Dom Joly: I'm in chokey: blame it on the Grey Geese

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The Independent Online

I love Quebec; it's an odd combination of the best of France, Scotland and the US. I'm fluent in French, but when the French Canadians get going I find it almost impossible to follow them. It's like someone's stuck a knife into their guts and is twisting it slowly as they try to communicate. I often want to offer someone medical assistance when they're just chatting quite normally. Their facial contortions and the sound they produce can be very alarming.

I had a day in which to kick my heels before my meeting with Lenny Bone so I decided to paint the town rouge for an evening. When I was last in Miami someone introduced me to the fantastic world of "Grey Goose up with a twist". It's just a glass of vodka with a piece of lemon in it but I love saying it in bars as I think it makes me sound really sophisticated. I could drink it in the UK if I wanted to but, for some reason, I keep it for when I'm in North America. It's one of my little travel traditions, like always having half a bottle of house champagne and the seafood cocktail at Caviar House in the airport before getting on a flight.

Actually, I'm not sure why I've made that into a tradition. There are several possibilities. One is that I want to be sure that, in the event of my plane malfunctioning and hurtling me into a fiery grave, my last meal is a pseudo-sophisticated one. Another is that the half bottle of champagne gets me just drunk enough to face my crippling fear of flying. My current favourite is that the quite extortionate price of the "meal" makes me happy to fly anywhere in the world because it'll definitely be cheaper. But I digress.

So I'm sitting in some hipster bar in a fairly cool part of Montreal listening to a story from the barman about the recent general election and how there'd been some weird result where the Nazi party had got in on a technicality and they'd announced that the first thing that they were going to do was to ban trees and invade Mexico. I think that's what he said but, as I mentioned, this is French Jim, but not as we know it. It might have also had something to do with the Grey Geese that I was consuming in some quantity. It was so cold outside - windy, snow flurries, the weatherman saying something about "freezing rain" and "ice pellets" - and I got a bit scared and needed something or six to warm me up.

Everything went a bit slo-mo, like it does after a few of these drinks and I think I sang something in public but what or where I can't remember. The one thing I do remember was being thrown out of the bar and the cold penetrating the very marrow of my wobbly, pissed bones. I lay in a heap on a dirty pile of slushy snow for a bit until I realised that I was starting to freeze solid. I got up and staggered towards where I thought my hotel should be. And that's when I saw it.

About 12ft up a lamppost was a sign saying "Joly". I had spent the night drinking, without being aware of it, on a street bearing my name, and it was actually spelt right. This was too good to be true and I started shinning up the post to tear the sign down as a souvenir of the evening. I think I managed to touch it but it was really cold and the shock or something made me lose my grip and I fell off the post right on to the policeman below shouting stuff at me.

I've been in chokey for two nights now and Lenny Bone hasn't returned my calls and won't even offer me a lawyer, the grumpy git. I want to come home and take to my bed for several days. I'm too old for this shit.

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