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Lady Ha Ha Ep 3

Posted on 19th September 2017

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Lady Ha Ha Ep 1

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Festival season is upon us and I for one am delighted to say that I won’t be going to a single one. Firstly, I think I need to clarify what I mean by ‘festival.’ I’m not referring to an arts festival like the Edinburgh Fringe, (I will be performing there AGAIN because if I’ve learned anything, it’s that having my hopes and dreams crushed whilst losing a huge amount of money annually in Scotland is a compulsion I can’t shake) or indeed the Hay festival where a bunch of middle class white people chat about their love of poetry and the exciting renaissance of unaccompanied folk music. No, I’m talking about the kind of festival that finds that other bunch of middle class white people, drinking endless cans of cider whilst dancing erratically in a muddy field to music that sounds better on your stereo at home. The highlight of this kind of festival is that at the end of a long day where you might be drunk/tired/sunburnt/freezing and suffering from heat stroke/trench foot/exhaustion/hypothermia you get to sleep in a tent. Who wouldn’t pay £250 for that privilege? As it turns out, me.

Last year I decided I’d been to my last Festival, I don’t have the stamina for it. Yes it was fun when I was in my twenties, it was all new and exciting! I could watch my favourite bands play live, crack open a beer at 10am and wear tie dyed drawstrings trousers with no self-awareness. To be honest at 19 I could have had fun in a skip, I was young, carefree and desperate to ‘experience’ life.

These days I want to limit my experiences as much as possible. To be honest I get upset when my girlfriend buys the wrong brand of coffee. It’s hardly a surprise then that festivals feel like less of a holiday and more of an endurance test; the crowds, the standing around, the needing to pee after I look at a cup of water/beer/soda/coffee/tea. What the hell is that about? It’s like my bladder enters a state of panic as soon as I walk on to the Festival grounds. Where’s the nearest toilet? Will there be loo roll? Can I cope sharing a lavatory with the 6-7000 people who have been in there before me? What if I somehow fall down the loo in the middle of night and no one finds me until Sunday! Hang on, how big is this bloody toilet? FINE I’LL DO IT IN THE BUCKET IN MY TENT! Don’t judge me, we’ve all been there right?

Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of sitting on the grass in the sunshine with my good mates, drinking a cold can of beer and listening to a band I love. Unfortunately what usually happens is that I find myself wading through mud having lost my friends three hours earlier and regretting the 6 cans of warm lager I’ve downed to numb the misery as I trudge towards a bunch of portaloos that have flooded.

These days I can’t even get close to the bands I want to listen to. I don’t have the stamina to compete with those blonde girls in uber short shorts with their designer wellies and Aviator sunglasses elbowing me in the face to get to the front. And who is that tall guy and why does he always stand directly in front of me? TALL GUY! YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE!

Sadly my girlfriend loves a festival, I think this maybe because she thinks she’s still 19 years old. So while I would rather have my eyeballs rubbed up and down a pebble dashed wall than head to Glastonbury my girlfriend is practically in mourning because we won’t be in the thick of it. Of course compromise is everything in relationships, which is why I’ve put up a tent in the living room, cranked up the stereo and chucked a packet of sausage rolls in her sleeping bag. She was delighted….ahem.

Yup, we’re going to Latitude next year.


Posted on 15th July 2014

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Oh I do like to be on the Queer side…

I’ve recently just got back from Australia I say that mainly because I want you to know that I’ve been to Australia. That’s how my career’s going people I have to leave the country to get work…

No but seriously I am incredibly successful (in my own head) and being away does give you permission to reinvent yourself and rejuvenate your work. I love Australia and Australians, they’re a bit like us except they’re…well happy; even they’re casual racism is more upbeat. I never tired of being asked this question, “What kind of wog are you?’ You’ve got to give it to the Aussies they have a way with words. For those of you who haven’t been to Australia you won’t be familiar with this expression. It’s basically a term used for anyone of Mediterranean descent, being half Spanish and looking entirely not English I am 100% wog.

Don’t be alarmed the term ‘wog’ has been claimed back by the Greeks, Italians and Spaniards in Australia. In fact it was a Greek woman who wanted to know the exact nature of my woggishness. Once I told her I was Spanish she was delighted because her cousin had been to Spain once and she loves tapas! Naturally we had A LOT to talk about.

Obviously as a gay woman that doesn’t own a dress or a pair of shoes without laces, I don’t always fit in for other reasons. Having been called ‘a f*cking queer’ by a charming group of lads shouting from their car as I walked down the street just the other day, I realised that ‘queer’ was a word I had claimed back years ago.

Some words can hold power particularly those used to denigrate a group of people or highlight a perceived difference. For years being called ‘queer’ was considered an insult, but now if anything it’s a compliment! For me being queer is an accurate description of the misfit I am and will always hope to be. Most of my friends are queer weirdos and a lot of them aren’t even gay. Who wouldn’t want to be queer? The alternative is of course being straight (how awful!) That’s right gay people can be straight (Hello Peter Mandelson) and straight people can be really bloody queer (Hello Grayson Perry.)

When it comes to queer vs straight it’s a no brainer, cause ‘the weirdo’ wins every time.

Posted on 29th May 2014

Tales From... The Archive

Comedian? Don’t make me laugh…

I consider the profession of a comedian to be highly dysfunctional. Nothing about stand up comedy screams anything other than MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES! What kind of a job is making people laugh anyway? Ridiculous. Why would anyone want to stand on ‘stage’ (if you’re lucky) in front of several hundred strangers (if you’re lucky) and try and make those people laugh? (If you’re lucky.) Who in their right mind would do that for a living? Not me! (Ok, fine me.)

If we were to delve a bit deeper into the psychology of why anyone ‘needs’ that much attention or validation from a room full of people in varying degrees of inebriation, we might learn something and I for one am wholly against that. Instead I’m going to blame my chosen career in ‘showing off ‘in darkened rooms in front of strangers on my Mum. I feel confident saying this as I know she’s never going to read this because unlike me, she’s got a life. So, I think I can say this wholeheartedly and without fear of reprisal: IT’S MY MUM’S FAULT.

Like most adults that have refused to accept any responsibility or grow and develop in anyway, blaming my Mum has worked very well for me these last 38 years. I’m actually really good at it. The reason why I blame my Mother is for her unwavering belief in me. Ever since I was a child my Mum would tell me I was funny, “You are so funny Jennifer tell the joke about the Doctor…” “Knock Knock” “Who’s there?” “Doctor” “Doctor Who?” “You just said it…” “You could be a comedian!” That’s right; when I was 4 my Mum said I could be a comedian. Let’s not forget that this was after I told one of the worst jokes ever to be invented in the world EVER. SO IF YOU DON’T LIKE MY COMEDY YOU CAN BLAME MY MUM!

But my Mother’s encouragement didn’t end with me. My youngest brother and I were led to believe that we were BOTH amazing at impressions. My Mum would make us do these ‘impressions’ in front of adults. Argh! Can you imagine anything more cringe worthy? What was worse, I LOVED IT! At least my brother had the self awareness to realise that we were actively humiliating ourselves in front of people that halfway through our terrible impression of Prince Charles were also fantasising about smothering us while we slept. Not me, I swanned into the room taking centre stage and feigning embarrassment, “Moi? Do a turn? Why I couldn’t… Ok I COULD! LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME!!! No one likes a precocious child. NO ONE. Apart from my Mum who has always thought her kids were the bees knees and thus through her eyes, I did too. Never mind that the only way you could recognise any of our impressions was because we included the person’s name in our repetoire, “My name’s David Bellamy and I’m walking through the undergrowth….” “Hello I’m Sean…Yesh Sean Connery…” and my personal favourite was listening to my brother just say “Ronnie, Ronnie Corbett here…. hmmm my producer…Ronnie…” over and over and over again.

All the while my Mum is watching us and beaming with pride, “Jennifer you could be the next Meryl Streep!” “Really Mum?” “Oh yes, every actor starts with impressions! Just look at Dustin Hoffman! Tootsie is a very good film. He did an impression of a woman and his career took off!” “I think he was famous before Tootsie Mum.” “I don’t think so – I think he put on a dress and Poof! He was famous. You know, maybe if you wore a dress sometimes Jennifer you could get famous too.”  At this stage in my career I’m willing to try anything. Thanks Mum.


Posted on 7th February 2013

Tales From... The Archive

Food Glorious Food!

I do love breakfast. I say that as a person without a proper job, which means breakfast can be leisurely and indulgent. I don’t remember loving breakfast so much when it meant smashing a piece of toast into my face as I ran for the bus.

Ah those heady days when I had a regular 9 to 5 job. I’ll be honest with you, I could no more do a 9 to 5 job now than I could listen to Rhianna’s album all the way through. It would probably kill me. Lunch was a shining beacon in an otherwise depressing and soulless day. If you’ve ever had to sell ‘space’ yes I sold advertising SPACE to people, you’ll know that the only way to get through your working day is to obsess about the minutiae of your life. When is my next cup of tea? Should I go to the toilet before or after this phone call? Why is Linda Baring wearing a black bra with a cream chiffon blouse? In fact, why is she wearing a cream chiffon blouse, it’s 2001 for crying out loud.

The only other way to survive is to become heavily dependent on alcohol and/or Class A drugs. I settled for alcohol as the idea of snorting anything off a public cistern has always made me queasy. Also drugs are bad blah blah blah. People in sales have a reputation of being a boozy bunch and I’m not going to lie, when I worked in sales I drank. A lot. The reason why people in sales drink at lunch time is because if they had to do their job sober they’d be self harming with a pack of post-it notes by 3pm.

So other than the moment when I could actually go home, my lunch break was the highlight of my day which otherwise was only broken up by occasional trips to the photocopier and lengthy visits to the toilet. You know your job is dull when you get excited about the prospect of a mid day dump.

These days I get just as excited about my lunch break. It makes no difference if I’m at home, traveling to a gig or holed up in a hotel in a town I’ve never heard of. When 1pm arrives I’m thinking about food. Why? Because I like food! In fact it’s the one part of my day that I can legitimately go ahead and stuff my face without the guilt. We’ve agreed as a society that lunchtime is the correct time to be eating, which unfortunately can’t be said for my 11am biscuit, my 12pm latte, my 2pm pack of crisps and my 4pm slice of Banana cake. These times are arbitrary and therefore meant for abstinence.  WHO MADE THESE BLOODY RULES?

My days are punctuated by treats, snacks, meals, hot drinks, cold drinks, luke warm drinks, ok nobody likes a luke warm drink but you get the idea. These little tid bits help me get through my day. I’m not interested in buying the latest technology or the most fashionable item of clothing. But what I do want is good food on tap ALL THE TIME. There, I’ve said it. I’M GREEDY. I want poached eggs in the morning and salt beef for lunch, I want prawn risotto for dinner and a big fat glass of red wine with every meal! In the time it’s taken me to write these 613 words I will have eaten a frittata with bacon, peppers and mushrooms, a tuna salad, three biscuits, two coffees and half a dozen walnuts (don’t ask.) It’s been a good day. In other news I urgently need to join the gym.

Posted on 6th February 2013

Tales From... The Archive

A ‘Sense’ of Style

Apparently I’m taking part in a photo shoot for Stylist magazine. This isn’t me boasting, ok this is boasting but it’s also a factual fact. I’ve never been styled before and it’s raising all sorts of anxieties in my already neurotic head. For a start, I worry about someone looking too closely at my face and noticing all my flaws; like my massive pores, acne and wiry moustache. That’s not me saying this, that’s my girlfriend and she never lies. Unfortunately.

In the lead up to the shoot I’ve been asked all kinds of questions from, “Who is your favourite Fashion Designer?” to “What skirt shape best suits your body?” Sadly I am unable to respond to these questions because I HAVE NO IDEA! Do people really have a favourite designer? I struggle to have a strong opinion about the two cardigans I own. I don’t read fashion magazines, or worry about what accessory matches the buttons on my blouse. In fact I don’t own a blouse or a skirt for that matter.

I’m not saying I don’t like to look good. Of course I do and I would love to think that other people might think I have a certain style and finesse. Ok, maybe finesse is pushing it I’m basically hoping they don’t think I got dressed in the dark, or that I only have peripheral sight, or worse, that I simply can’t dress myself. I can dress myself if someone is in the same room telling me what to wear, “TAKE OFF THAT V- NECK JUMPER, YOU LOOK LIKE RONNIE CORBETT!” Fashion, for me is a bloody minefield.

Meanwhile, I’ve explained to the stylist that I don’t want to be put in a skirt or a dress or anything flouncy. So, it looks like I’m wearing a suit. Which is fine. You know, a suit. You can’t go wrong with a suit. Can you? More recently heels have been mentioned, can I wear them? Not really, no. Would I consider just standing in them? Er…yeah maybe. Apparently the trousers will cover the shoes. Won’t that look weird, like I’m on stilts or something? What if everyone else looks really glam and I look like I’m going for an interview for a job as a legal secretary? This is typical, the one time I get a bit of attention and some styling and BOOM I end up looking like Hilary Davey! Or that woman from the Apprentice or any other women that wear suits to work. I don’t want to look like I’m temping for Office Angels! IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK?

In the end I e mail the stylist at ‘Stylist’ and try to explain to her in detail exactly what my look is, “Hi, I just want to give you a couple of tips on ‘my style.’ It’s quite unique and…er… classic..” I’ve heard people use this word before and I’m pretty sure that I’m on the right track, “I like to wear clothes…like…you know t-shirts and jeans and shoes and stuff…so…I really hope that helps.” It doesn’t. Bloody hell how does Alexa Chung do it? How does she know that pop socks with patent brogues and a puffball skirt will look so good together? She’s clearly a genius, because I’m looking at her thinking, “You know what that outfit needs love? Tights.” Clearly I know nothing.

Three days later and I’m at the shoot, they’ve gone with a blouse and trousers. I’m told I look ‘AMAZING!’ As only a woman in a blouse and slacks can. If I’d known I looked this good I would have shopped at M&S sooner. My look is also enhanced by makeup which I’m told makes me look 10 years younger. I believe them because it sounds a lot better than, “Are you going to bleach your moustache or what?” I’m amazed at what makeup has done to my face. Prior to arriving I had dark rings round my eyes, acne on my chin and a 5 o’clock shadow. Now, I am positively glowing! Every line and blemish on my face has now been filled with L’Oreal filler. I am so worth it.

I’m surrounded by women, there’s 3 three of them all telling me how good I look. JEN YOU LOOK SO GOOD! Oh my God, do I? Do I really? “Yes! Now slip on these heels and go and get your picture taken!” I oblige and slip on the heels. Ok, that’s not strictly true, I put one heel on and stare about me with a look of panic in my eyes, “Can someone give me a hand here? Sorry I’m just having trouble standing… I don’t think I can feel my left toe, is that normal?” I have that feeling of defeat I used to experience as a teenager when trying to put lipstick on unguided. Robert Smith had nothing on me. Here I am again, a woman in her late 30s who can’t even stand in heels. There are women up and down the country who not only can stand in them, they can walk, run, even skip in them. Why has no one ever given these women some kind of award? These shoes are so uncomfortable! I’m standing as though someone has shoved a rod up my bum and is pushing me forward on a pair of tin cans tied to my hands with string. In short, I look like I need help. “What do you think?” “Er…yeah Jen, you look …er… you look good…maybe take the shoes off for now…”

Finally at the photo shoot I’m told I can just stand still but move my hips, which I do. This doesn’t seem so hard after all, “Jen can you remember to smile?” “What? Yes, sorry am I not smiling?” “No, you look like you hate someone…” So, I just need to stand, swing my hips and smile… “Jen, you need to do something with your arms, they’re very stiff.” “What do you want me to do with them?” “Just move them about, but try to make it look natural.” Right, fine, so I just stand, swing my hips, keep smiling and move my arms, “Ok Jen your smile looks demented…” “What? Sorry I was focusing on my arms…” “Don’t forget to smile.” “I am smiling, this is how I smile!” “Remember to put the weight on your left leg and push your hip out…” “WHAT? I CAN’T! I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT MY ARMS AND FACE ARE DOING!”

In the end a white box is brought out and I’m told to sit on it, “Jen if you can just sit on the box, lean back a bit but bring your arms forward and tilt your head a little to the left, as you would naturally.” AS I WOULD NATURALLY? Mate, I have never sat on a box in a studio in Holloway with a three safety pins pinned to the back of a Nicole Farhi blouse with three inches of makeup on my face and a pair of heels that are challenging my ability to walk without the aid of crutches. NONE OF THIS IS NATURAL. Obviously I don’t say that, I say something like, “This is a lot of fun. Sorry what am I doing with my arms again?”

It comes out December 5th; if I look in anyway human you can thank Stylist magazine. They are simply genii.

Posted on 20th November 2012