The Woman On The Street.
Date: Dec 24th, 2012 10:01:53 am - Subscribe
Janey Godley's Blog: comedian, comedy, life, stand-up comedy, blog, Scottish, Scotland, twitter, Glasgow, 70s, black, childhood, Christmas, coal, Comedy, divorce, drinks, drunk, fear, Glasgow, Janey Godley,, Morecambe and Wise, racism, stealing, strikes
It was Christmas 1974 and Shettleston was knee deep in thick hard snow. The cold seeped in through the badly designed council window frames and the coal strikes coupled with the 3 day week, made us all feel what Russia must be like. We were hungry and freezing.
My mum and dad had just split up and it was rough going, the bedroom was chittering cold and my mum was deeply depressed, swaying between bitter rages and horrible weeping. I was 13 years old and didn't know how to cope. My big brother was worried as well, but at a loss as what to do, we were just kids.
I provided lots of hot mugs of tea as she sang Patsy Cline in an angry spitting voice. Passive/aggressive singing is something all the women in her circle were very good at, you haven't experienced rage till you have heard a Carpenters song screamed into your face at full beer breathe volume.
Mum was busy shouting at the Morecambe and Wise Christmas special "Stupid English bastards dancing with that poof Nureyev, this isn't even funny" proving she could be racist and homophobic it one sentence.
"Janey, black up and climb over the school yard wall and steal some coal, that bastard Janitor sells it, we may as well steal it, am freezing" she said. So I did. I put my hand up the chimney, blackened my face....did an Al Jolson song (it was the 70s my mammy needed a laugh) and went off stealing a bag of coal from the stockpile in the school yard down the road.
I felt like the man from the Black Magic chocolate advert, all black and climbing over walls and being creepy.
I was headed home when I saw a woman sitting on the snow in the street. It was disconcerting, what was she doing? Did she fall? I got closer, put down my bag, pulled off my woollen hat and offered her my hand.
"Excuse me, you ok?" I said and she looked up at me and of course what she saw a small child with a blackened face and ragged clothes, carrying a sack of coal.
"ARRGGHHHH" she screamed and got up, drunkenly falling about and ran through the snow screaming "It's a wee black ghost, a wee dark ghost, it a wee black dead wean"
I just stood there and watched her stagger about running...she fell over and panicked, screaming, clawing at the snow and finally she got up and wobbled off. I waited ages watching her making her way up the street, people were staring at her.
Finally, I picked up my coal bag & I headed off home. We had soup for Christmas dinner and at least we would now have a fire and if my dad popped by with some cash (which I knew he would) we could have a good Boxing Day supper and maybe mammy would sing a song without the tears getting in the way.
So thanks for reading, if you want follow me on twitter @JaneyGodley for updates.
Date: Dec 18th, 2012 12:01:44 pm - Subscribe
Janey Godley's Blog: Seasonal Greetings
HAVE A HAPPY HOLIDAY, FESTIVE SEASON,
CHRISTMAS, HANUKA, KWANZAA, HOBBITTONHOLIDAY, SATURNALIA.
Whatever you celebrate that floats your seasonal boat have a good one.
Oh and Batamology forgot about that one.
From Janey Godley, Ashley Storrie & Our Web Team.
It Happened To Me
Date: Dec 3rd, 2012 8:39:50 am - Subscribe
"Let's go camping" my husband said. I didn't want to go, we bought the tent as I had been performing at Glastonbury and living in a cramped nylon box taught me this 'I don't like camping' So we compromised and we went camping.
Husband loves going up the highlands and I like it was well, especially when the sun shines and the tiny mosquitoes die and the wasps don't come near. But those are rare days. So we landed at this campsite near a loch. It had a small aviary, some boats and a shop that sold tablet (a Scottish sweet candy) so what's not to love?
That night after we got the cramped nylon box erected, husband and I went a walk into the nearest village and got some fish and chips. We walked back beneath the twinkling stars as the loch lapped against the rocks and we snuggled down to sleep.
At about 5am I woke up soaked in sweat with deep advanced labour pains in my bowel, which is odd as I wasn't pregnant.
I knew what was about to happen, and I needed to get to toilet to let it happen. I had food poisoning and the fitful sweat soaked scramble from the tent was horrendous. I was wearing only a tee shirt and knickers, I didn't care who spotted me. I needed- really needed to get to the toilet block (anything described as 'block' isn't going to be welcoming).
As I emerged from the tent, the sweat running between my shoulder blades and the dawn chill throwing a patina of damp chill on top of it made me moan aloud. I couldn't find my shoes, so my sticky bare feet were thrust into my husband giant sneakers. I looked like a half naked sweaty clown running towards the toilets.
I ran across grass, stopped clutched my stomach as my bowels spasmed. I was sure I was about to evacuate right there on the grass, I sweated more, my vision swam and I ran with the clown shoes and made it to the white brick building. Out of the side of my eye, I saw a big bird....a swan...or something...but ignored whatever it was and focussed on getting into the cubicle. I was about explode.
My feet skittered across the damp tiles and I made it into the wee door, I kicked it open like a drug bust, got my knickers down and basically my entire skeleton came out of my bum, I sweated more and thought I was going to faint. The pain in my lower bowl reminded me of last stages of delivering a baby.
As I sat there exhausted and shivering, I heard a tiny tip tap on the tile floor. I couldn't make out what it was, I honestly didn't care, I was too busy trying not to faint.
The tip tapping got closer and there in front of my wide open toilet door was a huge colourful bird...like a big turkey or something.
It stared at me then made a noise and a HUGE fan of colour burst from its ass like an umbrella or giant fan being unfurled and the magnificent feathers full of amazing deep greens, blues and displaying an iridescent sheen that was startling. I sat there with giant shoes hanging off my feet, my knickers at my ankles, my tee shirt stuck to my back with shivering sweat as a beautiful peacock showed me it's full glory in a public toilet at 5am in the morning.
I thought I was hallucinating until another peacock came in, pushed that peacock out the way and stared at me, and flung open its big ass fan of colour!
Finally, I managed to retain some body fluids, I got up shooed away the peacocks, washed my face and hands in the freezing cold toilet and clown walked my way back to the tent. The two peacocks followed me and strutted behind me like two old Victorian ladies shaking fans. Husband stuck his head out of the tent and saw me walk towards him half naked with my two new pals either side of me.
"Why do you have peacocks with you?" he asked.
"I had a really bad bout of food poisoning and they came in to keep me company" I replied.
The sun started to slash the sky and I huddled back into the tent, kicked off the giant shoes and snuggled under the sleeping bag. Through the tent I could see the silhouette of the peacocks as the stood guard outside.
I love camping now.
So thanks for reading, if you want follow me on twitter @JaneyGodley for updates.
Love and Lost Passport
Date: Nov 29th, 2012 11:40:39 am - Subscribe
Janey Godley's Blog: comedian, comedy, life, stand-up comedy, blog, Scottish, Scotland, twitter, Glasgow, passport, Canada, Funny, Menopause, comedy, porter, emotional, love, dance
You know that deep happy love feeling when you wake up and think your stomach will explode with excitement and you want to tell this person you love absolutely every thought, fear or desire but think it's best not to, because when the love fades and the shit hits the fan they might use it against you in a future argument?
That's not love, that's endorphins & a hormone cocktail making you insane and the very same chemicals that produce that feeling are an identical mix to that which make people angry and confused enough to pick up a samurai sword and attack people near a busy flower stall, because God told them to.
The reason I bring up hormones and love is, am sure am about to batter full force into my menopause and instead of getting the usual symptoms hot flushes and dried up womb/vagina (none of which has happened) I am pretty busy fucking up my life and just losing stuff (like my passport) and getting giddy about love.
If my menopause was an interpretive dance movement it would resemble 'trees swaying in the wind, whilst screaming and searching bags frantically as people scattered in different directions then very hard hugging that scares the frail and small animals in my life".
Don't expect to see it at the National Theatre is all am saying.
All of this has somewhat disconcerted my husband who is used to my brand of 'love' which is basically me trying to be nice and with moments of touching affection. Now he gets undying declarations and long winded stories about all my hopes and dreams and he stares at me with the hollowed eyes of a man who has been in this relationship since he was 16yrs old and utters "we are not getting the bathroom tiled" or "please don't tell me anymore am bored with your mouth moving fast and your hair is bushy did you know that?" He has Aspergers syndrome which makes flowing conversation with perfect segues something that only happens in an episode of 'Friends'.
I have also taken to suddenly gripping him tightly in the night making him scream as he thinks the house might be on fire or a hostage situation is in play. Normally I don't like being touched when am sleeping, now I wake up and have an urge to cuddle hard. And I mean cuddle. Husband is worried sick. We have a language that no longer needs proper constructed words, we say sentences to each other that if in public sound innocuous but to the long married trained ear, you will not the coded passive/aggressive hatred and barbed verbal stabbing. That's love isn't it? That we bothered to understand each other's codes and underlying hatred we share?
So the losing stuff is getting worse, recently when I was in Canada I managed to drop my passport out of my bag on the very last weekend of the 5 week tour. I was in St John's Newfoundland and it was a bank holiday weekend.
On the Thursday after flying from Toronto on Porter Airlines (which are amazing) I managed to let my passport fall out of my bag onto aeroplane floor. I was so flooded by hormones and needing a hug that I never checked my bag. So by time I got into St John's I was hysterical.
The manager of the Yuk Yuk's comedy club must have been so happy so deal with a slightly smelly, screamy, tufty haired emotional woman who can yell "I have lost my passport" constantly. Then I went onstage and did an hour show, every night for three nights ..not once did I let it upset me but inside my thoughts were interspersed with "I have lost my passport" it made me sweat funny. Yuk Yuks were so helpful they gave me a landline and an office and the time to call all necessary people as there is no reason that the officials from the British Consulate didn't get to hear me scream "I have lost my passport" and hear a woman who I swear to god was Mary Poppins answer me back "press one if you have lost your passport". I pressed 'one' quite a lot.
One of the women in the club looked me right in the eye and said "have you ever lost a breast to cancer? No? then chill the fuck out its just admin"
She clearly hadn't been suffering from an emotional pre menopause had she? And her brand of reality bites just made me weepy and needing hard hugs...she wasn't helping is all am saying.
The Yuk Yuk's comedy club in Newfoundland is absolutely stunning, it has a natural slate wall as a back drop and as I stood onstage saying funny words but in my head I was screaming "I have lost my passport" and I leaned against the wall and for some reason I cannot explain, I wiggled a finger in between the bricks and got my finger stuck. I had the option of doing a whole hour as I stood in the one spot with my finger stuck, or stand forward and show the 200 odd people exactly what I was doing as I was supposed to be entertaining them.
I showed them "I have stuck my finger in the wall, please tell me that Holland isn't behind that wall and when I pull my finger out I flood a nation?"
They laughed and I got my finger free.
Good news is- Porter airlines found my passport and all the screaming and sweating was for nothing. So now that drama was over I went onto lose house keys, my oyster card and a curly headed toddler called Bernard, (not a good name for a consummate floor licker).
Ok calm down the toddler was found quickly. It ran away from me in a shopping mall in London, he wanted his mum, who had asked me to keep an eye on him for a few minutes so she could go to the loo. I would have chased him, but he wasn't mine and I didn't know her well enough to worry about a missing screamer called Bernard. And I was slightly emotional and needed a hard hug.
It all worked out in the end.
So thanks for reading, if you want follow me on twitter @JaneyGodley for updates.
Major and Me
Date: Nov 20th, 2012 7:23:02 am - Subscribe
Janey Godley's Blog: comedian, comedy, life, stand-up comedy, blog, Scottish, Scotland, twitter, 60s, 70s, short story, dog, Bay City Rollers, Glasgow, clothes, funny, poignant, teenager, school, buses,
“Ma, can I get a Bay City Roller Jumper - they are selling them at the Co-op for £1.99?” I shouted through the toilet door to my mammy. "Everybody has one" I added.
My dog Major was at my feet begging to be taken out for a pee, his toe nails were scratching and clicking on the cold lino. Maybe he heard my Ma peeing and this set him off.
“Where will I get two quid from? is that thon tartan bastards that cannae sing?” my Ma shouted back over the noise of the loo flushing. I peeled some woodchip wall paper off as I waited...I put it in my mouth and quickly spat it out.
Major lifted a black claw and scratched my leg, his brown eyes pleading with me. This was useless.
“I am taking the dog out,” I whined back and grabbed the thick metal dog leash off the door handle in the lobby and clipped Major’s collar, only to be dragged off at speed and clattered down all the stairs in the close and yanked outside. My Jesus sandal buckle came undone and I hobbled about on the grass clods.
I needed to think of a plan to get two pounds to buy a tartan Bay City Rollers' jumper; everyone at school had one except me. I needed one, why can't adults just know I need one as well?
Major stood like a statue in the back yard and peed for about ten minutes (he never got out much and had a bladder this size of a scatter cushion). He kept one leg cocked whilst scanning the back court for pigeons or cats to attack the minute he was done pissing. He was always on the lookout for a victim was Major. He was an angry dog with long memories of being beaten by a floor brush as a puppy by previous owners, he was in luck in our house, my mammy rarely cleaned the place. I was getting bored.
“Hurry up, Major, I need to figure out how to get two quid!” I hissed at him.
Even my dog looked at me pitifully. He knew there was no chance of me getting that Bay City Roller jumper before the shops shut at 5pm. He finished his pee, scratched the ground with his back legs, flicking up pee-soaked soil over my jeans and tried to pull off the leash to chase imaginary cats. I couldn’t let him free; he would bite the first living thing he spotted and I couldn’t bear to get into a dog dispute today.
Our back yards were a square set of twenty blocks of flats with open closes which led through to the front streets; all the individual closes had penned-off back yards which were segregated by green painted railings. Major loved getting into other people’s yards.
I ran around the back court holding his leash letting him sniff bins, scratch at the ground and snuffle through the long grass near the railings. He looked up at me pleading to be let free. He wanted to run about but, every time I had let him go in the past, he slipped his bony body through the metal railings and shot off on a bite fest and, although I was wiry and fast, I couldn’t climb over those spiky fences and catch up with him. He was an expert escapist. Before I knew it he would be on the main road attacking pensioners and babies. He was mental and very scary looking.
“No, Major, you will run off and bite people!” I answered as he stared at me.
He sat on the cold ground and lifted a paw at me and gave me his best cute look. So I let the leash snap off his neck. He started walking slowly around our confined fenced yard lulling me into a false sense of security and then he suddenly shot off and leaped over the first fence in a flash. “Oh God!” I shouted and started after him. I climbed over three sets of metal railings as he slipped through or jumped over them and made off through the opened close of flats across the backyard. I saw his tail disappear through the close into the front street.
I panicked and kept climbing over the four foot high railings till I reached the close he had run through. I could hear screams from the front street. My heart was pounding. I was exhausted and sweating. Why did I let him go? On entering Vesalius Street, I saw one old woman with a steamie pram pinned up against a front garden fence with Major barking at her feet.
The dog spotted me and ran off in the direction of the big main road that ran through our wee scheme.
He had a go at the local priest and that wee man who isn't the priest but always hangs about the chapel and has a club foot.
He slid past big lorries that trundled down the busy road; he sped through the traffic and made it to the opposite side of the road. It took me ages to let the traffic past before I could run across and chase after him. He barked and snarled at passers by. “Get that dog on a leash!” a man shouted. The leash was wrapped around my hand as I panted and gasped my way up the road. His pointy tail was visible and the barking kept me on his track.
Finally, he came to a stop. He watched me over his shoulder; he sat on the pavement quietly as I approached him stealthily. I fully expected him to bolt off again as I got closer, but he didn’t move. “Major, you bad dog!” I shouted as I clipped the leash on him. He just stared at me and padded off quietly.
My clothes were sticking to me with the sweat of running and jumping so fast. He merely hung his tongue out and happily jaunted off as if he was the happiest dog in Shettleston. We got stuck at the main road, the traffic was heavy, buses were speeding past and I was nervous crossing that road, as I had been knocked down by a car two years previously near the spot where we stood. It had taken me almost a year to walk again and, at twelve, I still had a slight limp.
I heard a familiar voice shout “Janey!” from one of the buses as it drove past. The bus stopped near me and loads of people spilled out of the back opening. There was my old favourite uncle John. “What are you doing out with that mad dog on the main road?” he asked.
“He ran away from me,” I explained.
Uncle John was my pal. He was a lot older than most of my uncles and had neither kids, nor a wife and was often ‘away’ though we were never told where. He never had a home of his own and usually stayed with family members and I loved him. He was quirky and had funny ways of explaining stuff. I once asked him why he never fought in the Second World War and he told me: “Well, you see, with all the men away, the women of Shettleston needed someone to replace their light bulbs in their lobbies and I didn’t have a fight with the Germans; they never personally upset me, so I don’t see why I should be a paid killer of someone else’s son.”
Turns out my old Uncle John was a bit of a ‘Lad’ and traded guns with crooks and never fought with anyone unless he had a personal gripe with them. He was occasionally in prison and never really settled with anyone anywhere.
“Look, here’s some money for you. Now don’t tell your Ma that I have cash. Say you found it," he said and pulled a TEN POUND note from his pocket. Ten pounds was a fortune to me at twelve. I stared at the note; I don’t think I had seen a ten pound note close up in my own hand. Major sat quietly and wagged his tail at Uncle John; he was about the only visitor to our house that Major didn’t bite.
“That’s a lot of money, thanks Uncle John but I can’t say I found it. Are you sure you can give me this? I will need to say something,” I stuttered at Uncle John.
“Well, learn to lie and hide it, Janey,” he laughed and walked off.
I stared at the money in my hand. It felt so… wonderful and rich; the texture of the paper had me stroking it constantly - the swirly writing and just the overwhelming fact that I had ten pounds to myself made me feel giddy.
I immediately set off to the Co-op and dragged Major with me; I now had the dilemma of how to get into the shop with my dog. Major could not be tied up outside, he would bite folk.
The big glass door to the Co-op jangled as I entered. Major growled low in his throat. He hated new places. My dog was rather autistic and anal for a domesticated animal. Things set him off, like a door bell, a floor brush and he despised goldfish and fish tanks - he attacked them viciously - he tried to bite the glass fish bowl in my bedroom. He was like a drunk Oliver Reed.
“That dog can’t come in here!” the woman with a pinched face behind the counter shouted.
“I have ten pounds!” I shouted back and showed her my cash. “I just want a white Bay City Roller tartan jumper for my size,” I added and stood at the door.
She relented and I tied Major to the big pillar at the side of the counter. I begged him not to bite anyone or bark. The woman held out the acrylic top for me to see, I nodded and guessed it would fit me. She wrapped it up in brown paper, sellotaped the edges and held it to me. I tucked it under my arm and carefully wrapped the change into a small bundle and bent down to tuck it into my sock. Major licked my face as I bent down. “Stop that, Major, your breath stinks,” I giggled.
I ran for home with my parcel, Major trotting beside me and all the while thinking up a good lie to tell my Ma about the jumper. She could smell a lie and money in seconds and possessed the ability to get the truth out of anyone; I was surprised that she wasn’t an interrogator for the government.
I spotted the butcher's shop on the way and decided to treat Major to some scraps, as he really did get me the jumper I reckoned. Major was barred from the local butcher's as he would run in and try to drag a side of beef off the butcher’s hooks and was known for his daring raids, so I tied him to the lamppost outside. He wouldn’t bite anyone as he could smell the meat and that occupied him.
“Can I have a soup bone and a wee bit of liver please?” I asked. The butcher checked the door for Major. “He is tied up, Mr. Cross” I explained. “He is sorry about the dead cow he pulled down.”
The butcher smiled and wrapped up some liver and a big bloodied bone in greaseproof paper. “It’s OK, Janey, no charge for the scraps and keep that crazy dog back from my shop.”
Major wolfed down the wee bits of liver and chomped down on the bone and we both marched home, happily. I realised that, if Major had a bone in his mouth, he would never bite anyone, so maybe we had to keep him supplied with bones forever?
Ma was never told about the jumper or the cash, she never saw what I wore to school and it eventually turned up in the washing bag. I had duped her!
The change from the ten pounds was stuffed up the disused chimney shaft in my bedroom and I managed to eke it out for months, buying myself sweets and a chicken supper at the local chippy - all, of course, eaten outside in the back court with Major at my side.
So thanks for reading, if you want follow me on twitter @JaneyGodley for updates.
Hello Podcast fans, Janey and Ashley here, as you probably know award season is coming around and it’s not just the movies that are in the running. “The village voice” is running the internet awards and we were both hoping that you’d vote for us as your best podcast!
Follow the link below and in the podcast section write Janey Godley’s Podcast then simply click submit – NO FORM FILLING - we hope you vote for us and we hope you continue to enjoy the podcast (No 34. Best Podcast): http://tinyurl.com/ct47rxu
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