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How to work the circuit (and leave)
By Rebecca Wicks

I don't know if you've ever been to one of those media type events, usually frequented by people who work for MTV, Glossy Mag This, Glossy Mag That and Radio Wossitcalled, but I used to, a lot. I’ve been off the scene for a while though, you know, busy with other things like preparing for Annie auditions and admiring soft furnishings, but the other night I attended one with P in another new bar, in another new hotel. Only P was late.

Normally I quite like parties where I don't know anyone. In New York I had the best night of my life when I turned up alone to a Halloween fancy dress party in a Red Riding Hood costume and ended up meeting all sorts of random Brooklyn strangers. By the end of the night I'd had a dance-off with a boy dressed as a tree, won a t-shirt for having a good costume, and eaten vegetables stolen from a crate in the toilet with a man in a huge grey squirrel outfit. All in all an excellent night. But it turns out Dubai is slightly different.

There may have been no squirrel jokes to quick-start the conversation, but as I waited for P in the corner, frantically texting no one and pretending to be engrossed in my phone, I thought, never mind, I guess can mingle with the luvvies and make some new friends. And I wasn't about to make any promises but if somebody offered me a vegetable in the loo, perhaps I would even take a nibble.

For a moment I thought maybe they would think I was 'one of them' because for once I was wearing heels, even if I’d lost my one and only lip gloss the week before. I didn’t have any business cards to flash about though, which was a worry. Those usually get thrust upon you as soon as you approach people like that, which is funny because you get the feeling they really don’t care if you never, ever contact them and even if you do as a result of being offered their details, they rarely respond anyway. Mostly they ask what you do before they even ask your name, and they can’t wait to tell you what they do either.

It’s all: "Hi, I'm Gregory and I'm a researcher for MTV, what do you do?” I've always wanted to reply with something like "Well I'm Becky and I'm currently wanted in nine states and Mexico for smuggling monkeys across the border. I also quite like to crochet scarves and I always eat my apple cores. But don't tell anyone you've seen me." I always end up telling the truth though, because media luvvies don't stand for any bull. They just want quick reassurance that they have a cooler job than you.

There were a lot of good looking media-type men there, with their big shaggy hair and cool t-shirts with writing on. Mostly they were standing round in groups yelling into each other’s ears because the music was so loud. I know that makes me sound old but does anyone really like going to a party and having to scream at close range into someone's face in order to hold a conversation? At one point they even turned the lights off. Completely off. I mean for Pete’s sake. Not only could we not hear anyone then, we couldn't SEE anyone either. Someone must have realised that even though it's obviously the 'cool media luvvie' way to hold a party, it's actually silly because they switched them on again after half an hour.

P finally arrived and we stood there for a while, yelling at each other and sipping free champagne, and then we realised that no one had made any attempt to talk to us. At one point I turned to a guy and attempted to ask what he did but he sort of looked over my head as if checking there wasn't anyone better to talk to. A girl made bodily contact when she swung her bag at my back by mistake but didn't face me long enough to even finish her apology, let alone start a conversation.

We saw a TV presenter doing air kisses with a group of adoring fans and through boredom alone I fought the urge to spark a bit of controversy, to bring her down a peg or two, to go over and ask if she was the cleaner and could she please take my glass away.

We got a cab home, stopped for cheese manakich and sat in the living room feeling deflated. If being a media luvvie means going to parties and not making any new friends, then I’d rather stay in, update my real friends on facebook, and look at my soft furnishing catalogues, really.

Posted: 26 February 2009

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