Dom Joly: I'm a West End star, but keep it under your hat

Share
Related Topics

My tour has started with some preliminary warm-up dates in the West End of London. As someone has pointed out, the normal thing is to warm up stuff miles from nowhere and get a show "ready" before bringing it to London. I seem to be doing it the wrong way but then, that's sort of the story of my life.

I have to admit to a tinge of excitement at seeing my name up in lights as I hobbled through Leicester Square on crutches trying desperately to keep my exposed foot out of the puddles of urine and vomit that adorn London's tourist mecca. This initial but messy challenge was eclipsed by my efforts to get through masses of tourists standing around limply, waiting to be led towards every overpriced venue around them.

I'm staying in a hotel on Leicester Square, and this is about the most touristy thing that I've ever done in London. You can probably work out which one it is if you know the area, but don't bother trying to call me there. I have an experienced tour manager who, before me, has toured with U2 and Bon Jovi. (You can imagine how excited she is to be working for me.) She rang me to ask what assumed name I would like to use for my hotel bookings. I got stupidly excited, and spent ages thinking of the perfect one.

This sounds like fun, but it is actually a total nightmare. When I checked in under my assumed name, the Russian girl behind the desk refused to accept my credit card for "extras" because it had my real name on it. I then had to spend an incredibly confusing 10 minutes explaining that I had checked in under an assumed name. She kept asking me why I was booked under my assumed name if it wasn't my real name? I answered truthfully that I wasn't really sure and that I just assumed this was something everybody did on tour. Surely hotels knew more about this than anybody? Not this Russian. She wasn't having any of it and I eventually had to check in with my real name but then my fake name in brackets, which made it totally pointless.

Once in my room, I had a great view out over the square... except it was all sealed off and, seemingly like the whole of the rest of the capital, in redevelopment. Someone told me it was something to do with the Olympics. The mind boggles as to what event will be held there. Maybe standing still like a statue while being sprayed head to toe in silver paint is a new Olympic sport? Or is it competitive portrait painting in which art athletes from rival countries compete to be the first to draw a ludicrous head of Sylvester Stallone? My favourite would be groups of European schoolchildren competing to see who could purchase the most expensive slice of dry, inedible pizza.

The phone in my room rang. It was my wife, in the lobby. The Russian woman behind the desk was not allowing her upstairs to come to the room. I had warned her that I was using this secret name and she had asked for a card to allow her to use the lift. It seems that the Russian girl had gone the whole way from not understanding the secret name system to now believing that I was now an international top celebrity who must be protected from voracious women at all costs.

I got Stacey to pass the phone to the Russian, and I persuaded her that the lady in front of her was not a member of the infamous Plaster Casters, but my wife. She seemed quite disappointed by the news, but allowed Stacey access to the lift and the inner sanctum of my touring world. Not easy, this rock'n'roll lark.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Pre-Press / Mac Operator / Artworker - Digital & Litho Print

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: With year on year growth and a reputation for ...

Recruitment Genius: Project Manager - Live Virtual Training / Events

£24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Project Manager is required t...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Group has been well establishe...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Group has been well establishe...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

FIFA awarded the World Cup to a state where slavery is actively facilitated

Aidan McQuade
 

The strange absence of women on our cultural landscape, and what I decided to do about it

Sian Norris
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003