Dom Joly: Rain may stop the watersports, but we soldier on

Share
Related Topics

It was a very peculiar evening. I found myself on the roof terrace of a Chinese fish and chip shop in Old Beijing. I was there to do my regular bit for 5 Live, on the 'Drive' programme with Peter Allen. I'm there to supposedly add insightful and witty banter about the Olympic day – I do my best.... The place was in the most picturesque part of Beijing, among the old hutongs – narrow labyrinths of glorious hustle and bustle that are fast being swept away by the hungry architectural wave that is engulfing 'new' Beijing.

It was a balmy evening, and we were joined by Katharine Merry – the former British 400-metre Olympian. Things started quite smoothly, except that the floor was wet and the portable broadcast equipment was giving everybody round the table electric shocks. This tended to keep you on your toes, but we managed to broadcast through the period with only the odd, mild "ooh" and "ahh" audible. I cracked a bad couple of jokes about being on 'Fried Live', and guessing the headline might be "BBC radio team fried to death in Beijing chip shop".

Then we were joined by a couple of lads from, well, that was the problem. They were over here on some scheme to help them learn to play ping-pong. Peter Allen asked the first guy where he was from.

"London..." replied the clearly nervous youth. "What part?" Peter coaxed. "England..." he stammered. "No, I mean, where in London?" Peter continued, determinedly. "Europe," replied the oddly terrified boy.

He eventually confessed to being from Northolt, no crime in itself. He then disappeared downstairs, and we could hear his mates teasing him in the bar.

We moved on to the first day of track and field. Katharine Merry was asked for her opinions, and she chattered on very happily for a while. Suddenly, however, she stood up and stumbled over to the other side of our roof and threw up extraordinarily violently. The broadcast continued while we tried to help as best we could. A very pale Katharine blamed it all on a dodgy pizza she'd had back at the Olympic Green.

She claimed to have recovered, and sat down with us and insisted on answering more questions about the upcoming events. Suddenly she was off again – retching violently for a good minute or so while we filled, desperately. Enough was enough – she'd been a real trouper, but it was time for her to head back to her hotel and get some rest.

The broadcast continued, indifferent to our increasingly weird evening, and we listened to tales of lorries shedding their loads on the M40, and jams on the A61. It all seemed a very long way from our little rooftop.

As the night wore on we traded stories about badminton players and synchronised swimming with news from Georgia and Antigua. It began to rain, and we huddled under two small umbrellas that attempted to protect our equipment. All I could think about was the electric shocks. I checked my shoes and was fairly convinced that they were rubber, but I couldn't be certain. I started to lift my feet off the ground – all while nattering on air.

When it was all over we had a couple of beers and waited for the BBC car to come and pick us up. Outside, in the narrow hutongs, seven police cars rushed past, lights flashing. Our driver told us that there was a curious rumour going round that somebody had poured poison into the hutongs; it all sounded very sinister. I couldn't help wondering whether it might have been more of that deadly Olympic Green pizza? That stuff is a killer.

React Now

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

Energy Markets Analyst

£400000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Energy Markets An...

Junior Web Analyst – West Sussex – Up to £35k DOE

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...

Nursery Manager

£22000 - £23000 per annum: Randstad Education Bristol: We are currently recrui...

Web Analyst – Permanent – Up to £40k - London

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Letter from the Personal Finance Editor: Cutting out the middle man could spell disaster for employees and consumers alike

Simon Read
Bono and Apple CEO Tim Cook announced U2's surprise new album at the iPhone 6 launch  

Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes tell you what to think. Don't let them

Memphis Barker
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week