Jo Brand's week

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The Independent Online
I have been to Perth, which is doubly isolated from the world in that it's a three-hour flight away from most major cities in Australia. Most of the population seems to be English, as a mention of Hackney in the show I did last night elicited a murmur of recognition from almost the entire audience. I met some friends I haven't seen for 12 years; they've lived here for eight. They love the place and say the food is great. However, a prawn the size of a dormouse still wouldn't be enough to keep me from the grimy shores of Blighty.

I am delighted to report that someone has finally called me a sheila, thus reinforcing at least one of my long-held prejudices about blokes here.

I was somewhat surprised to receive a fax from my mum, which she had cut out of this very paper, showing a picture of the start of the London Marathon site and informing the reader underneath that myself and Will Carling would be running the final mile of the event. Will Carling? Fair enough, but I fear that even if I had been able to get back to London for the start of the esteemed race, my efforts to manage even a mile would have ended in disaster after about 10 yards. I admit this is shameful given that a woman of 84 finished in seven hours and 30 minutes. I cannot run a marathon. However, I was very good at eating them before they became Snickers.

Fitness is all in Australia, which is why I spend most of the time cowering in my room attempting to avoid the disdainful glances of be-shorted Gladiator types who lollop with ease up and down the beaches and streets. Thankfully, I managed to sidestep an invitation to go jet- skiing today in favour of lying on my bed watching a film with Hugh Grant in it and eating peanuts. It has stopped raining, unfortunately, so there is no excuse for not taking up the delights of the outdoor life. The jet- lag excuse is wearing very thin indeed now, so I am looking around for a poisonous spider to lay me low for the rest of the tour.

Politeness and saying thank you have always been important to British people, myself included, but never to the extent that I have wanted to batter someone who has failed in this essential area of etiquette. Not so in Liverpool, I read, following an incident in which the male occupant of a car which had slowed to let a pedestrian across the road became so enraged at the ungrateful behaviour of said pedestrian that he beat him, causing severe injuries. It makes me wonder why so many people, especially in their cars, seem to be on the edge of totally psychopathic behaviour all the time. Calling it "road rage" somehow seems to trivialise it, and perhaps it is time to recognise that yet again, the male of the species is deadlier than the female, wheels or not.

Unlicensed rave clubs have again come in for a bit of a verbal battering after one unfortunate girl was locked overnight in a club in Cleveland and not discovered until her pathetic cries were heard the next day. How could this have happened? Apparently, she was in the toilet and nobody checked when they locked up if there was anybody there. Now, it does have to be said that some women do take an age to go to the toilet, which for many other women means extreme frustration as clubs and pubs only provide about two toilets on average for them. While the men swoosh through, queues of women are left in various agonising poses, as novels are written or make-up freshened by the occupants of the cubicles. So here we have a woman who has taken a very long time and emerged to find herself locked in. It is one of my ideas of hell to be locked in a rave club - one full of people, that is. To emerge to complete silence must have been blissful for a while. Perhaps it is down to British reserve that toilets are not checked, or maybe the staff just couldn't be bothered. Perhaps it is time for women not only to warn friends about their destination if they are going out alone, but to tell them if they're going to the toilet as well.

Australian magazines for women are a cornucopia of showbiz gossip and dieting information. I learnt today that Paula Yates hasn't looked back since she got her new "boobs" (or at her toes, presumably), that Celine Dion might have anorexia and that smoking gives you a big tummy. I am unable to furnish you with further details of this final revelation, because on the whole, women's magazines don't go a bundle on scientific details and research data. They just hit you right between the eyes with the bare minimum and then wander off into some article about mascara. If I hear any more, I'll let you know.

Vegetarians often get irritated by the fact that tasty meals aren't available, but spare a thought for those people in the world who don't like cheese. Poor old John, our tour manager, is cheese-phobic, and on a flight from Perth to Sydney, he was presented with a meal consisting of pasta with cheese, cheese and biscuits and salad with cheese. (Actually, it was egg, but he left it because it looked like cheese.) So John's meal consisted of three rolls and butter. I tried to take a photo of him looking miserable and hungry, but he got very pissed off when I said: "Say cheese."

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