Toby Young: My career as a professional failure is in peril

I creep out into the hotel corridor, armed with a shoe

Share

MONDAY

I'm woken at 5am by Lloyd Evans, my writing partner, to warn me about the set of our new play, a trouser-dropping farce set in Buckingham Palace. He's standing in the King's Head, a pub theatre in Islington, and is in such a panic that he's forgotten I'm in North America in the middle of a book tour. "It looks like an S&M parlour," he says. "There's absolutely no way that such a room could exist in Buckingham Palace, except perhaps in the secret locked quarters of the gayest butler they've ever employed." He's extremely worried, not least because the play is due to be unveiled before the public on Friday.

TUESDAY

I'm in Toronto staying at a hotel called The Drake. In between hosting a lunch at "the Groucho Club of Canada" and giving a reading at a nightclub I try to catch 40 winks. I'm about to drop off when I'm interrupted by a blood-curdling scream. What's going on?!? It sounds like someone's being murdered in the next-door room. I creep out into the corridor, armed with a shoe. Almost immediately it happens again. It is coming from the next-door hotel room. Worse, the scream is so high-pitched it sounds like a child rather than a grown-up. I screw up my courage and bang on the door: "Is everything all right in there?" There's a pause, then a woman says: "Fuck off." Seconds later, the screaming starts again, only this time it has an unmistakeable rhythm. Clearly, I've interrupted a couple of sexual deviants. I turn round, and come face to face with the hotel's head of security. "What's going on," he whispers. "I don't know," I say, "but something tells me that's not her husband in there." "It sounds like he's sawing her leg off," he says.

WEDNESDAY

The New York Times publishes a review of my new book - it's being published in America first, then in Britain on 7 September - and against all expectations it's an out-and-out rave. My American editor immediately emails me a note of commiseration. "Your career as a professional failure is at an end," he writes. "I hope you don't take the adjective 'endearing' too hard."

THURSDAY

I arrive back in England to be greeted at Heathrow by my wife and two children. At first I don't recognise my one-year-old son because he's tottering around on two legs. When I left the country 15 days ago he was on all fours. It turns out I've missed my son's first steps. What a terrible hostage to fortune! For the next 50 years, whenever I disappoint my son in any way, my wife will say to him, "What did you expect? He was on a book tour when you took your first steps."

FRIDAY

To the King's Head to see the first preview of A Right Royal Farce. The set is certainly a shocker. With its gold, mirrored surfaces and reams of red velvet, it does indeed have a whiff of an S&M club. But that strikes me as perfect. This is supposed to be a sex farce, after all, not a realistic recreation of life at Buckingham Palace. By the end of the night, even Lloyd has come around. We were worried about being horsewhipped by die-hard Royalists, but the whole production is so incredibly camp it's hard to imagine anyone taking offence. These Royals have clearly sprung from the imaginations of two over-excited schoolboys. If the first preview is anything to go by, A Right Royal Farce is like a cross between Spitting Image and What The Butler Saw. Now all I have to do is persuade The New York Times to review it.

'A Right Royal Farce' runs until 28 August at the King's Head, Islington (020-7226 1916)

React Now

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

Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistant - Accounts Payable - St. Albans

£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Day In a Page

Read Next
A Gold Ferrari sits outside Chanel on Sloane Street  

Sunday Times Rich List: We are no longer in thrall to very rich people

Terence Blacker
David Cameron was openly emotional at the prospect of Scotland leaving the union before the referendum  

Remember when David Cameron almost cried over Scotland because he loved it so much?

Matthew Norman
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions