Thursday, 27 December 2012

What is it about Christmas that makes me 'do' Christmas? (and love every minute of it)

I try not to buy into - literally buy into - the whole Christmas madness yet year after year I'm getting deeper and deeper into tinsel town. When I was a wee yin my mammy made a great big festive fuss. it wasn’t a big spendathon fuss..... I mean to say the folks were skint and their were five nippers so it wasn’t a big fancy gifts thing. We didn’t get bikes or record players but we did get very excited and it felt all cozy. Mammy put up the metallic decorations including 'twirlygigs' in symmetrical order on the living room ceiling. We five had been given Auntie Anna's Kayes catalogue a few weeks earlier as reading material and I suppose mammy listened carefully to our choices because we pretty much got all the games we'd asked for.
On the run up to the big day itself there was a definite buzz about the house, shopping gradually piled up in the kitchen, a huge sack of spuds, carrots, sprouts, onions, turnip... all the ingredients for soup and main course. There would also be a cake... an real actual cake which was usually a Christmas log type thing with a wee Robin and some Holly on it! very exciting. Mammy had an order in a the butchers for silverside and a capon (a big chicken that was corn fed apparently) which would be collected on Christmas eve from our butcher.
On Christmas the 5 McGarvey weans would sing a few we Christmas songs then we'd toddle off to bed having left out a pillow case each for Santa. Then in the wee small hours up we sneaked to find our presents. It was brilliant, so exciting and warm. I can see it all still. I can smell the new books, remember still the magic moment when you thought you'd opened everything then you found a wee wrapped present under all the paper with your name on it - Oh it was marvelous.
Before we knew it the day was flying by and the table was up. The table was only ever up fully on Christmas day because it was broken and needed some assistance to be a table. Mammy always put a blanket on it first then the fancy table covers on top, she said it felt more luxurious rather than just the fancy paper table covers on their own and she was right. Our uncle Patsy Brady joined us for dinner, we sat on just about anything we could and were at various heights but who cared? none of us cause we bloody loved every wobbly minute of it was brilliant.... the stuff of childhood memories and just perfect.
I have never been able to stop myself recreating that treat for myself and for my children and indeed for anyone anywhere who will join in. Over the decades we've shared wonderful 25th's of December and we've had some sad ones. We've had very international ones when many of my friends from Africa. Iran and Russia joined us to celebrate Christmas (some of our best times) We've experimented with different types of celebrations for the big day and this year we went out for our dinner with family and friends and it was lovely.
I tut at and despise the pressure of Christmas. I so saddened to know that so many people are in so much debt trying to supply the demands their children are forced to make via capitalism and advertising. I hate that many people feel very lonely all year round and this is magnified at Christmas as the rest of us reach out to family and friends. I'm atheist so I don’t even go along with the reason Christmas day happens..... However, I do it. I do Christmas. I enjoy seeing my loved ones having fun, opening gifts, getting time off work, the songs, the games and the memories most of all I get the memories and I want folk I love to get the memories. im sad that many, many people will not feel this. I avoid things like news and sadness just for a few days because I somehow don’t want it to get in the way of this thing called Christmas. Does this make me a neglectful socialist? a soft socialist? does this mean I've sold out? failed? missed the point? Well I don't think so - I think I'm doing the right thing and I think my intentions are good but I'm certain of one thing I don’t want to let those memories go and I don't want to keep them to myself................... I do Christmas.

Monday, 26 November 2012

A funny thing happened to me on the way from ATOS

Its been too long since I was here (I mean in Blogland) and it also occurred to me that I only write when I don't feel too well. This ability to write when I'm unhappy or unwell has a good side to it which is that I was able to fickle out of me a script.....

You see I had THAT visit to ATOS last November. You know the kind where you go in and wait for hours with lots of very vulnerable people? You sit for ages and you feel really nervous and you get your mate to go with you and they try really hard to make you feel ok although you know that a stranger is about to be really oppressive and ask you things about yourself that you really would only share with someone you knew well and really trust... then the same stranger ticks boxes on a machine and then you may or not get money to buy food.................. Aye that. Well, I took my pal Rachel with me and she did all of the above then took me for a coffee and a roll n bacon. Nice woman that she is she could see I was a bit shaky and not doing too well so she said "Rosie, in a perfect world what would you like to do? what would make you feel good and happy?" I thought for a minute about what she had said then I replied - albeit very humbly because it was a silly thing - "I've always wanted to be a comedienne and tell funny stories"

I knew it was kind of Rachel to distract me and I enjoyed telling her some funny stories that were true and that I'd like to share......- in an ideal world and if i could choose an ideal job - But you see Rachel wasn't just trying to distract me from my big stresses she was actually very serious. After our blether I headed from my bus and Rachel said "ok we can meet again soon and see what we can do about that idea" "Aye right" says me.

Well the thing about Rachel is she's Rachel Jury and she is a writer and a director and a performer and a really good friend who had, with Catrine Evans, invited me to be a part of a woman's drama group which I found very therapeutic and enjoyed chatting to the other women.

After a while i met up with Rachel and I wrote a few stories.... we met again and I spoke them out loud... we met again and she taught me how to project these stories and encouraged me to just "go for it". Well by spring time Rachel had a secured a gig for me at THE TRON THEATRE !!!! (the capitals and !!!! exhibit my shock). It was a gig to raise cash for our drama group to help us tour a musical anti poverty show called Miss Smith. It went well and I really enjoyed the whole thing Since then I have performed my show in two pubs (big thanks to The Waterside Inn,Glasgow and The Albion Bar, Stirling) for letting me in.

I had a big wish that I would get to perform at The Glasgow Comedy Festival - a dream that seemed well outside my reach- but Rachel went for it and low and behold I'm in...

My show tells the story of a wee lassie who is very accident prone and a total dreamer so its lovely that this wee dream came true for me. I'm writing today in a great mood (aye the drugs dae work) and I've written the show and I've started writing some songs to go with it.But it's not just thr meds and the therapy its the support and friendship of great people who don't mind holding on to your hope whilst you recover.!/shows/474