Saturday, May 31, 2008

Last Night's Dramas

So there I was, all set to do my first gig supporting Gina Yashere at Warwick Arts Centre. I'd pre-booked my tickets to Coventry, and was at Euston station in plenty of time to catch my train. I even bumped into Mickey Flannagan who was on his way to Manchester!

I boarded the 3.10 train, sat down and started thinking about what stuff I was gonna do at the gig. I noticed the train was running dead slow but as I was gonna be in Coventry three hours before I was due at the gig I wasn't concerned. At 4pm we were sitting at Watford Junction and I was slightly concerned as we shoulda been pulling into Coventry about now. I took my headphones off just in time to hear that there'd been a fatality up the line at King's Langley and all trains were stopping for the forseeable future. We were told to get off and board the buses that would be arriving soon to take us to Milton Keynes for connections.

So at 5pm I am still standing outside waiting for the mythical buses, along with about 600 other people. I found someone who worked for the railway, and asked him straight out what my chances were of getting to Coventry for 7.30. Thank god he was honest, cos basically there was no chance! All that woulda happened if I had gotten on one of these 'ghost' buses was that I would be stranded at Milton Keynes!

Luckily the London Overground services between Euston and Watford were running and there was one about to depart for London. I rang Gina and explained the situation. She was cool, it wasn't like she was gonna have trouble making up the time, she's been doing close to two hours onstage anyway!

Meanwhile I found myself with an unexpected night off and decided to use it constructively. I stipped the bed and put the washer on, then got on with some other work. I went into the kitchen an hour later to find the washer flashing and water all over the floor! Cue me spending my Friday night mopping the floor, and ordering a new washing machine!

We're at the Bloomsbury Theatre tonight, so I have everything crossed that I make it there in one piece!


Last Weekend Part 2...

So while I spent the nights doing comedy I was fortunate enough to spend two days last weekend in the presence of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

I'd booked the tickets last year and because of his age and just the way life is, I hadn't really let myself believe it was gonna happen, but it did and it was awesome!

At the risk of sounding (even more than usual) like a drama queen, in January 2005, I read His Holiness's book The Art of Happiness and it totally transformed my life.

At the time I was in the depths of despair, life really was unbearable and I dreaded waking up each day. At the insistence of a very good friend I picked that book up and read it. As I devoured each page I felt more and more like I'd come home. The awfulness of my life began to be put into perspective. A lot of the thoughts I'd had all my life were there in the book, and the seeds of my rebirth in this life were planted.

Three and a half years later, I have totally turned my life around. I wake up excited every day, I give and receive love from my fellow human beings freely, I am not scared of anything anymore! There are of course the physical changes too, like being - literally - half the woman I was, being a non-smoker, being healthy and fit for the first time since I was a very small child, but in a way these are far less important than the mental transformation I have undergone.

I know those of you who read my endless blogs about what dress size I've gotten down to, or the latest handbag I've acquired might find that a bit difficult to comprehend. Actually for those of you who like the shallow JoJo as opposed to the deep JoJo, I did get into a pair of size 0 trousers from The Gap this week - my weight-loss work is done!

The reality is, the physical aspect is just a reflection of how good I am feeling inside. I hardly hate myself at all these days!

Anyway last weekend in Nottingham was my chance to spend time with the man whose words helped to transform my life, and it didn't disappoint me one single bit.

I got to the Arena early, and had a look round the bookshop and saw the beginning of the sand Mandala the Monks were making. The patience involved is a lesson to us all, especially as once the week of teachings was over, it's just swept away, teaching us all about the impermanence of life.

Then I took my seat just as some more Monks came onstage and began to chant...what an incredible sound they made! It really set the tone too.

At 10.30 on the dot HH Dalai Lama came onstage with no ceremony or fanfare, and after a few words from local dignitaries, he got down to business. What an amazing man he is. And he sure knows how to work a crowd! He had us laughing, crying, and thinking - sometimes all three within the space of five minutes.

He took questions from the crowd and answered them brilliantly, my favourite one was "I am terrified of dying. How can I deal with this?" HHDL said "Avoid extreme sports and be careful"! The whole room erupted in laughter.

They'd set up a Tibetan Big Top nearby with stalls selling food and Buddhist paraphernalia. It was wonderful.

Congrats to Nottingham Council for setting this all up so well and my eternal thanks to His Holiness the Dalai Lama and all of his team for enabling me to be a part of it all.


Friday, May 30, 2008

Crazy Times

Life really is feast or famine it seems, at least mine is. I go through long phases where I've got next to nothing to do, then all of a sudden life speeds up. I guess you need the one to appreciate the other eh?

Anyway my social life continues to expand and this week has seen me dressing up in slinky frocks and going to parties and clubs. On Wednesday night I went to The Pigalle to see Lenny Beige. My great friend Jason Wood was performing so my pal and I got in for nowt, which is always a bonus. Turned out to be an even bigger bonus, when I got the bill for two rum and cokes - £17! Now I know why I stopped drinking! Still it was yummy Havana Club, and the price made sure I savoured it!

Today I start my stint supporting the fabulous Gina Yashere, so for the next nine nights I'm at theatres all over the country and I am sooooo excited about it. We start at Warwick Arts Centre, then Bloomsbury Theatre tomorrow, and from there Salford Lowry, Leeds City Varieties, and so on... its gonna be a right laugh!


Monday, May 26, 2008

The Weekend... Part 1

Talk about a weekend of two halves!

I reckon the best way is to split the posts between work and "play". So, here's the 'work' bit.

I did four - count em four! - gigs this weekend, and of those Thursday and Sunday's gigs were excellent, I got to improvise and got some cracking laughs.

From Thursday to Saturday night I was at Nottingham Jongleurs with the lovely Geoff Norcott who just keeps getting funnier and funnier! He was on cracking form all weekend. Marvellous Mark Walker was closing and tho I didn't see him, I heard nothing but good things.

Sunday night I was in Birmingham, doing the Bank Holiday Special show at the Jongleurs there and, blimey what a great bunch on there too! Sandy Nelson was on, doing one of his final English gigs before he moves waaaaaaaay up to Shetland, the sublime Sean Percival was MC'ing and I haven't seen him for about 4 years. We had a right laugh catching up.

The biggest treat for me (apart from having the best fun onstage in a long time) was getting to watch the fantastic Rhod Gilbert. From the first time I ever saw him, he was excellent but my god, he just goes from strength to strength!!!! His routine about his young girlfriend is one of the most honest and hilarious I've seen in a while.

Even better still, I had a nice hotel last night, so I dashed back, had a long old soak in the tub with a very wonderful Lush bath bomb, and a cracking night's sleep. Perfect.


Thursday, May 22, 2008

An Amazing Week!!!!!!!!!!

You know when you just have one of those weeks where everything works out really well? Well I'm having one of those and hope it continues cos I have potentially an awesome weekend in the offing.

It all started when EasyJet got me back to Luton in one piece on Sunday. Admittedly it took almost as long as the flight to get my case off the plane, but other than that it was all good.

Monday coulda gone either way to be honest. I've been having problems with my hot water for almost 2 years, and an endless parade of workmen couldn't seem to make it work. This week tho I found the one plumber who really knows what he's doing and he had the right parts with him! Add to that the fact that he turned up when he said he would, in fact he was a bit early!

Monday night I had my first night in front of the telly for a fortnight and spent actually not watching TV but catching up with mates on the phone. Its been aaaaaaages since I did that and it was brilliant!

Tuesday saw me out and about with the lovely Stephen K Amos. He was doing a gig at the private members club The Hospital in Covent Garden and never one to shirk an excuse to get dressed up, I went along.

I've not been higher than the ground floor in there - I saw the Warhol vs Banksy show and a Punk Rock retrospective - so it was good to be able to nosey about on the other floors. I have to say its a really good looking club, kinda got the feel of a boutique hotel about it. I really liked the place.

The show was excellent too with the lovely Greg Davies setting the tone for the whole night as MC. He was fabulous, as were all three of the comics Jack Whitehead, Josh Howie and of course Steve! The free champagne was lovely too!

Yesterday I had a fantastic lunch with a new friend, then met Gina for coffee, gossip and serious shopping! In less than 30 minutes she had shoes, beauty products and a whole new wedding outfit! That's how we do it!

A quick word about the new Kate Moss collection in TopShop, I've not been a fan really of most of the stuff, but the High Summer stuff is gorgeous! I went in for a quick look yesterday and came out with two tops and a fabulous frock!

Sooo today is the biggie. I'm off to Nottingham. Now I know you're wondering what's so special about that, well the gig is always great fun, but on Saturday and Sunday I get to spend the whole day (both days) in the company of His Holiness The Dalai Lama!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I got my tickets sooooooooo long ago that it almost felt like the time would never come, but now its here, a few hours away and I feel so blessed! It'll be interesting listening to him speak about compassion all day on Saturday, and then going to Nottingham Jongleurs to talk about my snatch for 20 minutes to 500 drunken stags and hens!!!!!! I'm guessing I'll see the exact state of my karma by then!

Even got an extra gig this weekend in Birmingham on Sunday, so it's all good and all hectic - just the way life should be!

Have a cracking Bank Holiday folks xxxx


Monday, May 19, 2008

Monday Monday

So here we are, its dry, a bit sunny and freezing cold! Must be summer eh?

I'm back from my weekend in Glasgow and what a cracking weekend it was. The sun was actually shining up there, the company was wonderful - Daliso Chaponda, Owen O'Neill and Mark Walker who were all totally fantastic. Two of my favourite Jongleurs people were there too, Kaley and Patrick, so all in all it was a total joy.

I also ventured beyond my usual stomping/shopping ground of Sauchiehall Street, and went down Buchanan Street where I found a whole bunch of fabulous shops, including Urban Outfitters and American Apparel which seems to be everywhere these days! I got a gorgeous girly APC smock dress in UO, and a really sweet flowery frock from New Look...I seem to be heading towards rocking a Darling Buds of May look at the moment!

I even got to the movies on Friday night after the gig. Mark and I went to see Forgetting Sarah Marshall, but it wasn't a date! I was really blown away by how good Russell Brand was in it! If you haven't seen it yet, check it out.

Last night I met up with my bestest pal Tracy at the revamped Paradise Bar in west London for a girly gossip, and as their chef was having an early night we went round the corner to Boys Thai cafe on the Harrow Road. I'd never been there before but I'll be going again! It was the best thai food I've had outside of Thailand, sooooooo delicious. Really cheap too!


Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Summer's Gone...

... but I'm not too sad cos I'm off to do a weekend at Glasgow Jongleurs! Yayyy!!!!

The line up looks fab if its the one on their website, and the staff at the club - led by the wonderful Patrick - are always a joy to work with, so it should be fun.

Have a cracking weekend folks xx


Monday, May 12, 2008

Loving The Sunshine!!!!!!!!!

My weekend in Cardiff was fabulous! It was like being on holiday with the blazing sunshine! The bay area was just perfect and lunch on Saturday with Chris McCausland and Ian Coppinger was marvellous.

The shops on Friday didn't let me down either. The new TK Maxx in Cardiff is like Las Vegas!!!! There's even a cafe in there!

The shows were all magnificent, as was last night's at The Funny Side in Covent Garden.

Bit of a rush job this post as I am off up north for the day to sweet-up the inheritance.

More soon xx


Thursday, May 08, 2008

Walking on Sunshine!!!!!!!

How brilliant is this Boris-inspired heatwave folks???????

London in the sunshine is the most amazing city in the world, if only we had a beach like Barcelona it would be totally perfect, but close to perfect is good enough for me right now.

I was in the West End getting my hair done yesterday when I got a call from the divine Mr Stephen K Amos. He was in town too, so newly-blonded I met up with him in a pub behind Oxford Circus. He'd been lunching with a very high-powered BBC producer, who had to go back to the office, sadly. Not so Steve and I. We sat in the sun outside the pub for a while, then headed over to Balans on Old Compton St - via Shellys where I got two fabulous pairs of shoes in their closing down sale - for a drink and a bite to eat.

As luck would have it, it was happy hour on cocktails and there was a street side table free, so we plonked ourselves down and perused the menu. I decided to go all retro with a pina colada, and Steve was being all cool with his Mojito. Cool that is until my drink arrived with a big piece of pineapple and a cherry on top. Then he was jealous! It was yummy too!

We ordered some bits of food to soak up the booze and it did a great job, cos five cocktails later (including a passion fruit daquiri) I was still pretty sober! Now I haven't drunk like that since Christmas Day, so I suspect the Happy Hour cocktails are slightly less alcoholic than the full price ones! I shoulda been on my back! Not that I'm complaining tho' I hate being drunk but I do love the taste of those cocktails.

I have a theory that if you sit in one place in Central London long enough you will eventually see everyone you know in the world ever. Not sure how long it would take but in three hours yesterday, Steve and I caught up with Miss Kimberly, our lovely comedy chum Michael Legge and his fabulous missus, and Alan Carr and Cleo Roccos, who had obviously been drinking cocktails that did have booze in em!

I haven't seen Alan since Edinburgh last year, and he was spilling over with compliments god bless him, I do love him! Cleo I met a billion years ago and even she remembered me so I must be looking more like I did in my early 30's!

Today the sun is still blazing and I am very happy, cos I'm off to The Glee Club in Cardiff for the weekend. The line-up is excellent with the Ians Cognito and Coppinger, the latter I've not seen for years!

Whatever you guys have got planned, make it excellent xx


Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Last Night's Gig

... was fantastic!

In the end there were 10 women taking part, and on the whole, the standard was really high. My particular favourite was Rachel Stubbings who had a really refreshing persona, I just loved it!

I got a bit sentimental at the end telling the contestants to make the most of these times, cos as they progress up the comedy ladder, they'll rarely get the chance to work with so many women.

My shimmy shimmy frock held out and I didn't fall off my heels, so all in all a great night. AND I got a bag full of Nivea goodies! Wooohoo!


Tuesday, May 06, 2008

So Excited!

Tonight I am hosting the London heat of the Nivea Funny Women talent show at the Soho Theatre. I've never done anything like this before and I am sooooo excited! I have a very special outfit to wear too. I love comedy!


Monday, May 05, 2008

Is It Just Me...

or has anyone else noticed that since Boris became Mayor, the sun has shone every single day? Maybe he'll be good after all!

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Sunday, May 04, 2008


Wow! What a fantastic weekend I had in Birmingham!!!!!!!

I always love doing the Glee Club and even tho the divine Mr Cunningham wasn't there, it didn't dampen the spirits.

There was a brilliant line-up - both onstage and off - Kevin McCarthy, Andy Askins and Jon Richardson. Three more charming, entertaining and funny men it'd be hard to find anywhere. Added to that the wonderful Glee staff, especially Griffy and Tim, made it a perfect weekend work-wise.

It was also perfect in every other way, the shops in and around the Bullring didn't disappoint, although I couldn't find a single thing I wanted in Harvey Nichols. Still Selfridges made up for it as did Primark and TK Maxx, where I got a fabulous kaftan, a Betty Jackson linen top and a Christy Turlington designed yoga tracksuit.

Saturday was spent having a fabulous lunch in Wokmania. I'm normally not a fan of all you can eat buffet places and usually the food is a bit manky, but the food in this place was fabulous! The most delicious chinese food I've had in a while. Best of all, if you catch one of the leafletters, you get £2 off the already cheap bill of £6.90 for a lunch buffet.

So there ya go, great people, good food, fabulous clothes, and the sun even shone all day yesterday... what a perfect weekend!


No Way!!!!!!!!!!

I leave town for three days and everyone goes mad!

Boris is Mayor!!!!!!! How mad is that???????

He looked shocked himself when I saw him on telly. Who knows? He may do a really good job eh?


Thursday, May 01, 2008

It's That Time Again...

... we get to choose a new mayor for London. Or maybe just pick the old one again.

I am in a real quandry this time. I really believe that Ken has had his time, and has gone more than a bit power crazy. I want him gone, but what would we get in his place?

The nice lady from the Green Party seems promising and I'd quite like her to get in but the reality is she won't. Likewise that nice gay ex-policeman from the Lib-Dems ... I can't see him getting enough of the popular vote sadly.

Which leaves Boris. I did a radio show called The Treatment with him a billion years ago and he was really sweet and very clever, so that kinda leads me towards putting my cross in his box. Then I remember that he's a Tory, and while he might be sweet, Cameron and his mob sure as hell aint!

Maybe I'll just close my eyes and stick a pin in the sheet!

On a less challenging note, I'm off to the lovely Glee Club in Birmingham for the weekend, with a cracking line-up of boys including Kevin McCarthy and Andy Askins, two of the sweetest men in comedy. This is gonna be fun!

Whatever you're up to this Bank Holiday, take it easy and have a great one.