So Monday was undoubtedly a good yawning kind of day. I was fortunate enough, via work, to go to the BAFTA’s on Sunday night. I prepped like you should for all high profile, star studded events. Got the dress, the shoes, booked a hair appointment. On Saturday night my intention was for an early night to leave me fresh faced. Unfortunately my 13 month old, spent the whole night waking every 45 mins, perhaps to share my excitement or check I was fully prepped. The result, by the time I jumped on the train to London early afternoon on Sunday, I was shattered.
A few glasses of champagne eased the fog before we headed to the Royal Opera House and worked the red carpet just about right. Loitering in the right spots, evading the security guards trying to get us, the voyeurs, down and in to make room for the stars. The fans who had no doubt been camped by the barriers all day, were a great signal for who was coming next as they chanted names desperately, beckoning the particular star over for an autograph.
Eddie Redmayne, Matt Damon, Emilia Clarke, Cuba Gooding Jnr, Maggie Smith, Mark Ruffalo. Then a chant started “Leo Leo” Now he’s not someone I’ve ever obsessed over, always a bit too clean cut for me, but when Titanic came out in my late teens, he surely set most girls heart a flutter as him and Kate chased around the decks of Titanic. Having only watched The Revenant the night before, his far cleaner, look on the red carpet was obviously impressive, the epitome of movie star style and good looks, with polished almost rehearsed smiles and nods. I got a couple of pics from a distance but just as I was about to move on he walked across the carpet to sign some autographs, unintentionally it put me in prime position. So when he walked right past me, I got the pic and I thought to myself why not. In my mind I thought seeing him up close on the red carpet is a good story, to be able to say he was so close I could touch him, even better. So I did!
The red carpet experience was great but I’m quite spoilt. I’m in the fortunate position that via a job linked with cinema, working in central London and around Soho you get to see quite a few celebs and I’ve been to a fair few film awards type events or film premieres. However this obviously was the icing on the cake of all of these. What impressed me most was the atmosphere, like a movie, the shared excitement, the buzz, the gravitas of the beautiful building that is the Royal Opera House, Stephen Fry the ever engaging, charismatic host, with his entertaining and bold comments. All of it was of course scripted but naturally delivered, and of course he knew what he was doing with his controversial “bag lady” comment. As if he would be so brazen as to publicly humiliate someone on national TV who wasn’t aware it was coming / able to handle it. Being there you get a completely different perspective on the events, you don’t really know exactly who is in attendance till they appear on stage as you don’t see the audience camera view you see on TV. Considering we were seated for just over 3 hours the evening went remarkably quickly and was incredibly engaging.
While the majority of the stars tipped up to The Grosvenor for the meal after the ceremony, they didn’t stick around for too long. They guzzled down some grub, had a chat with the tight inner A-List circle and then legged it with a souvenir table place mat and goody bag under their arm. Eddie Redmayne and his glowing pregnant wife, strolling out casually, Fry proudly with his young bit of stuff, others like Mark Ruffalo we saw virtually dragged by his wife through the room, making a swift exit via the kitchen.
The rest of the night at The Grosvenor after party was pretty celeb free. No surprise as they must find us the peasants, the ordinary folk irritating, invasive, but it’s part and parcel of their job and if they want the big bucks they need to put up with the fans. Taittinger was free flowing, a DJ (whose mixing was questionable) but reprieved by his saxophonist accompaniment, bust out some tunes for the dance floor and it didn’t matter that there wasn’t any big stars. The characters in that room offered some of the best people watching that I’ve seen in quite some time. From a man with the bounciest “I’m worth it locks” I’ve ever seen akin to Sigfried & Roy in the early 80’s, to Maggie the glamorous granny / risqué golden girl who worked the room seamlessly in a matriarchal fashion, her 17th BAFTA’s, to yet another follicly blessed Conchita Wurst look a like.
So my highlights, Fassbender shirking his own girlfriend and the uncomfortably awkward pause as he didn’t partake in the Valentine’s kiss cam. Rebel Wilson’s over indulging in the Kiss Cam with Eddie Izzard and highlighting her desire for a bit of Valentine’s chocolate. Sacha Baron Cohen with a polished middle class voice, who knew, don’t think I’ve ever seen him out of character. The scrum to mine sweep the tables at The Grosvenor for the souvenir place mats and it wasn’t just those, by 1am people were snapping bits off the elaborate film themed table centre pieces. Finally of course my split second next to Leo. I’m glad he got the BAFTA for best actor, let’s hope it translates through to the Oscars, he deserves it.
The regrets: Where were you Mr Hardy? and that I didn’t get to see Idris up close.
When it comes down to it though, these are just people, looking at them is great, seeing them in the flesh impressive. On more than one occasion our response was “He’s a lot shorter than he looks in his films” and we weren’t just referring to Tom Cruise. What would be really impressive though is a chat, getting to know a different side of the person you see on the big screen, on TV, in the papers. Finding out about the person not just the face. We don’t know them, we rarely see them not playing a character. Ultimately we just like the look of them and want the kudos to have seen them in the flesh. When someone says what were they like you can only give a very superficial, observational opinion. “They looked great” “Shorter in real life” etc. My favourite ever celeb meet remains to this day as Aron Ralston, who isn’t even a celeb, but an amazing man played by James Franco in Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours. This guy had to hack off his own arm to survive after getting trapped under a boulder on a hike! I chatted to him for about 20 mins after his premiere a few years back and was absolutely in awe of him. He was so nice, so normal, so humble and so genuine. Possibly the most interesting person I have ever spoken to.
So my Valentine’s night at The BAFTA’s ended after too many bubbles, cocktails and my first EVER cup of coffee, yes I was that tired. I finally got into bed at 4am and after 3.5 hours sleep struggled through my working day, on Monday, surprisingly not hungover but hanging nevertheless. Monday night keen to get home, I was out like a shot at 5.30pm, keen to get the kids to bed and head to sleep myself. With a fire by the track no such luck, no trains! As I finally squeezed on a crawling, every stop train, nestled into someone’s arm pit and gave in to the lack of personal space for the 40 mins standing crawl, that would get me at least half the way home I looked at my watch. 6.30pm. 24 hours prior, I was wearing a £250 dress, done up, cruising the red carpet, literally touching distance of Leo, unfortunately my travel companions on said train didn’t quite compare. With my overnight bag, and my heavy tired eyes, I was Stephen Fry’s Monday night bag lady, but it was a great experience and feeling rundown and knackered all this week was definitely worth it.
Finally I must reference the incredible pouting women in my picture. I don’t know who she is but maybe this should be shared far and wide because actually I have a great pic of her with Leo and I think she should have a copy!