Thursday, April 3, 2014

A Globe in the Hand is Worth Two in the Basket

An hour is a long time in a laundry basket.  

That was my concern when, looking for a secret hiding place to gatecrash the Golden Globes private party at LA’s Soho House, I started wishing I weighed the 50 kilos I was when I left the city just over a year ago.
The laundry basket in the Ladies’ rest room at Soho House is not very big. In fact, if I wanted to make it my hiding place, I had 120 minutes in which to lose at least two stone. With the club closing at 9pm for a private party with the show’s hosts, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, I had very little time to case the joint and perfect my crashing strategy.
I used to be very good at crashing parties. I once crawled through somebody’s legs to talk to Stephen Spielberg, who had just won a Bafta for Schindler’s List. I told him I thought ET was the greatest film ever made. ‘D’you know,’ he said, ever so kindly, given that he had just won his first major award for the holocaust epic. ‘I was thinking about that film last week - and I think you may well be right.’
I once crashed the Evening Standard Film Awards in London and spotted a rather lonely looking Al Pacino. We approached in a romantic movie kind of way, but all I could get out were the words: ‘I am your greatest fan.’ 

I am not sure whether that, or the three things I managed to say to Bill Clinton when I fought tooth and nail to reach him, were the most embarrassing. Then, I managed to stutter: ‘This is the greatest day of my life’, ‘You are the greatest man who has ever lived’ and ‘Can I have your autograph.’

Then there was Leonardo di Caprio - "I really love your work." My friend had persuaded me not to say "Phew! You survived the ship!" which had been my first choice of introduction.
In London’s Groucho Club, I came face to face with a rather handsome man and, in my capacity as a TV critic, promised him a meteoric rise to stardom. ‘Have you ever done any acting . . . I can spot people . . . I could write about you and make you a star.’ On and on and on. ‘D’you know what it is . . . You’ve got that real kind of Ewan McGregor charisma. What’s your name?’ ‘Er, Ewan McGregor.’
So, I know how to get into places and meet the stars. Sometimes, they look a bit frightened. La Toyah Jackson, to whom I had kindly given up my favourite seat on an Air New Zealand flight from the UK to LA, introduced me to “Mini Me” Verne Troyer onboard. The 2 foot 8 actor shrank so far back in terror at my gushing approach, he all but slipped into the seat lining.
The day before the Golden Globes, I introduced myself to movie supremo Harvey Weinstein. When Harvey enters a room, people stand to one side – he’s like Moses parting the Red Sea. His stunned expression made it clear I had broken some Hollywood code, like an errant Israelite trying to steal Moses’s thunder.
Having dismissed the laundry basket as my temporary home, I turned to the cinema, which was still open, following the showing of a movie. Perhaps I could stand behind the curtains? But would my feet poke out? What if they locked the cinema and I had to spend the night trapped in red velvet?
Was any of it worth the risk, anyway? I have been member of Soho House since the first week and am now an Every House member. How awful if I had it taken away because I was discovered in a laundry basket and was being carried out on a stretcher, having dislocated my back among the damp towels?
I decided not to risk it. I had already had my picture taken with Bradley Cooper, Sally Field, Benedict Cumberbatch, Toby Jones and Josh Groban at the Bafta Tea Party (which I managed to crash, courtesy of British TV producer Nigel Lythgoe – another of our exports who has made it big across the pond). 

I had just flown from Miami, where I had interviewed the divine Judge Alex, whose name fronts the best reality courtroom series on TV.
There is only so much hanging on a girl can do, and well into my Fifties now, I realise that dignity must come first. 

One day, I’ll be a prize-winner and I won’t have to go scavenging for hiding places just to get close to the coat-tails of others. They’ll be begging me to market laundry baskets. 

Trust me. I’m a gate-crasher.  

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