Jo Brand's week

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The Independent Online
We women can't even go through the menopause in peace. Yep, the men have muscled in on that, as well. According to the Americans, that is. I'm not looking forward to the menopause. If I wanted to have hot flushes and feel depressed, I'd go to aerobics. And the thought of one's other half snivelling and groaning is enough to make me plan an unfortunate accident for whoever it might be, now. The Americans call the male menopause "the andropause" and have come up with testosterone patches to help the poor lambs through the worst symptoms. These include fatigue, depression, erectile dysfunction and hot flushes. Who were their research subjects? Maybe they used a group of men who had just had a lads' night out down the pub? The symptoms sound uncomfortably familiar to me. Or perhaps English scientists have the answer. They can save on testosterone patches because they have discovered that testosterone levels rise dramatically when a man's football team wins and descend when it loses. My sympathy goes out to fellow Crystal Palace supporters of the male variety. You must have virtually none of the stuff left.

I attended a conference in Brighton last week. (No, not that one.) The conference was organised by a group called Threshold, which deals with problems faced by women who are mentally ill. The attendance consisted completely of women, with not a man to be seen. I assumed, as many did, that the conference was closed to men. Apparently not. None of them had chosen to attend. Now men, where are you?

I do think there is something to be said for infantile philosophy. A friend of mine is treading warily through the minefield of sexuality with her very little daughter at the moment. Having scotched the evil rumour that men impregnate women by sneaking up on them in the dead of night and urinating on them, she attempted to answer questions on where the human race came from, to be met by the statement: "I think God made all the ladies and all the men came from the monkeys." Not a bad theory in my opinion.

An American Gold Card holder was recently charged pounds 13m by mistake after a trip to a restaurant. (I normally only get that sort of bill at a burger place on my birthday). Bureaucracy being what it is, it took a few days to sort the problem out, but it reminded me of an incident when I worked in the Civil Service. This was the most tedious job I have ever had and consisted of paying a group of domestic staff every week and sorting out their sick pay. The boredom was only relieved by trips to the cheap bar at lunch time and the cryptic crossword. The computer staff were obviously getting tanked up as well, because one day I got a very tearful woman on the phone who had received a bill for pounds 17m and said she could never afford it and could she arrange to pay so much off a week. She was so grateful when I said I was sure it was a mistake. I decided to celebrate in the bar with a few drinks, fell asleep on my desk after lunch, dribbled all over it and was caught by the boss and asked to leave. I'd like to thank that woman for getting me out of the place.

I watched one of those late-night chats on Channel 4 the other night involving men trying to come to grips with the problems of relationships. This week, they'd let women on as well so they could all blah on together and try to come to some sort of conclusion about where we are vis a vis the sex war. The main problem to me seemed to be the apparent inability of anyone to complete a sentence before they were interrupted by someone else. Much of the programme was an ugly cacophony as people tried to shout above each other to get their point across. Some of the participants couldn't even be bothered to compete so they didn't say anything. For all we know, one of these people had the answer to the meaning of life and we never got to hear it. Perhaps if everyone stopped going on telly to talk about every conceivable problem under the sun, they might actually have an opportunity to have some sex and discover it's alright. The programme did at least demonstrate a sort of sexual equality. The women wouldn't shut up either.

Jokes about policemen selling drugs have long been the staple diet on the London comedy circuit, along with numerous allusions to people in police custody falling down the stairs. I remember a friend of mine who worked in the Metropolitan police telling me that lumps of cannabis would shrink magically to the size of peas as they made their journey to be exhibited in court. How gratifying for us comics to discover that all our jokes have not been in vain and some policewomen have finally taken up the challenge. Add to that the policeman who faked a car accident to cover up the fact that they'd been racing police cars on a quiet night and soon the police won't have to bother with the general public - they'll just be arresting each other all the time.

Women always complain that there's too much football on television. I'm not one of them, as I like a good watch myself. However, I would like to complain that there is too much football on the news at the moment. If they're not fighting or fixing, footballers are suffering the folly of a minority of lumpen sado-fascists with their pathetic flags, off to make trouble in Europe. I know Desmond Morris said football was tribal, so when are the police going to herd all the ones that want a ruck into an empty field, let them get on with it and just leave the rest of us in peace?