Sunday, February 26, 2006


So, another weekend another city.

Friday morning I woke up feeling really knackered from the road trip on Thursday and the virus that has been dogging me for the last 3 weeks, but there was no time for a lie-in as I had to haul ass up to Cardiff for a weekend at Jongleurs.

I dunno what it is about getting older, but it takes me a good two hours to get my shit together in the mornings these days. Ok I spend 30 minutes meditating, but gawd knows what happens to the other 90 minutes.

Anyways I got myself to Paddington in time to catch the 1.45 train. I was sitting in the quiet coach (all trains seem to be plagued with assholes who are still amazed that they can make phone calls from places other than their homes, so they spend the journeys talking very loudly about bugger all! If the gossip was salacious, I wouldn't mind!)

I just got settled when my brother from another mother Andre Vincent got on, along with his lovely partner. What a treat I got a free slapstick show from him and a chance for a girlie chat too! He was doing The Glee Club down on the Bay, so we arranged to meet for lunch on Saturday.

At Cardiff, Andre sailed off the the swanky new hotel that The Glee use, while I trundled off to the Big Sleep Hotel. I dunno if you know about this place, it consistently features in style magazines as being the hippest hotel to stay in when you visit Cardiff, not sure why this is, I guess the fact that John Malcovich has a share of the ownership has something to do with it.

It sure as hell isn't because of the building or the way it's furnished! I guess IKEA must be Mr Malcovich's favourite furnishing store, cos every thing in the room that isn't MDF, comes from there. They're so proud of it, they even leave the IKEA price stickers on! All the rooms are smoking, but they don't provide ashtrays, instead they tell you to use the glass dish that they keep the sugar in as an ashtray. Classy.

Down at Jongleurs I was MC'ing a bill that was pretty cool, my old mate Nick Wilty, newer comic Chris Corcoran and new-to-me Andy Askins. I'd heard good things about him, just never worked with him before.

Chris and Wilty did the business both nights, but it was Andy that blew me away! As you'll recall from my last blog I am not a big fan of musical comedy, guess what, that's what Andy does! The difference being he does it funny! Apart from the gags which made me laugh loads, he has this stillness about him, and a like-ability I haven't seen for a long time. If you haven't seen Andy yet, make it you mission to check him out asap.

Saturday lunch was a fabulous affair, myself and Andre along with the gorgeous Jason Wood who as also doing The Glee, went to this Turkish place right on the Bay. The food was great and the conversation both witty and evil. I used to spend my weekends away blowing all the money I earned on rubbish in the shops, but since I began to take control of my finances I've found myself doing the 'lunch thing' more and more, its a great way of connnecting with people you know and like, but rarely get to spend quality time with.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Cannock Believe It

First apologies for the dreadful title!

I've started branching out a bit with my gigs. For the past few years other commitments have meant I've restricted myself to just working at weekend. Now those commitments have eased and I'm free to work as much as I want.

As a result I found myself in a car with two new comedians yesterday bound for Cannock. All I knew was, it's in the Midlands somewhere, and I think they have horse racing there.

The comedians were Mike Belgrave who was to MC the gig, and a very very new act called Julian Deane who told me that this was to be his 21st gig! I remember when I could keep a tally of how many gigs I'd I have no idea tho I suppose its in the thousands.

I do enjoy road trips, and its always fun to meet new people, so as we negotiated our way through the London traffic and the snow to the M1 we got to know each other a bit better. By the time we got to Cannock we were mates.

The gig was in a place called Bar Sport in the centre of Cannock. The cynic in me envisioned a generic sports themed bar and to be honest I wasn't far out, they even had baseball bats as door handles. The crowd wasn't bit, perhaps 60 people, tho on a cold, wet Thursday I thought it was a decent amount of people. I wouldn't have been there if I wasn't getting paid!

The venue could've done with a few pointers as to how to lay out a room for comedy, sofas are never a good idea. And not having them facing the stage is a no no. Still Mike did his job and got the crowd up for a night of comedy. The first turn was a double act called Rob and Scat (dangerous nickname if you ask me!). They did musical comedy, which I have to declare is not my bag at all unless its done brilliantly - Otis Lee Crenshaw and Steve Gribbin are the only two I can actually enjoy watching - but they got laughs and that's all you can ask for.

After the break it was a very nervous Julian who took the stage. I was nervous for him, he shocked me earlier by telling me he was 30 years old, he looks about 12! I guess some latent maternal instincts came to the fore. Its always dicey when the guy who drives you to and from the gig is onstage, if he has a bad one is he gonna drive the car off the road on the way home, taking us all out with him?

As it happened there was no need to worry, Julian has got some incredible material and he made me laugh a whole lot more than a lot of more seasoned acts around. Yes he was nervous, and there were some technical mistakes, but those will disappear with experience. I don't really wanna set myself up as some kinda comedy soothsayer, but I reckon in another 50 gigs' time Julian will be shit hot...keep an eye out for him.

I had a good 'un, they laughed in most of the right places, and everyone was happy with the way the night went. Cash collected we set off home. Walking back to the car, we were talking about how pretty the town centre looked and Julian said 'yeah there's no flowers on the lamp posts'. This is the new way of telling how safe a place is, no flowers = no recent stabbings!

When I got in, I put the telly on and there was Stan Collymore talking about his childhood on BBC3. Turns out he was born, raised, and still lives in Cannock. If only I'd known before I coulda gone doggin with him after the show!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Hungry? Not any more!

Soooo I've finally bitten the bullet and booked my first holiday in about five years. I went yesterday and booked a flight to Bangkok, timing it so that I arrive on my birthday. Just what you need as you decline in years, a long night flight to a different time zone, thus ensuring you feel every single one of those years!

I've never been to Thailand, and to be really honest, never had any interest in going, until I became a Buddhist last year. Now I can't wait to spend a couple of weeks there, checking out the Temples and monasteries.

As I've said before I'm kinda anal when it comes to lots of things, and had planned to book every single aspect of the trip, but as I sat in the travel agency I decided to break with tradition and all I booked was the flight and the first three nights in Bangkok....after that I plan to go wherever the fancy takes me. Wow! Brave eh?

Talking of long-haul travel, my bestest comedy pal Stephen K Amos left last night for 3 months in Australia and New Zealand, he'll be doing the Melbourne Comedy Festival, and the Auckland Festival as well as gigs all over Oz. His website is down for repair atm, but check him out if you live in the antipodes. He's one of the brightest stars in the comedy firmament.

And talking of Australia, I saw possibly the most disturbing movie ever yesterday, made in Australia. It's called Feed and is a bizarre detective/horror movie centered on the world of Feeders and Gainers. These are men who enable and encourage big women to get even bigger. Channel 4 showed a documentary about it a few years back, called Fat Girls and Their Feeders.

If I wanted to be kind I'd call it a fetish, but the reality is it's control over another human being taken to the ultimate level. These women are unable to get off the bed, let alone leave the house and so are totally reliant on their Feeders to take care of them. These guys often photgraph and video the women and chart their weight gain on internet sites. I'm all for personal freedom, but this is slow murder at worst and extreme mental and physical abuse at best.

Rant over, I went to see the movie out of curiousity. Now normally I'd get myself a tub of popcorn and a 'small' drink (ie bucket size), thank god I didn't do that for this movie!%

Sunday, February 19, 2006

New Frontiers

This weeks' gigs have gone from the sublime to the ridiculous.

After Tuesday's stint as a children's entertainer, Wednesday saw me wake up feeling rougher than a badger's ass. Reluctantly I cancelled my dinner plans, but did managed to drag my ass to the hairdressers for a long-overdue root job. I hope this doesn't come as too much of a shock folks, but I ain't a natural blonde! I promised you hardcore confessions didn't I?

Patrick is the poor soul who is responsible for all of my hair-do's and don'ts for the last 20-odd years. He's a cute Kiwi who I first met at Antenna in 1984. Back in those days it was THE salon to visit, Boy George got his extentions done there, and so did Marilyn (can't win em all). I resisted the urge to have tons of nylon woven into my head, but did manage to persuade Patrick to execute some rather shocking examples of the hairdressers' art.

I remember when 9 1/2 weeks came out, I begged him to perm my hair to make it look like Kim Basinger's. Sadly I ignored his warnings about my already bleached hair being more porous, and 3 hours later emerged looking like Shirley Temple on steroids! That fucker took over a year to grow out!

These days I'm way less adventerous when it comes to my hair, the only dramatic change is that for the last 3 years I've been growing it, and it's now longer than it's ever been in my entire life. I get fewer passes made at me from lesbians, but hey you can't win em all.

Anyway, even tho I was feeling dreadful I was excited too, cos on Thursday morning I was flying out to Holland to do my first ever gig on Dutch soil. Amsterdam has a pretty good comedy scene, but many years ago I was told by one promoter that my stuff wouldn't work in a city where sex is on every corner. These days my act is less about sex and more about bitterness, so I figured it was ok to take a gig in The Hague and test the waters.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am pathalogically early for everything, so after getting an email telling me that the 2hr check in applied to flights to Europe too I set my alarm for 6.30.

Thursday, I opened my eyes to see the numbers 7.46 on the clock. A cold feeling of dread ran through my bones. I checked the alarm and yep, dozy cow that I am I'd set it for 6.30pm! I flew out of bed, threw my stuff in my case and was still out the door by my scheduled time of 8.30. Kinda makes me wonder what the hell I would have done with the other hour and 16 minutes.

Security really is tight at Heathrow these days, as we waited to go through the scanners, they were pulling random people out of the queue to be body searched. Well, not that random actually, everyone they picked while I was there had brown or black skin.

At Schipol I was met by a Dutch comic called Martijn Oosterhuis, then we went to collect fellow comic Addy van der Borg. He bought us lunch bless him, then took us to our hotel. Somehow, we lost the entire afternoon, giving me only an hour to prepare for the show. This was becomming a pattern!

The gig was in an amazing theatre, and it was sold out for the first time. It was billed as a British Comedy night, so there were plenty in the audience. Milton Jones when on first and he was incredible. I love watching him, his word-play makes me wish I wasn't such a comedy slut. Addy had a corker too, then after the interval it was my turn. Guess what folks, I had a stormer! If sex in comedy doesn't sell in Holland, bitterness sure does! I have to admit to being slightly relieved that my time was up before I got to the hardest hitting material, but I loved it and so did the crowd. To top it off we got paid cash! In sterling!!!!!

So, after the glamour and faded elegance of The Hague, where's a gal to go next?

Croydon of course! Not just any old gig in Croydon tho, the lovely Up The Creek Too! The 'bug' whatever it is had returned with a vengence, so after going on first I headed straight back home, thus missing a chance to see the wonderful Terry Alderton tear up the room.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006


No not my own, I don't have any kids which is why I look at least 10 years younger than I am *grin*.

This is about other people's children. Specifically 12 year old Tom* and 14 year old John* who were sat in the front two rows of the gig I did last night at Leatherhead Theatre.

It was the first night of a new Jongleurs On The Road at the venue. I was the MC, and the line up consisted of Bennett Arron, George Egg and Aussie comic Pommy Johnson.

The venue was fantastic, I do love doing little theatre gigs, makes me feel like a proper 'artiste'. The audience numbers weren't bad considering it was Valentine's Day, about 200. Quite a few couples too, long term couples obviously, when you're fresh you don't go to comedy on Valentine's Day! But there he was front row, centre, little Tom.

I clocked him as soon as I walked out onstage, and thanked god I wasn't doing a set! We had a little chat and he was a really cool kid. Then I looked at the row behind and spotted John who was there with his folks. Now I don't have a problem with the kids being there as such, I doubt there is very little anyone could say that would shock a 12 or 14 year old these days. However this was billed as an evening of Adult Comedy and you gotta wonder about parents taking youngsters to a show like that. The main problem I have with juveniles being in the audience is that it inhibits the other adults' enjoyment of the night.

I hastily self-censored and brought Bennet on. It was a joy watching just how much the kids got of his act, probably more than their parents did to be honest! Incidentally Bennett has become a bit of a spokesman on Identity Theft after he wrote an Edinburgh show about his own experiences as a victim... check out his website .

George and Pommy did the business, and a great time was had by all. After the gig Tom came and thanked us, it turns out he wants to be a stand-up and had pestered the hell out of his dad to come along. I wonder if us old duffers put him off?

I'm glad they were there really, it made me think about what I was doing and proved I can do 'clean' well clean-ish, little challenges like that make my day.

*not their real names

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Well here I am, back from my sojourn in the Midlands. What a great weekend of gigs it was!

The Glee Club in Birmingham lived up to it's reputation as probably the best club in the country and the bill was pretty good too! Apart from me and Andre Vincent, there was also scary Canadian Jason Rouse and lovable Manc John Warburton.

It's been aaaaaaaages since I worked with Andre and I have to say I was blown away by him. He's not only quick witted, but his topical material was excellent! This might have something to do with him writing and appearing on Marcus Brigstocke's weekly BBC4 show, or with him becoming the face of Playstation on the internet, not sure which. On Friday me and Andre met up with Alasdair who runs The Glee for a spot of lunch and shopping in the Mailbox. Andre bought me a fabulously girly make-up bag - bless him. Al bought himself a purple velvet dinner jacket, from Harvey Nicks. He's probably the only man in the world who can carry such a garment off with aplomb!

Jason managed to collect a gaggle of Canadians including a hypnotist called Tony Lee, who's over here on tour at the moment, from the description of his show I suspect even I would be shocked! Not for the feint-hearted I suspect.

Friday night's show was made even more special when my old mate Pete Williams and his wife turned up. I ironed Pete's trousers 27 years ago when he was the bass player in Dexys Midnight Runners. We lost touch for years until he rang me out of the blue last summer. It was fabulous to see him, tho a tad disconcerting that he doesn't look the full 27 years older!

On Sunday I trained it over to Nottingham to do two gigs for Darryl. I opened at his club Just The Tonic, and it was great fun and beautifully set up by Russell Howard who's come on leaps and bounds in the last couple of years. From there it was a swift cab to Nottingham Trent Uni to perform for the students.

I've only recently started doing student gigs again, after a 6 year absence. I stopped because I felt i was too old to talk to these sweet young creatures, now I am sooooooo old its ok again!

As great as all my gigs were this weekend, I have to say this Uni gig was the highlight. It wasn't a massive crowd, about 40 people, but my god they were the most generous, appreciative, and intelligent audience I've performed for in a looooooooong time! Thanks folks

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Coming up

Yayyyyyyyyyy I'm off to Birmingham in the morning!!!!!!!

Not something most people get excited about I know, but I'm off to do three nights at my favourite club in the country, The Glee Club. This was the first 'big' gig I ever did 11 years ago, and going there now is like going to visit family but in a good way.

My partners in crime this weekend include the amazing Andre Vincent, who never fails to reduce me to helpless giggles on or offstage. When him and Alasdair who runs the Glee, get together it's like watching Hinge and Bracket on acid..oooooh I am sooo excited!

To round off a potentially brilliant weekend I'm doing Just the Tonic in Nottingham on Sunday night.

Many moons ago I was doing a gig in Chiswick and after I came off this young man stopped me and told me he wanted to start a comedy club in his hometown and could I suggest any comics who'd be willing to go and play there. I mailed him a list of phone numbers, then didn't hear anything till almost a year later, when Off The Kerb booked me for the opening night of a new gig in Nottingham.

I walked in and there was the young man who'd stopped me on the stairs in Chiswick, true to his word he booked me. Darryl Martin - to whom Just the Tonic belongs - was that young man. He's know old and knackered like the rest of us with about six million children, but he still has the enthusiasm you need from a club promoter....I'm sooooooo excited about this weekend!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Rock and Roll!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I never thought I'd be doing stand-up comedy. My first and only love was/is music.

I lived in Canada as a kid and one of my earliest memories is of seeing The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show. I was about 3 years old and fell madly in love with Ringo (don't say a word, I've always been attracted to strange men!). I wrote my first fan letter to Ringo when I was 4 - well my Dad wrote it for me - and in it I asked him to come and live with me. By this time we were living in Germany, the joys of being a Forces' Brat, so I got my Dad to address the letter to Ringo Starr, Liverpool, England.

Imagine my glee when I actually got a reply! In it Ringo told me that he couldn't come and live with me as his wife had just had a baby and she needed him there. I was the proudest kid on the block when I got that letter. It wasn't until many years later that my Dad sheepishly admitted it was him who'd written the reply. Ten years later I got a letter from Tom Robinson in reply to an enquiry I'd made to his record label, I slung it out! Wasn't getting bitten twice!

I loved Ringo for years, I'm nothing if not loyal to my idols. About 20 years ago I met Paul McCartney, but still never met Ringo. Probably just as well.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

What's this all about then?

I guess I should tell you a bit about myself. I'm a stand-up comedian, one of a handful of women actually making a living from telling jokes. I'm not sure why there are so few of us, I knows tons of funny women! Plenty of gals start doing comedy, few seem to carry on tho.

There was something in the papers last week about how men find funny women a turn-off, so maybe that's why so many of them give up. I have to say I've never found that being a joke-teller affects my love-life, that's the least of my worries! I guess the lifestyle is a pretty solitary one, lots of travelling, working when everyone else is playing, stuff like that.

When I first started 12 and a half years ago, there were a few girls who'd whinge about how hard it was for women in comedy, I have to say I've never found that. In the early days I got far more breaks than the straight, white male stand-ups who were my peers. Being a minority helps sometimes!

I love what I do. I love standing on a stage, in front of a room full of people and seeing them throw their heads back laughing. It's an incredible buzz believe me!

Before I did this I'd had tons of jobs in the music business, tv, and newspapers, not to mention things like being a bingo caller at Butlins and working in a fish and chip shop. Oh yeah I know glamour! I've met all kinds of people from all over the world but the nicest bunch of people I've ever met have been my fellow comedians. There's less bitching and backstabbing on the circuit than in any other industry I've ever worked in. My theory is that we are all so self-obsessed that we have little time spare to slag off our compatriots!

Monday, February 06, 2006

Gay Cowboys

So I finally went to see Brokeback Mountain last night, wanted to see what all the fuss was about, not to mention the chance to see Jake Gyllenhall in the nuddy.

My straight male friends who'd seen it told me there was far too much bumming in it, while my gay male friends complained that there wasn't enough!

Having sat through two and a half hours of it, I come down on the side of my gay mates! We want more bumming!

Maybe it's my age, but I do find it incredibly erotic watching two gorgeous men kiss, fondle and generally get nasty with each other, and Heath Leger and Jakey are fabulous eye candy indeed.

Apart from the lack of bumming, my other complaint was that the film is about an hour too long. At times it's nothing more than a travelogue. Yeah the mountains and fields and streams are lovely, but we want cock!

I'm not a massive movie buff, but I do have my own rating system. I'm a smoker and the sooner into the movie I feel a craving for nicotine, the shitter the fillm is.

On the JoJo Fag System, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is the all time worst movie. I needed a smoke about 5 minutes into that one! There's one other film that sticks out as a multi-fag movie and that was The Ice the credits rolled on Brokeback Mountain, low and behold the same bleedin director! Ang Lee baby, gimme a shout next time you're editing a movie and I'll fetch my scissors!