Hi and Hello at the Hilton

Have you ever tried arguing with a HELLO magazine minder??? Well I did the evening I strolled into the London Hilton to say hi to Rick Fenn.

I had been shopping in the West End in the early evening and it seemed a shame to get on the train home without bothering to see Rick, who was only ten minutes walk away. I had put my camera in my bag just in case. Although I was looking reasonably smart for a shopping trip with a friend, I knew I would be distinctly underdressed at the Hilton at that time of day; this indeed proved to be the case!

Nevertheless, I enquired of the concierge as to where I might find Rick (explaining that he was performing at the Night of the Stars for the Leukaemia Trust). I was told to head up towards the grand ballroom but that I might 'encounter some difficulty'. Sure enough, as soon as I arrived at the top of the grand staircase I was pounced upon by a superior looking person wanting to know what I was doing. At this point I was asking myself the very same question and nearly said that I had made a mistake and was leaving! But then I thought what a waste of effort (and courage!) so I replied that I was looking for Rick Fenn. She said, "I'm sorry, but HELLO magazine has exclusive rights this evening and no one else can interview or photograph anyone here tonight." Brazenly (although I swear I hadn't been drinking) I said that I just wanted to say hi and that I was hardly competition for HELLO. I quickly hid my camera. She just walked off!! So I grabbed someone who looked like the headwaiter and said, "Where's the band?" He grinned widely (much to my discomfort!) and he said he didn't know if he could help me. However, by now I was getting stubborn and when it became clear I wasn't moving he smiled and told me to wait while he went up another flight of stairs. A minute later he came out with Rick who looked at first confused and then surprised!

Luckily Rick did have time for a good chat, although we were both a bit nervous about a HELLO minder suddenly pouncing once more and removing me from the scene! Rick told me that had I turned up in evening dress I would have been able to stay (but I thought I would have looked rather out of place half an hour earlier in Selfridges had I done so). I won't say where the photo was taken, that way HELLO gets to keep its exclusive! Later, as I breezed back down the grand staircase I waved a cheery goodnight to the HELLO people; the superior person glowered in return. Walking through the lobby I gave a victory sign to the concierge and he winked in return.

Published November 2000


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