The last thing we celebrity stalkers need is to be invited in for a drink

Share

I would make an exceptional paparazzo. I have an innate ability to spot a celebrity out of a fast-moving car, whether they be A or Z list. I'm good. I once spotted Rachel Hunter from behind at 150 yards. It was a busy midday in the West End and she was looking at some photos on a board outside Stringfellows. No doubt she was checking to see that Rod hadn't been paying any recent visits.

I would make an exceptional paparazzo. I have an innate ability to spot a celebrity out of a fast-moving car, whether they be A or Z list. I'm good. I once spotted Rachel Hunter from behind at 150 yards. It was a busy midday in the West End and she was looking at some photos on a board outside Stringfellows. No doubt she was checking to see that Rod hadn't been paying any recent visits.

Growing up in Lebanon was a pretty celebrity-starved existence unless you can count international terrorists. I remember getting very excited when I found out that Stewart Copeland, the drummer from the Police, had been born in Lebanon. It gave me hope, made me feel that maybe even someone living in this Levantine backwater could trip the light fantastic.

My first star-spotting experience was in the parks in Oxford where I was sentenced to 10 years' boarding school. I used to hang around the cricket ground and get autographs off visiting county cricketers. My first autograph was Ian Botham's. For some reason he was with Geoff Boycott despite them playing for different counties. I remember being faced with the choice of getting one or the other as they headed for the pavilion. It was no contest really, but I did name my first dog Boycott to make up for the slight.

Once I moved to Notting Hill Gate things went into overdrive. I used to follow Chris Evans around Tesco Metro wondering what he'd put in his trolley (a lot of carrots). I frequented a gym where the most motley of celeb crews used to flex their muscles. I would pedal slowly on my stationary bike, fascinated by the stand-off between Paxman and Mandelson on the chest press. Occasionally an instructor would tip me off about a more obscure personality such as Helen Fielding or Patrick Cox. You knew the name but couldn't put a face to them. I logged them all, and started to amass a load of weird, useless information about them from eavesdropping, detective work and writing threatening anonymous letters (sorry, the last one wasn't me it was Mark Chapman. I get confused sometimes with the voices in my head).

A friend of mine had met a new girlfriend in Newfoundland of all places and had brought her over to London. She was 25 and had never left her home town. It was something of a culture shock. I was assigned to look after her on her first day out. She was a tinge gothic and I managed to spot Nick Cave leaning moodily against a wall in Portobello within the first five minutes. This was quickly followed by a less impressive spot of Wendy James, then Jason Donovan. She was blown away and became all Dick Whittingtonesque assuming that the streets of the capital were paved with celebrity skin. I don't think she ever appreciated that she was in the hands of an expert.

I'm telling you all this because I always used to think that I was incredibly subtle in my stalking activities. When I got on to the telly and people started gawping at me I realised how obvious I had been. I would always spot the person miming the big mobile to a mate or pretending to look at a magazine a bit too intently. Maybe I wasn't that bad, I persuaded myself? Then came the awful truth. I was out drinking the other night and, as you do, ended up in Mick Jones from the Clash's house. I mumbled hello and tried to look cool but he just looked at me and said, "Dom Joly, didn't you follow me once all the way up the Portobello Road and into a bookshop?" It was a fair cop. I admitted that yes, in the past I had watched him peruse a rack of second-hand books in Oxfam for quite a while. There was a terrible silence. I tried to make it into a bit of a joke but it was not good. I've got to be more careful. If Schiffer finds the hide on the roof opposite her bathroom I'm done for.

React Now

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

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s dictator, and the subject of the spoof Sony film  

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Joan Smith
 

A happy ending for celebrity memoirs

Katy Guest
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick