Dom Joly: One moment, tweeting fun. Next, a cell with Piers Morgan

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The Independent Online

It's been a very weird week. I'm still on my never-ending tour of the UK, being driven from one place to another, one lonely dressing room to the next. I spend a lot of time on Twitter whiling away the solitary hours.

One morning, I logged on to find everybody was suddenly naming the footballer who'd issued a super-injunction regarding his alleged affair with a former Big Brother contestant. I hadn't known or cared who the player was until his name appeared on Twitter so often that I realised it must be him. Later, I read that he was going to sue Twitter and try to get hold of the personal details of the accounts that had named him. Since there seemed to be about 30,000 of them, this seemed more than foolish: it seemed insane. So I tweeted: "Ryan Giggs, stop being a cock."

Later, in reply to a question from The Fast Show's Charlie Higson as to how one got a superinjunction, I replied: "First, shag bird. Then put gagging order on bird. Then sue normal people for talking about it." I thought nothing of this: it's how Twitter works, everybody talking instantly about everything in the zeitgeist.

Then The Mail On Sunday published four blacked-out photos of four "celebs" who had broken the superinjunction and "named" the footballer. I was astonished to see myself as one of them. The other three were Boy George, Piers Morgan and Toby Young, a most unlikely boy band if ever there was one. Twitter immediately reacted as it should: everyone started playing "shag, marry, kill, avoid".

Then the following day the Evening Standard named the "Famous Four" (I should have got a superinjunction) and claimed that we were going to be sued and imprisoned for our tweets. Quite why we were "hidden" in the first place was a bit of a puzzle, because we are not hiding our identities on Twitter.

I was still trying to understand why it was all right for 30,000 people to name the footballer and directly link him to the affair in question, whereas four "celebs" making weak jokes were suddenly in fear of prison? It all seemed very curious. It fitted the hypocritical stances of newspapers who claimed that this was all about free speech, whereas everybody knew they just wanted to milk a juicy sex story involving a footballer. When they could extend coverage of the story by using "celebs" to justify their writing about the story, everything must have seemed tickety-boo.

My immediate fear was probably the same as anyone else: the thought of sharing a prison cell with Piers Morgan. The very idea of being incarcerated with him was worse than the rat chamber with Gillian McKeith. I imagined hours and hours of listening to him "prove" that his show was more successful than Oprah until I would be begging the governor for a spell in solitary or the sweet release of execution.

I have been imprisoned before. Once I was arrested in Zermatt in Switzerland while dressed as a yeti. The charge, which was later dropped, was of scaring skiers. I shared my cell with Switzerland's only burglar who looked very nervous about the whole situation and refused to even look at me during out whole stay together. I was also once held in Lime Street police station for a day after invading the Big Breakfast garden while they were live on air. I was dressed as a sausage. I can't remember why but, unlike all of this, it must have made sense at the time.



Dom Joly is performing in Taunton on Tuesday and Wednesday and Berwick-Upon-Tweed on Saturday

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