Every year , for the past 11 years , the Irish & friends of the Irish expat community in Paris get together to have a big Ball. Now, I’m sure some of you are thinking that it kind of goes with the territory of being Irish or remotely related , possibly even a neighbour to somebody Irish – that , whenever there is one or more of said nations citizens about – there’s bound to be a bit of a hooley started. In fact some of us are quite capable of having hooleys all by ourselves ( and I’m very proud of the fact ) but that, again, is another blog story …
No , this is a proper bona fide , get your hair done & your high heels on, big expat charity ball. It’s a highlight of every self respecting Franco-Irish business persons year . Everyone gets to eat , drink, be merry and raise much needed funds for the international humanitarian organisation – GOAL.
This year , after some trojan voluntary work by the organiser & his commitee , the ball was held in the courtyard of the Irish cultural center in Paris. A beautiful building in the centre of the 5th arrondisement …. red carpets were laid out , marquees + band stands erected ,table plans made , auction items out on display, and of course the star speakers invited.
Now it has to be said , that possibly one of the attractions at the ball is the thrill of watching some of the bar owners bid against each other for the auction items – it’s kind of priceless. The legendary MC skills from Mr Denis Corcoran , (a man who has been known to hire himself out as an Irishmans tourist guide to Paris , offer weekends away in a garden shed to his website followers & did a 5km* hop around paris for charity ), plus the several sports stars + personalities who come along & even manage to get themselves auctioned off for the night , keep us all coming back for more ….
That is, untill there came a confirmation e-mail that Mr Gabriel Byrne , Irish actor and ambassador for Irish culture in the USA , was going to be guest of honour at this years ball… Well , things got just a tad frantic after that . (I think he’s kind of just a little bit gorgeous in a mature , accomplished kind of a way) So , after changing my dress about 6 times ( I may have put the same dress back on again once or twice aswell) , which you ladies will know , also means having to find different shoes , accessories , handbags , and depending on whether the last dress had shoulder straps or not ..;also finding underwear that’s not shockingly apparent either . Then of course, there’s the problem of having put two million hairclips into a do that may look ridiculously unattractive to Mr- just a little bit gorgeous in a mature + accomplished kind of a way- G.Byrne ; so out all the clips come , followed closely by the straighteners , curling tongs & hairspray. The smell of scorched hair in our house would have knocked a robbers horse . Did I say scorched … I mean welded together …( it was raining on and off all afternoon – I mean torrential showers) – puff mama was not the look I wanted for my first encounter with Mr B. ( He was married to Ellen Barkin , starred in The usual suspects , acted with the likes of the gorgeous Patricia Arquette in Stigmata , has won numerous awards, and he IS Christopher Columbus & the only reason I ever learned anything about the Spanish Armada).
Anyway , the rain stopped pouring down just in time for me to make a dodgy Hello magazine exit from a taxi -( you know – the unfortunate showing of way too much pale blue / fake tan’s not coming up yet , leg ) – much to the great amusement of my hubby & the bloke in the car behind us .. ie – he beeped & waved & I could still see him laughing as he turned off the street. My hubby says he could still hear him laughing half an hour later .. Oh – smirky smirk – and laughing lasty stuff boys -knobbly knees or not , I’m about to be in the same ROOM as Mr Kind of gorgeous ( ok I’ll stop ) G. Byrne.
AND no – it’s not the famous Irish radio / tv show host who was addicted to roaring ‘roll it their Roisin/ Colette’/ or whichever poor unfortunate was on ‘roll it’ standby on the night’ …. that’s the other GB.
Posh face on , glass of champers in hand – big smilies for the camera as we got flashed on our way in …. I was doing my best , here I am Mr GB , here I am .. oh you’re just dying to talk to me – I know you are … when out of the corner of my eye , I spotted him … Oh JESUS , he’s less than a couple of feet away from me .. ohmygodohmygodohmygod .. crap – what am I going to say to him – poo, I hadn’t even thought of that …poo – poo – poo ….. AND HE’S GIVING ME THE LOOK .
Now my husband & everyone else will probably say he did no such thing , but I swear he was giving me the ..I want to talk to you look . I don’t care what anyone else thinks ..THAT WAS IT , my cue to get onto that stage and strike up a welded together windswept & interesting conversation.
So I take a little step sideways ( to get the full on effect of le look) , racking my brain for opening lines & impressive little phrases about actors & what not ( my three years of theatre studies better not let me down now) and………………………………………………… I trip backwards over somebody’s unfortunately placed red killer handbag .
Now , that would be an almost passable little misfortune and easily swept under the red carpet kind of thing to do under normal circumstances ………..but ; I also happened to be wearing a pair of ‘fall over & F me’ silver stilleto’s – one of which really thought I was Cinderella & kept falling off , and …….. and ……… and the other still barely shod foot, sank dangerously into the beautifully landscaped knee deep GRAVEL that was hiding behind the sniper handbag .
Thankfully a good friend was on hand to catch me just as I tottered dangerously on the brink of destruction, almost righting the whole sorry situation. Alas , no , dear friends , my nervous system chose this moment to take over and let out a banshee screech that kind of just buried the whole silent movie , nod – wink – nudge thingy I had going on for a second with the fantastic Mr B.
By the time I could bear to raise my head to any sort of visible position and could no longer feel the furnace in my face … GB (aka gorgeous boy) had been ‘moved away’ from that part of the building. Yes , folks – step away from the crazy one shoed warbler in the corner , you never know what she might do next.
Food was served , great speeches were made , fine music played and one too many coupes de champagne later , I suddenly found my self face to face with GB again ..; the poor man , I think I rattled on about enough rubbish ( including some scary champers induced attempt to get him to put himself up for auction) to well and truly fill my 15 minutes of shame quota.
I think I may well have topped the shame ratings held by a friends mother who called 50 cent (the rap artist) 50 pence when she met him .
However , a very talented lady I know, managed to paparazzi this shot with her phone while I was mid psycho babble …….