My Home: Danny Wallace, comedian

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

The comedian runs his own country from his London flat. But it's a tight squeeze accommodating his subjects

I've lived here for about five years, arriving from Harrow-on-the-Hill. I had lots of friends in the East End but had always assumed that it was 1,000 miles away. It's actually a very short journey from central London, Tube-wise, and my flat is a seven-minute walk from the Tube station.

When I first moved here, I joined the Bow Quarter website where residents can post messages to each other. I was alarmed to find that most of the messages took the form of warnings about local areas to avoid after dark and unpleasant anecdotes relating to muggings. After that, I became aware of figures lurking in the shadows during the walk home, which now felt a lot longer than seven minutes, and noticed the look of relief on the faces of fellow commuters as they lurched through the gates into the safety of the Bow Quarter. I don't look at the website any more. But the area has undeniably beautiful parts. Then you go round the next corner and it's horrid.

As the ruler of my own country, which is contained within the walls of the flat, I wear my uniform on special occasions. It was made for me by Dege & Skinner, who also produced vestments for the Sultan of Brunei. I used to fly a flag from the window but some of my over-enthusiastic subjects became a nuisance and I had to take it down. The flat itself is open plan, with a galleried bedroom above, reached by a spiral staircase. The gallery forms a useful raised podium from which to address my subjects, who can form a riotous crowd below in the sitting room. There is space for about 60 of them at a time, but as there are now more than 50,000, I will need to look for somewhere bigger quite soon.

The sitting room is made up of two distinct areas; the area at the far end is where I conduct most of my personal life, and is ordered and minimalist. There is a row of DVDs along the window sill, the size of which confounds me. Two years ago I had four films and now I own more than 200. I bought most of them for research purposes, and I conduct my research on a large and comfy brown leather sofa. The other end, nearer the kitchen, is my work area, containing my desk. I spend a lot of time reading and answering e-mails generated by the cult that I formed, "Join Me", where everyone is obliged to carry out a "random act of kindness" every Friday - such as putting money into a vending machine and leaving the packet of crisps for the next person.

My desk becomes cluttered very easily and I have amassed a collection of thousands of passport photographs, sent to me by the Join Me members, kept in boxes by my desk, awaiting reply. I have hundreds of them covering the walls of the hallway. In the past I worried that a burglar would form a very dodgy impression of me at the sight of my pervy-looking wallpaper, but then it occurred to me that I don't care what he thinks, since he's burgling my flat!

The windows here are about 15ft high and, being on the fourth floor, I have a fantastic view, overlooking the Millennium Dome and Canary Wharf. It's particularly beautiful at night when the panorama is imbued with an orange industrial glow. I love lying in bed, comforted by the sounds of the trains chugging gently by and pondering the marvellous cityscape before me. In the branches of the tall plane trees outside lives a tiny fluffy owl who peeps in at me and makes weird noises.

My dining table is a proper Sixties piece, from my family home, made of white Formica with metal legs. There's a photo of me as a baby in my carry-cot on this table, somewhere. The shaggy rug on the floor is also genuine vintage Sixties, and I had it in my playroom when I was little. I don't buy much for the flat, as there's not much room to put anything, but we do go down to Spitalfields market at weekends, where we sometimes buy bits of art.

On the wall in the sitting room is a giant, life-sized cut-out of me that I was given after a publicity thing in America. I got quite scared the first time I saw it at night. People must think I'm an egomaniac, but it's only here because I've got nowhere else to hide it.

I'm considering moving on soon, and Islington is tempting. I just fancy it, somehow. Islington knows it's cool and I like the buzz. It would be good to be able to take friends for a pint somewhere that isn't grotty. Round here, good drinking spots are hard to come by; it's all old men's boxing pubs - atmospheric but depressing. This is the only fully double-glazed country in the world, with 100 per cent employment and a 0 per cent crime rate, the first physical territory of my expanding empire. I'm not sure about the legalities of moving it to Islington.

'How to Start Your Own Country' is available on DVD from 24 October, £19.99

Discover more property articles at Homes and Property
News
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
Lewis Hamilton walks back to the pit lane with his Mercedes burning in the background
Formula 1
Arts and Entertainment
The new characters were announced yesterday at San Diego Comic Con
comic-con 2014
Sport
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
football
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
No Devotion's Geoff Rickly and Stuart Richardson
musicReview: No Devotion, O2 Academy Islington, London
News
i100
News
Bryan had a bracelet given to him by his late father stolen during the raid
people
News
A rub on the tummy sprang Casey back to life
video
Sport
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
film
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
News
people
News
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
life
News
Tovey says of homeless charity the Pillion Trust : 'If it weren't for them and the park attendant I wouldn't be here today.'
people
Sport
Rhys Williams
commonwealth games
Property search
Property search
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Employment Solicitor

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: MANCHESTER - Senior Employment Solici...

Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

Commercial Litigation Associate

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...

Systems Manager - Dynamics AX

£65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: The client is a...

Day In a Page

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little