This makes me a genuine celeb…

When I was a kid growing up, being a celebrity meant a whole different thing to what it means now.

Back then it meant being famous. Being on TV as an actor or as a comedian or as a sportsman. Or on the silver screen as a movie star; perhaps still the ultimate rank of celebrity in the game of Celebrity Top Trumps. Nowadays, becoming a celebrity is so much easier. A mere presence on-line serves as an entry point or ‘influencer’ as they are now known.

In my day, an acid test of having arrived in the fame stakes – of becoming an actual real life celebrity was being able to open a shop.

A shop!

“What the f**** is a shop?” I hear you young people ask.

So for this blog post to work, imagine a time when celebrities were actually famous and shops were the only places where stuff could be bought. And a happy marriage between the two was when a celebrity was invited along to formally open a new shop.

The name Bruce Forsyth will mean nothing to readers outside the UK. But for me growing up, Bruce was a comedian/song and dance man/TV presenter who was never off the telly (ever) right up until the time he passed and this made him a bone fide celebrity of his day and mine.

As a child, I was greatly excited by the news that a new sports shop close to where I lived was to be opened by the one and only Bruce Forsyth. Immediately I decided that I would go along. Many reasons for his. I liked my sports. I quite liked Bruce but mostly because I really really liked his wife and I hoped that she might accompany him.

At this time, Bruce was hosting a TV show on Saturday night called The Generation Game and his ‘glamorous’ assistant was a Swedish beauty called Anthea Redfern. She quickly became Mrs Forsyth which meant that Bruce went up further in my estimation and might have even nudged me towards such a career choice myself.

So, along to the shop I go (in my best outfit at the time, no doubt) and quickly I am disappointed that it appears Mr Forsyth is alone and not with his wife.

No matter, people queued patiently to meet the TV star and no doubt to have something signed. But I waited in line with a question.

“Where’s Anthea?” I asked.

I got to work with Bruce much later in his career and much earlier in mine and the withering look he gave me that day was the first time he used it on but not the last.

With hindsight, I realise now how impertinent I was. As though Bruce himself was not enough and that his alluring wife was required to make a young school boys day…

And I ponder over this distant memory here for good reason because tomorrow marks a first in the faltering career of Dominic Holland – when I am scheduled to ‘open’ a new shop.

And as such, I can finally lay claim to genuine celeb status.

Albeit, with some caveats…

It is a bookshop that I will be opening.

To which, probably all of you will be asking… “what the f*** is a book shop?”

For the record, a book shop is a shop that specialises in the sale of books.

NB If parents could please explain to their children what books are!

And this is not a random booking either.

The owner of said shop is a friend of mine; a comedy promoter who has booked me for many years who must be having a crisis of some-kind or or more worryingly, a slow release brain haemorrhage to think that Amazon’s days are over and that somehow he can confound the odds and all of technology by opening a blinking book-shop.

This opening of course coincides with the publication of my new novel I’,Gabriel, so you can see the synergy now. No?

I will do some stand-up for the assembled throng and then discuss my new book and then declare Ben’s shop open for business.

I hope the shop flies for him. I really do. I want Mr Bezoz kept awake at night and not just over the cost of his divorce. Anyone with the balls to open a book shop in 2019 deserves my support and yours.

And to conclude; another tie to the story of the sports shop and Mr Bruce Forsyth who was no doubt paid a fortune for his time (btw, no monies are exchanging hands tomorrow evening) –  as I imagine a number of people attending tomorrow evening will do so, hoping that a certain offspring of mine might accompany me.

Tomorrow, I will get many questions, including no doubt,

“Where’s Tom?”

And I will not be as offended by this as Bruce Forsyth was.

I get it.

And I am used to it.

In fact, I am bringing one of my sons with me but it is Harry and not Tom – and to film what will likely be my first and last ever shop opening.

I hope also that Ben’s shop fares better than the sports shop did back in the day. It didn’t see the year out and as I recall nor did Mrs Redfern, who probably saw the light or more likely someone who she probably actually fancied.




Because of the robots at Google, no money is being made off this post!

Money however, is made by the author of this blog, if people are kind enough or sufficiently intrigued to go to my bookshop and purchase one of my six books – two of which are available on this site – and all of them are available via Amazon (which is why we have so few book shops nowadays and why we should cherish the ones still open. 






37 thoughts on “This makes me a genuine celeb…

  1. A Random Person says:

    I think book shops are great. More of them need to be opened for books to get the attention. I wish I could be at this opening but I live 200 miles away from Kingston and I have school, so I’ll show my support from home 🙂

  2. A Random Person says:

    I think book shops are great. More of them need to be opened for books to get the attention. I wish I could be at this opening but I live 200 miles away from Kingston and I have school, so I’ll show my support from home 🙂

  3. Alessandra says:

    Dom, thank you for that blog. I thought ud be the owner of that bookstore. I wish your friend lots of customers and repeat ones too. Were I in the country tomorrow eve, I’d have come for support. I wish you an awesome opening night.

    • Valeria says:

      I like your writing skills. You are definitely gifted with words.
      As a book lover I came across this blog after reading one of your books, unlike many of yor readers that came across your blog due to your son’s fame.
      If I lived in England I would love to visit that mentioned book shop, not just in the opening but rather repeatedly.

  4. Niki says:

    Reading is a passion of mine, and although I’ve YET to find a career that centers around reading books, I do my best to support all private bookshops that I come across. It’s not actually difficult, there aren’t many nowadays. Anyways, the point that I seem to be talking circles around? I’m looking forward to reading your new book and I hope you have a wonderful time at the opening with your friends and family, I wish I lived close enough to attend.

  5. Kayla says:

    I am officially banned from bookstores because I take home more than I need. I can get lost in them & when I ever find a $5 dollar or less bookstore, than all bets are off. Good luck with the shop. There’s a lot of us who still like to hold a book in their hands & overstuff their bookcase.

  6. Michelle says:

    Thank you for supporting local book shops. When my kids were younger, the treat was always a trip to the shop for a new book. While my 17 year old has moved on to sports and girls, the 12 year old still requests a trip at least once a month. The only book I have ever bought online was yours as it was not available here. I wish your friend great success and hope your “big opening” goes well.
    Thank you for sharing!

  7. Lorraine says:

    Congratulations on reaching the pinnacle of your career Dom. You have truly made it, your first official opening!! You can’t beat a good book and I’m delighted to hear new book shops are opening up. Best wishes to Ben on his venture. Looking forward to seeing your blog about your big day out.

  8. Ellen L says:

    Another great post Dom! How amazing that you can say that you’ve met Bruce Forsyth. I love bookshops and I really wish I could be there at the opening but I’m stuck at university reading books about the first stages of cinema and the French New Wave! So I will support you through social media instead!
    I wish you the best of luck at the opening, I look forward to seeing Harry’s video as well (he’s an incredible filmmaker!). Good luck, you’ll be great!
    Love from, Ellen

  9. Dan R says:

    What is this book shop called/where will it be? I assume it’s near London but I would love to support the store should I ever find myself back down that way!

  10. Not the Actual Warrior Princess says:

    Sad to see where I live bookstores closing and being replaced with Starbucks or H&Ms. Books are what have been getting me through school. A beautiful escape from reality, even if it’s just for a brief moment.

  11. A Scot in Sweden says:

    I fully support any initiative to promote local bookstores, especially in 2019! I really do wish all the success with your friend’s bookstore – and good luck/have fun tomorrow!

    P.S. I do hate to be ‘that person’..But I don’t believe Anthea Redfern is Swedish? I mean, she could have definitely passed as a ‘quintessential’-looking Scandinavian back in the day..But I think she is English, no?

  12. Paul Olenick says:

    Wish i could be there, but 4000 miles away at the moment. There is nothing like walking up and down aisles of actual hardcover and paperback books, looking for that perfect jacket that says “pick me up and read me”! Times when Barns & Nobles, Waldenbooks, B Dalton, or a Borders were in every strip mall (long before Starbucks came along). If your friends shop still stands when i visit in December, i will do my best to wander within his aisles.

  13. Sally says:

    Your story with Mr Forsyth is timely for me – my family is currently planning a fall break trip to our first ever Comic-Con. Not at all our usual scene, in fact friends are laughing at us assuming I have to wear a Wonder Woman costume or something. But the reality is we just want to try something new and different and connect with our young daughters. My husband has agreed that I can purchase a photo op with Jake Gyllenhaal as sort of an 18th anniversary gift… nothing like a hug from another crush to celebrate a long marriage! I’m hoping to have the chance to tell him we live in the town where he filmed October Sky… but I will try to refrain from asking where his Spider-Man costar is… 😉

  14. Regina says:

    When I was a kid, I used it dream of owning a bookshop. I love a good bookshop and I hope we continue to have them (despite technology’s best efforts) for many many years to come. Good on your friend!

  15. Jen says:

    I used to love going to bookstores (as we call them in the US). Now days I hit the local library. It is the only way I can support my book addiction. Libraries are in a similar boat to bookstores as more and more people read books online.

    Congratulations on reaching the next pinnacle in your career: being asked to open a new shop. Kudos for keeping your own experience in the back of your mind and wanting to give those who show up tomorrow a different experience than what you had all those years ago

  16. Tamara says:

    How exciting my kids would be, don’t get me wrong my 3 girls 8,12 & 14 all love technology but the older 2 quite often remenis on when they used to go to the book shop Borders when they were younger ( not sure if they have that in the UK but was a massive bookshop) unfortunately they closed a few years back and have been replaced by a fancy gaming shop , my kids loved the book shop and even now usually have a book very close at hand , technology is a great thing and provides so much but l think it also takes so much away like the feel of the book shops not everyone wants to find a book on line some like to browse the shelves and for us here the library is about the only place now you can do that but O think there days are numbered too

  17. Genes71 says:

    Congratulations Mr. Holland. My niece is currently in London for grad school. She loves bookstores so hopefully that is where your shop is and hopefully she can visit sometime!

  18. Gemma de Lupita Sáchez Jimenez says:

    This blog i always has fun. I really would like to go to the opening of the bookstore but the problem is i live in Mexico

  19. Megan says:

    If I could book a cheap flight to England I would so be there ! I love book shops and try to support as many as I can you’ll never get the same effect of a book via online that you can in real life being able to turn a page and hear the sound or feel the paper and feel the literal weight of the book. Okay sorry I’ll stop now
    Book nerd out ,

  20. Rosell says:

    Bookstores are very necessary, today more than ever …
    Today young people only read social media publications.
    Success for your friend.
    Greetings from Peru.

  21. Vicki G says:

    Best of luck with the opening, hope there is a big turn out of people!

    There’s nothing better than the smell of new books/magazines! Something a kindle can never take away from them! I have to say, I rarely read a book, find it hurts my eyes, so I enjoy a good audio book to send me off to sleep or to drive along to (hope the two don’t merge) Haven’t read a book since school, albeit 8/9 years ago! I must try and get back into it!

  22. Vicki Gilbert says:

    Best of luck with the opening, hope there is a big turn out of people!

    There’s nothing better than the smell of new books/magazines! Something a kindle can never take away from them! I have to say, I rarely read a book, find it hurts my eyes, so I enjoy a good audio book to send me off to sleep or to drive along to (hope the two don’t merge) Haven’t read a book since school, albeit 8/9 years ago! I must try and get back into it!

  23. Vannessa says:

    Wish I was off just to show some local support. Best of luck for your friend rest assured parents these days do like bringing thier younger kids to book shops as tech tends to over run the house and is good for them to learn. Always support local businesses I say.

    Have a blast tomorrow. And didnt Bruce end up married to a miss world? It’s the filipino genes 😉

  24. Moira says:

    Another great blog, good luck with the shop opening. Books will never die! There are too many in the world who truely love them and the escape they offer.

  25. Audrey says:

    Congratulations! I see a new non fiction from you…
    “Finally Famous-How I eventually found the perfect spotlight” by Dominic Holland.

  26. Luke Gent says:

    I love a good bookshop! When I was a kid (not too long ago!) I would spend hours upon hours in a bookshop until my parents dragged me out. Some of my best memories have been in a bookshop!

  27. Theresa says:

    I love book shops! We used to have some grand ones here in the states! I’d spend hours just combing the shelves, looking for a new selection to add to my shelves. Not many here, now. I’d show up at the opening and gladly listen and purchase your new book, too. Sadly, I’m a long plane ride from the new shop. Maybe, when my husband and I make our trip to London next year, I’ll stop in!

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