Dom Joly: When booze and farmers collide

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The Independent Online

Big nights out down here in Gloucestershire are few and far between. I suspect this might not be true for everyone else, but I have managed to offend almost everyone in the past four years or so and thus the invitations don't exactly block up the doorway every morning.

In a way it's a blessing. I tend to get very drunk at parties and then "speak my mind". I'm convinced that this is an admirable trait and that people respect me for it and admire my directness. Stacey has a slightly different view and refers to me as an embarrassingly loud and obnoxious drunk. It's so weird how people can have such differing views on things but, fortunately, I know I'm right, so that's that.

Come to think of it, I'd better be right because I've just convinced a television channel to commission a series in which I go round the world getting drunk. I know, I know, I can hardly believe it either, but I must have subconsciously wanted to do this sort of show for years as I've been doing fairly intensive research for most of my life. In the meeting, the commissioning editor asked me what sort of drunk I was. I thought it was a tad presumptious of her to call me a drunk in a meeting but I took it in my stride and mumbled something about being an "in control, entertaining" drinker. We shall soon see.

Stacey already has doubts about my undertaking. I have absolutely no idea why. After all, didn't Jamie Oliver announce at the start of his last series that he'd been a selfish husband and a bad dad because he'd been so busy hiring "yoof" for his restaurant and force-feeding salad to schoolchildren for the past two years? And what was his solution, which he thought would make him a better dad and husband? Why, take off on a three-month solo road trip to Italy, of course. I must give him a ring and see how he got that one past Jools. I'm only going on six two-week road trips in pursuit of vodka, absinthe, beer and tequila - what could possibly go wrong?

However, there must have been a postal mix-up last week as we were actually invited to a posh bash at our local glamour palace, Barnsley House. I was so excited that I even put on a suit, which I realised was a big mistake when we drove up the candlelit drive to see hordes of guests in the country uniform of violent pink cord trousers, mustard waistcoats and Clydesdale-check shirts (I sound like Dylan Jones).

The first person I met was introduced to me as the richest farmer in Gloucestershire. He peered at me suspiciously through his bushy eyebrows and asked me if I was a farmer. I mumbled something about being in television and working with John Craven on Countryfile, and he grunted his approval then wandered off without shooting me, which was good. A luscious young blonde cornered me to tell me how wonderful I was, which was fantastic until I rather patronisingly asked her what she did for a living and she said she was a brain surgeon. "Oh, that's... great," I replied helplessly and melted away to hit the bar.

I didn't behave too badly according to Stacey, apart from constantly mentioning Duran Duran to Gary Kemp and asking Willie Carson if he felt that smoking had stunted his growth. Average evening, really. It ended well, though: some 78-year-old farmer type punched a far younger man who had expressed an opinion that was not entirely favourable about hunting. Everything kicked off and the police were called. All very exciting, but no gunshots, so things were obviously sorted out one way or the other.

As we drove out of the village, I could swear that I saw something that looked like a body writhing and screaming on a burning cross just behind Liz Hurley's place, but Stacey said that I was imagining things. I think I do imagine things when I'm drunk. I imagined me ringing up some television executive at 3am, screaming something about how this should prove what a good drunk I am, before running round my village naked brandishing a pitchfork, but that can't be true... don't fizz Alka Seltzer, don't fizz.

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