I discovered Josie Long during a torrential downpour on the A1M in 2017.
To be exact: it was her ‘1930s Film Noir voice’ that broke through as I blindly aquaplaned, somewhere south of Newton Aycliffe, on another south/north - north/south commute. I’m not over-egging it to say her calming tones probably kept me from being involved in a road traffic collision that day.
Enough preamble…what I’m getting to – is it was that moment Josie and her ‘Short Cuts’ started spiriting me away on a regular basis to beautiful far-off soundscapes, thanks to her Radio 4, mid-afternoon, weekday programme of the same name.
But that was just the start. While her voice has an anaesthetic-effect that makes you forget you’re still 80 miles from home – and could put the manufacturers of Propofol out of business – when you discover this incredible talent for the first time, I defy you not to become another of her biggest fans.
Long describes herself as a writer and a stand-up comedian who writes about what she cares about.
She’s also a mum, someone who cares passionately about social justice, the current state of politics – and one of the founders of Arts Emergency – an organisation which works tirelessly to widen participation in the arts for young people. And her website is packed-full of the sort of stuff all right-minded folk need in our lives right now. Go straight there after you’ve read this.
The very best news for anyone feeling a bit half-empty this first week in January, is that Josie kicks off her ‘Re-enchantment’ tour (which had a hugely successful sold out run at the Fringe last summer) on 12 January in her adopted home Glasgow – at The Stand.
We’re off to see her in Newcastle (also at The Stand) on 15 January, before she heads to Hebden Bridge, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, York, Manchester, Berwick-on-Tweed, Salford, Wigan, Halifax, Sheffield and Sunderland, across the next 8 months.
‘After defeat, re-enchantment is necessary’, said Lola Olufemi. Inspired by this thought, Josie is coming back to – alternately – yell at you and melt your heart, with her trademark blend of humanity, compassion, and probably some brief political rants.
‘Re-Enchantment’ follows Josie’s critically-acclaimed 2019 show, ‘Tender’, a parenting-in-a-climate-emergency epic which documented her voyage into motherhood (as the first person ever to have a baby, according to her research) and the mind-bending process of nurturing a new life. Now Josie returns, after doing what any comedian in her position would do: have another baby.
The multi-award-winning comedian, writer, podcaster, and film-maker is a trailblazer of the UK comedy industry, and is the first woman to be nominated three times for the Edinburgh Comedy Award (2010 - 2012). Her nine critically-acclaimed tours showcase her unique and powerfully original voice and have been performed globally to sell-out audiences.
Her various podcasts and original radio shows have garnered her a world-wide fan base of dedicated listeners and multiple awards, with her latest BBC Radio 4 special released in 2022 called ‘What Next?’ - a typically fierce, yet funny manifesto for the world her daughter will inherit - which was adapted from ‘Tender’ following a successful national tour.
Josie is an avid film-maker, having written and performed in two short films and most recently a full-length feature called ‘Super November.’ She’s been on all the TV channels, and has two comedy specials currently streaming. ‘Cara Josephine’ is available on Amazon Prime, and ‘Something Better’ is available on Netflix. Her first collection of short fiction is due for publication soon.
As ‘Mag North people’, you might well already know and love Josie and her work – but if you don’t – now is the perfect time to join her movement, as with a voice that will melt you, she beckons: “Welcome, comrades, welcome.”
What the press has said about Josie:
“She’s the consummate comedian, a wonderful talent” ★★★★★ Broadway Baby
“Rowdy, brilliant, sweary, beautiful, funny, with moments o freal beauty” ★★★★ Chortle
“The motherlode of love, joy and laughs” ★★★★The Guardian
“A near-constant hour of laughs” ★★★★The Scotsman
“Stunning, riotously hilarious” ★★★★★The Skinny
“hopeful…and a good dose of joy and silliness!” ★★★★★ Funny Women
“articulate, passionate and intense, but heartwarmingly funny, too.” ★★★★ Evening Standard
“deliberate, pitch-perfect turn of phrase – and the jokes-per-minute counter is huge…a much-needed beacon of hope above right-wingery, climate disaster and despair.” ★★★★ Fest Mag