Awards (and the Art of Panic)

So, the Critic’s Circle Awards. Glitz, glamour and lots of people dressed up in fancy outfits. As it was, it’s pretty amazing that I even made it there, after a sequence of events that really shows exactly how easily I can raise myself up into a state of capillary-exploding panic.

Okay- the situation was that I was offered a day’s work sub-editing on Wednesday, but this had the small problem of how exactly I was going to get ready for the Critic’s Circle Awards. If I was going on my own, I could conceivably have gotten ready at work- but I wasn’t going on my own. George was coming with me, so after some negotiation, I got it sorted that i would be able to leave work at 5pm, thus giving me just enough time to get home, change, and for George and I to make our way to the Dorchester with all speed. The plan went pretty well at first. I got home at 5.55, and having already sorted out my clothes, and with George ready, I was able to get dressed, scrubbed and prepared. All that I needed to do was double check that I had the right bank card, so I went to my jacket.

It wasn’t there. And neither was George’s Oystercard, which I had borrowed for the day.

I started checking places methodically. It wasn’t anywhere I could think of. I couldn’t understand it- I’d had the Oystercard with me, I’d gotten through the gates at the station only ten minutes previously, and it was like it had just spontaneously vanished. I started panicking, seriously panicking. I could see this screwing everything up. I left George and ran desperately back to the station, checking every inch of the ground as I went. I asked the guy at the station, but no- nothing had been handed in. I ran back to the flat, and now time was ticking away. I felt like such an idiot for losing George’s Oystercard and a bankcard as well, but there was nothing for it. We were running out of time, and I felt like I’d already managed to find a brilliant way of screwing up the evening, so I gathered everything together, got my Oystercard back from George (she’d used it that day)… and then, I reached into the inside pocket of the jacket I’d been wearing for the past twenty minutes. And guess what i found? My Oystercard, and my bank card, safe and well.

Yes, I did feel spectacularly foolish. I’m good at panicking, but I’m not usually quite as spectacularly good as that. After that, we headed straight for the station- and then I realised I’d gone out without my shoe insoles, and would be very uncomfortable for the rest of the night. So I ran back- AGAIN- and got them. I was on speaking terms with the guys at the station at the end of it, who must have thought I was borderline schizophrenic…

Anyhow, we finally got there, and the Champagne reception turned out to be a bit of an intimidating scrum. We got trapped briefly by the entrance and half-blinded by flashes from the photographers trying to take pictures of Matthew Modine (very tall…), said hello to a few people, and then made our way inside to the table. Turns out, Sophie Okonedo wasn’t there- and neither was her replacement, the actress Helen McCrory, (possibly just as well- nobody on the table could remember who she was. I could, but I couldn’t actually think of anything specific that she’d done…) so, with a bit of swapping, we ended up with George sitting next to Derren Brown, and me next to charming film critic and all-round good egg James Cameron-Wilson. There were goodybags crammed full of stuff (we got DVDs of Downfall and Pride and Prejudice), and plates in front of us with strange appetisers that had to keep us alive for the entirety of the ceremony before dinner. It was fun, but it was one of those ceremonies where people keep insisting on waxing lyrical about the nominees rather than just actually getting on with it and opening the envelope- although one of the hosts giving away that Rachel Weisz had actually won before the opening of the envelope was a fun slip. Virtually all the awards I expected happenned- particularly vexxing was the fact that A History of Violence got nominated for loads and didn’t win anything. Ended up having fun with James’ daughter Juliette, and also having a nice (and slightly drunken) chat with Derren Brown, who was genuinely charming and very nice. He seemed to be happy to listen to me ranting in my slightly drunken manner, and he also has one of the most powerful handshakes I’ve ever encountered.

The meal was fantastic- although very rich, and as a result, the prospect for dancing was limited. I did, at least, get to throw some shapes on the dance floor, although the music selection (helmed by DJ Mary Anne Hobbs) wasn’t hugely inspiring. By 12 midnight, we decided that we’d had enough fun, and the whole thing had turned into one of those parties where everybody disappears off into their own groups, so we headed for the Underground and the last tube home. A sterling night, though, and I’m very glad that we did it.

As a result of the wine, lots of today was spent in a slight fog. Spent the afternoon getting lost on the way to Tufnel Park, and then watching the extras on the DVD of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire for a review, which wasn’t as much of a trial as I expected. I had to go to a PR office and sit in a small room that was slightly too hot and didn’t have any openable windows to watch it, and when I got back, I decided to balance things out by watching the original version of gritty horror The Hills Have Eyes, as I’m seeing (again for a review) the remake tomorrow. And it’s by the guy who made Switchblade Romance. I am, as they say, slightly worried…

Also- I’ve created a new blog. Division X is a fiction blog for some of my short bits of writing. I can’t guarentee you’ll like any of it, but it’s there if you want to take a look…

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