On Boxing day 1994, I packed up my daughter’s school uniform, her latest Christmas gifts, her beloved bears, her school books, some underwear a few important documents and simply, took my daughter, my husband and my cat and walked out of my old life.
My old life was owning a bar in the East End of Glasgow with my husband for fifteen years, but his father had died and his six brothers who had no business experience decided they wanted to own the pub we owned. I know that sounds crazy doesn’t it? But we had bought the bar and residential building above the pub from my father in law, but my brother in laws decided that they wanted it. There was still a long payment structure for us till we paid for it and it needed hundreds of thousands of renovation work done, so in a space of five minutes husband and I decided to walk out.
We took the ginger cat and our eight year old daughter and within seven minutes we were homeless and jobless. Within ten minutes we realised we would never go back and we now had to find somewhere to live and somewhere to put the cat whilst we did that.
Within a few hours we had moved into a small rented house till we regrouped our thoughts. We were in our early 30s, had only ever worked in his dad’s pub and we both didn’t have any education, we both had left school at 16 years old.
His brothers didn’t know where we were and for a whole week between Boxing Day 94 and New Years Day 95 we literally hid from the world. It was a great feeling. On the first working week of January 1995 we bought a flat near our daughters school and I decided to become a stand up comedian and writer. It was our fresh start.
From that day to this my husband has never went near the pub, never spoken to his family and tells people he is an only child. I am not saying that is the right thing to do, but that’s how he coped with his fresh start, I coped with mine by making the most of my new found freedom from doing 12 hour a day bar shifts, I was ecstatic.
I changed my surname to my original middle name Godley and started standing on stages, being funny. I cant say I have made the biggest success of my new start, I am not famous but am incredibly happy.
You see my fresh start made me realise, I will do a job that only I can get credit for, nobody can take this job from me and nobody can claim they own my business, I am a comedian and best selling author; the one thing my brothers in law couldn’t take from me was my voice.
Multi-award-winning Scottish comedienne, playwright, award-winning blogger, best-selling author and former Scotsman newspaper columnist Janey Godley has performed her comedy shows and one-woman play around the world, including off-Broadway in New York. She is a regular on BBC Radio 4’s Just a Minute.
In 2006, Janey was nominated and was close runner-up for the annual Scotswoman of the Year title as ‘the most inspirational woman in Scotland‘. At the New Zealand International Comedy Festival, she won the Spirit of The Festival Award.
A regular 5-star performer at the Edinburgh Fringe, in 2008 she won the Fringe Report Award as ‘Best Performer‘ and two Nivea Funny Women Fringe Awards – as ‘Best Stand-Up‘ and, overall, for ‘Best Show‘ as “one of the most prolific and extraordinary stand-up comedians working in the UK”. In 2008, she also won Edinburgh’s WAG of the Year Award as ‘Best After Dinner Speaker‘, was nominated as ‘Best International Guest‘ in the 2008 New Zealand Comedy Guild Awards and was voted No 3 by readers in London listing magazine Time Out’s list of Top Ten Comedians.
In 2009, her new Edinburgh Fringe show Godley’s World received three 5-star reviews.
Throughout the 2010 Edinburgh Fringe, she performed her new solo stand-up show “The Godley Hour” to rave reviews and appreciative audiences and, with her daughter Ashley Storrie, a children’s show “Tall Storrie & Wee Godley”.