Sunday February 8th 2015
I rock up at the Strand Palace Hotel for what will probably be the only time I ever rock up at the Strand Palace Hotel. I walk into the scorching hot reception area and head straight for the group of people dressed for an assault on Everest; they are, of course, my fellow bloggers. We exchange minimal pleasantries about how hot we all are while a convenient mirrored wall provides me a fine view of my face as it blotches to buggery.
We make the short walk from the hotel to the Royal Opera House, where tonight’s festivities will take place. We flash our lanyards at stern people in hi-vis jackets, and are permitted to scurry up the red carpet like a cast of nervous crabs, while Joe Public glances wearily in our direction to see if we’re anyone important (we’re not).
We’re gently herded into the EE Blogger’s pen, whereupon everyone squishes themselves up against the barrier so as to be as close to the beautiful people as possible. I however, retreat to slightly higher ground so that I’ll be able to get better shots of said beautiful people with my trusty Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini. Within half an hour someone on the lower level has accused someone else of shoving them and then stealing their spot at the barrier. A scuffle seems imminent, but we bloggers are a gentle people, suited to semi-darkness, the soft glow of a laptop screen, and seven meals a day; things quickly calm down.
Nobody important has turned up yet, so I start photographing the photographers, who will spend the rest of their evening yelling at celebrities to ‘look to their right’, or to move backwards or forwards or to the side, et cetera, with the yelling becoming louder whenever the subject is female, and louder again when the subject is female and wearing a low cut dress.
After a whole lot of milling about, people I recognise start to pop out of the crowd. I spend the next two hours scanning the stream of people wandering past me, aiming my phone accordingly, and Instagramming/Tweeting as though my life depends upon it.
It becomes clear about half way through the ordeal that even my carefully layered outfit (including but not limited to a scarf, long johns, fingerless gloves for phone access, a thermal vest, and a small kitten under each armpit) isn’t going to cut it for a London evening in early February; I am freezing my proverbials off, and no amount of being within ten feet of Henry Cavill has any effect.
Finally, everybody who’s anybody has been shoehorned into the Royal Opera House. Apart from Benedict Cabbagepatch, who (rumour has it) is coming straight from filming Sherlock, and is going to be fashionably late. Finally he speeds past us, but my phone battery is almost dead by this point and the camera refuses to take a picture of him. I’ll get you yet, Cabbagepatch.
We scurry back down the red carpet, this time rather more speedily, as a team of surly Igor-like creatures are rolling it up behind us. I try to cut off a piece to take home for my aged mother, but no dice – one of the Igors whacks me on the knuckle with a broom handle.
We head over to Soho House to watch the awards play out, while being served an impressive array of wine and snacks (individual bowls of macaroni cheese – need I say more?). The feeling in my toes eventually comes creeping back. My cohort shows up for this stage of the evening, and I immediately steal her phone so that I can Tweet throughout the ceremony. She was infinitely patient with me, even when I kicked her off Tinder so as to conserve the battery life (I actually really did kick her off Tinder – sorry Sophie).
His Majesty Stephen Fry wraps up the BAFTAs for another year, we thank our hosts and stumble to the nearest tube to head for home. I actually really did stumble, too – I lost a coat button and my knees are as scuffed as a tap dancer’s kitchen tiles.
But would I do it all again? Well, that macaroni cheese was rather good. I’d say that’s a yes.