Monday, March 27, 2006

Something to chew on...

Back from the beauty parlour, all bald and painted. Checking emails and found this site:

http://nawtythings.com/nawtyedibles1.html

Now being a good celibate buddhist I won't be ordering any of their products, but I'll wager they taste better than the real thing!

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Sun, sea and .... meditation

So this morning I am full of the joys of spring, not only have the clocks gone forward, but this evening I'm off on my first holiday in years!

I'm going to Bangkok and Phuket for two whole fabulous weeks, and I am sooooooo excited! I've printed out reams of info, listing all the temples, spas, sights to see and I just can't wait!

Been checking the weather and its averaging 90 degrees at the moment, with pretty high humidity, so that should be fun. Me, red faced and sweating for two weeks...how very buddhist!

Had a good weekend in Leicester, opened on Thursday night and closed the show on Friday and Saturday. Its considered a huge thing to close a show, and its flattering to be considered able to do it. But it can be a double edged sword. Friday night I had a blinder, the crowd had been good as gold all night and were so warm and receptive. Saturday was a different kettle of fish altogether. It's always a bad sign when a member of the audience collapses from too much booze before the show even starts, and that poor girl kinda set the tone for the night. I got on and half the room were falling down drunk, the other half a bit pissed off that they weren't! Halfway through the set, the fire alarm went off, and it took some time for anyone to tell me or the crowd that it wasn't real. Very disconcerting.

Had a great lunch on Saturday with my cohorts, Kevin Gildea and Simon Clayton, both of whom I've known for ages. The conversation was the usual mix of scurrilous gossip and a swapping of web addresses! We're all getting older, once upon a time we'd be talking about shagging!

Anyway, I can't hang about here, I'm off to get various bits waxed and manicured....

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Monday, March 20, 2006

More Myspace Madness

The latest Myspace scam has just hit me. Still getting the endless proposals of marriage from men who can't spell, but today it hit a new low. I got a letter, supposedly from a young man in Africa, telling me how terrible his life is. My heartstrings were suitably tugged till I read on and found that he is offering me his sister in exchange for money...how sweet!

I'm not sure which bit disgusts me more; a/ that he might be serious, b/ that he's probably not and just scamming me with some made-up hard luck story or c/ that he called me 'Mom' several times in the email! Cheeky fucker! The reason I look so good for my age is because I ain't a "Mom".

Anyway, I'm off to Harvey Nicholls to buy some fabulous new perfume...sod it.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

This weekend...

I have been mostly going backwards and forwards between Oxford and London, and hearing nothing but fantastic news.

On Thursday night the lovely Johnny Candon was on the bill and his entire face lit up as he showed me his wedding ring! So massive congrats to him and his fabulous wife Gigi. I've known him a while and he's a terrific guy, not to mention a great comedian, so it gives me a bit of a warm glow to see him so happy.

Friday and Saturday nights my old mucker Michael Smiley replaced Johnny at the top of the bill. If you've seen Smiley, you'll know that he's undergone a massive transformation over the last few years. When I first met him, he was bald as a coot with dodgy teeth (not quite Shane MacGowan, but you get the idea), a dead ringer for a young Albert Steptoe in fact. Now he's got long flowing locks (well just past his collar) and teeth that Tom Cruise would be proud of. One of the incentives for this big change is his partner, Miranda. I've known her for years, long before I ever began doing comedy, and she's a great gal, so when they got together a few years ago I was dead chuffed for both of them.

Since Smiley changed his appearance, he's picked up masses of acting work. Last year alone he did three movies and tons of telly. That's not all he got up to last year tho, cos on Friday night he showed me a photo of his greatest production, brand new baby Patrick! What a gorgeous little creature he is, only four and a half months old and the spitting image of his dad before he grew his hair back! Once again huge congratulations to Smiley and Miranda.

Gawd bless him, Smiley gave me a lift home both nights and we took the time to remenisce, one of my funniest memories is an Edinburgh Festival years ago, 1999 I think it was, when he was MC'ing a 'Best of So You Think You're Funny' gig. I was on the bill, and the room where the gig was being held obviously was being used for other productions during the day. Smiley went rooting through the various costumes and came onstage wearing and old lady's coat, hat and handbag. He MC'd the entire show and never once referred to it! It was the funniest thing, watching the audience wondering why Steptoe was in drag

Today has been spent getting myself organised for my trip to Thailand. I had planned to have next weekend off to chill before I went, but an offer of three gigs came in and being self employed I just can't turn work down, hence being organised today.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Ghettoising Women

I was watching a film on C4 last night made by the artist Tracy Emin. It was about how female artists fail to match male artists when it comes to prices paid for their work. She raised other issues too, like how most of the successful female artists end up not having children - either by choice or biology - and explained she felt she was at a crossroads in her life.

Her fear was that if she had kids it would sap her creative energy, making her less able to create art. Now there are those out there who would argue that Tracy was an artist at all, but I'm not one of them. I've seen the "bed" and the tent embroidered with the names of everyone she's ever slept with amongst other pieces, and they work for me. They make me smile, make me think, and even make me sad at times. I love her work.

She intereviewed the woman who runs the Serpentine Gallery, Julia Peyton-Jones, and asked her if she would ever have a show featuring only women artists. Ms Peyton-Jones said no, no more than she would curate a show featuring only men artists, cos she felt seperating the sexes in that way 'ghettoised' women or indeed any other section of society.

It struck a massive chord with me. As a female comedian I used to get asked to do all-women gigs on the 8th of March every year. For those who don't know that's International Woman's Day. When I was new I did a few of them, but hated it! It was great working with other girls, as that rarely happens on the circuit, but the audiences were always so 'right on' that I felt I was being judged, not on my ability to make people laugh, but on how much of a 'woman' I was. I once got heckled for having the audacity to wear lipstick!

From my first ever open spot I aspired to be a great comedian, not a great female one, or a great northern one, or a great blonde one, or whatever. Now obviously those in the industry got the message, as I never get asked to perform at these gigs any more thank god.

Some people argue that sexism is still rife in the world of comedy, but I can honestly say I've never experienced it. When I got half-way good I got breaks that my straight, white, male counterparts could only dream of. I can hold my own with all of the male comics I work with and that's how I like it. Ghettos are great for rappers, a bit shit for the rest of us, and even the rappers can't wait to get out!

I agree that there are far fewer women working in stand-up, presumably there's a reason for that, perhaps fewer women attempt it in the first place, perhaps they have kids and find the life of a comedian doesn't really go with raising children, perhaps not as many women feel the need to show off for money. Whatever the reasons you cannot force change.

I went to the final of a national competition to find more funny women last year, and was blown away by the talent these women had. I would say that at least half a dozen of them would've stood out in any 'new comedian' competition. There was something that just felt wrong to me that they were marginalised like this. Ironically the winner was a male to female transsexual. I actually heard an industry person say 'technically a bloke won it'. Kinda makes the whole thing seem redundant to me.

Forget being a funny woman, just work on being funny!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

I Am What I Am

After recovering from the long trip by husky train back from Edinburgh on Sunday, my thoughts turned to my impending trip to Thailand, and so far this week has been spent running round the shops getting summer clothes. I'll need them it's currently 95 degrees out there and due to get hotter. Today I dumped a load of cash in The Body Shop on various cremes and potions designed to make my skin feel like silk and retain the tan I hope to get.

Something I've noticed everywhere around central London are posters in the current Reebok ad campaign featuring Mike Skinner from The Streets. I am a massive fan of his, and love that new single...its fun trying to guess which girlband member he was shagging last year, my money's on one of the Girls Aloud slaaaaaaags.

Anyway, I think he's rather cute and shaggable, but looking at his face on these posters, he looks like something from the old 1980's anti-heroin posters! Sort it out Mick!

Monday, March 13, 2006

Winter Wonderland

So this weekend I was up in Edinbugh doing gigs at Jongleurs there. This didn't used to be such a great gig until they installed Patrick the wonderkid in there as venue manager, now it's absolutely brilliant!

I was on with Rob Deering a man so sweet and babyfaced it's criminal, my old mate Brendon Burns and local hero Sandy Nelson. I was a bit aprehensive as we had two musical acts on but with me and Burnsy on the bill too, there'd be plenty for everyone to enjoy.

Another thing I love about this gig is that they put us up in a nice hotel, so I was all excited and I checked in and made my way to my room. Bugger! They gave me a room with twin beds in! I bloody hate that! There's only one of me and I want an adult sized double bed to sleep in please. Which is basically what I said when I rang down to reception. Now because this is a decent hotel, they actually did something about it, and two minutes later there was a bellboy at the door with a key to a new room. Blimey! From the sublime to the ridiculous, this time I got a suite!!!!! And not just a double bed, but a triple one! In fact it was an orgy sized bed, shame I didn't get to test that theory tho, maybe next time. If there is a next time that is, cos from 26th March Scotland brings in it's smoking ban. This will mean no smoking at all in any enclosed space, not even dressing rooms... wonder how I will cope with either no fags at all or running up and down two flights of stairs every time I want one. Either way I'll get fit I guess.

The gigs were fantastic, sold out both nights, and two really lovely tho very different audiences. Friday nights are generally more unpredictable, they've been at work all day, could be tired, could be drunk already and so rowdy...you never know till you're in it. Saturday crowds are always more laid back, more receptive, cos they've had the day off (for the most part). Either way it's just one of the many things that stops us comedians from becomming complacent.

Saturday I spent most of the day luxuriating in my suite, only leaving it to get a sandwich for my lunch. When I did venture out, I noticed some flakes of snow flying about, but thought little of it.

Sunday morning I wished I'd taken more heed and looked into alternative travel plans for getting home. It didn't look that bad to be honest, a light dusting of white making Edinburgh even prettier, but after Brendon and I had gone through the security check at Edinbugh Airport, we were informed that our flight had been cancelled at the last minute, and we had to go back out and rebook on another flight.

Now we were flying with EasyJet, so nothing was ever gonna be simple. The queue to rebook was about 300 people long, so in an attempt to find out what the chances were of actually getting on another plane we asked a few members of staff. Ooooh the stories we we're told! Aparently the runway was closed (even though every other airline, including Ryanair, were taking off and landing, our plane had never left Luton cos it was snowed in there (there was no snow in Luton), and finally we overheard that our plane had been on the tarmac since 8am and was being used instead to fly to Gatwick - as you may know it costs more to fly into and out of Gatwick on EasyJet.

Brendon rang the customer services number they were dishing out (a premium rate number, they make money even when they fuck up) and asked if we would be reimbursed for a train ticket. They said yes so that's what we did. Ten hours after I left the hotel I staggered into my flat. Boy was I glad to be home!

I'd already decided before this happened that in future I'd get the train cos it was actually quicker, the experience yesterday confirmed that it is! It seems EasyJet are fine, as long as you don't actually 'need' to get anywhere.

Still the day was made good again by watching my new favourite TV programme, Planet Earth. Have you seen it yet? It's phenomenal. Seeing snow leopards and baby pandas took away all the stress.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Road to Hell

Still reeling from watching Michael Winterbottom's 'Road to Guantanamo' on C4 last night. Those poor boys! As if growing up in Tipton wasn't bad enough! It was horrific to see how being in the wrong place at the wrong time - no matter how good your intentions - can totally transform your life.

The MySpace weird emails saga continues, now I seem to be getting lots of letters from men in the US who want to marry me on the strength of seeing my photo! One reckons he is off to work with 'motherless babies in Africa' next month and he wants me to go with him, cos he needs someone to take care of him while he's saving the world from aids! Now don't get me wrong, its a wonderful thing to do, devote your life to helping others, but when a man uses it as a chat-up line, it just seems wrong. Add to that, he wrote the entire letter in capitals. I don't think I'll be marrying him after all.

I'm off on another jet set adventure today, to do a couple of gigs in Edinburgh. I always find it odd being up there outside of the festival, it feels like a ghost town. The gigs are always fun tho, and I have some new material I'm dying to try out, so its all pretty exciting.

One thing I am not so excited about tho is the method of getting there. The club pays for the travel and they fly us up there, which sounds wonderful, but when you look at the details it becomes less so. I'm flying on EasyJet out of Luton (I know! Contain your jealousy). Having worked out the timings, the trip door to door will take 5hrs and 45 mins - assuming the flight takes off on time. The train from Kings Cross takes five hours and no queuing! I think next time I'll ask if they'll get me a train ticket!

Anyway I'd better go and pack, I have to work out a way to take my Rabbit without it causing a major security alert! Have a good weekend folks.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Me? A MILF???????????

So, in a desperate attempt to emulate the success of the Arctic Monkeys I went and got myself a profile on MySpace.com. The story goes that their massive success is down to being on that site, loads of people raved about em and their first single went into the charts at Number 1.

Now I ain't expecting to be invited on Top of the Pops, but who knows? I might get the odd corporate gig out of it. Or so I thought. Turns out, according to this month's Vanity Fair, MySpace.com is the world's biggest pulling site! That would explain the amount of 'unusual' emails I've been getting. Not one has mentioned my comedy, or asked where I'm doing my next gig, but a fair few have asked me if I'd like to watch them wank naked on their webcams!

Now, believe me, I am no prude, but I really cannot think of anything sadder than sitting in my flat watching some bloke in Turkey or Shepherd's Bush pullin' his pudding! Men's genetalia are not attractive at the best of times, seeing a grainy, stilted moving picture of some geezer naked with his old bollocks hanging down like a turkey neck really doesn't float my boat.

The best, and I have to say most flattering, of all the wierd emails came yesterday, inviting me to join the North London MILF group! For those of you who don't know, MILF is an acronym for Mother I'd Like to F**k. While I am kinda chuffed that some young guy wants me to join his group, I fail to qualify on two counts. One, I'm in Central London, not North, and two, I haven't got any kids. Shame really, what do you call a MILF who aint an M?

Oh time for a big shout out to my comedy sister Gina Yashere, she's doing a fab new show on Radio 2 and added a link to my website on her website which has greatly improved my daily visitor totals. Cheers girlfriend.

One last thing, check out the site below. Dunno if it really does belong to the White House, but the posters just about sum up American policy towards their own people and the rest of the world. Enjoy.

http://www.whitehouse.org/initiatives/posters/index.asp

You'll have to cut and paste as I am rubbish at all this techy stuff.

Monday, March 06, 2006

The Ways of the Minge

Whoohooo!!!!!!! I'm home! At last!!!!!!!!

I've been away for what feels like forever, tho in reality it was only 6 days. The trip began last Wednesday with a two-day visit to my Dad to make sure he's ok and check on the inheritance....both are fine *grin*.

From Preston I headed over to Liverpool to do a couple of gigs at The Rawhide comedy club. Until recently, I only did this gig once every six years, but since last summer I've done it three times and loved it each time! Its come a long way from the foyer of the Everyman Theatre to it's current home in The Royal Court Theatre. The bill was great this weekend, we had local boy Chris Cairns MC'ing, my old mate Steve Jameson doing his character Sol Bernstein, and Dave 'Druggy Eyes' Johns.

I hadn't seen Dave and Steve for a long time, so there was lots of catching up over brunch on Saturday. Dave's become a Daddy for the first time and landed a sweet part in a new sitcom for BBC3, as you can imagine he's one very happy little geordie bunny!

Chris, I saw more recently when we did Abu Dhabi and Dubai together at New Year, he's relatively new to us Southern acts, but he's been tearing up gigs all over the north of the country for a couple of years now. Come on you London promoters, book this guy and give your audiences a treat!

Liverpool was great apart from the hotel. The gig pays for our accommodation, so I am really trying hard not to look a gift horse in the mouth, but the Premier Travel Inn in Liverpool is the worst hotel in the country! It's clean enough and has the basics you'd expect, what is soooooooooo dreadful is the attitude of the staff! I'm sure having to interract with members of the public (ie us) isn't always fun, but for fucks' sake girls, learn to fake it!!!

A smoking room had been pre-booked with plenty of notice, for me, needless to say that didn't materialise. So if you book into a non-smoking room at that dump and can smell Marlboro Lights, blame them not me! Then, as I was going onto Birmingham on Sunday, I asked about a late check-out. I was willing to pay the extra, most hotels charge around a tenner. I needed the room for an extra two hours, and at the Premier Travel Inn, they charge you £25 for the luxury of sitting in a sparsely furnished room for 120 more minutes! Even the Marriot only charges £15!!!!!!! Obviously I didn't take them up on their offer. Oh and add to that, a leaflet pushed under my door (presumably by hotel staff) advertising the services of local hookers! By that point I was sooooo pissed off it didn't seem like a bad idea! Except they were only offering female ones.

On Sunday I caught a train over to Brum for my gig at the gay comedy night at The Nightingale. Having 4 hours to kill and not wanting to go on a shopping binge in Selfridges, I rang an old mate on the off-chance and spent the afternoon drinking coffee and chatting with him...it was cool.

Popped into The Glee for a cuppa before going to the 'Gale. They were setting up for a music night featuring someone called 'Joan As Policewoman'. I've never heard of her/them but aparently they are gonna be the next big thing, so who knows? I didn't have time to listen as I had to get over to the gig and start makng myself look presentable.

I was working with the fabulous Jason Wood and the marvellous Jonathan Mayor, add me to this mix and it was the ultimate battle of the queens!

The gig was such fun, but it is odd playing to an almost exclusively gay crowd. I was talking to this young girl on the front row and needed to find out her preferences (she didn't look like the usual Lentil Lesbian), so I came out with the line 'do you follow the ways of the minge?' Where the hell did that come from?????? Its like a lost chapter from Lord of the Rings! Gawd bless her, and the rest of the crowd, they took it in good humour!

I had a cracker and Jason tore the roof off the place, and of course Jonathan did his usual excellent job of getting the crowd in the right frame of mind, and to add the icing on the cake, I was getting a lift back to London with Jason. We never stopped nattering from the minute we got in the van.

All in all, another fabulous weekend!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Its Grim Up North

Writing this far too early as I'm about to head off for five days.

First stop is a couple of days in Preston to see my dad and check on the inheritance. My mum died last October having had lung cancer for 16 months, and after 51 years of marriage, my dad's finding it a bit quiet on his own, so I go up there at least once a month just to hang out with him.

From Preston I'm heading over to Liverpool to do a couple of gigs at the fabulous Rawhide comedy club at The Royal Court Theatre. This is rapidly becoming one of my favourite gigs in the country. I love playing theatres, and the scouse audiences are always great. I also get the chance to work again with Chris Cairns who I met at New Year when we did gigs in Abu Dhabi and Dubai together. He's a top turn, great laugh and an all round good bloke, so it'll be a joy.

On Sunday I head down to Birmingham to do a gig at The Nightingale. Its a gay gig and a really mad night. The bill is fantastic. Apart from me, there's the marvellous diva that is Jason Wood and the very, very bitchy Jonathon Mayor. What with me only being a cock away from being a gay man, this promises to be one of their campest bills yet!

As per usual this morning I clicked on the Chortle website, www.chortle.co.uk, to check up on what's happening in the world of comedy and was incredibly saddened to see that the amazingly talented comedienne Linda Smith has died. When I first started doing stand up there weren't that many women doing comedy - there still aren't - and Linda was one of the big guns. I remember seeing her at the Bearcat and being blown away by her. After the gig she was so supportive and encouraging towards me. Years later, we did a couple of radio things together, and she continued to inspire me immensely. We've lost another good 'un...rest in peace Linda.