An Ode to… well, Jo

A couple of weeks ago, I was set some “homework” by top notch comedy compadre and super sleuth Jo. In order to make her blog more exciting, Jo decided that she should have a radical rehaul of her “about me” page. What better way to portray yourself than through the words of others? Unfortunately, I think that it sits quietly with the odd excerpt from school reports, so she has dragged SuperBry in to offer her opinions.

Now, to the best of my knowledge, our little Jolene Claire Eden popped into this world on the 16th October in 1986. I didn’t have the pleasure of knowing her until 2005, but I think that, except for the occasional episode of being locked in the shed, Jolene’s childhood was very similar childhood to all of us late 80s kids. We were fickle in our affections flicking carelessly from Pigeon Street to Poddington Peas. Some of us loved What a Mess whilst others were glued religiously to Playdays. But there is one thing that pulls us all together; we know that Barney was a dog, not a dinosaur. Even at a young age, we were connoisseurs and watched adult television – a Saturday night wasn’t complete without Crystal Maze, Gladiators and Blind Date. When we weren’t busy watching Rosie and Jim and Fun House, we would be bounding around the garden on a space hopper or attempting the perilous task of staying on a pogo stick.

I first met Jo on one of the scariest days of my life. It was my first day at Uni. Nearly every other person was living in halls and had had the whole weekend to make friends with their new flatmates; I was living at home and commuting. The one thing I hated (and still hate) is feeling you have to justify this to so many people who think I’m strange and introverted. The simple truth of the matter is that I wanted to have my cake and eat it. I have horses and cannot imagine not riding every day and competing at the weekends. I couldn’t sensibly go away to uni and afford the upkeep of my horses, so I compromised; as the irritating meerkat would say “simples.” But quite why I have to explain this to people in job interviews is quite beyond me.

Anyway I digress, but it’s safe to say I was feeling pretty nervous about the whole affair. There were so many freshers starting at Reading on that day that it seems strange I should have met Jo on this occasion; although the odds were enhanced by the fact we were both standing in the A-I queue. Incidentally, I had very few friends with surnames from the latter half of the alphabet. As her friends were going to their intellectual, law based things we went and sat on the grass outside HUMSS (which was to become something of a habit over the next four years) and talked about everything and nothing.

I don’t remember what we talked about or what we had in common, but we’ve been stuck together ever since. In our first year, we didn’t share any seminars and were only in half our lectures together, but bonded by a common interest for making lectures that bit more exciting, our friendship formed. During our time at uni, Jo took on a number of different guises, but the primary one was that of a student.

Jo the student

Contrary to popular belief, Jo worked incredibly hard at university. Whilst the rest of us were struggling to read Middlemarch, Jo didn’t concern herself with such gargantuan tasks; instead, she invested all her time and energy into knowing the book’s characters and themes inside out without bothering with the actual reading. I distinctly remember lying in Wycombe General Hospital post-op frantically thumbing my way through Middlemarch and Jo still managed to score a higher mark than me, despite all that effort on my part. In our final year, I took a leaf out of Jo’s book and spent all of my spare time watching the dvd of Bleak House and amazingly managed to get a first in my dissertation. If only I had followed her advice from the beginning, it would have saved me stress, time and effort. Jo also took her revision incredibly seriously. She could either be found on the grass outside HUMSS surrounded by poetry books or at a wonky table in the Queen’s Head alternating between playing on the IT Box and revising. This leads us to another of Jo’s talents…

Jo the Winner

She wouldn’t like me to say that she was a gambler or particularly competitive, just that she wins a lot. She perfected this skill at uni between lectures (and I’ll be honest here, sometimes during lectures as well.) If you couldn’t find our little gang, it could be fairly much guaranteed that we would be playing a game of pool on the wonky tables where Waterstones is now, or huddled round an IT Box in the Union desperately throwing our student loan away. To this very day, we still get drawn to an IT Box if it comes lurking into view. Jo has struggled through adversity to continue her winning and gambling ways; her age will always let her down. I do remember a time when she was refused sale of a lottery ticket on account of her age. Unfortunately, she was 21 at the time. Then just last week, we went into a Tote Sport and the manager kindly asked her if she could wait outside whilst her mum put the bets on. Still, with a natural repellent like that, she might manage to cling on to a few pounds.

My Comedy Compadre

Back in the day, Jo and I bonded over a love of Green Wing; it was quite obsessive and we loved it. There was nothing better than to grab  the dvd and practically mouth the lines along with it. But we also went through a steep learning curve together with Green Wing. For those that know the programme will know what I mean; Series two. It was quite heartbreaking to see something you love going into self destruct in front of your very eyes. After that, we would share a common love for all things funny. Combined with a love of roadtrips, we went to a Spaced marathon and saw the whole cast including Colin the dog (God rest his Soul). We even went up to the home of cinema, the Prince Charles Cinema, and watched the Grindhouse double bill, which was introduced by Edgar Wright and the lovely, lovely Jessica Hynes was there too. Nowadays, Jo is a far more committed comedy compadre than me; she travels all the way from Nottingham at least once a month to go to the Comedy Store and crams as many other live shows in as possible. There is nothing better than sitting in the Mecca of Comedy. The Comedy Store, with good friends waiting for the show to start. This weekend, Jo is coming down to see Paul Merton’s Impro Chums, then some theatre and a  trip to the Globe. God, we almost sound cultured.

Musical Maestro

Similar to the role of Comedy Compadre, Jo has an encyclopaedic knowledge of all things musical and unlike anyone else I know, she has a chance of filling her 80GB iPod. Regardless of the genre of song, I bet you that Jo will know it. Or at least some inane fact about it. I remember many road trips singing along to anything and everything, particularly Jet and the Kinks!

All in all, Jo has been a very good mate and all round top bird. There are so many lovely stories I could tell, but time and your interest restricts me there. She has taken on many other guises, like Jo the French Spy, which later developed in the Super Sleuth. Basically, if you ask something of Jo, she’ll try her damned best to do it. Well, as long as it’s after 11am anyway. And you’ve plied her with coffee. Oh, and you don’t mind her being a little late. But whatever the emergency (taking the earlier restrictions into account), you can guarantee that she’ll have something to help in the massive suitcase that she always overpacks for a few nights away.

In a moment of ill advised good will, I decided that the best thing to do would be a poem. Hmm, we shall see.

There is no one quite like my mate Jo,

She is kind, generous, funny and giving,

She loves this blogging game fo’ sho,

She is a writer and a mistress of mirth for a living,

The rest of the time, music and comedy are her game,

Never one to lose whether it’s a friendly argument or at pool,

And when it comes to the horses, she’s always up for a little flutter,

Already a hit on twitter, one day writing will make her name,

Although she’s just too cool for school, she’s a learning fool,

And everytime I see her, I know she’ll bring a big case with all her clutter.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Jo
    Apr 24, 2010 @ 07:34:47

    Well, I never thought you’d actually do it, let alone come up with something so complimentary! You can definitely expect one in return. Shucks, I need to go and stop blushing…

    Thanks Bry!


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