This tenuous grip on reality is quickly slipping away

BRITAIN'S BEST-LOVED REPLACEMENT COLUMNIST PHILIP SOLIP

Share
Related Topics
Is this fate, or what? Two weeks ago I had this incredible dream in which I was standing as Mayor of London. Then when I woke up, I heard on the radio that Frank Dobson might stand. You can see my predicament: which was the dream, and which was real?

Also, I'd just seen The Matrix with Keanu Reeves the night before, so my grasp on reality was more tenuous than usual. How could I ever be sure that my mayoral campaign was not just an elaborate computer construct designed to occupy my mind while I, a lifeless, hairless drone, lay motionless in a bio-pod?

Actually it was pretty easy to sort out, because in the dream there was also a 50ft horse where my kitchen used to be, and that was gone. But I'm telling you, this dream was so real. I even met the cast of Miss Saigon.

Anyway, it's all worked out for the best, because here I am again. I guess I should just jump right in, and catch you up on what I've been doing since Christmas.

Many of you will remember how upset I was when Grampy Biggs died on Christmas Eve. For weeks afterwards I could do nothing. It's such an indescribable feeling, a gnawing sense that things are all out of place, in a way you can't quite put your finger on. It's a bit like when you miss out a belt loop in the morning, but much worse.

In February I finally finished my 20,000-word Diana poem (better late than never!), which was published immediately on the Net. That lasted until March, when the server pulled my website due to profanity on the comments page.

Then in June my girlfriend Julie (not her real name) had a baby boy, called Philip (not his real name), with her new husband. That was when I decided to check into the Priory.

Let me just say that the Roehampton Priory is not the glitzy resort spa that many people think it is. The squid was usually rubbery, and there's no Sky Sports. Perhaps most surprisingly, there is no bar, even for people like me, who are just depressed. Some days, after probing into my relationship with Julie in the company of some of Britain's biggest stars, I felt like I could really use a drink. I tried to convince them that some sort of badge system would be easy to enforce, but they were having none of it.

Frankly I wasn't sure I'd respond to their methods, and to be fair to them, neither were they. But in the end I became really enthusiastic about the whole Priory concept, not so much the spiritual element as the marketing.

They really liked my idea of having a booth in every Boots, next to the photo counter, and I think I might pursue the project during my "recovery". Remember: you heard it here first.

For the most part, my time at the "Pri", as we called it, was a very private and personal experience, which I'm in the process of writing a big piece about. For obvious reasons I can't publish the names of any of the celebrities I hung out with there, but it will feature a completely fictional character who is loosely based on Lenny Henry.

In a way I'm sorry to have to expose John's (ie Lenny's) deepest secrets to the world, but if I don't write about it the cost of the treatment isn't tax-deductible, and I haven't got 6,000 quid to throw away like some successful-but-unhappy comedians I know.

I wonder if the fact that I'm writing about it now counts. I'll have to ask my accountant when I see him at my birthday party next week. Harry (not his real name), if you're reading this, can you please RSVP? The paint-gun people want an idea of numbers.

So that's where I'm at. Right now I'm off to another AA meeting. I know I'm not really an alcoholic, but I'm going to keep attending the meetings every day until I find the one that Caroline Aherne goes to. She still has my Met Bar card.

In conclusion, I would like to say to Julie (not her real name) that now I've finally got the help I was so desperately crying out for, I realise that nothing is impossible. That's all.

I wish I could say see you next week, but right now I'm taking things one day at a time.

This column is dedicated to Grampy Biggs.

React Now

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

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Ed Balls has ruled out a return to politics - for now  

For Labour to now turn round and rubbish what it stood for damages politics even more

Ian Birrell
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?