Friday, February 20, 2015

The Difference is Clear

My mammy Annie was a wee Glasgow working class woman, with a lot of poverty and addiction problems. My problems today seem insurmountable so I thought I would compare them to my mothers in the 60s/70s/80s

Janey 2015. I couldn't get my new Iphone to work today and was utterly distraught, I thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown.

Annie 1960. Am pregnant again and the three I have got are making me insane, never mind Valium has been invented and so has the Pill.

Janey 2015. I am too tired to wash my hair to do comedy for 20 minutes for a good wage.

Annie 1967. I am exhausted the four kids have chicken pox....mmmm Valium is good, I feel shaky without it but have to do a 12 hours shift in the box making factory.

Janey 2015. My husband is crap at hanging up the washing and I wish he heated the car before he drove me to work.

Annie 1968. My husband is drunk again, no wages and the doctor won't give me more Valium, we may have to borrow a can of soup off my neighbour and share it between the kids.

Janey 2015. I can't be arsed trying to figure out what to wear tonight and with what shoes?

Annie 1968. The kids have all grown out of or destroyed their one pair of shoes each, I will have to shove lino inside them to cover up the holes. I will wear wellington ankle boots till next pay day.

Janey 2015. Some guy was really sexist on facebook today, I want him barred off facebook.

Annie 1969. The boss at work felt my breasts again, better not say anything in case my husband gets annoyed or I get sacked. Just try and cover my boobs up more, my own stupid fault.

Janey 2015. My new laptop arrived, how do I work this, it takes so long to set it up.

Annie 1970. The electricity has been disconnected, I never paid feeling really bad about the amount of Valium am taking, but it helps me block it all out.

Janey 2015. I need to check my bank account online.

Annie 1971. I need to beg money from my family, the kids need new school uniforms.

Janey 2015. Bloody Itunes gave me U2 whether I wanted it or not I hate U2.

Annie 1980. I hate U2 what happened to music?

Janey 2015. Might go a wee holiday this year.

Annie 1892. My new boyfriend is scaring me.

Annie Currie died in 1982 at the hands of her boyfriend.

Janey 2015. I miss my mammy.

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.