Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Cinderella goes to the ball

One of the characters in Strictly Love, Katie, frequently feels like Cinderella deprived from going to the ball. I know how she feels. It's rare for me to get out these days, and when I do I don't often stray too far from my own doorstep.

However, last night Cinderella got to go the ball in the shape of the Harper Collins annual summer bash at the V&A. Thanks to two splendid friends who looked after three of the children for me and an equally splendid husband who got home in time to take the oldest swimming before picking everyone else up, I was unusually able to go up to town.

To celebrate I put on my Cinderella type dancing shoes, which look a bit like this.

Or rather, I put them on in the girls' loos when I arrived. I don't think I'd have made it off the platform without breaking my neck if I hadn't. As it was, I gingerly made my way up the steps from the loos, and hobbled down a marble floored corridor hoping that I didn't look as much of a prize prat as I felt. Il faut suffre pour etre belle, must surely have been written by a man...

As I arrived I noticed rather a lot of photographers standing on the steps of the V&A. I was just about to cut through them when I realised this person was prancing about in the middle of them. Whoops!

So I scurried around the back of the pack. If you spot a woman in a red dress in the background of a picture of Gok in the next issue of Hello! That'll be me then.
As it happens, this year's party proved fine fodder for celeb spotting (I'd call them zedlebrities - a fine word I borrowed from Danuta Kean to use in Strictly Love, but none of them were really Zlisters, so that wouldn't be fair.)

Within minutes of hobbling my way into the crowded garden where the party was helped (the crowd gave me a good excuse to hobble looking slightly less of a prat), I spotted good old Tory Boy himself and his wife Ffion...
Actually, while I thought he was a pillock as Leader of the Tories, I did come to respect William Hague hugely after listening to him roundly trounce Teflon Tone several times at the Dispatch Box at PMQs, and his book on Pitt the Younger is brilliant. He's a very clever man, and methinks in years to come the Tories may well regard him as the Greatest Leader they never had.
William and Ffion were soon joined by this person

who was extremely glamorous in the flesh. I did wonder how well they knew each other - is there a kind of celeb club, where you are forced to talk to people you don't like but have to as ordinary joes like me are too embarrassed to speak to you?

Mind you, if that was the case, then this person would have been speaking to them too.

I can't quite see Hague and Baddiel doing fantasy football together....

Or this person either.

He was forced to talk to his agent all night long. My agent and I stood next to them for ages and she kept daring me to speak to him. I could possibly have wangled it when he was joined by Freya North, who I met earlier this year after she won the RNA award.
In the end though I decided it was more gracious and grown up not to bother celebrities, and just get on with the business of the day, namely drinking the plentiful champagne on offer, while chatting to lovely booky people in beautiful surroundings.
Cinderella not only went to the ball. She absolutely had one.
So my thanks go out to all those lovely people at Harper Collins for not only inviting me but making it all happen.

And to all the wonderful Avon team, who are so much fun.
I do wish my feet weren't aching quite so much though...

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