Below is an excerpt from my book Eclipsed – and why I reproduce it now becomes obvious to any people who read this full post. It’s not very long and it’s funny, trust me. And its laughs on me…
So, I headed to Leeds University to study Textile Management and no matter that I got a II(i), I have been embarrassed by my degree ever since and having always dreaded the inevitable question at various social gatherings, ‘…and what did you read?’
Textile Management? I didn’t read anything mate, I knitted. Having dinner one night with Harry Hill, the ex-doctor and now multi-millionaire comedian, the subject of university came up and Harry was aghast. Textiles? ‘But Dom, I always had you down as being very bright?’
This year, (2016) I was very excited to have my availability checked to appear on a celebrity edition of the ITV quiz show, ‘The Chase’. Scheduled to broadcast on a Saturday evening at 7pm, this was a significant coup for me and one which I didn’t expect to come off. Only it did. I was booked. Typically, I decided that this was because I happened to be Spider-Man’s dad – a celebrity via my progeny with the thinking being that Tom’s fans might watch the show. But who cares I reasoned. I’m booked and that’s it. Take one’s chances…
Now, appearing on national television on a popular quiz has its many perils and chief amongst them is appearing to be bloody thick. But my even greater concern was appearing as a ‘celebrity’ and the idea that the show’s host, Bradley Walsh would interview me as such. I had done a stand-up show on television with Bradley many moons ago but being largely unknown to the studio audience I worried what he might ask me. ‘So, Dom, you’ve not been on telly for years’ man; so, what the hell have you been doing?’
And figuring that I had been booked because of Tom, I reasoned that most of the chat would be taken up with Spider-Man questions which I am becoming accustomed to. And that said, I should be flattered then that Tom was never even mentioned.
Bradley and I talked generally about comedy. We chatted about our stand-up gig together and then he intimated that I would be a strong player at the game because I was a university type?
‘You did go to University, didn’t you?’
‘Yes, I did.’ I answered hesitantly.
‘Which one? Which university did you go to?’
Fuck sake Bradley, where is this going? Of all the lines of questioning you could take up with me? My son is Spider-Man for fuck sake.
‘And what did you study?’
My eyes widened. I could not believe what I was being asked and on national bloody television as well and I now had a decision to make. I very much wanted to do well on the quiz. To win as much money for my chosen charity, DEBRA, (well worth a google when you have some spare time and cash). Plus, I wanted (needed) to remain in the game and therefore ON the bloody television for as long as possible not-to-mention the other trifling matter of not appearing to be thick.
And so, I lied.
I said, ‘management studies’ instead of Textile Management which is pathetic I know and odd as well that I should confess this here now. Odd because there is every chance that my little white lie might not even make the edit? But if it does, then so-be-it and I fess up here now. No doubt, people who know the truth will laugh at me but so what, because Nikki will support me, I know she will. She knows that I might not be an academic but that I have other skills to offer. And besides, she also understands that textiles is one of the great world industries and that there is no shame in studying it whatsoever. Fashion, clothes, filtration fabrics, sails, medical fabrics, industrial fabrics… I ask you; just where the hell would the human race be without bloody textiles?
In case you haven’t figured it out already, Nikki did Textile Management as well. It’s how we met.
The Chase was broadcast last Sunday night – and guess what, my lie didn’t make the edit. So I didn’t need to fess up in my book that I’m not a towering intellect after all!
And here’s the best way to end this post…
I won the Chase – beating the BEAST no less…