Thursday, November 29, 2007

Yayyyyyyy Birmingham!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sooooo in a few minutes' time I shall be winging my way to Birmingham to do a weekend of gigs at the Glee Club, my favourite club in the country. I am soooooooo excited!

The line-up is fantastic, the hotel has smoking rooms, and the shopping is absolutely brilliant. I can't wait!

Have a good 'un folks xx


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Boy A

Did anyone else watch this amazing drama last night on C4?

There were pretty obvious links to the Jamie Bulger case, and I'm not really sure why I chose it over my usual dose of "I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here" other than the desire for a bit of quality rather than trash telly.

It was incredibly thought provoking, the actor who played the lead role was amazing as this young man trying to escape a horrific past. I'm still not sure what my feelings are about it, other than coming to the conclusion that - in this fictionalised account at least - all three children were victims.

Talking of quality TV, my pal Stephen K Amos's documentary "Batty Man" was nominated for a BAFTA! Sadly it didn't win, but how fantastic that such an important show was recognised. Well done Steve!

Had fun and games at the weekend getting home from Reading after my gigs at Jongleurs. Friday saw a 30 minute wait in sub-zero temperatures and Saturday night there was a bomb scare at the station! That turned out to be a false alarm thankfully, and I did get home and thaw out eventually.

The big joy for me at both gigs was watching Dave Haddingham. Me and Dave started out around the same time and I've always loved watching him, over the last few years he's really found his voice and this weekend he was absolutely spellbinding! Nobody does 'dark' as well as he does right now!

Just as well I enjoy spending time with him on and off-stage cos I'll be MC'ing him at the Glee Club in Birmingham this weekend too! How fabulous.


Friday, November 23, 2007


Soooooo a misunderstanding somewhere along the line meant that instead of going to Reading as I thought I would be last night I found myself back in Battersea Jongleurs - talk about feast or famine!

It was a cracking line-up, the fantastically funny Kevin Gildea - who hadn't seen me in a while and was pretty blown away by the new me, Brian Higgins who was just totally f**king amazing to watch last night, and the incomparable Jason Wood. Its been ages since I saw Jason perform, and bugger me he was brilliant! His Amy Winehouse is one of the funniest things I've ever seen! What a joy.

Things are back to normal tonight and I am off to Reading, not sure who's on - but it'll be a pleasant surprise I'm sure. I'm looking forward to it.

In fashion news, I was woken by the postie at 7.45am this morning and in his hand he had a package containing my fabulous new black patent Snowjoggers! I'd pre-ordered them months ago and now here they were. like a cross between a boot and a trainer, they are perfect for winter and being all shiny and patent, will look great onstage. Best of all they're fur lined and will keep my tootsies warm.

I've booked a little trip to New York in January, and they're gonna be just perfect for that too - if they aren't worn out by then!


I Never Thought...

I'd see this day.

This time last year I weighed 20 stones. I was depressed that I couldn't control my eating, in spite of knowing all the reasons why I used food as a tranquilizer, I just couldn't stop sticking unhealthy food in my mouth. Becoming a Buddhist and avidly devouring the dharma had made sense of so much, but over-eating was the one thing I just couldn't crack alone.

I remember how disheartening it was last November, trying to find clothes that were a bit more 'dressy' for the forthcoming Xmas shows. How shitty I felt as I trudged round Evans, Ann Harvey and H&M's Big Birds' departments, feeling like a total failure yet again. Remembering how in 2004 I was down to 12 and a half stones and wearing all kinds of mad clothes onstage, looking a feeling fabulous. Now here I was again, the cycle of loss and gain following its natural (for me) course. There was some hope on the horizon, the possibility of getting the gastric bypass on the NHS, but nothing was guaranteed.

To say I hated myself and my inability to control the most basic of functions is an understatement. I can recall staring at my obese naked body in the full length mirror in the hallway and punching myself in the stomach, repeating the mantra 'you fat c**t' over and over till I cried.

Of course luck (or karma) was on my side, and I got the letter telling me I was eligible for the op and in February this year I had it done. I'd managed to lost seven pounds before I went in for it and so on the day of surgery I weighed 19 and a half stones. I was terrified, but I knew I had no option but to have the operation. This was something I couldn't control on my own.

When I got out of hospital, people began to ask me if I had a target weight I wanted to get to. At that point, I'd have been thrilled to get to 14 stones perhaps. After a couple of months I allowed myself to dream I might get to 11 stones one day. On the height/weight charts that was the top end of acceptable, healthy weight for someone my height. Inside, I felt that perhaps I was being unrealistic, it'd been 25 years since I weighed that little and in order to reach it then I stopped eating for three months.

Slowly tho, the numbers on the scales began to go down, and down. I'd never been given a target weight by the surgeon, and that was probably a good thing cos whatever number they'd said in February would've felt unattainable.

Somewhere along the line tho, 11 stones did seem feasible, and I decided to set myself a more difficult target... The charts said anywhere between nine and 11 stones was good for me, so why not aim for the middle? I began to say out loud that my target was 10 stones, but a part of me never thought I would get near that figure.

Well this morning I broke the 11 stones barrier - just - I am 10st 13lbs! As I looked down at the numbers on my cheat-proof digital scales, I could barely take it in. I cannot remember the last time those numbers appeared on a set of scales I was stood on, but I suspect it was my very early teens.

People ask me if there's any downside to having this op. Other than throwing away more food than I can eat, the answer is no. I am healthier than I've ever been in my adult life - physically and mentally - I have energy like I can't ever remember having in the past, I have a confidence, vitality and zest for life I've never experience before.

As a Buddhist I believe in reincarnation, and I feel doubly blessed because I've been given a second shot at life whilst I'm still in this one! I truly have been reborn, and I like what I see.


Sunday, November 18, 2007

Big Up Battersea

I've finally cracked it! After doing three nights in a row at Battersea Jongleurs I've exorcised the ghosts from that particular venue, and it feels great.

Friday night saw a completely different line-up to Thursday, including two comics I'd not seen before - Matt Green and Kevin Bridges - who were both a real treat to watch. Both baby-faced tho Matt not quite as young as he appears, Kevin is only 21 and for someone soooooo young he really has a great grasp of what all this comedy malarkey is about. He's got a great presence onstage and a brilliant future ahead of him I'm sure.

The headliner on Friday was the fabulous Simon Evans who I've not see for aaaaaages. God it was bliss watching him perform! When he turned up he barely recognised me, then in typical comedian fashion he said I know look like Richard Morton with my new body and hair! From being a Jo Brand looky-likey to a Richard Morton one is a pretty massive leap, I'll leave it to you guys to decide if its a good one or not.

Saturday night, brought yet more changes. Eddie Brimson was on, and again its been a while. He too got a shock when he saw me. I find it interesting how men are fascinated by what I eat and how much, I thought it was just a girl thing.

Mickey Flannagan was back to close on Saturday and once again was just fantastic, both onstage and off.

The biggest treat of all was a visit by the gorgeous Stephen K Amos, who had a night off from his tour and popped in to say hi. It's been a while since he saw me work, and after I'd started the show he was full of praise, saying how 'effortless' my compering was. Coming from Steve that's a huge compliment. We nipped out for a fag and he showed me his shiny new car, its very fabulous! Best of all it's got a little granny seat at the back and I am small enough to fit in it now!


Friday, November 16, 2007

A Really Cool Week

I love living in London!

Been a really good week, got lots of paperwork done, financial stuff sorted (including the funding for my surgery next year), and spent some quality time with an old friend.

Monday saw me get my most radical haircut for years. I'm still rocking the platinum blonde thing, when my old hair began to fall out and the new hair started growing I figured there was no point is trying to keep the smooth bob, so began to have it cut shorter and more textured, well this week me and Patrick the hairdresser really went for it. It's all punky and spikey and very very white blonde and I love it! It's dead easy to take care of too, the style is meant to look messy so it can never look wrong!

The weight loss is still continuing, I now weight 9 stones less than I did this time last year, which is phenomenal. The only downside is that I feel the cold really badly. So after I'd had my hair done I treated myself to a new winter coat. It's a silver Astrakan (ask yer granny) knee length coat from Next of all places. I'd seen it up in Leeds the other week, but hated the buttons on it which made it look cheap and nasty. Anyway I got it and then trolled up to John Lewis and bought some gorgeous mother of pearl ones (at a fiver each!) that make all the difference. Its really warm and snuggly, and perfect.

Monday night I was treated to dinner by an old friend at the Electric Brasserie in Portobello Road. I got myself dolled up and felt fantastic. It was great to see her, and she was a bit astounded by the way I look now. As we were leaving, I found myself being checked out by the other diners - male and female - I've never turned heads before! At least not for the right reasons.

Tuesday saw me stuck indoors waiting for delivery men and a man to fix my boiler. He turned up late in the day, but did a cracking job and now with three major parts replaced, I have scalding hot water and the flat is as warm as a warm thing. Yay.

Wednesday saw me heading off to Knightsbridge for a bit of retail therapy. I wore the new coat and used my gold Mabel bag, and as it was sunny I had my sunglasses on, I looked like some kind of Eurotrash princess and felt like Nancy del Olio! The handbag addiction overtook me again and I found myself buying a gorgeous Anya Hindmarch Beverley bag in shiny's to die for!

I think the handbag thing is a leftover from my fat days. They're the one thing you can buy that will always fit, and I simply cannot explain the sheer thrill I get from taking a new, gorgeous handbag out of the dustbag and transferring my stuff into it, oooh and then the first time you go out with it on your arm! My god it's better than the best sex I've ever had in my life. And I've had some mind-blowing sex in my time!

Yesterday I did a gig at Battersea Jongleurs, the first time I've ever done a Thursday night there and it was great! The line-up was good, Roger D, Mark Walker and Mickey Flannagan, who all kicked ass, and the audience were a bit more chilled than the weekend crowds, so we all really enjoyed our time onstage.

Best of all, I got home in time to see the final of Celebrity Scissorhands, and to see my mate Ninia Benjamin be crowned hairdresser of the year! She's been such good value on the show and by far the best, most natural hairdresser, so it was great to see justice done. She looked gorgeous in her frock and heels too!

So tonight and tomorrow its back to Battersea for more comedy, I can't wait!


Sunday, November 11, 2007

Feels Like Years...

Since I've been in my own home.

I had a few fantastic days with my Dad 'ooop North' then went over to Manchester to do a couple of gigs at the Opus Lounge.

The weather was freezing, but I got a smoking room with good central heating at the hotel, so it was all good really.

Friday night's gig was pretty bleak, something in the chemistry between the acts, the MC and the audience just didn't gel, but I got a few laughs and to be really honest I know when it's my fault and when it ain't, so I didn't lose any sleep over it.

Saturday was a gazillion times better, I rocked it and it felt great! Even met someone after the show who wants to book me for some other work - let's hope it comes off.

During the day on Saturday I met up with some of the guys who were on at the Comedy Store - Mike Gunn and his gorgeous wife, Sean Collins who's just become a dad (congrats!), Alun Cochrane, Ian Stone and Simon Clayton who was on at the Opus with me. We went to The Living Room and had a fantastic lunch, once they'd sorted out a table for us all.

I also hit the shops in a big way. The Primark in Manchester is mahoooosive, and I got all kinds of stuff, so much stuff in fact that I had to buy an overnight bag to get the stuff home! I also gave into my handbag addiction in Harvey Nicks...the gold snakeskin Mulberry Mabel is now in my's soooooo over the top! I feel like Nancy Del Olio - pure flashy eurotrash!

The journey home today was painless too, which is always a bonus, read the papers, listened to my iPod, drank the free coffee...perfect.

I'm not out of town for a couple of weeks now, and I have to say I'm really looking forward to being at home.


Monday, November 05, 2007

Check This Out!

Wonderbra have done their own version of the Cadbury's ad. Click on the title above or c&p the link below. It's cool!


Sunday, November 04, 2007

Mixed Blessings

So back from Cardiff in one piece inspite of staying at the world's worst hotel aka The Big Sleep.

The gigs were fantastic and I was on with a great bunch of guys, Nic Coppin who I'd never met before and who did a sterling job as MC, the lovely Michael Mee whose gentle comedy style is a joy to watch, and the inimitable Raymond and Mr Timkins Review. Sadly they couldn't get a hotel in Cardiff due to Mr Calzaghe doing his boxing thing in town, so we didn't get to have lunch together yesterday. I say sadly, it was lucky for them cos they got to stay in the Marriott in Bristol the jammy sods!

The one positive thing about staying in that place was their smoking ban meant I only smoked about 30 fags in 48 hours which is about half of what I'd normally smoke, so I guess my lungs are grateful. The downside was that I didn't want to spend a second longer in there than I had to so spent an hour sitting outside Cardiff Central station this morning waiting for my train.

I also spent most of yesterday going in and out of every single shop on the high street, and managed to achieve yet another first. As regular readers know, I've been big for most of my life and one of the biggest parts of my body - apart from my stomach - were my calves. This meant that I've never been able to get a pair of knee high boots to fit me. Well, all that changed on Saturday when I got my first ever pair of long boots!!!!!! They're gorgeous!

After I'd finished on Friday night I nipped down to the Glee Club to see the guys there, and had the best treat cos my mate Jane was there. I haven't seen her in at least a year and she was gobsmacked at my transformation. I didn't see any of the guys performances cos we were having such a great girly chat in the dressing room, but with a line up consisting of Craig Campbell, Nick Doody and Steve Gribben I'm pretty sure they all tore the room up.

Another bonus this morning was that Gribbo was catching the same train as me, so the journey passed in no time at all. It was great to see him and catch up.

So all in all, apart from the hotel (which blessed us with a redundant fire alarm at 4am this morning - I didn't get up, these days I wait till I can smell smoke) it was a fantastic weekend.

Thanks everyone!


Friday, November 02, 2007

An Interesting Week

With the Christmas season rapidly approaching (you'd think it was December 24th the way the shops are all dressed up) this week was kinda my last week with a chunk of free time before the madness kicks in.

I decided to be sensible and get everything in order - I am so grown up these days! - stocked up on cleaning stuff etc at the supermarket, enough to last me through to New Year, did a ton of cleaning, and took the plunge and bought a new bed and mattress. My current one is 8 years old and after having near enough 20 stones laying on it every night I figured it was probably time to renew!

I'd seen a fabulous bed from M&S's Autograph range in an interiors magazine, but thought it was a bit expensive. Anyway I took a look on their website and blow me, the mattress was half price on a special offer! I decided it was a sign. I also took the plunge and bought some gorgeous new bed linen by Jasper Conran...for the new bed when it arrives.

Because most of this year has been taken up with focusing on my health, weight loss etc., I've kinda neglected my home, but I guess the clocks going back and the dark nights descending ever faster have made me think about my home comforts. It feels good.

That's not to say I've been neglecting my other passion - Primark. I got a fantastic pair of flares - yes flares! - in there this week, £12 and really great quality denim. They're not the 'Madchester' kind of flares, they're more a '70's-Farrah Fawcett-lady flare' and look fabulous on. Glad I took a chance on em.

As I've said before, I've lost weight in the strangest of places, and the most recent place has been my fingers. I've been wearing a set of stacking silver rings set with various semi-precious stonesI had made for me in 1990 by a fantastic jeweller called Karen-Ann Gledhill. I had to have them made cos my fingers were too fat to buy off the peg, and over the years I've worn em pretty much every day. A few weeks ago I was getting my nails done and when I washed my hands in the salon, they just fell off my finger! I decided it was time for some new jewellery.

I bought a cheap "diamond" ring off a market stall to cover me till I found something I really like. I tend to wave my hands about a lot onstage and had visions of the old ones flying off and taking someone's eye out. I liked the way these "diamonds" looked on my hand and I guess I am of an age where it's ok to wear diamonds you've bought yourself, so I've found myself ever since gazing in jewellers' windows looking for THE ring.

I was in Selfridges on Wednesday, trying on real diamonds, there was one at Georg Jensen that I really liked but didn't love and at those prices its gotta be something I absolutely love, right?

I have to say I got a huge thrill from being able to try all these rings on without fearing that embarrassment of getting one stuck or it not going over my knuckle. Anyway I found another concession - a company called Pianegonda, who I'd never heard of, and there IT was. THE ring! I didn't ask the price I just had to try it on. It fit and it blew my mind. It's pave diamonds and reminded me in a strange way of Damien Hirst's skull the way it glittered and sparkled and caught the light. I know it's not very Buddhist to get obsessed with things, but my goodness, I had to have this ring! It was on my finger and it wasn't coming off till I owned it. The saleswoman told me the price and I handed over my credit card...suffice to say I've never spent that amount of money on a single item in my life...but it's worth every single penny.

My spending spree didn't end there. Yesterday I finally went to see Mr Jan Stanek, the plastic surgeon. You might have seen him on 10 Years Younger on C4. I'd waited six months for this appointment, and when I first booked it, it was to see about having my 'wattle' removed. Not sure if that's the medical term, but basically its the loose skin under my chin that used to be filled with a load of fat and I'm pretty self conscious about it. No amount of exercise or face creams can get rid of it, the knife is the only solution.

Anyway, in the time I've waited to see him, various other parts of my body have also deteriorated. I have the bingo wings of an 80 year old, and again none of my exercise has been able to make the loose skin disappear, unlike my boobs which have gone completely! The one thing I liked about myself when I was fat was my boobies and now I look like a boy unless I wear an extremely padded bra!

So the day finally arrived and I went in to his office. The first thing that struck me was how warm he is. Sometimes medical experts can come across as a bit cold and/or pompous, but not Mr Stanek. I felt immediately at ease with him. I explained what I felt I needed but I wanted his opinion on what could be done.

He took a look at my face and explained what he could do for me there, something about moving the facial muscles back to where they're meant to be, and removing the wattle, the bingo-wing removal would basically rid me of about 4lbs of excess skin (seems they're worse than I thought!), and the boobs....well I definitely needed a lift, and he showed me how they'd look if I just had that done - like a 12 year old lad basically - so implants were needed too. He said that unlike other surgeons he doesn't let the patient choose the size he picks what will look most natural on the patient.

So the long and short of it is, I won't have a face like Joan Rivers or tits like Jordan, but I will be the best version of me that money can buy. Well the top half of me anyway! As someone who is both single and celibate, the lower half is of less importance at this point in time.

The best bit is that I can have all four things done at once, so only one lot of anaesthetic, and one recovery. The downsides are the healing time, a lot longer than you'd think, the amount of time I have to wait to get it done -next March - and the price which did kind of have me reeling with shock. I rang my Dad who'd generously offered to pay for it all, thinking if he keeled over I'd just spend the rest of my life whinging about it all. To my amazement he said that as he'd never bought me a car or had to pay for a wedding for me he was happy to give me the full amount!!!!!!! There's something to be said for being a non-driving spinster after all!

So there you go, that was my week, and the weekend is a mixed bag as I am off to do Cardiff Jongleurs. I always have a good time there, and I really like the city, plus the weather forecast is great for the time of year and I'll be on with The Raymond and Mr Timkins Review who I love to bits. The downside is the shitty hotel that won't even let you smoke in your room. It was depressing enough when I could have a fag! I did actually look online for a different hotel, prepared to pay any excess, but obviously there's some major event taking place in Cardiff this weekend, cos there's not a room to be had anywhere! Oh well, it's only 48 hours...I'm sure I'll survive.

Have a great weekend folks xx