Jo Neary: Cornwall, an Irish Gran and Other People's Voices

February 25, 2021 00:58:28
Jo Neary: Cornwall, an Irish Gran and Other People's Voices
The Plastic Podcasts
Jo Neary: Cornwall, an Irish Gran and Other People's Voices
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Show Notes

Jo Neary is an actor, writer, comedian, artist, puppeteer, singer…the list goes on. Nominated for a Perrier Award in 2004, she is arguably best known as Judith in the BBC series “Ideal”, starring Johnny Vegas.

Born in Coventry, but raised in Cornwall, to an Irish father and Welsh mother, she talks accents, growing up below the poverty line, going untouched by school bullies, her mercurial Irish gran, dad’s naked yoga and the life lessons she’s passing on to her son.

Meanwhile – over at The Plastic Pedestal – Patrick, Angela and Niall of Liverpool Irish Centre nominate the fab four of Tommy Walsh, Joe England, Phil Fitzpatrick and John Lennon

https://the-plastic-podcasts.castos.com/episodes/jo-neary-cornwall-an-irish-granny-and-other-people39s-voices

Photo (c) Steve Ullathorne

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Episode Transcript

Speaker 0 00:00:03 <inaudible> Speaker 1 00:00:22 How you doing? I'm Doug Giovanni and you're listening to the plastic podcasts, tales of the Irish diaspora. At long last, we get to cover all four corners of the globe, which is a weird phrase when you give us any kind of consideration, but we have gone Northwest, Northeast and Southeast. And so finally we get to talk diaspora and the Southwest with actor writer, comedian, Joe Neary, Joe was born in Coventry, but raised in Cornwall by a father from Dublin and the mother from the Midlands. After graduating from university, she carved out a niche for her. One woman shows being nominated for a Perrier award in Edinburgh in 2004, and then appearing in films such as darkest hour and suffragette, as well as working with Mitchell and Webb, Armando Iannucci and Johnny Vegas with whom she's arguably best known, having played Judith in ideal. On top of all this, she's a gifted storyteller, artists, puppeteer and singer has an infectious joy of life and will no doubt blush at all of this before I asked Joe Neary, how you doing? Speaker 2 00:01:20 And that's a very lovely introduction. Thank you for that. I'm feeling swollen with pride now and admiration of this fictional Duran in an area that I don't recognize. Yeah, not bad juggling homeschooling and trying to keep a career going. You know, Speaker 1 00:01:32 How about both of those, the homeschool and the, and the career juggling Speaker 2 00:01:36 The homeschooling. I've kind of let the completely slide really. I'm letting him get away with doing maybe one little task a day, because I don't think it's worth the mental, emotional, uh, you know, uh, stress. But I read a really wonderful quote the other day by Catherine Whitehorn who died recently, she was a journalist and there's an article in the guardian things that she wishes her younger self had known. And she said in her forties, she wished she'd known that her children would be okay and not to worry about them. And the one thing she regrets is not giving them what they didn't have at school. So going to concerts, listening to classical music, you know, I'm building stuff out of wood, all this stuff you don't really get to do so much at school. And that really was a comfort. I thought, yeah, I'm gonna use this time in a really positive way and try and do the stuff that they can't do at school. Speaker 1 00:02:20 So are you engaged with, with writing or anything like that during the, during these, these dark dark months, years of COVID? Speaker 2 00:02:28 I'm very lucky because, uh, very early on, I got Pat to build me a recording studio under the stairs. I'm not actually there right now, but I've got recording studio under the stairs. So I've been able to record for radio three, radio four and my podcast and a book, um, uh, uh, a play by somebody for that book book, book podcast. And also, um, have I done into that? Oh yes. An advert from a well-known furniture company for television. So that's been good. So I've been working, you know, in that way. And also, yes, I've been writing and recording a lot and I just started doing a new podcast for children called radio museum, which is half French, half English, Speaker 3 00:03:05 Uh, Trayvon, what's the difference between doing work like that and then putting together your own work? Speaker 2 00:03:13 Well, the work that someone else says is paid, which means I have to meet a deadline and achieve a certain level and deliver, which is really satisfying, especially voiceovers. I love that about voiceovers. You know, you put everything into them and you know, when you've done a good job, cause they, you know, if you haven't done a good job, they can't use it. Whereas when you work for yourself, um, I kind of produce a lot of material and I sort of have to go, well, that's going to have to do now because otherwise, you know, when you've got no deadline, you can endlessly tweak. And then, you know, when you're working for yourself, you just have to kind of go, well, actually, that's going to have to do, I can't spend three years on this one recording and I've got 20,000 other ideas. And so I don't think it's quite so perfected the stuff I do myself, but it's so free, which is really nice. It's it's my soul food. I think Speaker 3 00:03:58 You work with an awful lot of voices inside. Was that, was that a capacity? You had very, very young, Speaker 2 00:04:04 Sorry about that. But, um, I love, um, doing lots of different characters and I remember years ago I wanted to try and make my code, just talk to each other. So I had a very complicated set up with a tape player and a Dictaphone. And now of course you can do that. Can't you on logic, you can have 10 of your coaches or talking to each other, which is really thrilling. I love doing lots of voices and all of my, my, uh, things I love doing have kind of become honed in later years. And I've been able to do the things I love. For example, doing shows for children. I do a single person shows with lots of puppets. And so I'm able to do all the different puppet voices and that's very satisfying. Do you remember captain Pugwash or the man who did those voices was? Speaker 2 00:04:42 Uh, did all of the voices didn't hear. And also the other one was a fireman. Sam, was it John older interns? I love that, man. Yeah, fantastic. So yeah, I love doing voices. I love dealing with it, but I can't do my NAMS Irish accent. It's too strange. It's just like nothing I've ever heard. Yeah. Completely. I mean, I can do a stupid one. I can do an annoying one. Like it's stupid running commentary in the kitchen, you know, but I've never broadcast one. And I think there's a bit of a thing though, isn't that? Well, you're not meant to do an accent that isn't really yours. It's meant to be un-PC. So I can't really do a Northern actor accent because why don't they just get Northern actor? So it's a bit tricky, but when you're doing comedy, then, you know, should you be sending up people in the North as a, as a Southern person it's kind of called punching down, isn't it accommodates comedians from the North West saying you shouldn't as an actor, as a comedian, do a Northwest accent as part of your routine because it's kind of laughing at the Northwest. Speaker 2 00:05:41 Um, you know, and you've got no claim to make that accent, but I think I do have a claim to do an Irish shucks and unwell Shuksan because my parents are Irish and Welsh. Um, so I don't feel bad about doing those, but I can't really do a very good Irish accent. I don't want to do a substandard accent on stage, although for comedy, you can. But my well now, and I do her as a character on stage. Um, yeah, it's a, it's a very, very good impression of her. It sounds exactly like her. She said, which is weird, cause she's dead. So it's, you know, kind of really odd for her relatives to hear this, but it is true. Speaker 3 00:06:15 I think I was talking to Janet B and who's three recently got a one woman show about her grandmother, Kathleen BN, and so forth. And she pulls out this invitation of Kathleen and she goes like, no, we don't get the fact that how just how good this is. Speaker 2 00:06:26 Yeah. Although I spoke to my I've spoke to my third cousin the other day, uh, who I I've been, I've never spoken to him before. He's a very interesting man. And uh, his, his mother was my grandmother's sister. So he's my third cousin. Um, well she's Welsh. And he said to her, she had a Midlands accent. I said, no, she didn't. She had a well Shuksan and I said, um, I told you, I like, she can, Stephens is good looking and he's Welsh and he's got a lovely voice award you want anyway. Yeah, you're right. Actually she does. That is exactly. But my Irish grand, I can't do accent is too difficult. Speaker 3 00:06:57 This will segue us nicely into talking about your parents in that case, because you say one's from Allen and one's from Wales. So, um, uh, your dad's from Dublin. Yes, yes. And your mom's of Welsh heritage, but was born in Coventry. Is that right? Speaker 2 00:07:10 That's right. So the thing that my parents parents have got in common is that they all moved to Coventry for work. A lot of people moved from Ireland to Coventry for work. It's a huge center then for building motors, big motor trait there. And, uh, yeah, so my daughter was seven when they moved to Coventry, I think it was really difficult because he left all his family, you know, all the cousins, all the answer, the huge network of Irish family and the streets that he loved and knew. And it was a real wrench, I think, for him to move to England. And he wasn't impressed with Coventry. Speaker 2 00:07:45 I'm not entirely sure how they met, but they were both in Coventry. They went to different schools. They probably had a friend in common. Uh, yeah, probably had a fairly common, they were both quite hippie-ish and very, very young, very young. My mom was 18 and when they met and my dad was 23. Um, yeah, so they probably had friends in common. There's five children and I'm the eldest, I'm the oldest of five. My dad moved to Cornwell because he got a job at Helston school as a math teacher. And so he moved to Coleman and he chose Cornwell. Um, I have all the different sheet teaching posts because he wanted his children to grow up somewhere beautiful and a bit more remote, you know, with the lovely beaches and this and the countryside. And he didn't like Coventry. You said you used to have to get dressed up to go to the shelf, which he found really strange. Speaker 2 00:08:28 So everyone gets dressed up. He said, when you get ready in quarter. So he went to call malware and nobody really cares what you look like. It was really quite a Delit growing. I can call. Well, because coolness was sort of 25 years behind the rest of the country. So Cornwell in the seventies was like called, was like the England in the fifties. It was the traffic on the roads. Um, just, it was, the mines was still open when they moved down South coffee, mine was still open. It was a really a place to grow up. It's very safe. You could roam the streets. We used to be in fields with wild horses that up on the Hill, behind the house. And yeah, it was a really fantastic place to grow up. Uh, and I wondered if my dad took us to Caldwell because it was a bit more like Ireland really than the Midlands could ever be. Really. Speaker 3 00:09:13 It's interesting though, because psycho Cornwell and the art and to how is shared a certain psycho Celtic heritage. Speaker 2 00:09:18 Yes, of course. Yes. Yes. Very much. So the Celtic, folklore, ferries Pixies. So in Colma, we've got pic ski, is it pesky, pesky, so called pesky and then I, and Ireland of course have got their leprechaun. Yeah. So yeah, there's a huge folk tale tradition. Isn't there. Speaker 3 00:09:37 I do you look back on those days with a, with a certain fondness then? I mean, so the, the, the freedom of fields and wild horses and all that. Speaker 2 00:09:44 Oh yeah, it was great. But at the time you bored of it, aren't you, you know, I was really glad to leave Coolmore by the time I did, when I was 16, that didn't feel like there's any opportunities there. I took the beautiful locations for granted. I've reset. Every summer, every Easter we were on the beach, we never went abroad. I didn't go abroad until I was 21, you know, and I'd left home and everything. Um, when I was 17. So yeah, I did, I really took for granted and now I really appreciate it. And going down and taking my family down there now to call mall and going to the beaches where the tourists don't know that the locals know where they are and they're kind of empty and unspoiled and the seas magnificent. So yeah, I think I, I, I did have a very idyllic childhood. Speaker 2 00:10:21 Very, very happy. Um, uh, yeah. Fantastic. And do you know what really is odd for me is I didn't get bullied in Carmel and I don't know why, because I would have been perfect. I was so old. I was full for national health glasses and my clothes. My parents had an antique shop. So my clothes were like 1920s, literally Edwardian clothes to secondary school in the eighties, and nobody ever picked on me. And I don't know why. And so even though we were quite different, we were kind of admired for it. And I don't know why. So when I was 11 and I moved to the secondary school, the bully, the school bully, Jeanette came up to me, she went, you're drowning, airy. And I said, yeah. And she went, what you got in your bag? And she made me open my bag and I showed her, I had some books out. Speaker 2 00:11:01 The new library, animals in art was one of them. They were all friends with me. The bullies it's really, it was really curious. There was a real leveling and Cornwall because nobody had very much where I'm from in red, Ruth is below the poverty line, very, very poor part of the world. And so there was none of this. What are your shoes? Like? Where'd you get that coat? There was nothing like that because nobody had anything. So it was a really a delicate place to grow up in that way. Although there was bullying, I didn't get it. Speaker 3 00:11:27 What age did she move across from, from commentary to Cornwell? Then Speaker 2 00:11:30 I think I was four and we moved down and we moved into a caravan while my dad was waiting to find somewhere for us to live properly. And we lived in a caravan with my Irish Nan for six weeks and I was sent to the local school and it was brilliant. Could you imagine it? I was like a little gypsy child for short amount of time. So brushing our teeth in the field and my parents would put me on the bus on my own at the age of four. And I remember feeling like I was really important and I was going to the office and I remember sitting in the school and it was like a cathedral. And I remembered my beautiful book that I was writing. And I was four years old. Could you imagine central for four year old on their own, on a bus? Let me, it was a school bus, you know, but still that was, I mean, it was fantastic. My memories are so, so strong growing up, you know, Speaker 1 00:12:16 Tell us about your grandmother. Betty. Speaker 2 00:12:17 Betty is 104 now. She's fantastic. I wrote down recently, I rang her up and I wrote down everything she said, because I think it's quite nice for posterity. Isn't it? I said to a Nan, what's your advice? What's your life advice? Oh, I don't like to give advice to honor. And then she proceeded to give me 20 minutes to talk about great ideas for life. So she's, um, she was educated, which was quite unusual. I think in the nineties, she was born in 1916 and she was the youngest of, I think maybe eight children. And they were all boys except for her and my great uncles, sand quite fun. There was one party used to sit in the greenhouse and they got a huge ball of hair. That's how you remember him sit in the greenhouse. They were quite eccentric and running white. And because she was the youngest of a load of boys, she was very tomboyish, you know, and she's, uh, she's quite brilliant. Speaker 2 00:13:03 Really. She's lived a long life. And my relatives think is because she's completely selfish. The reason that she lived a long life is because she completely puts herself first and she lets everyone else do everything for her. Like the queen. And, uh, yeah, she's kind of got good mental health. I mean, I need to take a leaf out of her book. My dad's followed after actually that's incredibly selfish, but it's kind of nice because he's 70 something early seventies. I can't remember no 73 and he knows how to look after himself. So actually this year has been great because we know that they're fine. My grant Betty, who's 104. She's just totally had a brilliant year. She's really looked after herself. She's found ways to cope. She's an incredible survivor. She went from she's 104. She was going for a walk every day during lockdown. And she said she put two coats on and it was absolutely brilliant. She said. And so it's lovely because there's none of that, you know, trying to get you to worry about them in my family. You know, when my, when my grand passed a hundred, she got about, I think, is it three or 5,000? It would be your Rose. Wouldn't it from the Irish government. And, uh, her daughters told her to put it aside for a funeral. We're always looking at then exactly a sensible in it. Speaker 1 00:14:19 You're listening to the plastic podcasts. We all come from somewhere else, Joe near his story may at some levels, be typical of the diaspora family, moving across the water for work, searching for a place to belong. But in other ways it bucks the trend with her parents moving away from the family units to the isolation of seventies, Cornwall, we talk family connections and debrief warning. Joe Neary is the only person who will ever get away with calling me Dudley do Speaker 2 00:14:45 So. My mum and dad moved to Cornwall and were very isolated. They had five children dying there and we didn't have any babysitters. There was no family close by to help out. So we were very, very much a close unit. Really? My mum and dad never went out together anywhere. We, they never hired a babysitter. That was always all of us together. But when I was 15, they went and what she said, Nancy at the Regal cinema and mentoree. So I babysat that was my first, the first time I remember them going, going off on their own. Um, but then w when I was young, we used to go to Coventry to visit our relatives. We'd go up to Coventry and visit the Irish family. So my granddad, Kevin, I was going to say to you, when I said about my parents having an antique shop in Cornwall, my dad's Irish family, there's a whole line, I think of kind of Wheeler dealers. Speaker 2 00:15:30 And it's something my mum and dad had got in common. Both their family have threads of Wheeler dealers. So my granddad, my Irish granddad, Kevin Neary, was a gap professional gambler. He used to work at the olds on the horses and all that. He was really into maths, you know, and he was, he would sell and buy wherever he could. And my dad then was the same, big love of the horses and wheeling and dealing. And I've, yeah, I've actually got a notebook from when I was sick. So I tried to be into horses too. And I'd written down a grid of all numbers, like, you know, trying to work out the form and then like things written on, go on number three, Speaker 4 00:16:06 Just lot of things I had written down. Speaker 2 00:16:09 Come on, go go. It's just sorry. Speaker 4 00:16:15 So when you went up to Coventry, what were the, what was it a, was it a whole new world to you? Speaker 2 00:16:20 I've got an incredible memory. I remember my third birthday and my, um, Chivas, Smarties. I didn't know what it was cause I'd never had any sweets til then. And I thought it was a rattle. I'm shaking it. My mum said Joanna it's sweets. And so my cousin, John, I think one of us opened it and exploded all over the floor and John leaped to the ground on all fours and started eating them all. I stood there watching him snore. So I've got a very good memory of coven tree go into the park, um, near Humber Avenue and the slide seeming to be, you know, a mile high cause you're, you know, one and a half foot tall. My, my relatives there is still there. A lot of Irish relatives still in Coventry. My aunties are there. They still got their Irish accents, but my dad got rid of his when he was in his early teens. Speaker 2 00:16:58 Cause he was teased, um, for his Irish accent. So he deliberately ironed out, which he regrets now really, because it was part of him, you know? Yeah. He got rid of it. So being mocked. Yeah. But yeah, I love going to court. Coventry's great. This is really great. It's nice to visit. I mean, Coventry cathedral is fascinating and the center of the time or the middle aged, you know, middle-aged, you don't call them middle aged, ancient pubs. Middle-aged pubs. That's a great city to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there. I love being by the sea. Yeah. When I went to, I went to Dublin with my dad in 1999 for Bloom's day. And it was also the, uh, world cup. And we went to a pub near the botanical gardens in Dublin. Or my dad worked when he was young or he used to go when he was young. Probably I wouldn't work there. Speaker 4 00:17:42 So silence Speaker 2 00:17:43 In the Irish pub, let's go tonight. I didn't know about the any antipathy. And when I saw a statue to the IRA Dublin, I was shocked. You know, I mean at 99 I was about, I would have been how old 26 or something, 27. And I said to my dad, I said, start you to the IRA. And he went, well, they're heroes here. We said, you get to a propaganda in English schools. And it was really interesting going to Dublin with him. I really loved it there. And the pubs, the pubs are like churches in Dublin and only went to near is for my first pint. I was a bit embarrassed in case people knew I was being a tourist, you know, but yeah, my first point of Guinness in Dublin, I went to near his pub. Yeah. Speaker 3 00:18:21 When you went up to the country and saw those relatives, I mean, so what was, what are your memories of it? I suppose is the question I'm asking? Speaker 2 00:18:29 Well, my relatives in Coventry compared to my family and Camila very, very normal, and I don't mean that in a derogatory way, but they're into things like Andrew Lloyd Webber and um, uh, uh, you know, the latest fashion and doing up their home and me doing their kitchen, the normal things that normal people do, that's what they do. And my family call Milan like that at all. So they were kind of exotic, you know, we were, my, my dad is quite different really to, to the rest of it, to assist us. Um, uh, although they all have a very strong, moral, um, upbringing, which I was past, which I had passed on to me. So I think that my Irish, Aunty one in particular kind of doesn't really approve of my dad and our family. And then when we recently met, she was quite surprised to find out we've actually got a lot in common. Speaker 2 00:19:13 And so if we made a connection there, because although on the face of it, my dad was, you know, in his early twenties trying to be a teacher, I think his relatives never believed he became a teacher. They don't believe he did it a good degree. They don't believe he trained to be a teacher that is really odd eccentric family stuff, which I suppose everyone's got signs, all the bathrooms got this stuff. So when I went to Coventry, they did seem quite exotic in their normality. And I quite loved the fact that things were in their place, you know, whereas in Cornwall where my parents been antique dealers and my dad been a master teacher and us moving house and stuff, and, you know, five children on one income in a very poor part of the world, there was a, you know, real disparity between that and Coventry with, you know, two income households and, and everything in its place, proper middle-class normality you. It was exotic to see them exotic, but I didn't want it. Speaker 3 00:20:08 Yeah. I mean, what's your dad considered exotic down in Cornwall? Speaker 2 00:20:12 I don't think so. When he was an antique dealer, he looked hilarious. He looked like a typical Irish dealer. He had a leather Brown leather blues on jacket. And at one point he grew a mustache. We used to call him love joy. And uh, yeah, he was a, he was a brilliant antiques dealer. He was really got a really good nose. So he used to go to jumble sales every Saturday, all of us in a van and we'd all bundle out. I need to get the treasures. That was great. But yeah, he's a bit of an outsider in the family. I think he's a bit of a black sheep really, which is strange because, well, it's just strange in it to have a black sheep because when you've got the same parents and the same upbringing, you've got more in common than, you know, I dunno the black sheep things, a strange one. Speaker 3 00:20:53 It, it, it is a strange world. And it brought me around to, to, to, to a thought that it was, it kind of relates back to what you're talking about with voices and accents. It's that sense? Uh, and your dad decided not to have his accent because of being teased for it. I think. So that kind of feeds into this, which is this sense that, uh, other people will define you by the accent that you have. And so I was thinking when you, when you do engage with a voice for a character or for, um, for a puppet, um, or for when you're doing voiceovers or on the rating stories and things like that, is there something that happens when you, when you do a voice on you saw, I go, it's this voice because it's this kind of character, Speaker 2 00:21:31 Do you know? That's a really good question. I think that for me, write character comedy or creating a character what's really good is to base a character on a real person, even if that's just your starting point, because real people have way more interesting than a template. So I never got that thing of going. I'm going to do a hairdresser. They're going to be an idiot. They're going to have a London accent because it's, it's nothing. It's not real, it's not based in anything, but if you go, I'm going to do a character that's based on this belligerent woman who questioned where a smell was coming from for far too long and was really quite annoying and a bit nasal. And she's very pedantic. It's this one person I know. And then I'm going to use her voice and impression of her voice and fill out the world. Speaker 2 00:22:13 So give her a boyfriend to give us some encounters, give us some stories and some journeys and see how she would react. So for me, creating a character, the, the voice that the person has is, so for example, I couldn't do, I'm going to do a character with an Irish accent. It's just not interesting to me because what is, that is so broad. But if I went, I'm going to do a character based on the fact that my Nan, my Irish nun turns on me, you know, she's one minute she's sweetness and light. And the next minute she's like, uh, which, you know, devil, she's not just an Irish accent. People are so, you know, interesting and contradictory. I think an accent is just a tiny little part of the character, but it can be useful. And you've got to be careful because an accent in other people's eyes can change things. If you, if you're not careful, if I did a Welsh character, I've got about three different, well shacks, since one of them is a bit of a, a happy airhead. One of them is a very belligerent, grumpy, older person. And the other one is, um, is my great granted, an old boot. So they're all very different. And, uh, and they, and they give a different angle on the, the material has to suit the person that's saying it. I can't explain it better than that. Doug is total. Speaker 3 00:23:28 No, that that's a, that's absolutely brilliant. Not every answer is a good answer. Um, but the, the, the thing I suppose is that because both Britain and Ireland are very, very small countries and, and yet we have wide variety of accents and things of that, and a whole load of presumptions based upon them, 40 away from Dupaul there's Manchester. Uh, and yet the access is hugely different. And the approach of the two, two cities to each other is massively different as well. Speaker 2 00:23:54 It's funny, isn't it? Because this country has been invaded by everybody. And I wonder if there's a bit of a territorial thing going on, because even in Cornwall, it was red. First is Campbell, and there's only three miles between them, but there was a real rivalry just as there's a real rivalry between pool school. And, you know, Logan is like this territorial, isn't it a bit that kind of clown thing. Um, I mean, when we moved to Cornwall, we were Emmett's. So in Caldwell, you could get called an Emmet. If you moved from upcountry, as they call it. Um, and I said, when are we going to stop being an Emmet then? And they said, 25 years, you have to live here. And then you stop in an emot. So when I got to 20, 29 or whatever, I said, am I now a non Emmet? Speaker 2 00:24:32 They went, no, it's just gone up. It wasn't a nasty unacceptance. It was a playful one. And my parents had been very accepted in Caldwell. Well, they've never been seen as outsiders. I think they've been there now for 40 odd years. And I think that they consider themselves really to be part of the local community. Um, and yet they don't have Cornish accents cause a funny one, you know, that was about 18 working in a pub. And this old woman started complaining about how it's free to get into Cornwall and you have to pay to get out, you know, on the team bridge. They basically just want to cut them. So this old woman wanted to cut off Cornwall at Tamer and flow off. Anyway, that's a bit irrelevant. Speaker 3 00:25:13 You say that your parents weren't outsiders. I mean, have you considered yourself an outsider? You observe people an awful lot, and I'm wondering if that's a kind of distance. Speaker 2 00:25:21 That's interesting. Yeah. I don't know. Really. I think, um, I think I do feel like a bit like an outsider and I think that's why art school was so great because suddenly all the outsiders were together. So my upbringing Caldwell was quite unorthodox in way, you know, large family and, um, you know, my dad had been, self-employed my mom not working at all. It wasn't really typical of the Cornish families and then going to art school for seven years, I managed to do in the end. And that's where, you know, lots of outsiders are in art, aren't they? And then living in Brighton for over 20 years as well. I think, um, you sort of find your, find your clan. Don't you, you sniff each other out in this world, um, in Britain, in England. I mean, um, when I did ideal with Graham Duff, almost all the women in that show are from Colvin tree. Speaker 2 00:26:08 And it's really lovely finding, you know, people that have got something in common and also with Irish people. I remember in the early nineties, it was very fashionable to be Irish. Do you remember that? I remember I was at art college with a very posh boy, Richard, and, uh, and he's yourself. Oh, I'm actually Irish. I'm actually Irish, my father's Irish. And it was just hilarious. It felt like you wanted a bit of that, you know, a bit of what was, seemed to be a bit exotic and a bit rough. And there was this real brilliant idea that all Irish men were a bit sexy. And, um, I do a comedy now with Richard Dublin, Al Kerr, and we do a routine where we're, um, me and me and other Irish. So focusing he's really full of he's so funny. Yeah. So we do these characters that are Irish and it's just fantastic. Uh, I've been, uh, been touring the country now it's like sleeping his way behind country and I miss his puts upon little Irish life that he's about to get rid of. Who's about to dump. I'm not what my talking about and I totally do Speaker 1 00:27:09 You there. And we'll be back with Joe in a moment, but first the old call to action, lonely isolated in need of a place to be, then why not subscribe to the plastic podcasts? Simply scroll down the [email protected] Enter your email address in the space provided. And with one confirmatory click, you'll be joining the party. Every podcast Thursday, please note definition of party may vary from dictionary standard. And now the brief interlude we call the plastic pedestal where I ask an interviewee to talk about a member of the diaspora of personal political or cultural significance to them this week. A trio of voices as Patrick gall, Angela billing and Nial Gidney of Liverpool Irish center, nominated characters, both local Speaker 5 00:27:57 And global. There's a fellow called Tommy Walsh who started the old art center. He was the first manager, I think the first chairman as well. Tell me, well, it was a second generation. His dad was an Irish speaker from a place called Cara in Galway. Uh, he died about 10 years ago. He was, uh, he instigators the collections to start the old rec center. As I say, he was the first show and the first manager, I can't remember when he stopped being manager. Um, but he also then started the second dire center, which was a, you know, an extraordinary thing to do. I'm not sure how old he was at the time. Probably probably 60 ish. So having gone through the pain of the first Irish center closing, he then sort of like got off off the canvas and started the second data center, which is where we are now. Speaker 5 00:28:48 We are in the huge desk and he should be on the pedestal. If anyone should be. He was a great storyteller. He told us the story about when electricity came to his part of Ireland and, uh, the Irish electricity board were very keen to make sure that the, um, the old people knew and understood electricity. And there was one chapter in the village who wasn't using his electricity. So they called Don and they said, why don't you use any electricity? He said, of course I am. I love my electricity. He says, well, uh, well, this is very odd because the meter doesn't say you are, can you tell us how you use it? He says, I want to come in from the fields every night in the dark. And I switched electricity on it's absolutely marvelous. I go over and get me matches the light, all the candles and switch electricity off. Speaker 5 00:29:32 And that was, uh, that was a very typical tell me the story. He tells stories all the time. He was a very, very good storyteller. And, um, it was always sort of, he was always amazed by humanity. And it's, he said to me, once he said, this is typical of the Kerry people who've just been to carry. He said, I went in there, said, uh, had an English number plays on the car. They didn't like me. And, uh, he said, I'll have, you know, it's groceries. So you pay for your groceries. Then he said, have a lottery ticket. And he gave in his, his pound or his Euro, whatever it was. And, uh, the first one went and got the tickets, came back and said, you haven't won. And, uh, we gave him the tickets. She just got rid of them every time he went to Ireland. Speaker 5 00:30:16 Uh, well, in fact, he just, he just had a fountain tales and he was involved in all sorts of things, telling me he was involved with, uh, the hunger strikers, the Gaelic association, uh, the GAA. He, he had tales about everybody and everything. And, uh, the greatest thing I ever had, one of those sorts of told me it was if I knew something he didn't know about Ireland. And, uh, it was like such a great feeling to be able to tell him something that he didn't know. You know, he taught me lots of songs. Uh, I still, I still think of him, you know, all the time, you can't walk into the art center without thinking about it. And we're very lucky because the last 20 years, the three of us have known grace, great Irish people through going to the artist center. I'm sure others would have other people to put on the pedestal. Speaker 6 00:31:05 I'd have to agree with Patrick on Tommy that as well, I'm also Joe England. And I know that person who probably hasn't, you'd say hasn't done anything like outstanding, both, eh, East just, it's just a magnet for Irish people. And that's Phil Fitzpatrick. He's a bit of a legend in the Irish center. He hasn't done anything like Tommy's, don't worry. It's just him being there. Everyone is drawn to all the young people, anyone new Combs, and everybody looks fell and he's 19 now. And he's just, it's just, you'd want to be fair because he's just full of energy. And he's been in pulling all the garden up at the back door and locked down and filling the scape up. And he's just an inspiration to everyone in the Irish center. Really, Speaker 5 00:31:53 My daughter says that we should have Phil Fitzpatrick merchandise. Speaker 7 00:31:58 Okay. He's got Irish, Irish in her hair. <inaudible> and obviously it wasn't for where would live, feel big without the artist in our w without half a setting, we wouldn't have as many roads. We wouldn't be famous in China because of the Beatles. You're the man we want to be without, without the Oddish, nowhere, we wouldn't be, you know, England's fair or fourth, largest city. We would be down at the bottom. We'd be like, Whoa. You know what I mean? No offense to anyone from Volvo is what it is. Speaker 5 00:32:33 I mean, that's a very good point. Now, ex if you, if you're listening to a Fergal keen series at the moment, um, how the Irish built Britain or something, uh, the series starts off in our mercy side in West Kirby. Uh, but both the first two episodes have lots of stuff about Liverpool. And he keeps emphasizing that this is such an important diary city. And then the third in the series is about the music. And Landon is, is all over that. And interestingly, John Lennon, uh, towards the end of his short life, uh, became very interested in his Irish roots. Also an Island of Mayo, uh, went there on at least one or two occasions. And of course wrote songs about Ireland. And, uh, w w was clearly very connected to Ireland. That's where the others, Patrick, Speaker 3 00:33:29 Angela and Nile there. And if you want to hear more of our Liverpool Irish center interview, or any of our archive, just go to www.plasticpodcasts.com and click on the link to the episodes page. Alternatively, you can find us on Amazon, Apple podcasts or Spotify. Now back to Joe Neary. And we returned to towns of her family. We also get to briefly discuss James Ghana as God or I do. Speaker 2 00:33:56 My, my dad was brought up to be Catholic, you know, and he's got real affection for, um, Catholic. He was, he went to a college. What were they called? The brothers where they called the brothers the really horrible, yeah, the Christian brothers, Jesus. He tells me about the Christian brothers and the teachers he had. There was one science teacher used to go and lock himself in a cupboard when he was upset with the class and the kids would have to go knock on the door and apologize to get him to come out. My dad was getting caned at the age of seven for not having all this school equipment in his bag, even though he wasn't told to bring it in. So that it'll go right. If you've got your release, if you got your rubbers, you got your pencils. And if you didn't have one of them, you'd get the cane. Speaker 2 00:34:29 Um, and so he was brought up. I, my, my ground was very, very moral. We've got a very strong morals in my family, which I now I'm proud of. And like, and I'm drawn to other people with like sight, like morals, you know, with like minded morals. But I think that thing of my dad saying you can do to make sure you do better next time. It's just his good nature to attempt to, you know, make me be the best I could be. But the unfortunate side effect, which, you know, I wasn't aware I was at that would mean I never really feel like I've done anything good enough. And that's just been apparent in it. You know, you learn by fat by feeling like you're failing all the time. Do they try to pass on the good stuff and, uh, not realizing the damage you do must just be in being a parent. Speaker 3 00:35:10 There's a, uh, there's a cartoon series that I used to love in the late nineties called God, the devil and bulb. And, uh, God was voiced by James Garner. Uh, and, uh, basically, so Bob was, um, uh, a, uh, a soul that both the devil and God were essentially fighting over. And at one point Bob's dad dies and he's absolutely certain that he's, it's sort of a dad has gone down to hell. And so he makes a deal with the devil that sort of like a, that, that he'll go down to hell. That's all I have one final word with his dad, or you can't find a stat there that didn't happen. This is why this man was an absolute Southern Gulf coast. And it was, I'd like to hit, he gave you a lighter hit than the one that he got. And he was giving, given a larger hit the one he got and things like that. And, uh, that's always stayed with me, Alan Cummings prepped the devil, Speaker 2 00:35:54 A fantastic anecdote, Doug, that's amazing. And it really does resonate. My parents had awful childhoods awful. And, uh, yeah, so everything they've done for us has been in spite of that. And I'm really grateful to them for the childhood. They gave us, I had my debt, my parents use, I was so young. I grew up with such a young, energetic parents, so they have no money, but I had their time and their energy, which is priceless really. Um, you know, there might be younger pattern. We've got younger siblings, got the financial sort of, you know, side of it more than the energetic youthful side. But yeah, my, my dad's dad, Kevin Neri, he was a very tricky customer, uh, very greasy, you know, sort of slimy, not good family man. And my dad said, the one thing he wanted to give us was that there'd always be someone home when we got home, because he often came home to an empty house. Speaker 2 00:36:44 And that's something that he didn't want us to experience. You know, the other thing he was really upset about with his mom was he didn't know about jumble sales. So when he was growing up, he had nothing, he had no money, but there were jumble sales, but his mother Betty was too snobby to go to them. So when he met my mum, she was a jumble queen, you know, her the <inaudible> and he was really unhappy and he was annoyed. And I wish I'd known about this. I wish I'd known you could get bags of clothes for 10 P you know? Uh, yeah. So yeah, he did have a terrible father and I'm very lucky to, to have the data I've got. He's brilliant. He's just great. He's so positive. And so wise. Yeah, no, we just wanted something to where he had horrible green cardigan with a big zip up the front. Speaker 2 00:37:25 And he said he would have liked to just have a different guardian. Now he's not a closed source at all. He's really eccentric. Let me describe and chill a little bit. So he does naked yoga, which my mother was horrified to walking on that. He goes running with a, with a hat on, with a light on the front of it in the dark, but he doesn't have the light on. It's just there in case he needs it. When he sees other people on a walk, he'll tell them to put their phone away and enjoy that joy. He goes on walks with a rubbish bike and collects other people's rubbish. And one day he found a six pack of fosters under a hedge suit together and drank it. He's quite eccentric. He's brilliant. And I, and we talk about interest in things like I said to him, so what do you do? Speaker 2 00:38:07 I said, are you joking? And Sterling joking? He went, yeah, I do go for a run, but I also go for a walk he's because I like to take in the scenery. I said, what do you mean? He went, well, I like to look at the colors of the stones or the, or listen to the bird song. And sometimes I'll shut my eyes. And that's the kind of conversation we have, which I love because it's not normal. It's not usual. You know, I think the usual conversation is what's happening with COVID, what's the prime minister doing now, you know, all that kind of stuff. And he's just not interested. It, his philosophy in life is case RSA, you know, like it's our estate song. Um, and he's re it is just a breath of fresh air in lots of ways. Have you got a little picture of him now if I described him too? Or is it just too modularly? It's fantastic. Speaker 3 00:38:48 I was going to say, because you were saying about, um, uh, this with your, your, your, your grandmother yesterday, it's like, we're talking about the lighter hit and so far, I mean, so she came through some bits and pieces as well. Speaker 2 00:38:58 Yeah. My Gran had an awful mother who was a, she was probably a bit insane because she used to do things like wash my mother's. My grandmother's may fight with bleach and carbolic soap and stuff. Oh. And so my grandma was a real rebel, a real tomboy, a real tear away. And her, her mother was trying to kind of tame her. Uh, but she, I think she was a bit insane. I haven't heard that many stories about her really. Cause I don't really want to dredge up painful things for my grand, but, um, my Gran was very close to her dad. He was a gentle Goodman and uh, yeah, yeah. Uh, I don't really know that much, but my Grant's a funny one. My Betty, the Irish grant, she went to a school, she went to an all girls school. And I think in 1920 something that would have been quite unusual for, you know, she's not a posh person for younger than the twenties to get an education, I think is quite unusual from the books I've read because aren't women meant to go into service aren't they meant to go and be mermaids in other people's houses. Speaker 2 00:39:57 So her mother knew the value of education, but my granddad got expelled from school for sending a love letter to the boy and the college opposites. She said, all the girls were doing it, but she was the only one that got caught. And she went, she told me she wasn't laughing and I laughed. And she was really angry with me for laughing at that. But that story. Yeah. So she's, yeah, she's a, she's a bit, um, sort of unpredictable, really. I don't know why your while with my Gran and that drives my dad up the wall. You'd never know where you are with it. Nothing's ever easy. Everything's a huge palava. So when we're all sitting around for dinner, she'll say, do you wanna, do you want buy potatoes? And I'll go, no, thank you. Go on, have some reputations. My dad said, can you mom, can you just eat your dinner? Speaker 2 00:40:37 We'll just give her a bit of my potato, just eat your dinner. It doesn't need to be a thing. We're all bartering our food. And it's like that it's really on relaxing. And my dad's much, much more laid back you up to get away from them. Which to be honest, he just, you have to get away from her. Really. I know, even though she's the reason she moved down to Colt Cornwall with my dad in the caravan is because she had such a terrible marriage with Kevin. My dad got her away. He said, if he hadn't gotten away, he, he, she probably, he would have killed her. My, my granddad would have killed my Gran. So my dad literally, he just took her away from Coventry, took her away from his dad. And he looks back on that and thinks he maybe shouldn't have interfered. Speaker 2 00:41:14 But he said he had no choice. He had to do it because she was in danger. So, yeah. Um, considering what they've been through, they have incredibly wonderful, healthy, outlooks on life. And the fact that she's still going 104, when Kevin died, she, she said that they could forgave each other. She went to the hospital and held his hand and looked into his eyes and she's, and, and I think she, she said, you know, I don't know if she actually said, I forgive you. But she said, they looked into each other's eyes and they knew. And so they ended on in a good way, you know, but she was embarrassed for years about being separated. She wore a wet, she still wears a wedding ring because she's got children and she doesn't want people to think how come you've got children out of wedlock. We mentioned worried about that in your late nineties. Strange isn't that funny? Old families are so weird additional person. In what way? I like routine. I love Irish food, bacon and cabbage boiled in a pan together. I love that traditional. I like, I like routine. I like to know what's going on. And I always liked to have the same flavor, ice cream, if that's what you mean. Speaker 3 00:42:20 No, I actually, uh, you, you, you, you were saying about how you'll, how, uh, as you got older, you come to appreciate, um, that strong moral compass, that's your, your grant and your, uh, and your father has and things like that. And so I was wondering, so like, are you somebody who likes things to be Speaker 2 00:42:37 Ordered? The reason I think I've got a strong moral upbringing is because I've been seeing people who don't have a strong moral upbringing and being outraged. And I've tried, I've realized how I was brought up differently. And I've met, I've met people in Brighton who were even more moral than I am, and I really admire them. I really like a good set of morals. I think it's a, it's a good thing to have. And I dunno where it comes from. I wondered if it comes from going to church. And so I've started taking it. I started before COVID taking my son to church because I wanted him to, I don't believe in God, I'm not a religious person. I don't particularly like the church, but I quite like Methodist church. And I quite would like him to know about the 10 commandments, you know, and the, and to have that philosophy, that thing of thinking about what, the consequences of things, except in consequence, the things that might my mom and dad taught me, that I think is unusual is you don't live with it. Speaker 2 00:43:29 You don't live beyond your means. So you earn the money that you earn and you spend that money and you don't spend any other money. So you live within your means and, um, you, you, what what's the other strong is your manners. Good manners are important to me. So now I've got a child. You see, I'm kind of, you, you sort of look at your upbringing, don't you and think, what am I going to pass on? And what am I going to let go of? Am. I am quite fierce with those, with manners and with, uh, morals and with being truthful, the importance of being truthful and being a trustworthy person. I am passing that on. I don't know if you'll hate me for that in years or not, but I, but I've been taught as important. And so I'm, I I've, I've held onto that being important, but in terms of tradition, I'm not a stay at home. Speaker 2 00:44:14 Mom, I'm not fulfilling the typical mum role. I'm still trying to have my own career. And I did have my child for quite late in life. So I didn't get married at 22 or anything. So in that sort of tradition, in that sense, I'm not traditional, you know, in a way my parents were quite eccentric, but they're not hippies. They've always, you know, so the, the closest way I can describe this to say that they're hippies because they kind of, um, you know, they've got low, they're both had long hair at their wedding. And, uh, one, my dad said I would have loved that wedding. He said, people just wandered in off the street and joined in. They all let chips at the above. The biggest showrooms or Mike Welsh was, was working around the room. My great-grandmother drinking everyone's drinks behind that backs and my Irish family or Alaris. I got sent a fantastic DVD of an Irish that super eight films put together compiled by my relative in Dublin. And it's, it's, it's incredible. This is wedding party. There. We are at the wedding and it's this incredibly diverse voice. Here. We are at the wedding, the Vickers dancing with the guarantees, as you can see, I think it was in the sixties, this wedding, and now we're all going to repair for something to eat, to move any fare that might've got lodged. Speaker 2 00:45:25 So father Ted, when father Ted came along, my dad was delighted. Oh, my dad said, it's like a breath of fresh air. I've in that lot. Laughter my grandkids go Joanna, would you like a sweet, would you want a sweetie Joanna? Well, yes please. Now what do you can't have candy with your teeth? Jesus, it's just such hard work. And when I went to Dublin, me and my dad went to a car boot sale and this woman said to me, Oh, for God's sake, would you look at them shoes? Look at that. She picked up this boot. Did you look at that boot? Is that beautiful? You get it. Oh, for God's sake. There's only one. Why you want that for what is that given and taken away. It's really strange. Speaker 1 00:46:12 You're listening to the plastic podcasts hashtag we all come from somewhere else. Speaking of hashtags, feel free to follow us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, Ireland, Wales, the Midlands Cornwell with so many different influences on her life. And with such a variety of talents. I wonder if Joe Neary gets to consider how she's got where she is today or is this all simply a case of to coin a phrase? This is your life. Speaker 2 00:46:38 I think with any anyone, it's just, this is your life, isn't it. You don't know any different. You don't read it really analyze what you've got do when you're in it. Remember when I first did comedy and I went to Edinburgh and I was in my early thirties and the times interviewed me and they said, so what's it like being a woman in comedy? And I was just floored by that question because I'd never thought about it. I didn't set out to do anything thinking, well, I'm a woman. So about, I do that. Who does that? I mean, nobody did that. Nobody goes because I'm a man I'm going to build a wall. It's just doesn't happen. Does it? You do you Joe, you're Doug, you'll you. And uh, you don't really analyze that stuff. And, and all of the things that happen. I never have regrets in life because all of it shapes us. Speaker 2 00:47:16 Doesn't it? I think my only regret in life is not buying a house in Brighton in 1993, but you know what? Getting into comedy, well, nobody was going to the theater. So I did, um, fine art. I did art foundation and then I did visual and performing arts at Brighton university. And it doesn't really, um, performance. Art is quite a strange one, especially in the eighties and the early nineties. It wasn't really very flourish. It wasn't flourishing really. And nobody was going to see weird theater as much as they were going to see comedy. So by the mid nineties and I, and I kind of knew I was funny. Cause when I tried to be serious, I'd make people laugh. So I think in 1997 I just turned, switched my entry in the Brighton festival brochure from theater to comedy. And suddenly I was sat in out, I was doing the same material, but I just moved it in the brochure. Speaker 2 00:48:11 And I thought, this is where the audience is. It's it felt like comedy was like, was becoming like football. It was so huge and popular is what people wanted. Whereas with theater, I don't know what it was about theater, but maybe it's just so broad. You don't know what you're going to get. Are you going to get a man in a pair of pants rolling about on the floor, speaking in French for three hours, or are you going to get 10 people who are wearing blue pretending to scrape a wall? Or are you going to get Lindsey camp with a chariot in the air on a road being very entertaining and throwing flyers about it? It's just so broad, but comedy, although obviously comedy is objective. People are probably more willing to take a pump with it. I was in Cornwell at art college. I do my foundation. Speaker 2 00:48:54 I said to my friends who were in a theater company, I said, I want to go to college and do theater and art. And they said, well, if you want to do that, you put it back, put on a show. Then I went, all right then. So I got my friend to give me her front room and I advertised around the art college. I was putting on a show. I'd never done this before I was 17 and everyone came, it was on a Sunday. Jesus, I got still got the video of it. It's excruciating. All of the tutors from pharma thought college were there. All of the degree students, it was just ridiculous. They were like four, five deep these row on a long room, a big room, five foot deep people standing in the doorway and where me and my friends had just cobbled together. Speaker 2 00:49:31 Some weird sketches. One of them was an impression of the student union, uh, had a student union Warrick. Um, uh, it was just a ridiculous series of sketches. It was a monologue I did. And as I did it, I was smoking cause I was so nervous. I'd never done any performance before and like pajamas caught fire. So I was sort of patting them out while I was doing this monologue. And that time in about 1989 Victoria, which was on television. And so there was a woman on her own doing it. And that was achievable. It was much easier to be a woman on your own, in a room doing something than it was to put on a production with the set and lighting and the crew. And so I basically did my own version of Victoria would show in this front room to prove that I could do it. I got, I, I couldn't do that. Now. I was so foolhardy and Ray, I still got to do a video of it. It's unbearable. It's excruciating Speaker 3 00:50:21 When, uh, people to, uh, call the, in all its various different forms. And so on. I mean there is a, there is a tendency to think nowadays, um, that there's a kind of element a confessional to it. Um, that it's a person's perspective being, being put out there. Uh, you use an awful lot of characters and things like that. I mean, so are they extensions of you or is this a way of actually not talking about you? Speaker 2 00:50:47 They're definitely me. I've recently realized that the one thing all my characters are going in common is that all diluted and I am very diluted. I'm very, very quick to dream very quick to imagine that I'm something I'm not when me and my friend play used to go and teach in Italy. We used to learn Brittany Spears routines together with the dance tutors, these, the teachers, and we weren't all teaching. We'd get the dance teacher teacher to teach us this brilliant Beyonce and Brittany Spears routines. And in my mind I looked exactly like Brittany Spears. Um, so yeah, all my characters are diluted and than I am. And also I love comedy that comes from a very warm place. So when I see something funny in someone else, it's not that I'm laughing at them. It's because I recognize myself in them. And the only time I've ever tried to do comedy from a nasty place, it hasn't worked. Speaker 2 00:51:30 So I tried to do a character based on Kirstie Allsopp cause I didn't like her. So I tried to do a character based on that. And it just wasn't funny. It was too vitriolic. It was just full of hate. I just didn't work. So that may be maybe that's what I got from Victoria words. Maybe the fact that I don't have a huge ego myself means I don't like to look down on anybody. And this last year has really heightened that this made me really, really aware. Like there are things now that I'm not going to laugh at anymore, things have changed. Um, I think we've become much more sensitive to each other and the fact that some people are in a very difficult place and you've got to just have that in mind. Really it's changing. It's going to be interesting coming out of this and doing comedy again because it's going to be different. I think it's for me. Anyway. Speaker 3 00:52:14 What was your first laugh? The first laugh you got Speaker 2 00:52:17 Probably Laurel and Hardy, um, uh, trailer Ledson pine or do you mean me? I'll it not me as a child laughing at something. Speaker 3 00:52:23 It's going to be a two way question. Yeah. So, so you've, you've answered the second half first. So, so let's go for the first half second. So what was the one that you got that? Do you recall him getting, getting a laugh? Speaker 2 00:52:33 My first laugh has been on stage at school, age 15 and doing a poetry night and a dressing up and doing a character poem, doing a character for poem. And it was an incredible feeling. And then the next year playing poorly eights in a Christmas show and uh, yeah, doing an impression of poorly eight Sage 16, 15 or 16 at the Christmas show, it was an incredible, incredible feeling just yeah. To make a whole room full of people, laugh with a stupid voice and it'd be really fun. It was fantastic. Yeah. I remember that. But um, then I, you see you, can't be funny at art college and I've had this conversation with Adam Buxton cause Adam Buxton, you know, you asked about, do you get drawn to like the people, you only Vegas and Adam Buxton? Um, uh, both friends and they are, they both went to art college and I do think you find each other and Adam did sculpture art college and I was drawn to sculpture too. That was my first love, but he was told off and on his course for seeming to use the course to make films and get onto television, he told me, and he said, we were talking about how there wasn't room for comedy art school. Isn't it. Especially in the late eighties and the nineties, people were very earnest and uh, yeah, it wasn't seen as being art to be funny, which is a shame rarely isn't it. Speaker 3 00:53:54 Did you do that thing of making up your own shows and things like that? Speaker 2 00:53:57 Yes, tragically. I won. I remember sitting, making all the masks for a play about the minor tour and writing the script and you have no one to be in it. And so I use that now in my comedy, you know, I'm sure I've done a character that's, uh, you know, putting on a show and no one wants to be in it. And I'm kind of rewrite apart, writing apart for everyone in the class. Yeah. Now when I do my puppet shows for children, I just, I just had a sudden realization of going, I'm doing everything I did when I was seven. I'm doing everything I did when I was 15. When I was 21, when I was 25, it just all keeps coming round. You know that thing that you go, I'm going to look at my diary from when I was 13 and have a good laugh at the idea I was and use it for my comedy writing. And you go back to it and you go, I haven't changed. You would love to laugh for that stupid little person who didn't know anything, but actually you go, no, I'm no different. I can't laugh at that person and still like it. Speaker 2 00:54:47 And I love that. I love how things just keep coming. So I said to my friend, Ben is a writer for children's TV. I said, what'd you do about paper, about paperwork in your home about having reams and reams of writing. And he said, throw it all away and trust that it's all in there. And I think that that's true. I think that, you know, that little, that little person, that little creator that never goes away, it never changes. And sometimes when you think you've got a new idea for something, I don't know if you do this, I go, I've got a new idea. I'm going gonna, I'm going to do a recording of this. And then you find a notebook from 20 years ago, it's got that idea written in it, you know? And you think it's an original idea and it's just you churn. And I wish I had more clarity of thought in life. That's the one thing I'd like to have Speaker 3 00:55:27 When we were talking about you and your dad, you talked about going around, uh, Dublin for Bloomsday, uh, things like that. I mean, so I do feel a sense of, um, having a, having an Irish heritage. Speaker 2 00:55:38 I'm very proud of my Irish heritage. I went to Galway last year and did a comedy show and I spoke to, I think the taxi driver, the taxi driver was a beautiful man. He drove me all around Galway and gave me a tour and showed me all of the interesting historical sites and the terrible history. It was fascinating. And I said to him, you know, my dad's from Dublin. I said, I, I don't really understand the politics of Ireland. I've, don't, I'm not very up on history, but I'm really, really proud to be Irish. And I don't know if I can remember what we were talking. We were sort of talking about the fact that Northern Ireland is part of the UK. And I said, for me, I feel like I'm in Ireland. I don't feel like I'm in the UK. I feel like I'm in Ireland. Speaker 2 00:56:18 And I feel like it's one thing. And is that a wrong thing to feel? And I think he said, no, it's a thing to feel. And I feel the same way. And I don't know if there's, you know, different ways of feeling Irish. I don't know if there's different heritages, but the fact is my family are from heir and my father, Noel, Thomas Neri now dinner in gala. I don't know. I'm really, I'm really proud of my Irish heritage. Um, although I don't really feel like I've got much claim to it cause I was born in coffin tree, but one day I'm going to perfect my Grant's accident and do a brilliant tribute to her one day, Speaker 8 00:56:52 A lot about the past. And so like, I think it's been passed on and so forth. So when you look at your son, um, Speaker 2 00:56:58 What do you see of yourself in the, Oh, I dunno. I dunno. Actually he's only, he's only nine. He loves reading books and kind of getting lost in a world. And it's very fun for me to bring him into a little world, you know, and see his eyes glaze over. When I read in books at night, he made the, so say for example, I'm reading him a bigger story and it says something like bagels gave a start. He'll lie next to me, he'll go. And he's acting out in his head. And I love that thing of that. The way that children get completely absorbed in a thing, they get into the zone, don't they, and as adults in our creative lives, we get into the zone still don't we? So I'm, I'm happy that I can, I don't know if I'm actually sharing that or if that's just in him, cause he's a child and I'm still like it, I'm still acting like a child. I'm not sure, but yeah, that thing of getting lost in your own world is there. I think I'm passing them all my good morals. He knows that you do not lie. Speaker 8 00:57:50 You've been listening to the plastic podcasts, tales of the Irish Astra with me, Doug Devani and my guest Joanie Bastic pedestal was provided by Patrick Gore, Angela, Billy, and Nile give me of the difficult Irish center and the music was by Jack Divan. You can find [email protected] Email [email protected] or follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. The plastic podcasts are sponsored using public funding by arts council, England.

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