Sunday, July 29, 2007

Bow Belles

Corny title I know.

The audience at Bow Jongleurs last night included a table of gals who had really gone to town...all tanned limbs, killer heels, slinky frocks, straightened hair and glamourous make-up. It was like a WAG convention! They looked fabulous.

Whatever size I've been in my life, I've never been one of those girls who could walk in 5 inch heels, or who's make-up stayed put all night no matter what I did. Hell I barely ever wear anything white cos I just cannot keep it clean (as witnessed when my Johnson's Holiday Skin tansferred itself from my body to my white broderie anglaise top during a torrential downpour in Hong Kong recently!). It looked like I'd spilt a cup of strong builders' tea down myself!

I have noticed that as I shed the pounds my wardrobe does become brighter, and more girly. When I'm big my entire closet looks like a funeral director's. Apart from the obvious reason that darker clothes do make you look smaller - tho when you're close to 20 stones nothing is that miraculous! - I think its cos I wanted to fade away into the background and not draw any more attention to myself than is necessary. Whereas when I am smaller and feel more confident, I'm happy to stand out in bright colours. I guess there's also that thing of not wanting to look like your great aunt's overstuffed chinz sofa when you're big too.

It's a really odd sensation but I've noticed that when you're big people don't see you, they just see the "bigness". As I've now lost close to 100lbs, I am very aware that men and women see "me". On the tube to the gig the other night a woman got on and did that really obvious checking me out from top to bottom thing. I cannot remember the last time someone did that, it sure never happened when I was mahoosive!

I love being able to shop in regular shops (especially Primark!) and to be able to wear girly clothes. My one sticking point is the heels. My sense of balance isn't brilliant - I can't even ride a bike for instance - but I find myself gazing longingly at wedges, platforms and good old-fashioned 'fuck me' pumps, wishing I could wear them instead of my usual flatties or trainers. I tried a pair on the other day and got bleedin' vertigo!

I remember back in the 80's wearing a pair of 4" heels with my fake Chanel suit and looking amazing. I was working at the Standard and was a proper 'yuppie' my salary did indeed exceed my years, which was the criteria apparently. I went drinking with some friends to the much missed Zanzibar club in Covent Garden. For probably the only time in my life I was one of those girls who looked immaculate.

The vodka definitely helped me walk in the shoes as I was more relaxed, until we left the Zanzibar and headed off to the Cafe de Paris that is. The doorman waved us through and we walked into the club. I remember standing at the top of those sweeping stairs feeling fabulous. The next thing I remember is being on my ass at the bottom of the stairs cos those bloody heels had let me down! That was about 1984 and that was the last time I went out in anything higher than a pair of Nike Air Max.

I have three pairs of high heels in the cupboard, including a gorgeous silver pair that make me feel like Shirley Maclaine in Sweet Charity, but if you look at the soles of all of them, you'll see they're as smooth and unblemished as a ladyboy's ass. Over the years the only time they've been worn is for sex. As I'm still not doing sex at the moment, the poor things lie dejected in the bottom of the wardrobe. Perhaps I need a man in my life, if not for shagging then at least he could prop me up when I go out in the heels and stop me from falling over!

Anyway, onto the gigs. We had two cracking nights at Bow, the bill was really strong, the fantastic Kojo who just gets stronger and slicker every time I see him, the wonderful Richard Morton, the fabulous Alastair Barrie sporting the bushiest and gingerest of beards (it's for a play he says, but secretly I think he likes having something furry on his face to stroke) and the always inspirational Tom Stade who was just magnificent this weekend. It was a joy as MC to bring people of this standard onstage, no fear of anyone 'bottling it 'and not doing their time, no fear of having a pile of crap onstage to clear up, just two great nights of comedy for everyone.

Cheers lads.


Friday, July 27, 2007

The Simpsons Movie

Was fantastic! Soooo funny. For once a movie lives up to the hype.

I went to see it yesterday at my (semi) local flea pit The Coronet, and on the way in it never crossed my mind that there might be kids in there. I'd forgotten that it was a cartoon! Homer and co just seem so much more real than any other tv family. From the opening credits to the closing ones there's just laugh after laugh, lots of sight gags, its just really smart.

On the JoJo patented 'Fag Test Film Review' scale it was a 0, meaning that not once did I lose interest in what was going on on-screen to think about wanting a ciggie.

Today's starting off promising, the sun is out, and apparently its gonna stay out for ages (well till Sunday) so I can wear summery clothes for the gigs at Bow this weekend...I get to sleep in my own bed...hurrah!


Wednesday, July 25, 2007


So just watched the first two episodes of the mega-hyped series, and I have to say I'm mildly hooked. Having listened to numerous people raving on about it when it was on the Sci-Fi channel - I don't have Sky the digi-box suits me fine, I can always find enough crap to numb my brain on there! - I was curious to see if it was indeed "better than Prison Break and Lost put together".

Seeing as I gave up halfway through series one on both of those I can't say I'm holding out much hope of seeing the conclusion of this either! Not because it's not entertaining, but because it's too much commitment! I didn't even start watching 24 cos I knew I didn't have 24 straight weeks to devote to it.

I do like the premise that ordinary people can be extra-ordinary tho, I have a few people like that in my life. They can't fly or mend multiple broken bones but I have some heroes, people who inspire me, and for that I feel really lucky.

So thank you Gina, Oge, Mat, Sarah, and many others. All of you inspire me in different ways, you show me what life is all about.


Monday, July 23, 2007

Water, Water, Everywhere!!!!!!!

Soooooo what a weekend!

What is it they say about the best laid plans going awry? I had all kindsa fabby things lined up for the weekend, lunches with other comics, meetings with old mates in the Brum area, free lifts between my home and the gig, etc, etc. Guess what? None of it happened!

A bit of water falls from the sky, and the whole world comes to a standstill. How mad is that?

What did happen tho, is that I had three amazing gigs, and did some of the new material I've been working on recently, and best of all it got laughs!

The bill was not as advertised on any of the nights, on Thursday we had Gary Delaney, Tom Wrigglesworth and Craig Campbell. All three of them had corkers, and all three are top blokes in the dressing room too...always a bonus.

Friday looked and felt like the end of the world. The rain bucketing down, cold, dark skies, it was a day for staying indoors. Sadly the hotel was being renovated and the relentless thud of the jackhammers meant that really wasn't an option. I braved the elements and spent a couple of hours plundering the rails in TK Maxx...all I came out with was a bra and a top though. It's like a mad jumble sale in there!

Friday night's bill was supposed to be Howard Read, Jason Wood and Craig again. I got to the club to find Jason sitting there looking really rough. He'd spent six hours driving up through the rain and was full of flu or something. I've never seen him so subdued. A replacement was found for him in the shape of Mick Ferry, so Jason got back in his van and drove right back to London...poor sod.

Again it was another cracking night for all of us, and while I was sad to see Jason go, it was cool to spend time with Mick who I didn't know that well before. It's amazing how you bond over quick fags outside!

Saturday was dry-ish so I hit the shops with a bit more vengence than Friday. Didn't spend that much but got a fantastic shocking pink cashmere jumper in Primark for £25!

Another blinding gig Saturday night with the same bill as Friday.

Then there was only the dilemma of how to get home. The trains weren't guaranteeing any kind of service, so I booked myself a seat on the National Express 3am service to London. Once I got back to the hotel, I thought about the safety aspect of hanging round Digbeth Coach Station at that time of the morning. I've done it before, but I was way bigger and more formidable looking then. I decided that, no matter how keen I was to get home, it wasn't worth risking being attacked, so I decided to take my chances with the train on Sunday.

As it turned out, it was a wise move. The sun was shining, the journey - by train, bus and train again - was only three hours in total, and it was all pleasant enough.

So, not quite the weekend I had planned but a good 'un nonetheless.


Thursday, July 19, 2007

Is It Wrong?

To have a crush on Alex from the Arctic Monkeys?

He's only 19 or something, but I am totally in lurve! His lyrics are mind-blowing from someone so young.

I saw their Glastonbury appearance and for the first time thought how cute he was, it is wrong I think as I'm old enough to be his granny! It's not a "jiggy-jiggy" crush, I just think he's fabulous!

The ultimate seal of approval for music from me these days is if, after having 'borrowed' something from Limewire, I then go out and buy the album. This week I did just that with both Arctic Monkeys albums, they're on my shuffle and I find myself fast forwarding to get to them. The first album was great but the second, for me is even better!

Anyway, confession time over, I'm off to Birmingham later to do three nights at The Glee Club. Its been aaaaaages since I was there as I had to pull my February dates cos of having my op. I'm sooooooo excited!!!!!!

Have a good 'un folks xx


Monday, July 16, 2007

Big Brother (Again)

In keeping with my annual tradition, I watched the first show of this series and thought 'What a bunch of attention-seeking freaks. Lock the doors, turn the cameras off and leave em to rot.' For two weeks I just didn't bother to watch. Fair enough I was in Hong Kong for one of those weeks, but even when I got back I was determined not to get sucked in.

That was a month ago. Here I am again, watching it every damn night, setting my alarm on Saturday mornings so that I can catch the repeat of the Friday eviction show, giving a shit who gets evicted!

I loved the fake week last week, and I have to say Charley's capacity for self-delusion is awe inspiring! Once again we have a mixture of wannabe's, damaged souls, and folks just up for a new experience.

I do despair for Chanelle's mental state, anyone whose life's ambition is to be a Posh lookey-likey is on a hiding to nothing. Watching her torture Ziggy now that he's dumped her is pretty frightening, and seeing her self-destruct on an almost daily basis is causing me a bit of concern. I think back to when I was 19, everything was 'life or death' for me too. I just hope she has a good support network lined-up for when she comes out, she's gonna need it.

Brian makes me smile, he may not be the most educated person in the world, but what a great guy he is. I like his sense of right and wrong, and his resistance to be coerced into following the pack.

Carole seems to be having just the best fun, while Nicky is just far too bitter for a 28 year old! The twins just freak me out, tho I'm sure they've got a great career in soft porn ahead of them.

My favourite character is Tracy. I love her ability to just withdraw from the neediness around her. She's funny and sharp, and I love the way she uses her catchphrases when she cannot be arsed to have a conversation with the others.

Go Tracy!


A Change Is As Good...

...As a rest they say, but after a week 'ooop North' battling the cold and rain I'm not so sure!

I had a cracking time with my Dad, and a couple of blinding gigs at the Comedy Lounge in Manchester. It was good fun doing sets for a change, and the audiences both nights were great.

Instead of running out for a fag every five minutes I gave the Nicorette gum a go. The first piece tasted like I was chewing an old fag butt, but I got used to it, and it really works!

The bill in Manchester was really strong, we had Windsor compering, Dougie Dunlop and Colin Cole on either side of me (the traditional girl sandwich!). All of us did the business, and on Friday night we went off for a meal in ChinaTown after the show, which was great fun.

The sun managed to break out on Saturday, what a difference that makes! I hit the massive Primark for a smaller pair of the £6 jeans, and checked out the dregs of the sales at Harvey Nics and Selfridges, but didn't buy a thing!

Sunday was home day and I was soooooo excited to be heading back to London, in spite of the three and a half hour train journey. I was loaded up with the Sunday papers - including the Mail cos I wanted Prince's new album - and best of all bumped into John Fothergill on the train.

We ended up with a whole carriage to ourselves, and the trip passed by so quickly. It's amazing what a difference good company makes.


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Exotic Travel Never Ends...

So today I'm off to the North to do a bit of family visiting and then gigs at the weekend in the Opus Lounge in Manchester.

Have a good week y'all.


Monday, July 09, 2007

In't Comedy Brilliant!

What a fantastic weekend I had in Bristol!

The line-up was really strong, Mike Milligan, Ben Norris and Miss Mandy Knight. It was a great chance to catch up as I hadn't seen Mandy for about a year, and Ben for even longer. I hadn't even seen Mike since some lively Christmas shows in Glasgow last year.

Friday night's show was another one of those dream shows...the audience were just ready right from the start. I was MC'ing and it was bliss to be up there chatting to them. Everyone had stormers.

Ben's material is just a masterclass in comedy writing and his personality adds that extra sparkle to an already diamond-like set.

Mandy was on fire too, I absolutely love her onstage persona, she says all the things we all wanna say but don't have the balls to. She does it with such charm that it's nigh on impossible to take offence at anything she says. I got as much of a buzz from watching the audience loving her as I did from watching her.

It was the first weekend of the English smoking ban too, so I expected to have to talk to myself for hours in between Mike and Ben, but gawd bless em, the management have brought in a policy whereby if anyone goes out for a fag before the interval they have to stay out till worked like a dream. Well done folks.

As with recent gigs elsewhere in the world where smoking is banned indoors, I too smoked a fraction of what I would've normally, which is always a bonus. Thank god the hotel - the Marriott - haven't completely banned smoking and kept on a number of smoking rooms tho.

Saturday afternoon was spent having a long lunch with Mandy. Its so rare to work with another woman, and the pair of us made the most of it, catching up on each others' lives. It was wonderful.

Saturday night's gig had all the makings of a disaster, there'd been a problem getting all the meals out on time and so we started 45 minutes late. As I walked on I passed a couple of people complaining loudly about all kinds of things and I have to say I was apprehensive.

Turned out just fine tho. Again they were a great crowd, and once again all of us had a cracking time.

I love weekends like this!


Friday, July 06, 2007

Yesterday and Today

So it turns out I am a bit psychic! I wrote that post yesterday morning about clothing manufacturers making clothes bigger than the size says, so that women will buy them, then after I'd posted it I heard on the news that Europe is trying to make them do the same as they do for men's clothing, ie have the sizes in inches. How forward thinking am I?

Having said that, I am girly enough to enjoy that thrill of getting into a lower size than I really am, and its all very new to me so I don't want it to change just yet!

Even Richard & Judy discussed it last night with some fashion bird and a certain blonde female TV and Radio 'personality' who was going on about how she was a size 14. Now years and years ago, she claimed to have lost an enormous amount of weight through diet and exercise alone, tho there were plenty of rumours of secret liposuction playing a part in it all. Anyway at that time she claimed to be a size 12.

I was asked to do a TV show with her, and while I was having my make-up done, the make-up artist asked me what I thought of her, I said I felt that - at that time - she was a very troubled woman. The make-up artist replied "I'll say she is! She makes the wardrobe people sew size 12 labels in all her size 16 frocks!'

I guess she has a collection of size 14 labels to sew into the new ones.

Anyway, apart from being a bitch, I also got meself a bit of culcha yesterday. I went to the Tate Modern to see the Dali and Film exhibition. To be really honest, I only went cos the weather was so shit and this was an indoor activity.

I love Dali's work, it reminds me of when I spent a summer doing acid back in the early 80's and saw cruise missiles flying over Milton Keynes bowl while David Bowie was onstage, but I've seen so much of his work recently that it wasn't like a burning desire to see this show.

Blimey! How wrong was I? Just when you think you've seen enough, he goes and blows your mind all over again! There were some very dark paintings from his early years, plus of course the two best known movies Un Chien andalou (that eyeball slicing scene is still one of the most gruesome images ever) and L'Age d'or, but they also had the dream sequence from Hitchcock's Spellbound which is awesome, and best of all Disney's Destino!

This project begun in 1946, was finally completed in 2003, and my's breathtaking. Disney and Dali, just the perfect pairing, its sooooo beautiful!

I also went round one of the permanent collection rooms and spent ages drooling over Francis Bacon's Second Version of's one of the most emotional things I've ever seen.

Apart from all the great art in the Tate Modern, its also a very cool gallery. One of things I always loved about the place was the balcony where you can nip outside for a fag in between looking at the art. I fully expected that balcony to be non-smoking now that the ban has come in, but no, they've left us our sanctuary. You can get yer fix while gazing over the Thames and it just makes you love London even more.

Well done Tate!

So, onto today, I'm off to Bristol later for a couple of gigs at Jongleurs and its been a while since I played there, so I'm looking forward to it, especially if the line-up is the same as on the website. On top of that, they've changed the hotel we stay in and aparently its got both a swimming pool and smoking rooms, so I can do a few lengths and have a fag afterwards...yay!


Thursday, July 05, 2007

Food Porn and Vanity Jeans

So yesterday I paid my first visit to the new Whole Foods Market in Kensington. It's the flagship store of the HUGE American food store. Not quite organic, not quite as ethical as you'd imagine, but having read all the reports I decided to give it the once over.

It's on the site of the old Barker's department store, which during my Evening Standard years, was my local shop as their offices are above it. I couldn't imagine how a grocery shop could fill that huge space but my god it does!

The idea is that everything in there, while not being necessarily organic, is locally sourced or at least leaving a smaller carbon footprint than yer Tesco's or Asda's.

I'm no expert on environmental issues, but surely there's no need to stock Evian water when you have British mineral waters available as well? I guess they'd argue its about choice, but it seems this shop is neither one thing nor t'other.

What it is tho, is a temple to marketing. Everything looks so damn delicious and sexy!

My food intake has decreased dramatically in the last five months, but even I was getting a thrill looking at the gazillion different kinds of cheese, olives, nuts and seeds! Didn't buy any of it tho, just looking filled me up. It truly is food porn!

From there I went into Uniqlo - a kinda Japanese Gap with lower prices - and treated myself to a pair of jeans. As my ones from four years ago fitted, I figured I'd go for a size 12 again, tho didn't expect them to fit. I thought my old ones only fit cos I'd probably stretched them out when I was wearing them before.

I tried em on and they did fit, in fact they fit better than the old Levis, not loose exactly, but very, very comfy, in a "no need to hold my breath doing em up" kinda way. Of course I bought em, cos I'm a sucker for any kind of flattery and they do look really good on.

When I got home I got to thinking, have the sizes changed over the years? The last time I can genuinely remember being a size 12 was when I was 18 and had a mini-bout of anorexia. I'd just moved to London and felt really fat and provincial, so I stopped eating. At nine stones a size 12 was a good fit.

Today I am a fair way off being nine stones, and a 12 is still a good fit. How can that be?

Perhaps clothes manufacturers have realised that by making stuff bigger and making the numbers smaller we will buy more. Surely they couldn't be that cynical? Could they?


Monday, July 02, 2007

Faaaaaaaaabulous Weekend!!!!!!!!!

So, after my spending frenzy on Thursday, it was time to make some dosh. I was at the Comedy Cafe and the Friday show was an early one again which was brilliant cos it meant I'd be all done by 8.15!

Gina came along and after the gig we jumped a cab to Camden Town for a spot of dinner. We found a great place on Inverness St called Zensai, which basically did a mix of Chinese, Japanese and Thai food. Having learned our lesson from the previous dinner, we didn't over-order (tho neither of us finished our meals), but what we got was delicious! Really tasty and great service. On top of that they did the most delicious 'mocktails' ... mmmmm.

After the nosh we went up the road to Jongleurs where Ninia Benjamin was closing the show. I'd only seen Ninia MC before, so was dead excited about seeing her do a set. She came on to quite a lairy crowd and just wowed them with force of her personality! God she's funny!!!!!!! If you haven't seen Ninia before, do yerself a favour and see her now! I am still giggling at some of her lines.

After the show, Ninia very kindly gave me a lift home, and the three of us came up for a bit of a girly chat. Both Ninia and I are close to Gina, and we're both a bit sad that she's gonna be buggering off and leaving us for a while. Having said that, both of us are dead proud that she's gonna be in Last Comic just know she's gonna do the business and show those American comedians how it's done!

Saturday was spent being all domesticated, ironing and rubbish like that. I also did another one of my clear outs, I'm now slinging out post-op clothes that are too big. I found a pair of jeans I'd kept from 4 years ago, skinny leg vintage Levis that are a size 12. The last time I tried em on, they just about got over my hips but no way were they gonna do up. I plucked up the courage to give it another go. Well guess what? They fit!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can breathe and sit down in em and everything!!!!!!!

Needless to say, a few hours later I was on my way to Shoreditch wearing them *grin*. Saturday night's gig was really good fun, and being on first meant I could be back home before midnight. I had a little chat with the other acts before I left, then headed for home....bliss!

Waking up in my own bed on a Sunday is such a wonderful and fairly rare occurance, so I try to make the most of those special days. One friend made some kinda vague plans but they fizzled out so I thought 'sod it' and went off to the Barbican to see the Panic Attack exhibition of Art from the Punk Rock era.

It was actually sunny which was a bonus, but the crappy weather has made me nervous so I packed a coat into my Burberry bag, goddam it was heavy! En route, Steve rang to see if I fancied meeting up for some food about 4pm then accompanying him to some charity auction thing he was doing in Covent Garden. The timings worked brilliantly so I said yes.

The exhibition was pretty good, it covered the years 1974-1984, with work from British and American artists. Of course there was a bit of Jamie Reid there, but there was also some pieces from the COUM collective with works by Cossey Fan Tutti and Genesis P Orridge that were shown at the ICA in the mid-70's and created an almighty row! I think it was perhaps the used tampons in display cases that did it! Thirty years on they just look a bit dirty.

The highlight for me was getting to see a piece by Keith Haring in the flesh, so to speak. I've seen and collected prints of his work over the years, I even had a Vivienne Westwood hoodie with his Radiating Baby on it back in the day. But to see the real thing was really special. They also had a couple of pieces by Jean Michel Basquiat who I love too.

Some of the content was explicit, and I was given a warning when I bought my ticket, but I said to the guy "I lived through it, I think I can cope with a few paintings".

It's a really great way of spending a couple of hours folks, check it out if you have any interest in Punk or Art.

After that, I got the tube to Leicester Square to meet Steve and Hugh. The sun was blazing and I was cursing myself for bringing the coat now! We went to the New World and had dim sum which was a first for me. I've eaten the dumplings before, but not like this. I remember coming here about 20 years ago and being so bewildered that I got some noodles and buggered off. Hugh was the expert so we chose a selection of baskets from the trolleys that were constantly going round. It was delicious and just the right portion sizes for me.

Then we went off to Steve's auction. He was a bit vague about the details having only been asked to do it two days before, but it was in aid of MS, so he was happy to do it. We got the the venue (which was a part of the old Browns nightclub) and went in. It turned out that it was being filmed for a series coming up on Living TV called Pete's PA. The Pete in question being Pete Burns!

They were down to the final two contenders and both of em had three days to organise a pre-wedding party for Pete and his partner, and to make it a charity fundraiser. Steve wasn't told it was being filmed, and wasn't too happy about it (don't blame him) but he agreed to go ahead. There was a pretty odd range of items being auctioned and Steve did a great job as auctioneer, raising over £2000 in less than 30 minutes.

It's the first time I'd seen Pete Burns close up for almost 30 years, and boy it's a warning to us all to be careful about which plastic surgeon we choose! God love him, he seemed a bit bewildered by the whole thing, but sweet enough. And he had shoes on which makes a change as I usually see him running around Notting Hill Gate barefoot!

It was a great day spent with great company...I'm really loving life at the moment!