Monday, October 29, 2007

A Fantastic Weekend And A Lesson In Tolerance

Soooooo Thursday saw me dashing off to Kings Cross to catch my train to Leeds. The station was heaving and it was only when I saw the amount of kids running around that I realised of course that it was half term week. Still, I managed to get a seat on the train, and it was a quick journey.

The gigs all weekend were amazing, each one building on the previous one. The line-up was pretty cool, Johnny Candon (that's two weeks in a row we've worked together, we're becoming a comedy mother and son act!), Brian Higgins and Nick Revell.

Nick had 10 years off the circuit and only came back to it a couple of years ago. I know I feel rusty after a couple of weeks off, so gawd knows the nerves involved returning after 10 years!!! He's hit the ground running tho and did four quality sets in a row.

It's great when you work with people you get on really well with, we hung out together after the shows, had lunch, and the vibe was just really relaxed.

It was a first for me too, I did all my gigs in heels! I tend to be a bit clumsy, so have never dared go onstage in anything higher than a trainer, imagining I'd go flat on my ass if I did, but this weekend I wore my black patent f**k me boots and what a difference it makes. It's dead odd, but certainly as an MC I felt I had more authority onstage, like a comedy dominatrix I guess.

Like all girlies I've always had a love of high heels, and have several pairs in my shoe cupboard, but if you were to check the soles of any of them, you'd see that they're as clean and shiny as the day they were bought. The main reasons for never wearing them out is the fear of falling off them, as well as the pain caused by the load bearing down on them. Now that I am lighter that pain is pretty much gone, and my sense of balance has improved dramatically.

Just wait, you'll see me in my Louboutin's in no time!

On the way home yesterday, I treated myself to the upgrade and got a comfy seat in First Class. I spread the Sunday papers out and switched on the iPod, and just generally settled in for the trip. Three or four stops down the line this group of people got on, and cos my music was low I could hear the conversation. The carriage had filled up pretty much but I still had a four-seater table to myself.

I could hear this woman moaning that they couldn't get seats altogether, and when she spotted me she was mouthing off about how I should move cos I was on my own, and there were four of them. She had no idea that I could hear her, so I kept my head buried in the paper and feigned ignorance. I was thinking that I'd be more than happy to move, there was a single seat across the way, but her attitude really riled me.

Eventually, the other woman in the group (the one with manners) asked me politely if I'd mind moving so they could sit together, and all smiles, I said that'd be no problem. I gathered up my stuff and moved seats, and the two couples took the four seater. The rude, mouthy one wanted everyone to know that they were really important and kept talking about her job in a really loud voice, which got louder as they consumed their 'picnic' of Buck's Fizz and crisps.

I had to turn my iPod up really loud to drown her out, but then I noticed something different in my reaction to her. I was mildly put out at the way she'd spoken and she was a wee bit embarrassed when I so graciously gave up my seat, but a year ago something like that would've wound me up for days.

In Buddhist teachings you learn that all sentient beings are seeking happiness, and that we all have our own way of trying to find it. This has made me far more tolerant of others than I ever thought possible, and these people really brought that home. They've bought into the dream and with the aid of copious amounts of alcohol, manage to almost convince themselves that they're living it, but you can tell by their behaviour that they don't quite believe it, and feel cheated.

We all have our prejudices, and one of mine is people who've made a bit of money and overcompensate for their insecurity by being really loud and showy. As a fellow northerner, I find it embarrassing when they behave like that woman was. But then it hit me, she was just trying to be happy, but under all the bluster she felt insecure and overcompensated by acting like a twat. This point was illustrated beautifully as the train pulled into Kings Cross. The walkway was full of people waiting to get off the train, and she -by now very drunk - said 'We've got to pack these glasses away, they're my best champagne glasses'. She then noticed everyone looking at the rather plain 6 for £2 from IKEA champagne flutes, and corrected herself 'well they're not my best glasses but they have sentimental value'.

Instead of laughing at such an obvious display of nouveau riche vulgarity, I kinda felt sorry for her. I hope none of her glasses got smashed.


Thursday, October 25, 2007

Big Willies and Massive Cracks!!!!!!

Sooooo yesterday I headed off to the Tate Modern to see the Louise Bourgois exhibition.

The first time she entered my stratosphere was about 20 years ago when I saw a Robert Mapplethorpe photo of her holding what appeared to be a huge dismembered penis under her arm.

I saw her one of her Spiders when the Tate first opened and another at the Guggenheim in Bilbao over the years, but I'd never seen any of her other work till yesterday.

Its a really comprehensive collection of her life's work and totally brilliant! I walked around the rooms with a huge grin on my face the entire time. I love her seriousness as well as her playfulness, there's a series called Personages which are similar to the sculptures of Giacometti, they're like skinny totem poles and there's one in particular that really made me smile. It's called Persistent Antagonism, and according to Louise it 'refers to sex, men showing off their penises. It is irritating. The macho bit is irritating. I have nothing against the penis. It is the wearer of the penis'

I giggled for ages at that quote, it reminded me of an old bit of material I used to do around the time of the Lorena and John Wayne Bobbit story, when I used to say she threw the wrong bit away!

After I'd seen all of her marvellous work I had a little wander round the Turbine Hall to check out Doris Salcedo's installation... aka the big crack. It's about how society is divided etc etc. I guess intellectually she has a point, but I watched all the kids playing on it, bridging the gap between the sides and if she is right, perhaps there's hope for us all eh?

The brilliant day was topped by a call from Jongleurs moving me from Bristol this weekend to Leeds. I love playing Bristol Jongleurs and was looking forward to it, but I love Leeds more. I get an extra gig so more wonga in the pot, and to be really honest, the Primark in Leeds is a million times better than the one in Bristol, so yayyyy!

This morning I had some more fab news, I got on the scales and that's two more pounds I've lost this week - 8st 2lbs in total - and my BMI is now 24 down from 40 at the time of the op. For the first time since I was 19 I am no longer 'overweight' or 'obese', I am 'normal'!!!!!!!!!!!!

How faaaaaabulous!


Monday, October 22, 2007

Two Good Flights On Easyjet...SHOCKA!!!!!!!

Sooooo last Thursday I made my way to glamourous Luton Airport for my flight to Glasgow.

You know how sometimes everything just runs smoothly when you're travelling? You don't? Me neither, usually. If it's not delayed trains or planes, it's numpty jobsworths at the airport giving you grief over nothing, or a wait for your luggage at the other end that's longer than the actual flight.

Not this time tho! Oh no, I got to the airport about 15 minutes before check in opened for my flight and instead of the mass queues, there were just a few people milling about, the nice man even let me check-in early without mentioning the fact that he was behaving in a perfectly rational way, something Easyjet are not famed for let's be honest.

As I made my way up to the security check, again no massive queue, and relative sanity from the staff there. I was wearing a pair of Nike Air Max with the air bubble in the sole making them completely see-through and, whilst I've worn these same shoes at many other airports, the guy at Luton could plainly see there was no bomb in there so I didn't even have to take my shoes off.

The flight was called at the correct time, boarding was painless, and we even took off on time! A first. We landed a few minutes ahead of schedule, and weren't kept hanging around for ages, and within minutes of arriving at the baggage reclaim, my case came tumbling out of the carousel. A miracle.

The gigs were cracking all three nights. Mind you, it was a great line-up. Me as MC, James Dowdswell, Johnny Candon and Mark Walker...all three of whom tore it up each night. The lovely Patrick who runs Glasgow Jongleurs made it all flow smoothly, and the audiences were fab.

Dave Johns and Ben Hurley were also in town, appearing at The Stand, and they came over for a drink on Thursday night. It's been a while since I saw Dave so it was great to catch up. On Friday, the whole gang of us met up for lunch. There was lots of good natured ribbing and lots of laughs, it was great fun.

Travelling home yesterday, I didn't allow myself to dream that we might have a hassle free trip back, but bugger me, we did! Again my case was amongst the first few outta the hole too!

I love it when a plan comes together!


Thursday, October 18, 2007



I am off to do a weekend at Glasgow Jongleurs today. It's been ages since I did a full weekend away and I'm really looking forward to it. It's a great line-up, the hotel is cool, and the shops are fabulous....yay!


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Size 6!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Soooooo the shopping spree continues...

Feeling sufficiently fit on Monday I went off to the West End on a quest. I started wearing these boyfriend fit jeans from Uniqlo a few months back, the cut, the denim and the fit of them is just fabulous, and at £24.99 they're pretty reasonably priced (not in the £6 a pair from Primark league, but not bad).

So far I've had pairs in size 14, 12, 10 and 8. I wanted another pair of the really dark denim ones and that was Monday's quest. Both west end branches had plenty of size 16's but no others. When I asked one of the sales assistants she said she thought they were being discontinued cos there'd been no new deliveries for the last few weeks. She suggested trying their website, which I did when I got home. They had the dark denim ones but only in a size 6.

As I still want to lose more weight I figured I'd risk ordering a pair in the hope that they might fit in a couple of months' time. Yesterday morning they arrived - great service! - and as I opened the package I was kinda grinning to myself about the absurdity of me owning a pair of jeans (or anything) that was size 6. Nine months ago I was size 26!!!!

I decided to give myself a laugh by trying them on now, and bugger me, they fit!!!!!!!!! I could get em done up without resorting to laying on the bed, and once they were fastened I could breathe and everything! There was barely any 'muffin top' hanging over the top either! None at all if I breathed in.

When I had the op back in February, I didn't really have any specific target for the weight loss, I just didn't wanna be obese any more. I had a vague dream of being able to fit into a size 14 anything, but that seemed far fetched. Now here I am, eight months later fitting into a pair of size 6 jeans.

I had the results back from my latest blood test last week too, and they were even better than the previous ones four months ago. As wonderful as it is to be able to get clothes anywhere, that's the real thrill of all of this, being fit and healthy. God bless Mr Fiennes and his team!


Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Weekend...

Has been weird.

I was working at Reading Jongleurs which I love doing for various reasons, not least that it's an easy one for me to get to (usually), the staff are always friendly and this weekend there was the added bonus of working with Andre Vincent who I get to see far too little of these days.

So Thursday night was a bit quiet but I did some of my new stuff and felt good about that, Friday was blinding, easily the best gig of the weekend and Saturday was packed and raucous, just how I like it!

Getting home on Friday and Saturday was a nightmare tho. Friday the train crawled at about 3 miles an hour, a 25 minute journey taking almost an hour, and if that wasn't bad enough, Saturday night there was no trains at all! They were repairing the track and were supposed to shut the line at 10.30 but for no apparent reason, they shut it an hour earlier, so it was the coach for me. The one bonus was that the driver was pretty cool and dropped me at Notting Hill so I could get the bus home a bit quicker.

Friday night too I noticed that I felt a bit 'not quite right' like I was coming down with something and by the time I got in the house last night I was soooooo lightheaded I thought I was gonna faint!

This morning I felt too sick to do my exercises...I never miss them if its possible, so I knew something was up. Suffice to say, apart from a quick trip across the road to get some Sunday papers, I've spent the day indoors trying to get well.

One incredibly bright spot today tho, I got on the scales this morning and I have now lost 8 stones exactly!!!!!!!!!!!! In eight months....yay me!


Adam Bloom's Fabulous Card Trick!

I'm a bit like a kid when it comes to magic, and while I absolutely love watching Adam do stand-up, I am enthralled by his magic. He's posted a clip on YouTube of a brand new trick he's invented and it's incredible!

Either click on the title above or c&p the link below to see for yourself.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Before and After

When I write these posts I always assume that nobody reads them, but the stats tell me differently!

Now, I've been blethering on for ages about losing weight and it hit me that there are very few photos of me around from when I was big. Unless you know me, you'd never know the incredible difference having the gastric by-pass has made to my life, and not just in the way I look.

Needless to say, I was pretty camera shy when I was fat, but I've found one taken a few years ago and thought I'd put it up next to one of the photos taken last night, so you can see the difference. I'm pretty amazed I have to say.




Comedy Blue

Sooooo yesterday was the day. I'd been looking forward to doing the second series of Comedy Blue ever since Cameron the producer asked me to do it in up in Edinburgh back in August.

The first reason I was so excited was that I rarely ever get asked back anywhere! The second was pure vanity. When I did last year's show I was huge, and it wasn't until I saw the dvd back in May this year did I realise just how huge I was! I had planned to put a clip up on MySpace, but when I saw it there was no way!

So I got the train to Brighton where they film it as part of the Brighton Comedy Festival, and headed over to the Dome. Some of the team working on the show worked on last year's and it was great to see their reactions when they saw me.

My bestest pal Stephen K Amos was there already, as always it was fab to be spending time with him. I checked the running order, and saw that I had the same spot as last time, on second. Steve was first on. I love going on early cos it means the crowd aren't too 'filthed out' and there's little chance of any overlap of material.

Lovely Sarah the make-up lady was happy to see me, I was the only girl on the show and it meant she got to do more than just a bit of powdering. I love having my make-up done by professionals, you get such great tips from them! Last year she used this amazing stuff on my eyebrows, and I went straight out and bought some.

After Steve and I had eaten the delicious cooked dinner, I plonked myself in her chair and let her work her magic. The first thing to go on was a pair of false eyelashes. I've never worn these before, fearful of glueing my eyes shut, or one of em dropping down my cheek as the night progresses. I'm a clumsy bugger at the best of times, I once lost a stick on fingernail up a guy's ass! Worst of that was, I never told him, and spent the rest of the night hiding the nail-less finger!

It's amazing the difference they make boy! I had no other make-up on but instantly looked wide awake! Twenty or so minutes later I was transformed. TV make has to be heavier and stronger cos of the lighting, and in the dim lights backstage I looked like I was ready to go and do a turn at the Vauxhall Tavern. Some of the other comics, including Sean Hughes, Richard Herring, Glenn Wool, Jason Rouse, Steve Hughes, Andrew Lawrence (who looks so cute with his new haircut!), and Josh Howie were sitting around eating their dinner, and boy did they get a shock when I turned round!

I launched into a quick refrain of "I am what I am" then scooted off to get into my outfit.

Now this is probably not the most professional thing to admit but I spent more time working out what I'd wear on the show than what I would say! Vain old cow that I am! I figured they could always dub in more laughs, but there was no way they could photoshop my appearance!

Being the only girl on I had my own dressing room, it's fun being a minority sometimes! And once I'd wrestled myself into the size 10 Primark super skinny jeans, the black patent fuck me boots, and the trendy (and bloody expensive!) Portobello Road blinged up Rolling Stones t-shirt that fit like a glove I allowed myself a small moment of pride as I looked at the reflection in the mirror. I keep saying that this is the easiest way ever to lose weight, but the reality is that the operation was incredibly painful, and there are mornings I don't feel like doing the hardcore training, so I have put the work into this.

Steve came in and almost had tears in his eyes as he looked at me. He was astonished at the way I looked, and clearly so happy for me.

I put my tuxedo jacket on and we went back upstairs. I managed to get a couple of photos taken...I wanted to preserve this moment for posterity.

The fantastic Jason Byrne was hosting the show this year, and by the time Sarah had applied my lippy he was warming up the crowd before bringing Steve on. As I stood watching Steve on the monitor, the nerves kicked in. Suddenly how I looked wasn't as important as how I performed. I nipped out for a quick fag and tried to go through what I was gonna do. Jason Rouse came up to me and told me I looked a million dollars and assured me I'd be fine, then it was time to go on.

My mouth was dry, my heart really pumping in a way it doesn't even when I'm on my 80th reverse crunch, and somehow I found myself in front of the audience. This material wasn't that polished, but I spoke from the heart and they responded to that. People know when you are speaking the truth. Before I knew it, the red light was on telling me I'd done my time, and I was backstage being congratulated by the others.

As we were on so early, Steve and I decided to head back to London rather than stay over. The fact that there were no smoking rooms at the hotel played a part in that decision too I have to say! I changed back into my jeans and trainers, loads more comfy than the winkle pickers!

By 11pm I was walking back into my house, still with the full make-up on but minus the false eyelashes, they felt so weird on my eyes that I had to peel em off on the train home.

What a fantastic night, what a brilliant experience. A massive thank you to everyone who made it possible.


Monday, October 08, 2007

I Did It!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


So Saturday night I went off to do Bristol Jongleurs, its been a while since I did an out of town stopover and I was actually looking forward to staying in a hotel for the night. Mind you it was a Marriott, if it'd been a Travelodge I might not have been so keen.

The bill was really strong, Kevin Hayes, Phil Butler who was just so silly and so much fun to watch and really stormed it, and my old mate Carey Marx who was closing the show and killed it! He's such a great act these days.

I was MC'ing and if I do say so myself I was on fire! I felt pretty pleased with the whole night.

Afterwards I stuck around with Carey for a drink outside - so we could have a fag - and we were joined by Nick Doody who'd been playing the other gig in Bristol, Jesters. Its been ages since I got a chance to sit down and chat with either of those guys, so it was a cracking end to a great night.

I've noticed a new thing that's started happening at gigs now, men (usually very drunken ones) have started chatting me up! How mad is that? A few came up after Saturday's show, but the sweetest one was this guy who looked about 15. He'd had a couple of beers I'm guessing, and all he could say was 'How f**king funny are you?' over and over then he just stood there trying to think of something else to say. Bless him. Whoever you are, you made an old woman feel good!

I was up at the crack of dawn yesterday to get the train back to London. These cheap advance train tickets are fantastic, except that getting an early train which seems like a good idea on a Wednesday, doesn't feel quite so good on a Sunday morning! I treated myself to the upgrade, and read the papers all the way was painless enough.

Last night I was doing one of my new favourite clubs, The Funny Side of Covent Garden. It's a tiny little basement venue, and the smallest gig I do these days. I find it scarier than playing a 500 seater to be honest! But, no matter how nervous I get, I have a great time every time I play there.

Last night I was more nervous than usual, cos I knew I had to do this new stuff I'd written for the telly show tomorrow. To be really honest I was sh*tting myself! I cannot recall ever doing 10 whole minutes of new stuff in a 20 minute set! I'd spent the whole day pep-talking myself up for it, and when the time came to go on I could tell it wasn't flowing easily, but it was working! People were laughing and my god it felt brilliant to do new stuff! My confidence soared with each laugh! It also enabled me to address the weight loss, as one of the bits is about what happens to your body when you lose a lot of fat. I got a cheer just for losing 8 stones! We're getting more like the Americans every day. Ten years ago if I'd said that, people woulda just gone 'Yeah, so what?'

So there ya go, I did it and I feel really chuffed that I did.

I also wanna mention Steve Day who was on before me and did one of the best sets I've ever seen him do, he's a terrific comedian! Thanks also for the encouragement Steve ... I didn't f**k up!


Saturday, October 06, 2007

So Far, So Good!

Soooooo two gigs down, two more to go till the telly show and so far I've not been able to road test the new material.

Why? I hear you ask.

Simply because the audiences have been soooo lovely and a tad 'delicate' and I basically bottled it!

Thursday night in Harlow was really good fun. I was MC'ing and the line-up was wonderful, John Moloney, Gordon Southern and The Raymond and Mr Timkins Review...all of whom killed! It was in the Playhouse, and as I've said before theatre gigs are just such a pleasure to play. Getting there and back was dead easy too.

Last night I was in Bournemouth doing a gig I'd not done before. As it was a one-nighter, I 'd managed to blag a lift from the fabulous Greg Davies who I only met earlier this year for the first time. He's a great comic and a top bloke (and not just cos he gave me a lift right to my door coming home). It was great to spend time talking to him on the journey, and a joy to watch him perform.

The people who run the Funnybone Comedy Club were so gracious to us, gave us a delicious dinner and a cup of piping hot coffee on arrival - the littlest things really do mean a lot!

The audience were akin to the theatre crowd from the night before and as I was doing a set my regular stuff appeared a tad shocking to them at times, so there was no way I felt I could inflict them with the extreme stuff.

Still, I am doing Bristol Jongleurs tonight and they are usually a pretty rowdy bunch down there, so fingers crossed I'll be able to get it out tonight. Wish me luck!


Thursday, October 04, 2007

Busy Busy Busy

After a prolonged period of just doing the odd couple of gigs a week over the summer, autumn has kicked in with a vengeance. From tonight onwards I haven't got a night off for two weeks!

The madness begins with a gig in Harlow tonight, then Bournemouth tomorrow, Bristol on Saturday and Covent Garden on Sunday. It's quite handy really as I am filming for the second series of Comedy Blue next Tuesday and I need to run in the new material I've written. The only problem is, the new stuff is soooooo filthy it's not gonna be easy launching into it at a regular gig!

I'm really looking forward to doing the telly show again tho, cos when I filmed it last year I was 20 stones and when I saw the DVD of my performance I was horrified at my appearance. The material was funny enough, but I was wearing all black and it was a black backdrop and all you could see was my big, round, sweaty, moon face! This time I will be eight and a half stones lighter and who knows, might even look good enough to post it on MySpace!

Of course its the lot of women everywhere to be intensely self-critical and I daresay when I get the DVD of this set, I'll still find some kinda fault with my appearance, maybe I should post the two side by side, like a before and after!

Got back from a lovely couple of days with my Dad last night. I hadn't seen him for a couple of months and when I came out of the train station and smiled at him, he didn't recognise me! He smiled back thinking some bird was trying to pull him! Dozy old sod!


Monday, October 01, 2007

Bloody Watford!!!!!!!!!!!!

So Friday night I was all bundled up like I was going on an arctic trek as I made my way to Watford. In the past I used to always get a cab from Watford Junction Station to the gig cos I had it in my head it was miles away. I did try and walk it once and got horrifically lost.

When I was there a month or so ago I met lovely Al Pitcher at the station and we walked it together. When you know where you're going it's no distance. So this time I was determined to get there on foot.

It was dry when I left London but 30 mins later in Watford it was torrential rain. No matter I thought and set off. Guess what? I got bloody lost again!!!!!!! I need sat nav for just walking! Thirty minutes later, I arrived soaked, and in a foul mood.

Luckily the line up lifted my mood right up. Mike Gunn, Geoff Norcott and Curtis Walker, all fantastic guys both on and offstage. Best of all, Curtis gave me a lift to my door on the way home!

Saturday night I was a determined woman, and guess what? I got it right!!!!!! I was there in 10 minutes and £10 better off for not taking taxis. Yay me.

Off up to see my Pops today, I was meant to go a couple of weeks ago but the Pad Thai put paid to any travel plans that time. I made sure I didn't eat anything dodgy yesterday and I'm raring to go!