aren't I?
Monday the 30th of May 2011
My dad knows new words
There are two things I know for sure - One is that everything changes and the other is my dad doesn't change. Dad is currently running a battle with his new digi box and satellite dish that, despite leaps in modern technology, lets a tree distort its service. The satellite man told us that was the problem. This doesn't salve dad's temper and his need to argue about everything concerning his telly.
Dad calls me every day to use his new word 'pixelated'. He wasn't to know that since the 1940s there would be new words to insert into his vocabulary; he thought all the words had been invented; so did we. But what we didn't know is the new words he discovered he would use more than the old ones. It is as if he needs to wear them around his dentures to get a good feel for them and then they will settle sufficiently into his mouth.
"I think that's a Beta service we are getting, as the picture is pixelated again. They need to experiment more with nanotechnology," he rattled on like that irritating middle aged hip presenter on BBC's Click techno programme.
Dad likes to impress me with his latest garnered knowledge and usually calls me at 8am to tell me stuff. What he doesn't know is that I have been up till 4am watching box sets of DVDs and don't want to be told about RFID - Radio Frequency Identification - which is being used in licence plates to identify and charge cars as they drive through Congestion Charged roads, toll bridges and toll roads, without them stopping. I don't know where he gets all this info; he no longer has the web. We got that taken away before he tapped into NASA or kept wakening me up in foreign countries via Skype and not checking the time difference.
I think there is a bunch of wee old men dressed in elasticated slacks talking bollocks to each other in cafes and sharing information and then passing it on to their stunned and over-tired kids. Why is he up at 7am? And what makes him think I am?
Despite my grumblings, I love and adore my dad more than anyone can guess - of course I do.
He makes me laugh like nobody can. His quirky outlook on the world will always astound me and his adoration of Ashley knows no bounds. I cherish these days with my dad, knowing full well these days won't last and there will be a day when he won't call at 7am and that will be the day when I will sit and will it to ring.
So, on that note, I am pleased to tell everyone that I am having a proper holiday this year. Me and Ashley are going off to British Columbia in Canada to a wee place called Salt Spring island. Husband hates travelling as a family and doesn't want to come and Ashley deserves a holiday after the whole month of work she done in Adelaide at the festival. We can't believe we are going somewhere, getting off a plane and NOT going straight to a theatre to work or flyer or do press – just a holiday!
SSI is an amazing wee nature reserve/hippy enclave where my mate Sarah lives. We met in Toronto where she was working in comedy and she is just an awesome chick. She has organised crabbing as well for us and I am good at crabbing, though am not sure it's the same one am thinking of. Ashley is inordinately excited about crabbing; I had no idea that she liked killing things with exoskeletons and eating them. Sarah is just amazing for having us both over. I am lucky to have nice people in my life eh?
That will be July sorted.
Meanwhile, this coming week I am in London and having a drinks party for my belated 50th at my fav club organised by my mate Monica. Am excited but worried: the last birthday party I had was in 1981 and my then brother in law sabotaged it and threatened everyone not to turn up and so I sat on my own with a cake (hubby was working in the pub and was horrified to find me alone). I was 20 years old and confused as to why no guests came to my house. I gorged on cheese and pineapple and went to bed feeling stupid and hopeless with an unnatural fear of birthday parties. Am hoping this one will be better!