Dom Joly’s ‘Wall Of Fame’

The comedian and travel writer tells us about the good and great on his office wall at home in Cheltenham.

There is no real thought process behind it, I just put up posters and photos of people I love. I used to have them all over the place when I lived on a farm but that doesn’t really work in the town house, so I thought I’d just put them all together on one wall.

I hate going into people’s houses and there are just walls and walls of their own magazine covers, that’s just egotistical, but I had some old publicity photos from Trigger Happy TV and I just picked a few weird photos that meant a lot to me at various times.

But apart from that it’s a bit of a mix. I’ve got political heroes like Obama, but also I like street art and thick clear drawing. I love tinting and the guy who did the Obama Hope poster, Shepard Fairey. He was one of the first street artists. I’ve also got his portrait of Paul Simenon on the wall and I’m a massive Clash fan, so that’s nice.

I’ve got the Beatles and the Stones because that’s what I grew up on. I’ve got JFK, because let’s face it, he just looked cool. Then there’s me and Robert Smith from The Cure, because I am an ex-Goth and me and Robert have become weird friends.

There’s me about to ski down a volcano in Nicaragua because I am a travel writer. I’ve got a paper plate signed by Marianne Faithfull saying ‘great duet’ because I sang The Ballad of Lucy Jordan with her on stage on my BBC spoof chat show. I then fell through the stage which was supposed to happen, so the whole thing was very odd.

I’ve got a signed turd by Gilbert and George, who are avant-garde, shit-obsessed artists. They were doing an exhibition in Paris so we bought two plastic turds and got them to sign them as fans, and then I went out to Paris to their exhibitions and there were these benches in the middle of the exhibition, and I just placed the turds on the benches.

Dom Joly Wigwam Magazine

And then one of the things I love doing with my kids if we go to an art gallery – because art galleries are all pretty much rubbish – so the thing I have taught my kids that I am most proud of is we find a fire extinguisher, and we’ll go up and really stare at the fire extinguisher as though we are really looking at it as a work of art, and immediately someone will come over and start looking as well, and that starts a chain reaction, and I love that, because all art is bollocks really, it’s just what you believe it to be. Anyway, at the Gilbert and George in Paris everyone was trying to buy the turd, it even got a review, saying it was the best piece in the exhibition. And Gilbert and George knew nothing about it, so afterwards I gave them one and kept one.

And I’ve got the greatest album cover in history up there, it’s London Calling by The Clash, and the photo’s of Paul Simenon and he signed it for me which is nice. And then Bowie - growing up in Lebanon, Bowie was my total inspiration. The first thing I ever did when I came to London was go to Heddon Street off Regent Street and have a picture taken in the exact same spot where the Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars cover was shot. I’m in terrible black and white spandex trousers and I’ve got a bit of a rattail and a pierced ear and I just look like a complete wally and I love it!

Then I have got Elvis over there, and I f***ing hate Elvis, but I just love that poster. And below that is a storyboard written by my then runner on Trigger Happy TV, Al Campbell, who’s now a BAFTA award-winning director, and there’s a storyboard for a pop video I directed for Ian Brown of the Stone Roses who’s the nicest man I have ever met in show business.

I like art in the same way I like music, I hate snobs, I think I’ve got amazing musical taste, what distinguishes me from my friends who think they’ve got amazing taste is that I can put on a Kylie Minogue song, and when I tell them who it’s by they get really disappointed and can’t like it, and to me that’s not important - not if it’s cool or not cool, it’s what does it do to you. So art for me I hate the elitism of it, I hate the snobbery of it.

Art for me is things that make me think, often the art I like is street art, I am obsessed with Tintin, I love modern art like Patrick Caulfield’s bold prints, so I am not one for classical paintings and stuff which is weird because my wife is a painter and a sculptor, and she does more classic stuff.

For an extended interview with Dom Joly talking about his life and homes, check out the latest edition of Wigwam magazine, in print or here