Dom Joly: Contemporary art is a load of old poo

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The Independent Online

I've just been to an art "do". The artists were old friends, and they always have a great turnout for their shows. This one was particularly impressive and the place was crammed with peculiarly dressed people trying to look both hip and unconcerned while glugging as much free drink as possible.

For me, it was a particularly odd evening as I kept wandering into people from my past. At times, it touched on a nightmare episode of This Is Your Life, as more and more skeletons appeared out of my closet. Everyone I met seemed to keen to remind me of something terrible I'd done or said to somebody whom I couldn't remember even meeting.

If I ever write an autobiography, I'm going to have to do some serious research, as it appears that most of my life is a complete blank.

I'm now a little suspicious of some of the stories in Keith Richards's excellent new memoir. I assumed that a book by Keef would be as incoherent as the old soak himself. Far from it – it's razor sharp, funny and rich in detail. How could he remember all this? This a cat who appears to have spent 30 years of his life off his box.

In the art gallery, somebody was reminiscing about the "famous" night I'd thrown three tins of paint off somebody's roof while dressed as a Roman legionnaire. This was patently untrue, and I wondered whether the raconteur was pulling my leg or seriously delusional? I mumbled some excuses about "crazy times", and started to fight my way towards the bar. My way was blocked by several other old acquaintances, each keen to tell me how they felt about my career.

What was particularly galling about this was that I remembered most of these people as hippy/eco-warrior types. When we were all getting wasted in the pubs of our youth, they were all vegans smoking too much dope and waffling on about confused Far-Eastern mystical philosophies. Now, 20 years on, they are all dressed in sharp suits and seem to have made considerable fortunes advising companies on how to go green. It was all a touch depressing.

I spotted Gilbert and George wandering about. They are the slightly peculiar art duo that always wear vaguely matching suits and look like a geeky pair of Thompson Twins. The last time I bumped into them, I was filming an art spoof and got them to sign two fake turds that we then slipped into one of their exhibitions in Paris. At the time, there was much interest from punters and three people actually made offers on said poo before an irate curator gingerly removed it.

Art is essentially a blagger's game and that's why I love it. If you go to see work by an artist that you don't know and you like it, you'll most likely fall for the pretentious guff written in the catalogue. Never, however, read the guff about anyone you actually know, as it's instantly obvious that they are all talking out of their arse.

Another ghost from the distant past accosted me and wanted to know about the "pooing situation" in the jungle. "Did you poo constantly? Was it the consistency of goat pellets?"

The room was getting hotter and hotter and more and more people were pouring in. Surely these weren't invited guests? It felt like everyone walking by was now wandering in and stealing booze before taking their place in the sardine tin.

"Twenty works sold," announced our hostess proudly. With the cheapest "piece" going for eight grand, it didn't take a maths genius to know that I'm in the wrong game.