That’s still one of my favourite taglines ever to grace E4… but I’m not here to talk about advertising genius worthy of Don Draper, I’m here to tell you how the heck I ended up at the birthday party for the Sultan of a little known country somewhere in Southeast Asia*…
It was a Wednesday, nothing much was happening and I’d spent most of my afternoon locked in a horrendous cycle of excel documents and invoices. My blackberry buzzed with a text from Priscilla, one of my favourite gay dads, and veritable pillar of the fashion industry.
‘Hey Ritzi babe,’ (it said) ‘Do you fancy helping out at a show I’m doing on Saturday? My assistant’s dropped out. xx’
Help out backstage at a fashion show? Will there be male models? I reply that yes, I am free, and enquire as to just what I might need to do. I get no reply… which is pretty normal for Priscilla really. Bless him, he don’t do texting all that well.
Being me, I immediately forget about it. Until Friday, when I’m up to my eyeballs in promotional performance hell, fighting off photographers and trying my damnedest to keep track of randy West End actors backstage at a show with rather more half naked dancers than is necessary. When I actually paid attention to my blackberry, I noticed that among the 300 odd boring work emails, there was also one from Priscilla. With a call sheet. On which I was listed as ‘assistant director’.
Oh fucking hell.
I called Priscilla immediately, pretending that I’d totally not forgotten all about it and mentally working out if I could realistically fit in a Saturday morning gym session before making a tit of myself at a fashion show.
‘Don’t worry darling, you’ll be fabulous. Just be my eyes and ears and make sure everyone walks in the right place at the right time… wearing the right dress, of course.’
Right, okay. I could do that.
‘Oh, and don’t touch the royals, or talk to the royals unless they talk to you first.’
See, up until this point, Priscilla had failed to mention that this fashion show was designed to accompany the desert course of a right royal banquet. Fer cryin’ out loud.
So Saturday rolls round and I show up, as instructed, in my blacks as if I’m ‘backstage in a theatre honey’. Priscilla is also in black. And a fucking cape. I shuffle my baggy black trousers over my sensible black Flossies (damnit, why didn’t I fork out the extra £30 for actual Toms?)
Half way through rehearsal, we realise we’re lacking an item in the props department. Priscilla is adamant that his show will be ruined unless he has an over-sized birthday card for the Sultan, so off I go into town, on a mission.
Unfortunately, the only card shop around is… Clintons.
I can’t buy a fecking Sultan a birthday card from Clintons! I can see it now… ‘Happy birthday your majesty… I hope you like Tatty Teddy! Or maybe Forever Friends is more your bag…?’
And the fun didn’t stop there – due to an agency balls up, we were down an actor, and didn’t fancy trying to get any of the models to actually do anything other than wander around in couture looking smokin’ hot, so I was told, four hours before the show, that I had to find another actor. On a Saturday.
Enter… Irish. Oh thank goodness I know so many fabulously talented actory types, or I would have found myself trying to squeeze my ass into the £8000 dress and dancing around like a twat for the assembled royalty myself. And while Priscilla assured me that thing was one size fits all, I’d hasten to disagree, considering a few hours later Irish and I become more closely acquainted than ever before as she poured herself into it. And that girl is a skinny bitch.
It wasn’t all bad though… once the couture arrived, I had the pleasure of marking up the male models costumes. These rather attractive men have no qualms about stripping off to their teeny tiny pants in the presence of anyone dressed in black and carrying a clipboard. And GOOD LORD. I caught the eye of one of the more coherent, English-speaking models and she grinned at me and said;
‘And that’s why I do this job.’
Too bloody right dear.
A few hours, and more than a few bags of Haribo and five cans of diet coke later, it was all over. And I still had my head, which I figure means I didn’t offend any royalty.
And that, my friends, is how Ritzi ended up at the birthday party for the Sultan of Mjhdfiwehfoiweoirjeper.
I seriously get everywhere.
PS – Once I met Marc from Ugly Betty. I shook his hand and told him I loved him a little bit. As I recall, his hand was unnaturally spongey. And I was rather hammered.
*I’m not posting the country on the blog (not in this post anyway, those of you who’ve been paying attention will recall I did mention it a few posts back) due to the fact that I don’t fancy any scary palace officials trawling through my sordidness if this post pops up on their google alerts…