Dom Joly: Lured by Bafta into the heady world of dweebs and spods

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The Independent Online

At the end of my spoof chat show 'This is Dom Joly' I used to shout – "See you at the Baftas" to a bemused studio audience. It was at about that moment that I realised that nobody understood that I was "playing" a fictional media asshole called "Dom Joly". They just thought that I was one. Three years on and... I made it to the Baftas. The video games Baftas, that is.

Once again I broke my cardinal rule about not attending things that I had nothing to do with. When I got the letter asking me to present an award it had the Bafta letterhead at the top and it was all shiny and gold and I said "yes" straight away. I have to admit that part of my thinking was the potential goody bag. I'm a huge "gamer" and felt certain that I'd walk away with a couple of consoles for my efforts.

On the night, I duly arrived at the do in Battersea Park to see huge tikki torches lighting up the entrance. This was a good sign – tikki torches normally mean a good event. People on stilts wandering about: crap event – these are the rules. Then I noticed that PC World was sponsoring the event. I'm a Mac man and PC World doesn't really rock my boat. This didn't bode well for my goody bag.

Finally I saw the audience and I suddenly realised where I was – all the kids that I used to bully in the Dungeons and Dragons club at school were now über-rich and getting Baftas – how depressing was this?

I love video games but, in the old days, they were quite basic, like my first console, the Atari 2600. It came with a faux wood finish and I was really happy just to play Tanks where two indistinct blobs fired bouncing dots at each other. This was what spods and dweebs were supposed to do. Lock themselves away in damp cupboards and make the sorts of basic games that would keep me entertained until I took an interest in girls.

Nowadays, however, the dweebs are pumped up and much more ambitious. You can't go out in San Francisco without groups of them flashing their black Amexes around as they have a night out of Silicone Valley. The games they now produce are called things like Gods of War and are huge angry war-fests complete with complicated graphics and soundtracks by 50 Cent.

How did this all happen? It was too late, though, and I couldn't back out. I sat and watched the event from my table – terrible video clips of people from 'Hollyoaks' and McFly pretending to be "at home" playing games while waffling on about global sales figures. A drunk man sitting next to me kept trying to tell me about how disappointed he was that all comedians wrote books. I wanted to die. Why had I come here? Would I never learn? Then it was my turn. My award was for best sound, so moments before the show started, the organisers asked: "Could nobody make any noise when Dom Joly comes up on stage?"

I presume that they thought this was a good joke but they could have asked me first. My name was announced and I staggered on stage to a deadly hush. On television this will look as if I've been totally dissed by a room full of nerds. It doesn't get much worse.

I said something unfunny to Vic Reeves and then waffled on about the fact that the Xbox consoles outside were not working and that whoever was doing the PR for them should be left in a room with a loaded revolver. I then handed the only Bafta I'll ever hold to a man in a kilt and tried to bolt the scene.

As I called my car I looked around subtly for the goody bag. There seemed to be nothing. I announced three times that I was off, "so, if there's anything else..." – nothing. Bugger, it really had all been for nothing.

I awoke the next day with a bad hangover and my mobile was ringing. It was my agent. "Would you like to present something at the UK Golf Awards this Saturday?" I hung up and started weeping gently into my pillow.

Dom Joly's book 'Letters to My Golf Club' is out now, price £9.99, and published by Bantam Press

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