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

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

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

Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Ashdown Group: Editor-in-chief - Financial Services - City, London

£60000 - £70000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Day In a Page

Read Next

If I were Prime Minister: I'd save small businesses from the negative influence of banks

Anil Stocker
Sturgeon inside No 10: the SNP leader poses in a playhouse as she visits ABC Nursery in Dedridge, Scotland, while on the election campaign trail  

Stop the double standards – the SNP deserves power

Simon Kelner
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power