Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Reasons To Be Cheerful....Part Three

Sooooo I've been saving the best of my news till last.

This time next week I shall be in Hong Kong!!!!!!!!!

Last Friday I got a phone call totally out of the blue, offering me the chance to travel there to do some gigs. I have been dying to go to Hong Kong for years and years, long before I ever became a comedian. In recent weeks I was even looking at paying to go there for a few days just to see the place.

Now I don't have to! Its upgraded flights, 5 star hotels and money for being there!!!!! How amazing is that????

Added to all that - as if that weren't enough I am gonna be there with one of my favourite comics, Pierre Hollins, so I know its just gonna be fabulous from start to finish.

Got the guide books today, and I'm even more excited than I already was.

My luck definitely has taken a massive turn for the better recently, to be really honest its a bit scary, but who knows maybe I do 'just deserve it' as everyone keeps telling me.

I'm off to Birmingham tomorrow for a weekend of gigs at Jongleurs, look out for me trying to buy a cheap swimsuit in Primark on New St!

The icing on the marvellous cake that is my life came when I got on the scales this morning. I've now lost a total of five and a half stones since I had the op in Febuary... I don't even recognise myself!


Reasons To Be Cheerful....Part Two

Sooooooo I had a fantastic week up north, spending quality time with family and equally quality time with some comedy chums in Liverpool.

I was doing the Rawhide at The Royal Court and the bill also included Brendan Riley, Mark Walker and my old mate Simon Clayton. They've changed hotels and we had to stay at the Ibis opposite the Albert Dock. This was a result as I had planned to go see the Chinese Modern Art exhibition at the Tate on Saturday, so it was perfect. As I walked in, I saw Bennett Aaron at the desk, which kinda threw me till I remembered there was another comedy club in Liverpool, the Baby Blue. Bennett was doing that one.

As I said hi I noticed he seemed a little thrown, turns out with the weight loss, he didn't recognise me! How mad is that?

The gigs were fantastic fun for all of us, and after Friday's show I was rushed off to do a show on Radio Merseyside. I'm never sure how many people are actually listening to local radio on a Friday night, but the DJ was really cool and we had a good old natter.

I was looking forward to a good night's sleep afterwards, which it turns out was an unrealistic dream. The hotel was packed with stags and hens, and due to a total lack of sounproofing, it was nearly 5am before they finally dealt with the problem of my extremely noisy neighbours.

Saturday was spent with Bennett and Simon, we had lunch on the dock and wandered over to check out the art. It was a great show, and the crowning glory was the summit of Everest preserved in a glass box. This artist had chopped it off and slid it down the mountain!

Or so I thought... turns out it was an art joke, elaborately constructed, and it totally fooled me.

The biggest joke of the weekend tho was the Ibis' attempt at compensating me for my lack of sleep. The refunded the price of the night's accommodation, but not to me, to the club! My "treat" was a complimentary night at the Ibis Liverpool to be used any time between now and Christmas. Even if it expired when hell froze over I suspect it would still go unused!

Back to my Dad's for a couple of days after the gigs and had a wonderful time with's nice when you get a real relationship going with your parents isn't it?


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Reasons To Be Cheerful....Part One

Sooooooooo I am just back from seeing the divine Rufus Wainwright at The Old Vic Theattre.

What an incredible performance!

I went with my great pal Andre Vincent (decided to take a straight guy along this time) and both of us are fans of Rufus' voice. Suffice to say neither of us were disappointed. He did one of my all time faves of his - Dinner At Eight - just him and the piano and it was breathtaking. He performed practically the whole of his new album Release The Stars, but one of the highest of highlights was when he came on for one of many encores as Judy Garland!!!!!! He was actually dressed as her with the DJ and tights and high high heels! My god I was envious of both his legs and his ability to walk and dance in spike heels!

Jennifer Saunders made a guest appearance and her hubby Ade Edmonson was in the audience cheering her on...blimey she looks absolutely gorgeous!

Just a totally wonderful night and a great topping of what has been an incredible week. I'll tell you all about that tomorrow folks, right now I need my bed.


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Off On Me Travels

Up early in the morning to catch a train bound for the North.

Mixing in a couple of gigs at the Rawhide in Liverpool with a bit of quality time with me old Dad, I'm looking forward to it!

Have a great Bank Holiday folks!


...But Is It Art?

Yayyyyyyy the summer is back with a vengence! I wandered down to Porotbello to meet my old mate Ray 'Roughler' Jones for a coffee and a catch up today. We've been mates for over 20 years, tho in recent times I haven't seen a lot of him. He's great fun and a top bloke so time to remedy that starting with today.

He was bubbling with enthusiasm about his forthcoming exhibition to be staged at a gallery in Portobello Road. Over the years he's been a dab hand with the camera and has snapped most of Ladbroke Grove's "celebrities" at various stages in their lives. There's pictures of a little Lily Allen performing in the Tabernacle Christmas Panto, Joe Strummer performing a gig years ago in the Warwick Castle pub back when it was still a real pub, plus a wide assortment of local characters...I saw the contacts today and my god, it was a helluva trip down memory lane!

Strolling down the road in the gorgeous sunshine, we visited the gallery which was going to hold the show and the club where they're gonna do a special Roughler night as part of the Portobello Film Festival in the summer. The Roughler was a magazine Ray used to write and run chronicling the comings and goings of the Grove back in the 80's. Yours truly used to write for it too!

We bumped into a couple of old faces - old as in I haven't seen them for a long time, not old as in ancient - Pete who is one of the owners of Rough Trade who is still as cute as ever, and my old drinking buddy Aaron. We dragged him along to the Bankrobber Gallery in Lonsdale Road to see the new exhibition of 'paintings' by model shagger and fat junkie (surely a contradiciton in terms) Pete Doherty. I was more excited about seeing the Banksy piece they had that's valued at £240 grand, but that had been put in cold storage to make way for this show.

The USP of this show is that supposedly Doherty painted them in his own blood...hmmmmmm. Well it looked like blood, and it was a bloody mess. One piece has his spoon and syringe stuck on it, all looking suitably junkified and well used. There was a Notting Hill 'Yummy Mummy" asking serious questions about the work, making sure that it was Doherty's blood that had been used and not just some random druggie/loser. Sadly I didn't hear the prices these creations were going for, but really anything over a tenner would be too much. It's all about owning a piece of Doherty's soul, but there is no soul in these works, it looks like some stuff he knocked out to pay for a fix.

Obviously if he dies anytime soon they'll turn into a great investment, but I just found the whole show ghoulish beyond belief. Gimme Banksy anyday!


Sunday, May 20, 2007


So I'm back from my weekend in Cardiff and boy it's a great feeling to be home!

The gigs were fine, in fact last night's was a real stormer, the company was excellent - Chris Corcoran (pin-up boy for MILF's everywhere) was a fabulous MC, and Chris McCausland and Jeff Innocent both did cracking sets.

I had a lovely day trolling round the shops on Saturday - even got one of Kylie's tops from H&M - on Saturday.

The only downside was the hotel. This is nothing new when it comes to doing Cardiff cos they hotel they put us up in is the godawful Big Sleep. Now it's always been bleak and disgusting, but now, because its a converted office block and the windows don't open, there is a total smoking ban in the entire hotel!

I've done gigs in Scotland and Ireland since their bans came in, and to be honest I prefer it. But the hotels in those two countries have the sense to actually increase the amount of smoking rooms available. Not the Big Sleep! I would love to give up smoking and I suspect I will before too long, but I hate feeling like a sodding criminal! All the sneaking around just to get my fix of nicotine, its ridiculous! I never had to be as discreet as this when I was caning coke ffs!


Friday, May 18, 2007

Good Times

Had a fantastic showbiz lunch at Joe Allen on Wednesday with great pals. The food was delicious and the company even better.

I even got dressed up, including wearing 'ladies shoes'. Well ankle boots, but the toes were very pointed and they had high heels! I haven't been "out" in high heels for years! I haven't worn anything but trainers and Birkenstocks for the longest time, cos my sense of balance is rubbish, but I didn't fall on my ass so I might give it another go, I felt very sophisticated. Gina and Ninia didn't even recognise me at first!

Of course real life stepped right back in yesterday as I was trapped in the house all day waiting for my annual boiler check...and it's official I am still a boiler. It did give me a chance to play with my new weights, which led to me realise that the hand weight I have been using is not 3kg but 3lb. So even with the smallest weights on the dumbells I have doubled the amount I am lifting. Still it's about time I stepped it up, and I just cut out one set of reps, which I can build back up to over the coming weeks.

Off to Cardiff soon to do a weekend at Jongleurs. Its been aaaaaaaages since I played there, and ages since I stayed in The Big Sleep hotel....hopefully they've gotten rid of the teddy bear fur curtains! The bill on the website looks pretty good, so I should have some cool people to hang out with.

Have a great weekend folks x


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Laters Gaters

Sooooooo what a brilliant day today has been! And all totally unexpected too.

Started off with an MOT at the doctors, who is ecstatic at how well I'm doing since the op. I've lost five stones now and only three and a half to go before I am officially skinny. I never thought I'd see the day when I could even allow myself to think I might reach that goal before!

From there I went to Argos to get some proper weights for my exercise regime. Up till now I've been using one 3kg hand weight I picked up god knows where years ago. So this time I bought proper cast iron ones with a combined weight of 20kg plus the weight of the bars to slot them on. What I didn't give thought to was how the hell I would ever carry them home! Seven carrier bags and a cab ride later I finally made it up the stairs to my flat with em. I guess I should have bought the 20kg plastic ones instead eh?

Then I got a call from my pal Tracy who I was supposed to meet for a drink tonight asking if I'd rather go to this week's recording of Later with Jools Holland. Hell Yeah!

So off we went to Shepherd's Bush and one of the first people I saw in the studio was my comedy chum Kevin McCarthy aka the Man with the Beard who I haven't had the pleasure of working with for far too long! Sadly we weren't deemed 'cool' enough to be allowed to sit at one of the tables at the front, but it was cool enough standing at the back.

The line-up was a wonderful blend of old and new with Joe Cocker, Cold War Kid, The Cribs, Kate Nash, Simply Red and the incredible Patti Smith, all playing live.

The beauty of going to this show is that you get two or three songs by each act which is plenty. At my age time is far too short to be standing in a stinky venue listening to a bunch of album fillers. As much as I enjoyed most of the stuff I saw tonight, the only one I wanted to see more of was Patti Smith. She was absolutely incredible...I might even try and see her do a proper gig.

I even got home in time to catch Bennet Aaron's 'How Not To Lose Your Identitiy' documentary on scarily easy is it for someone to become you?????? I'm gonna get me a shredder pronto!

The icing on the cake was the peaceful resolution of the personal problem that's been causing me agonies over the last couple of weeks. Thank you Mr A.


Monday, May 14, 2007

The Lives of Others

Soooooo I know you're all dying to know what film I saw yesterday. Yep it was the one in the title of this blog.

We went off to the Renoir Soho after a delicious lunch somewhere nearby - I'm not being deliberately cryptic here I just can't remember where the restaurant was - and picked up a couple of tickets for a movie I would never have chosen mysel.

There was a time when I used to go and see all the "arty" movies, if it had subtitles so much the better (I was in my 20's and going through a brief intellectual phase) but that really was a long time ago. The last subtitled movie I saw was Hong Kong Shuffle on the hotel telly in Bangkok last year.

So this one is a German film, set in 1984 and follows the tale of a Stasi officer who is eavesdropping on the country's leading playwright. Again, not a lot there to send me rushing off to the cinema. But my pal knows about these things and he said it was supposed to be brilliant.

He wasn't wrong. It was one of the most amazing films I've seen in a long time. I absolutely loved it. In my tradition of rating films by how soon into it I start fancying a fag, this one scores a 0 fag rating! It was about two and a half hours long too, which has gotta be a first for me.

I don't think it has a massive release, but if it's on at your local arthouse cinema get yourself down there.

One thing I noticed about the Renoir, apart from the fabulous cafe and comfy leather sofas where you can sit and wait, is that the majority of the people in there are people you never see at your local multiplex...I bet none of them has seen Superman 3!

Another bonus is that nobody was talking through the film, no crunching of popcorn, no mobile phone conversations...bliss!


Sunday, May 13, 2007

Teams That Meet In Caffs

The title for this blog is one of my favourite Dexys' tunes and kinda apt as I was performing in a caff this weekend.

The Comedy Cafe in Rivington St is rapidly becoming one of my top five venues to play. I've only recently started doing it again, but everything about it makes me look forward to a weekend there. The staff from Wayne the manager to Dalton the doorman are soooooo sweet and seem genuinely happy to see you when you arrive.

The audiences are generally really great, and I get to work with people I don't see a lot of. This weekend was no exception, Drew Barr was MC'ing and did a fantastic job. He was his usual charming self, the compliments flowing thick and fast...enough to turn a girl's head! Dougie Dunlop was also on and I love watching him work, he's got some great material and his take on his family is inspirational. Hal Cruttenden never disappoints, and his enthusiasm on and offstage is infectious.

I was doing sets and was a bit nervous, but had three crackers in a row. Last night the crowd were on the verge of hysteria, it was a bit disconcerting to be honest...I felt like Madonna!

The early summer seems to have retreated this morning, but no mind...I'm off for a lovely lunch and an afternoon at the movies with a good idea what we're gonna see, but then that's the beauty of life innit? You just never know what's around the corner.


Friday, May 11, 2007

What a Week!

Bimey! They say life is full of ups and downs, and this week sure has proved that, but I'm glad to say it's ending on all kinds of highs.

On the downside there was Monday's fiasco with the trip to Jersey, and a challenging personal issue that just won't seem to go away any time soon.

On the upside however, there have been tons of wonderful things happening. Seeing the Alan Yentob programme on Gilbert and George really inspired me...they just make me smile, and I managed to download the free artwork from the site before the time limit ran out!

I spent some quality time talking to quality friends which is always a blessing, and this morning was woken by a text telling me the excellent news that my pal Gina Yashere is gonna be one of the contenders in the US tv show Last Comic Standing!!!!!! She saw off competition from vastly experienced American comics like Thea Vidale to fly the flag for British women doing stand-up. I couldn't be more excited if it was me doing it! And unlike me, Gina is really focused and will romp home all the way to final I'm convinced.

After that I managed to get tickets to see Prince at the O2 in September...I haven't seen him since the 80's and am so excited about that!

Then I had one of my periodic trying on sessions with clothes I haven't been able to wear since I last lost weight 4 years ago, and today I can fit into the jeans I was wearing in the photo above! They're not even that skin tight!!!!!!

So tonight for my gig at the Comedy Cafe (last night's one was great fun btw) I shall be wearing them along with an H&M top that has been unwearable for four years too! I am so excited!


Tuesday, May 08, 2007

The Gig That Never Was...

So there I was yesterday morning up bright and early - ie 6am!!!! - so that I can get to the airport in good time to get the flight to Jersey.

Met up with Johnny Candon at Victoria Station at 9.10am, and off we went on the Gatwick Express. We checked in, went and had breakfast and met up with our MC for the evening Kevin Shepherd in the Departure Lounge.

Boarded the plane, sat on the tarmac for 30 minutes and eventually took off about 12.30. By 1pm we were over Jersey and preparing to land. At 2pm we were circling over Jersey for the third time still trying to land. The pilot told us that some kind of landing thing at the airport was broken and due to the poor visibility he couldn't get near enough to the ground to see the runway so we were going back to Gatwick.

At 2.30 we landed at Gatwick and were kept hanging about on the plane while they worked out what to do. We were all told that we could rebook on a later flight, but with two planes now heading back to Gatwick also, there were no guarantees. We called the guy who booked us, but being a bank holiday all we got was his answering machine. Left a message to the effect that we seemed to be having a 'snow day'.

I got my bag and asked again what the chances were of actually getting to Jersey in time for the gig and was told they were slim, so I got the Gatwick Express back to Victoria. Texted the woman who runs the gig in Jersey telling her what had happened, so that at least she wouldn't lose money on the hotel rooms. Johnny found me on the train and we got a call back from her demanding we go back and sit at Gatwick and wait to see if we might be able to get a flight!

Her attitude stunk quite frankly and I was quite glad when we went into a tunnel and the call was cut off. She rang back and spoke to Johnny accusing him of being a liar and telling him that Kevin was still at the airport and had re-booked us all on a flight leaving in an hour. Not sure how one person can book three people on a flight when he has no ID for the other two, but that's what she said. I could hear her screaming at Johnny and in the end, we were saved by another tunnel.

Spoke to someone from the London agency and explained and she was cool about it all...after all it wasn't like WE put the fog there or knobbled the bloke with the torch who guides planes into Jersey airport. We started the day with every intention of turning up and doing a great gig, sadly the weather and other circumstances meant that wasn't gonna happen, so we came home. Being abused by someone I've never met is not the way to get me to re-think my plans!

So a little tip for all promoters out there....sometimes shit with it.


Sunday, May 06, 2007


So there I was on Friday afternoon, bound for the south coast to do my gigs at Portsmouth Jongleurs.

The layout of the club aint great - it has the feel of a comedy club built when the owners thought the ass might drop out of comedy and so could be quickly converted into a looks more like Ministry of Sound than anything else. This means that the sightlines aren't great and the sound is far from brilliant...very far. The audiences however, are fantastic considering half of em can't see the stage and the other half can't hear the comics properly.

It's fair to say it's not an 'easy' gig for the above reasons, but I was looking forward to it. The sun was shining, the hotel is cool enough and its by the seaside, what's not to like? Oh yeah, where the gig is on Gunwharf Quays is also home to a ton of outlet shops all promising bargains, bargains, bargains!

I used to only be able to shop at the Whittard outlet, coffee and tea always fits, or one of the many kitchen equipment shops, but not this time...I am small enough to be able to fit into any of the clothes on offer.

I went early on the Friday just so I could have a quick look round before work, I was like a kid in a candy shop! Didn't spend owt well behaved am I? In the old days I'd buy anything that looked like it might fit, just in case someone else snapped it up, now I can afford to try things on and see if they actually suit me. To people who've never had a weight problem that might seem such a stupid thing to get excited about, but believe me its a big thing for me.

Friday's gig was awesome! Not something I thought I would ever say about this place but it was. They're doing some kind of deal with the University so that students get in cheaper if they come to the comedy before the disco, and they were one of the most clued up and vibrant crowds I've played to in a long time. Friday night shows can be difficult because the majority of the audience have been at work all week and after a couple of beers tend to be less responsive, but these kids - and they were kids the average age must've been about 20 - were so vibed up and ready for a great night out it was just bliss for all of us.

The line up was Kevin Hayes, Dom Carroll and Geoff Boyz. I haven't seen Geoff or Kevin for a loooong time, so it was fun to catch up. All of us were mightily energised by the crowd and all of us had a fantastic time....yayyyyy for students!

Saturday was spent wandering round the Quays in the sunshine. I looked at grown-up ladies' clothes in Hobbs and LK Bennet, tried on a few things that just were not me, and settled for a pair of cheap jeans at the Gap outlet. All the jeans I have are too big apart from my Primark bargain ones that I got in Leeds a couple of weeks ago, and even they're getting looser! Then sat and read my book in the sun for a while, it was like being on holiday!

Saturday's show was pretty good, but lacked the energy of the previous night, the average age had risen considerably, and I suspect quite a few of them had spent the afternoon in a beer garden somewhere having a couple of cheeky beverages...still they laughed in all the right places and were really well the point of being almost too polite!

Woke up ridiculously early this morning and as a result walked into my flat at 11.30...another bonus. I'm off to Jersey to do a gig tomorrow night, so making the most of my time at home.


Friday, May 04, 2007


This week has been a pretty good one, a time for planning the future, remembering the past, and taking stock of the present.

I've spent quality time with really good friends, thank you Mickey, Lesley and Sarah, I've finally begun to deal with something that has been pissing me off for years, I've remembered my Mum who's birthday it would've been last Wednesday, and I've exercised like a bugger. Who knew I could walk so far???

Times like this, peaceful times, mean that issues I've been avoiding come up and I have to deal with them in a calm, methodical way. This is a new skill to me, one I am still very much learning to be honest!

This week however, I haven't just reacted, obviously I did a little bit of drama queen hysterics, then I thought about how I could deal with those issues. I feel really proud of myself.

Weight loss wise I am on one of the periodical hiatuses, this happened last month too where I didn't lose an ounce for a few days, then lost a load in one hit, so I aint letting that get to me either. I'm looking waaaaaay better than I did at the start of the year, and as far as I am concerned, the only way is up.

Off to Portsmouth in a bit to do some gigs at Jongleurs. The sun is shining and it'll feel like a mini-break.

Whatever you're up to I hope you have a cracker.