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

Recruitment Genius: Customer Support Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Support Engineer is required to join a well-...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Services Administrator - Swedish Speaking

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join an awa...

Recruitment Genius: Facilities Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Facilities Manager is required to join the m...

Recruitment Genius: New Business Sales Consultant - Mobile - OTE £35,000

£14000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This independent telecoms compa...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Police are called to Lindt Chocolat Cafe in Sydney's Martin Place, a busy plaza in the heart of the city  

After the Sydney Siege, would Australia be safer with American-style gun laws? The answer is simple

Neil Brennan
 

My cancer diagnosis cost me my home

Deanne Wilson
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum