An invitation…

To my beautiful blog followers,

My sordid memoir hits the shelves next week, which can only mean one thing… TIME TO GET SHIT-FACED! YIPPEE! 

lush7.jpg

Please come and join me at my launch party on Friday 17th August, at The Bigmoose Cafe, Cardiff. 

I’ll be reading, nay PERFORMING, a couple of chapters from the book and sharing my rather eventful experience of writing it. This includes renting a cottage in Cornwall for two weeks on my own, with the romantic notion of writing the whole book whilst gazing out at sea (unfortunately coming down with a raging tooth infection, getting completely mashed off my antibiotics and not once putting pen to paper), hunting down my hero Jilly Cooper and getting in contact with all of my ex-lovers to try and persuade them to sign waivers. HAHA SUCH FUN! 

Following this, there shall be a Q+A (poo questions allowed), a book signing and the chance to meet my boyfriend, Nigel. 

IMG_0911.JPG

He’s pretty excited. 

Details/tickets can be found here

Thank you all so much for sticking with my mad and filthy ramblings over the years… it’s fair to say that none of this would have happened without you. 

Lots of love 

G xxx

PS: ‘Lush: A True Story, Soaked In Gin’ will be available to buy in Waterstones stores from Thursday 16th August. Also available to order online 

PPS: Stay tuned to my Twitter @gfernie1 for details of upcoming London events! 

Advertisements

Eggs, bacon… CONDOMS!

I got dumped just before Christmas.

Actually, dumped is not quite the right word, suggesting that we were an official couple in the first place. I think a more accurate description is PIED.

The deed occurred at about 2am, sat opposite one another at the tiny kitchen table in his flat. We’d just come back from a ‘do’ at the local pub – a civilised gathering, with a few friends, a few drinks and a pianist playing Christmas tunes – and were both a little on the tipsy side.

Actually, again, ‘tipsy’ is not quite the right word here.

Having spent the entire evening downing free shots of tequila with the barman (who at one point attempted to LITERALLY PICK ME UP, before staggering backwards under my colossal weight, like a removal man carrying a grand piano, and falling on top of me) I was completely and utterly pole-axed.

Matters were not helped by the fact that I had, throughout the course of the evening, managed to acquire myself a tambourine and had taken to loudly bashing along with the pianist, to the horror of those around me, and hollering out ‘Jingle Bells’.

‘It’s just not working for me, Gabs,’ said Rob,, staring awkwardly at the floor and shakily trying to light his cigarette.

‘Oh don’t worry, I’ve got another one!’ I beamed merrily back, reaching in my bag and handing him my lighter.

‘No, not that. I mean this. Us. It’s just not working for me anymore.’

There was a moment of silence whilst I digested this information.

‘Is this about the tambourine?’ I whispered, horrified.

‘No it’s not about the tambourine. I don’t know what it is really. Things were great at the start but… the thing is, I kind of miss my ex.’

That was enough for me.

‘WELL IT WAS LOVELY MEETING YOU I’M OFF TO GET MY TAXI NOW CHEERIO BYE!’ I gabbled, knocking over my chair as I made a desperate bid for the door.

Rob caught up with me as I stood shaking and panting on the pavement outside.

‘Gabby… you don’t have any shoes on.’

I looked down at my bottom half. I was wearing a leather skirt and patterned tights, with my big toe poking out through a hole in the left foot. Like a hobo out on the pull.

I still to this day don’t know where those FUCKING SHOES went, but after ransacking the flat from top to bottom, neither of us speaking as I tried desperately not to cry/throw up/punch something, I eventually got into a taxi without them.

The floodgates opened on the journey home (the horrified Uber driver even pulled over, found me a napkin to blow my nose on, and gave me a pep talk about there being ‘plenty more fish in the sea), and continued well into the following morning.

‘What’s wrong with me, Mummy?’ I sobbed down the phone, whilst pouring gin straight down my throat. ‘Why does this keep happening to me? I feel awful.’

Mother offered her usual Enid Blyton style of advice.

‘I know what you need,’ she said. ‘Some fresh air and a banana!’

‘Mum, I don’t really think -‘

‘Tell you what. Why don’t Dad and I find you a nice chap to date down here, whilst you’re home for Christmas?’

‘NOOO!’ I screamed, before recovering my composure ‘I mean, no, no, that’s very kind of you, but -‘

‘Now just hear me out before you POOH POOH the idea. I know you don’t think much of the men here in the Cotswolds, calling them ‘backwards’ and ‘turnip diggers’ and whatnot. But if you opened your eyes a bit I think you’d find some real humdingers!’

‘I don’t want a humdinger.’

‘You need to branch away from these selfish actor/comedian types. Find a man with a CRAFT. Like a vet… or a boiler fitter!’

And so, on 23rd December, at my parent’s new house in the arse end of nowhere, I found myself sitting on the sofa, on Tinder, bottle of red wine in hand.

 

Thirst aid

‘No, no, no,’ I muttered as I swiped left, trying not to shudder at the selection of men carrying pitchforks, posing topless with baby pigs, etcetera.

Having had very trying ten-minute conversation with a young man who, it transpired, knew my parents as he had DRAINED THE SEPTIC TANK IN OUR GARDEN, I eventually admitted defeat and fell into a drunken stupor.

I was awoken by my mother mere hours later.

‘MORNING!’ she cried, blasting into my bedroom and throwing open the curtains. ‘I thought you’d like a bit of a lie-in.’

I looked at my phone. It was 8am.

‘Now then, are you still coming with me to Tesco’s?’

No. NOOOO.

Going to a Tesco superstore is a traumatising experience at the best of times. A Tesco superstore on Christmas Eve is like entering the zombie apocalypse. Parents screaming at children (‘PUT THE BARBIE DOWN, SHAKIRA! PUT IT DOOOWN! LET’S SEE WHAT FUCKIN’ SANTA BRINGS!’), old ladies blindly ploughing into each other with trollies and a depressed shop worker dressed as a giant mince pie (probably one of my fellow drama school graduates).

As soon as we entered, I could feel last night’s red wine repeating itself on me.

‘Mum, I’m feeling a bit ill,’ I ventured, swaying into the nearest stand of bananas. ‘Can I get a lucozade?’

‘What’s a loofah-blade?’ she asked breezily, before sailing past to fight over some brazil nuts.

Eventually we made it to the till.

‘Look Mum, this one’s free!’ I said with relief, pointing to a totally empty conveyer belt, with young male shop assistant sat behind it.

‘No!’ Mum exclaimed in a stage whisper, glancing surreptitiously into her basket. ‘We can’t go up to a man, with SANITARY items. What will he think?’

‘Yes we can,’ I said, forcefully taking the basket and unloading it onto the conveyer. ‘For god’s sake Mum, Tesco sells cock rings.’

‘Why would anyone want to wear one of those?’ asked Mum, attempting to hide her packet of Tena Lady under two pots of olives.

There was a pause whilst I digested this.

‘Mum… do you know what a cock ring is?’

‘Well I can use my imagination, Gabrielle. It’s a decorative item. Like a toe ring!’

Hideously, Mum then brought up the subject of the cock ring at dinner, to my father.

‘Do YOU know what a cock ring is, Stuart?’ she asked.

Dad shuddered.

‘Don’t, Frances, DON’T,’ he replied. ‘I cannot abide the thought of piercings.’

 

Christmas passed in a boozy, gluttonous blur (my parents unfortunately still believe me to be a vegetarian, so this year we sat down to carve a BEETROOT PARTY FLAN), until it was nearly New Year’s Eve.

I had made plans, this year, to travel back to my hometown of Cardiff and spent the evening with my good friend Daniel.

(Daniel and I formed a firm friendship when we were in a production of Spring Awakening together, seven years ago. It was a jolly little show – his character had to toss himself off on stage, whilst mine begged to be beaten over the arse with a stick. I don’t think my parents have ever quite got over the shock of it all.)

After catching up over a bottle of gin, we headed into town with two of his mates – Steve and Jonathan. Now, I don’t like to blow my own trumpet and I admit that it is a FREAKISH rarity, but I had a sneaking suspicion that Steve had the hots for me.

I would probably have fancied him back, except that he was mind-numbingly dull and looked like a bearded Lego man.

Having cavorted round the usual clubs and downed several hundred cocktails, by about 3am I was in my usual rat-arsed state. We had, unfortunately, also lost Daniel.

‘FUCK IT,’ I hiccupped. ‘I’m meant to be staying at his tonight. Gonna have to sleep on this bench.’

‘STAY AT MINE!’ cried Steve, popping out from behind a bin. ‘My flat is just 10 minutes away.’

Feeling that this was probably not the wisest of ideas but too drunk by this point to care, I found myself agreeing.

‘Now no funny business, Steven, I mean it,’ I slurred, setting off purposefully in the direction of the taxi rank. ‘I may grant you a kiss… but I am a lady of twenty six and not to be trifled with.’

‘No, no,’ he nervously gabbled, running after me with my coat and handbag. ‘I can sleep on the sofa. Or floor. I’m just so glad you’re staying!’

I must have dozed off in the taxi, as when I awoke we were outside a Sainsbury’s Local. And Steve was climbing back into the taxi with a carrier bag.

‘I thought I’d get us some breakfast stuff for the morning,’ he jabbered, pulling items out one by one. ‘Eggs, bacon… CONDOMS!’

FFS.

We arrived at his flat.

‘Make yourself comfortable,’ Steve said, flustering around, putting plates in the sink, fluffing cushions etcetera, whilst I swayed precariously in the doorframe.

Unfortunately, I had reached the point of drunkenness where I was not only bad company, but had become somewhat demanding, in the manner of Dame Edna.

‘I WOULD LIKE A GLASS OF WINE, STEVEN,’ I declared, sashaying my way into the living room. ‘Actually, forget the wine, I need a cigarette. Actually no, forget the cigarette, I need a shower. Immediately. I’m too sweaty.’

The poor boy ran me a shower, whilst I stripped off and lurched my way in.

‘You may join if you so wish!’ I shouted through the door, thinking to myself, ‘fuck it, when in Rome!’ Or Cardiff.

Now I am all up for a joint shower. I had not previously experienced one myself, but had watched enough dirty films to know that this was going to be a very sexy and alluring experience.

Unfortunately, Steve owned what is known as a POWER SHOWER.

And what ensued was about the unsexiest shower scene known to mankind.

Clearly expecting me to be stood there seductively sudsing myself in a white bikini, like Myleene Klass on ‘I’m A Celebrity’, Steve entered the shower to face me stood, butt naked, under a boiling jet of water, looking like something from The Grudge.

‘This is nice!’ I shouted over the deafening downpour, trying not to choke as the water ran down my face into my mouth, blinding me in the process.

‘It is!’ he cried, attempting to feel his way towards me, through the thick wall of steam.

I lurched out of the direction of the shower head and grabbed hold of a mini shelf, scattering a load of razors, soap and beard cream onto the floor.

‘I’m going to suds myself up now!’ I cried, bending down and grabbing the bar of soap in what I hoped was an alluring manner, until it violently shot out my hand and hit him in the face.

The whole thing ended with me completely overheating, panicking, then karate kicking my way out the shower door, nearly taking the thing off its hinges.

Poor Steve then had to towel dry me, like a dog, whilst I sat comatose on the bathroom floor, before blow-drying my hair and putting me to bed with a hot Ribena.

I think I’ll stick to Tinder.

G xx

P.S Stay tuned for the release of my first book- ‘LUSH: A True Story, Soaked In Gin’- due out on the shelves July 2018! Available to pre-order now on Amazon (cover to be revealed soon).  I promise you a filthy read.

 

 

*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Day As A Nurse

As mentioned previously, I work as an actor.

Actually, I think the correct term right now is ‘resting’ actor.

Fuck it, I’m unemployed.

ANYWAY, having endured three long years at drama school (once you have spent a half-hour class ’embodying a piece of bamboo’ you can cope with anything) I graduated in a whirlwind of excitement, ready to seize my career on stage and screen.

Yet, something wasn’t quite right.

Instead of attending castings for films and West End plays, the only audition I landed in 3 months was for the role of a magicians assistant. In an advert for a NORWEGIAN SEWAGE COMPANY.

 This involved pretending to be ‘conjured into a chicken’ (quite what this had to do with sewage I will never know) and crawling around on my hands and knees, loudly clucking, in front of a casting panel of four people.

 I was also sent a script to audition for a new short film. This, rather insultingly, was for the role of ‘an older, more overweight version of Vicky Pollard’. I mean, I was SELECTED to audition for this role. As in, the casting director will have scanned a database of hundreds of faces, stopped at mine and gone ‘FUCK ME, SHE’S A RIGHT MUNTER, ISN’T SHE?!’ and put me forward for the casting.

So things were looking rather bleak.

Meanwhile, I was working full time in a local bar, pouring pints for drunken louts who would shout ‘CAN I GET SOME MORE HEAD WITH THAT PINT, LOVE? WHEEEY!’.

Then, around Christmas time, something miraculous happened. I landed my first proper job, in a popular soap. This was to play the small role of a nurse working in an STI clinic (yes I know, very appropriate, ha de ha ha).

For the sake of my career, im not sure  whether I should name the programme in question, but lets just say that it half-rhymes with JOLLY GROPES. WALLY BLOKES. Or TROLLY JOKES (you get the picture).

My character was called ‘Nurse With No Name’ (it looks stunning on my CV) and had the task of imparting one crucial line: ‘THE TEST WAS NEGATIVE, JON PAUL. YOU DON’T HAVE AIDS’.

IMG_4027

The day of filming dawned.

Having not slept for the entire night, one eye permanently trained on the alarm clock like a keen lizard, I arrived for my 7am make-up call looking a little ‘groggy’. In fact, groggy is an understatement. We are talking shiny skin, wild hair and mad little piggy eyes. Like I had spent the night in a wheelie bin.

This was, of course, when I ran slap bang into my scene partner; the gorgeous actor playing Jon Paul.

Now, I have had fan-like crush on this actor since the age of about 13.

So much so, that I used to have a topless poster of him hugging a baby rabbit, ripped out of a Girl Talk magazine.

 And the problem was, although I was well aware of who HE was, I completely forgot that he had never seen me before in his life.

‘HELLO YOU, OLD SAUCE-POT!!’ I cried, embracing him in a bear like hug and slapping him heartily on the back. ‘How’s your rabbit doing?’.

If slightly shocked as to who this delirious, Hagrid-like girl was cradling him to her breast, he didn’t show it and was perfectly lovely.

‘Looking forward to working with you today’ he smiled.

‘Ahh what a delightful young man’ I thought to myself. ‘Today’s going to be brilliant. A memory that I will fondly cherish forever and ever’.

Little did I know what utter horrors lay before me.

Having left makeup, I was whisked up to costume to put on my ‘nurse attire’.

I had been phoned up by the costume department a few days previously and asked for my dress size.

 ‘Ohhh I’m quite petite. A slip of a thing, really!’ I flagrantly fibbed , fearful that upon learning my real dress size they would cry ‘CHRIST, WE CAN’T HIRE THIS HEFFER!’ and offer the role to someone else.

‘Yes, I think I’m somewhere between a 6 and an 8!’ I trilled.

THIS WAS A BIG FAT LIE.

I stared at my costume in horror.

Laid out in front of me was the teeniest tiniest pair of trousers and shirt I had ever seen before in my life. Something that might just about fit a Cabbage Patch Kid doll.

Trying not to hyperventilate, I plastered on a joyous smile.

 ‘Oh thank you SO MUCH! These look PERFECT. I’ll just slip into them and be out in a sec’.

What ensued thereafter, I can only liken to trying  to stuff a large blancmange into a thimble.

I somehow managed to get the clothes on… But any sudden movements and I would have literally EXPLODED out of them. The only way I could physically move in the trousers was to maintain a sort of ‘squatted’ position, like I was about to lay a  large dump.

‘How do the clothes fit?’ called the costume boy through the door.

‘LIKE A BLOODY GLOVE!’ I called back through gritted teeth, panting and sweating with the exertion of trying to do up my fly.

I was already starting to lose the sensation in both my arms. The short cotton sleeves were so tight that they had cut off all circulation. Like some butchers string wrapped around a piece of pork.

‘Ready!’ I cried, walking bow-legged out the door, numb arms swinging wildly.

The poor boy looked completely horrified at my appearance but was clearly too polite to say anything.

The only adjustment he made was to attach a large safety pin across the front of my shirt, which unable to cope with the strain of my heaving breasts, was gaping open like some lardy stripper.

I waddled my way to the set.

Now, I consider myself to be a fairly strong stomached girl. One has to be growing up in rural Wales. Such as the time, aged 12, when my Shetland pony was castrated and the vet HANDED ME THE BALLS TO KEEP.

But if there is one thing that I cannot abide, it’s blood and needles.

I was the girl at school who had to have a crash mat put down when having injections. And fainted whilst dissecting a pigs heart.

I rather disturbed therefore, to be met on set by a real nurse who would be instructing me on how to REALISTICALLY INSERT A NEEDLE AND PERFORM A BLOOD TEST.

Cheerfully, she laid out the instruments of torture on the table- wipes, needles, tubes, cotton wool- and talked me through it step by step.

The room started swaying as I broke into a cold sweat.

‘KEEP IT TOGETHER, GABRIELLE’ I told myself ‘This is your first ever day of filming. Now is NOT the time to faint, throw up or shit yourself’.

Unfortunately, having already lost all sensation in my limbs due to my child-size clothing, I was very near the point of face-planting into the floor.

The cameras started rolling.

Sweating, teeth chattering and body parts inflating in random places due to my restricted blood flow, I descended on Jon Paul with the needle. To be fair to him, he handled it well. It must have been a truly terrifying sight- less jolly nurse, more the angel of death.

 Traumatused, I was driven back to the studio canteen for lunch.

Everybody sat in cliques. It was like Mean Girls. All the make-up women at one table, all the camera crew at another, all the extras… There was nowhere for exploding trouser girl.

I rang my mother from the toilet cubicle.

 ‘I’M ALL ALONE, MUMMY!’ I cried. ‘Everybody knows each other and it’s really intimidating and I can’t really move properly incase I ERUPT FROM THESE CASTRATING TROUSERS!!!’

This is when my mother imparted her usual Marge Simpson- like advice.

‘You stroll on over there’ she instructed ‘And say Hello! My name is Gabrielle and I would like to be your friend! Or perhaps you could hand something around, like a packet of Werther’s Originals’.

‘No, Mum-‘

‘Or I could ring up whoever’s in charge and ask someone to come and sit with you, if you like. I used to do that for you when you were little. I remember when you were at Pony Club and you were too scared to use the portaloo by yourself, so instead chose to defecate in-‘

I think it was at that point that I hung up.

Lunch hour ended and it was time to film the last part of the scene. This involved simply sitting behind a desk and delivering my one line of dialogue-‘The test was negative, Jon Paul. YOU DON’T HAVE AIDS’.

‘Let’s try and get this in one take guys!’ the director called.

I nervously got into position.

‘And… ACTION!’

A dramatic silence fell. Composing my features into what I hoped was an expression of wisdom and authority, I cleared my throat ready to deliver my one, crucial line.

‘The test was negative, Jon Paul. You don’t have- AAAGH!’.

A sudden, sharp pain stabbed into my right boob, followed by a cool gust of air.

I looked down.

Unable to take the strain anymore, my safety pin had snapped, sticking itself into my chest. Therefore allowing the shirt to burst wide open.

There was a horrified silence in the room. We are talking an entire film crew, director and actors all staring in utter disbelief, whilst I casually sat in front of the camera with both tits hanging out.

I kept the transmission date of my episode a dirty secret.

Which is just as well really, as when it aired they chose to cut out my head out from the scene  (By this I mean that my head wasn’t in shot. I don’t mean like a severed head).

Instead, there is just a beautifully filmed shot of my clammy, inflated clown hands, shakily administering a needle.

My friends rang me afterwards with words of encouragement, as a sat necking back gin in horror- ‘We could tell they were your hands, Gab- we recognised your mole!’

I am going to stick to nursing a pint.

G x