It’s a tough, dirty chore going to glamorous celebrity events but, hey, someone’s got to do it.
So, in the lead up to Christmas, despite back to back trials, on many an evening I dashed out of court, selflessly slipped on a party dress, smeared ‘socialite red’ lipstick on my lips and sashayed on down a red carpet or two. All for the noble cause of bringing you, lovely Lawyers Life readers, the news ‘awards season’ back slapping ‘you were marvellous darling’ extravaganzas.
You can take the barrister out of the courtroom but you can’t take the oath out of the barrister. In this article and others to come I will bring you the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. You see (and I have to break this news gently to you, sweet readers) some media outlets write porky pies. Not big, fat whopping ones necessarily but falsehoods nonetheless. They embellish. They take a grain of truth and blow it up into a dark cloud of untruth.
Not I of course. Like George Washington, I cannot tell a porky pie and mislead readers.
I will not, for example, tell you that some female celebrity looked ‘amazing’ unless she really did. If she looked like mutton dressed as lamb with suspiciously shiny skin, eyes that have mysteriously travelled to somewhere in the region of the crown of her head, a nose that has, um, changed shape with age, lips that have been stung by the swarms of bees that invade London in the winter and a face tighter than a gnat’s backside, I will say so.
Mostly though I will bring you the good stuff.
Some highlights from past events include having the genius that is Martin Scorsese answer my questions about film and say ‘wow, that’s made me think.’ Priceless. Matt Damon lightly flirting with me and the impossibly gorgeous Angelina Jolie writing in my counsel’s notebook
How can I not dine out on when I shared pasta with the near perfect Cate Blanchett or swapped tales of cattle disease with Dustin Hoffman (long story)!
But time is short. Onto December 2015’s events:
Kate Winslet: A life in Pictures at Bafta was one of the best. I have red carpet memories of Winslet going back to the year at the Baftas when the heavens opened and the soggy red rug vomited up soap suds sucking poor Kate’s heels into the freezing bog. One minute I was face to face with her (and she really has the most beautiful, English rose face), the next she started sinking faster than the Titanic.
She was on firmer ground at Bafta, discussing an illustrious career. My favourite performance of hers remains Marianne in Sense and Sensibility and her recent turn in Steve Jobs is one of her most accomplished. She was also an incredibly warm, funny and likeable interviewee. One of Britain’s finest.
The Moet British Independent Film awards were held at Old Billingsgate and were a relaxed, informal affair despite the grand setting on the Thames. The stars mingled with us plebs and a tipsy time was had by many, though not me because a. I don’t drink
- I had a contested case the next morning which meant an early night.
Kate (we must be on first name terms by now) received one of those ‘you’ve been fabulous for a long time’ awards. Marion Cotillard managed to look chic in that French way despite having, essentially, a page boy hair cut. And a woman next to me demanded that I ‘quick, take a picture of that dark haired woman, I don’t know her name but she’s big’ and send it to her. I did as I was told and snapped Helena Bonham Carter.
Belle of the ball was Swedish actress Alicia Vikander . Guests gawped at her for various reasons: filmmakers because she’s the actress of the moment with excellent turns in Ex Machina and The Danish Girl and is being nominated for all the precursor awards building up to the Oscars, women because they wanted to size up the lucky gal who had ‘got Michael Fassbender’ And men, well, because. Some tried to hide it, pointing out that ‘Fassbender’s fit bird’ was good in ‘that film’ before adding she had a lovely face.
It is indeed a lovely face. I saw it very close up at the The Danish Girl premiere a couple of days later. Close up she is straight up beautiful with gorgeous skin. Why Vogue went with their horrible styling for her first cover is a mystery. They took a fresh faced girl with silky hair and put her in an ugly wig and burnished her complexion to run with some silly point about her not looking ‘very Swedish.’
Ah, we’re back to the not quite right stories magazines love to run.
Recently I went to a party where I met Sir Brian Leveson ,a former member of chambers. He, of course, presided over the Leveson enquiry into the practices of the press. He could do worse than a follow up examining the practices of the tabloids and gossip sites. Opening salvo: please explain ‘ a source.’
Ah, a source. That prolific contributor to tabloid stories about the famous. He has unprecedented access to the most private moments of celebrities and is trusted by them to remain in the inner circle despite it being obvious that he betrays their trust at the drop of a hat – always to the tackiest outlet.
Last year a tabloid claimed Fassbender and Vikander had split. No details. No facts. no background. Just the word of ‘a source’.
Like good sheep other entertainment outlets and bloggers repeated the story blindly.
Gossip used to be the staple of people who had contacts in the industry who leaked information to them. Now it’s mostly made up by 18 year old interns looking for internet hits. They will happily announce a split one week for a couple and the wedding the next without the hint of an apology to their readers in between.
I didn’t believe the Fassbender/Vikander story at the time and as luck would have it, a very short time later I saw the couple on a night out, very much still together and loved up.
Since then even the slower media outlets have had to accept they remain a couple but nair an apology from any of them for the previous non story.
Sir Brian, if you’ve got some free time…..