Dom Joly: A gazebo in the rain is my idea of hell

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The Independent Online

Finally a night off from touring, and I was very much looking forward to slouching in front of the TV. I'm doing some television reviewing at the moment. This is about as good a job as it gets. You just lie around, watch TV and then slag it off. No need for any creative process, no blood sweat and tears... what a job. It's even better when Stacey walks in and tells me to get up, because I can truthfully tell her I'm working. It makes you wonder why most TV critics seem so unhappy.

I'd just started some "sofa work" when Stacey did come in and tell me to get up. Sadly, in this instance, my pleading to be left alone to work were ignored. Apparently, I'd agreed to attend a "picnic in the park" event at my kids' school. Now I hate events like this on any level (I even loathe Glastonbury), so the possibility that I might enjoy myself was near to zero. I've just never really enjoyed outdoor concerts, full stop. In my experience, they mostly end up with me living like an animal, caked in mud and rummaging through bins for leftover falafel because some hippy has nicked my wallet.

The view is always a nightmare. You may as well sit in your house and put a small photo of your band of choice at the end of your garden and listen to your iPod.Or you could place some speakers in your garden along with a Portaloo. Then, if you found that the thing had got too smelly, or you simply can't be bothered, you could pee into a bottle. This would come in useful if your neighbours put their heads over the fence to complain. Throwing piss over everyone is a way of expressing enjoyment at festivals.

Whatever, this was a three-line whip and there really was no getting away from attending this academic Woodstock. The weather was awful, really awful. It was bucketing down, but fortunately the people we were picnicking with had a gazebo. I say fortunately, in that we at least had a relatively dry space to sit in, but unfortunately we looked like plonkers. We were in a row of gazebos at the back of the concert area. In front of us sat 200 gazebo-less parents huddled under umbrellas in that Blitz-spirit pose so beloved of rain-soaked Brits at events.

For a brief moment I was actually quite pleased to be sitting in a gazebo, but this didn't last long as another family joined us, and it was took a fight not to be squeezed out into the rain. Meanwhile, on stage, a random assortment of entertainment was under way, from visiting jazz bands, student dancers, tribute bands and choirs. Everyone seemed to be really enjoying themselves except me. I was damp, grumpy and miserable. At times like these, the temptation is to take the mickey, but this is always severely frowned upon by Stacey. So I kept quiet but amused myself by imagining three huge electric boxes on the roof of our gazebo, very much in the style of those used on Britain's Got Talent. Every time a new act appeared, I mentally pressed the button and three red crosses lit up on the roof while a large raspberry sound resounded around the grounds. This amused me so much that I started laughing. Stacey looked over: "See, I knew you'd enjoy yourself if you made an effort." I nodded, trying to indicate that she was, as usual, correct. A ballerina hit the stage and my hand made its way secretly to the imaginary button.

Dom Joly appears in Southend on Monday, then Warrington (Wed), Telford (Thurs), Stafford (Fri) and Canterbury (Sat).