Dom Joly: Tweets to followers ratio too high? You may be a loony

Related Topics

My second week of hidden camera filming around the UK is over and it has taught me a lot about three of our most visited tourist towns.

First stop was Bath. If I'm honest, I was expecting this to be quite a tough place for laughs, as it has a reputation for being the spiritual home of Britain's "crusty" community. By this, I mean a white man with dreadlocks, dog on string, carrying a large bottle of cider brigade.

We used a couple of rather unsubtle tents in which to hide some of our cameras and therefore had several incidents in which rather self-righteous Citizen Smith types accosted our unfortunate camera people under the illusion that Bath was close to succumbing to some Stasi-like regime.

Day two was in Oxford. I have a soft spot for Oxford and it did not disappoint, with most of the inhabitants being both friendly and reassuringly happy to sign release forms after dealing with the rather ludicrous character I was playing. The city was, however, absolutely packed with gargantuan groups of sullen, badly dressed French schoolchildren blocking every available pavement. I'd forgotten just how deadly dull school trips could be. And once the kids had purchased a hideous sweatshirt saying something like "I love Oxford" and bedecked themselves with a pair of ugly fluorescent sunglasses, they had nothing left to do but wander around sucking on McDonald's milkshakes and seeing who can wear their trousers the furthest down their derrières.

Day three was in Cambridge and by far the worst of them all. I admit to being a little prejudiced against Cambridge, as I firmly believe that you are either an Oxford or a Cambridge person and should not enjoy both. Quite apart from anything else Cambridge is at the start of "suicide country" – the flat, depressing part of England that rolls on into Suffolk and Norfolk.

We set up on the gorgeous King's Parade, in front of King's College Chapel. And then the loonies came. It was like we'd unknowingly stumbled into some unadvertised convention for the movement.

The worst of these was a gentleman who looked as though he spent most of the day noting down engine numbers. He spotted one of our camera vans and stood in front of the window blocking our shot. When the production team politely asked him to move, he refused. He announced that he was engaged in a protest. We asked him what he was protesting about and he told us that it was "top secret".

After further inquiries, he let slip that he believed us to have been following him around the country and that he was "on to us". He was eventually persuaded to clear the camera shot, but then stood nearby making noises not dissimilar to a cow. All the time, he was busy tweeting. We found his Twitter page, and the real give-away were his Twitter statistics. He had tweeted 31,635 times and had 22 followers. That "number of tweets to followers" ratio is possibly the best indication of a person's mental health currently available. No wonder Syd Barrett moved to Cambridge; he must have felt right at home.

React Now

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

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

Read Next

Errors & Omissions: how to spell BBQ and other linguistic irregularities

Guy Keleny

South Africa's race problem is less between black and white than between poor blacks and immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa

John Carlin
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own