Sunday, January 04, 2015

Comedy for kids.

Not many people would assume it was my bag, but I often do Kids Comedy show at The Stand Comedy Club Glasgow. 

I can imagine as you are reading this and if you know me, you might be thinking things like "Did you swear?" of course I didn't. 

I love doing comedy for kids. It can be tough as some kids don't understand that they have to pay attention or maybe they are used to taking over a room with a story and then feel awkward as other kids don't find them as interesting as their own parents probably do.

One Sunday in at the start of the show a wee boy about nine years old kept chatting to me and engaging in long diatribes about dinosaurs. 

He couldn't get away from dinosaurs. His mum looked uncomfortable and was trying to get him to sit quiet. 

The other kids were getting annoyed and parents started looking over at him. He didn't care, he had heaps to say about dinosaurs.

I managed to get him on stage and to name every dinosaur he knew and I could act out it's walking action. He was in heaps of wee giggles as I clearly didn't know what I was doing and was just stomping about the stage making noises. 

To calm him down, I asked him if wanted to host the show with me. He took my hand and we came to an agreement that he could only shout out dinosaur names when I got stuck for material and he would take over.

The audience laughed as he was really having trouble staying quiet and loved it when I would shout "am stuck, give me a dinosaur" and all the kids would scream with laughter at my interpretation.

The wee boy sat with me as the other comics took the stage and he was fine, he was laughing and keeping the dinosaur chat to a minimum.
He was flushed with excitement after the show and his mum came over to tell me how much he enjoyed it. 

She explained that he had Aspergers and doesn't often talk out loud or touch people and this was her first time with him at comedy. 

She told me it was wonderful to see him chat to someone and not get berated or flustered. "To see him onstage holding your hand and laughing was just so lovely" she said. I thanked her.

I explained that he was good fun and that my husband has Aspergers and at that the wee guy butted in and said "Does he know all the dinosaurs?" 

I told him he didn't but my husband was an expert on all things Ancient Rome. I got a quick hug from him and he ran out the door.

When people ask me what my best audience was I tell them it was a nine year old boy who likes dinosaurs.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

My Star Brother.

"Janey, stop crying it's fine" you said as you carried me in your skinny 12 year old arms. Luckily I was small and not too heavy.
 I had banged my head and blood was seeping out of my forehead onto your grey school jumper. I had managed to crack my head on the school playground slabs. 

Instead of running to the school nurse as all six year old's are supposed to do, I belted it over the 'big' playground to find you, my big brother Jim. You would help.

You immediately hoisted me up, you knew how to carry me, you were the eldest and I was the youngest. You had hauled me on your hip for years.

 I could see the shock in your face as the blood dribbled over my eyebrows and into my eyes. You took your sleeve (who carries hankies?) and wiped my face with such tenderness. 

In seconds my legs were crab like round your waist and my arms locked around your neck. I could feel your heart banging in your chest as you sped up the hilly street towards my house and sat beside me as my mammy washed and looked at the cut on my head.

I still have the scar.

You had scars as well.

The ones on your torso when you got so overweight at twenty and one night slashed your own stomach. Nobody spoke about it. You had scars on your arms when you took to the needle to escape your own life when heroin magically melted away the crap in your existence. 

Then you got thin again and the scars of the years of being an addict took its toll like a map of fear on your skin. You became a problem, you were complicated, angry, confused and sometimes a right pain to be with, but I still loved you.

You got new scars, when the tests for HIV revealed you had more shit running in your veins than you thought was possible and then you got more scars when you developed cancer and a Hickman line protruded out of your collar bone. 

That bone I knew so well, the bone I would rest my head on as a kid when you picked me up.

Your life was full of scars and pain, yet you carried on. 
I remember coming to see you and discovering that all the posters and flyers from my Fringe shows were on your walls beside Oasis and Bryan Ferry. 

You told me I was 'Your Star Child' and sometimes you rubbed the thin line on my forehead and called me 'Your Scar Child'. We laughed and hugged.

I never got to say goodbye to you, you died a few years ago on New Year's Eve down in Colchester near your daughter.

You went suddenly and one of your extended family just put your death up as a Facebook Status and that's how I found out you had left us. 
But in my heart you always were the one that carried me Jim and now I carry you, inside my soul.

My Star Brother.

Saturday, December 06, 2014

The Bay City Rollers and Me

Picture the scene, it's 1975 and the girls are in the old school outdoor Victorian toilets standing beside the big radiators rubbing their hands for a smidgeon of heat and I walk in.I budge people up for some warmth on the thick painted cast iron that gives out a dull heat.
Someone shouted "The Bay City Rollers are coming to Glasgow".
I was stunned, I loved them! I wanted to go and see them. They were HUGE, everyone I know LOVED them. 
 "My dad got me two tickets and then we are going to The Albany Hotel to meet them" said this girl I knew called Donna.  
Everyone was excited at her news.
I piped up "I love them, I might go".
Donna flicked back her long hair, stared at me and laughed as she pushed me off the radiator and yelled "You can't even afford the school dinners, you eat out of bins Currie" and all her pals giggled and shoved me on the way out of the toilets. I blinked back tears. 
I hated her, she had everything I wanted like ...boobs, shiny long straight blonde hair and really fashionable clothes. I fucking hated her.
I was small, flat chested and had hair so curly and densely thick that no matter what style you got it cut, it went back to its original thicket of black matted wool. Who I am kidding? It was never professionally styled and cut, my mammy trimmed it regularly with the giant wallpaper scissors. 
How could a Bay City Roller ever fall in love with a child-like boyish girl with mismanaged hair and cardboard to block up the holes in her shoes?
I gripped the radiator hard and listened as the others all talked about getting tickets and making plans. I left the toilet with that horrible acceptance that I would never get the money to go. 
Life could be shit in 1975 for us poor ones.
Today I was introduced to Les McKeown from Bay City Rollers at a charity event "This is Janey Godley, she is great stand up comic" the very generous woman said as she nodded to Les. He shook my hand and said "Yea, I have seen your stuff, you are right funny, hiya"
That wee girl standing beside the radiator in 1975 with wet socks wishing she had boobs, untangled hair and the money for a Bay City Rollers ticket finally smiled. 
Fuck you Donna, where ever you are.