For the second time in four weeks, I´ve done a mad dash into a clothing boutique needing an outfit for a big event in the next hour.
The first time was in London, when British Airways lost my bag and I need something to dress up my jeans. Today´s adventure was even more impressive as not only was I asking for help in Spanish I was also waving around a ticket to the hottest event in town: the closing gala awards ceremony of the San Sebastian Film Festival.
And just how did this precious item come into my possession, I hear you ask.
It´s all the work of my friend Bob, a respected Scottish film journalist, who for the past five years or so has been a guest of the film festival. Bob´s the reason I´m here, we haven´t seen each other in over three years, and finding ourselves in the same country at the same time, we arranged to meet up. It all sounds so easy on paper. The reality is that from Friday morning to Sunday night I will have had a round train trip of 22 hours. It turns out that just because you´re in the same country you can´t just pop over.
But it was an opportunity to good to miss, so I boarded the train Friday morning and whiled away the hours reading, sleeping, revising my week´s Spanish lessons (I gave that part up pretty quickly) and dealing myself poker hands (the only problem is I always know when I´m bluffing). I was fine up to hour 10 and then boredom really set in and I started texting Bob so he would know just so he could share my pain.
But I eventually arrived, and made my way through the crowds of film goers desperate for a glimpse of Antonio Banderas. Courtesy of Bob´s press pass I got entry to the festival bar, where Senor Banderas could indeed by spotted. A condition of my entry though was that I wouldn´t embarrass Bob, so I sadly had to restrain myself from running up and quoting the immortal line from Desperado ´"I´m looking for a man who calls himself...Bucho....".
From the festival bar it was but a short hop to investigating the other watering holes of San Sebastian. We paused briefly at the Dickens Cocktail Bar, just because I liked the name ("Go on, I dare you to ask for a gin and tonic with an Oliver Twist of lemon!") before exploring other establishments. Three years worth of catching up over mojitos meant I arrived back at my hotel at 4 am and stayed in bed for a large part of the morning.
Which brings us to today. I spent most of the day exploring the city and caught up with Bob for coffee in the afternoon. He was very very apologetic that he hadn´t been able to secure me a ticket to the private closing party but as I told him, I´m usually the one telling film journos that no they can´t bring a plus one to the closing night party and to go away and stop bothering me. So not being able to go to this some kind of cosmic payback.
And that´s when my very own fairygodmother, or should that be 'Bobmother', handed over his ticket to the award ceremony so I could go in his place!! I was speechless but I didn´t have time to stutter and stammer, with the clock ticking I had serious shopping to do!
So I dashed off to find a frock, and as in London, the sales assistants entered into the spirit of things. With cocktail dress and wrap tenderly placed in a bag, I jumped into a cab for my hotel to get ready in less than an hour.
It won´t be a surprise when I tell you that I´m a bit addicted to red carpet events. This is because every red carpet film event I´ve been involved in, I´ve had the power to place journos and make them suck up to me. So I love them. But I´ve been told it can be truly awful to walk that stretch of red and have crowds g quiet when they realise you´re not a film star. So I won´t lie, I was a bit nervous that would happen to me. But I held my head high, wore an enigmatic smile on my face, kept a confident, steady pace all the way along and was rewarded by the crowds maintaining their level of excitement.
I didn´t really get to hobnob with Antonio et al, my ticket relegated me to the nose bleed section of auditorium, but it´s been a brilliant night, watching Frances McDormand present some of the awards and then watching the winning film, a really sweet French film called Intouchable about a paraplegic man and his carer. And best of all it had both Spanish AND English subtitles!
So now I´m back at my hotel, tired but very happy, and unlike Cinderella, with both shoes still in place.