I have been invited to my publishers’ summer party. The invite, which arrives in a calligraphy-written envelope, evokes the type of “Dahling! Love your dress! Mwaa, mwaa” soirée at which my friends seem to assume all writers spend their evenings.
Shortly before I leave the house, I call to check the dress code. This turns out to be a good move, the dress code is very strict, and I dig out some clothes I wore in the days when I had a job to go to.
I arrive and I am ushered through to a Georgian drawing room and given a sticker with my name on.
I mingle. Momentarily, it feels like I am walking into the playground on my first day at school and I am the only person who doesn’t know everyone else.
Then I realise I do know some people, even if they don’t know me. Sebastian Faulks is the first person I notice, predictably surrounded by an adoring crowd. Then I spot Ross Kemp – I think I have only ever seen him in is Extras and the Labour Party election broadcast, in which he was very convincing, but has he written a book? I decide not to ask him this question. He looks pretty hard.
I see another bloke built like an armour-plated Hummer. He has a tree trunk neck and slightly cauliflower ear. I assume he must be a rugby player, here to promote his memoir. I watch him move fluidly through the multitude, trying to work out where I have seen him before. He collects a glass of champagne from a waitress and returns to a petite woman encircled by a group of people. Then I realise who he is when I recognise the woman he is cuddling: the publishing sensation Katie Price.
Trevor, my publisher, sees me and introduces me to a glamorous lady from the Daily Mail with sparkly eye-liner. She tells me about her book, about “William Harry”. I have never heard of the man, but don’t want to reveal my ignorance and so nod and ask what angle she has taken.
It’s not until she talks about Kate Middleton that I realise she said “William and Harry”. Even I know who they are.