I found myself in an entourage last night and let me tell you, it felt a bit dirty.
Although I have refused to do free PR work for the billionaire, I was invited by his fixer to attend a charity ball. So were a dozen other people and we were all told to assemble at a 5* hotel in dinner dress. The fixer explained that while some people would go to the ball, others wouldn’t so as I tottered to the appointed meeting place in crippling shoes, I had no idea if I was in for a Cinderella moment or a rush hour train home.
The billionaire, his fixer and other assorted hangers-on are always half an hour late, so for 30 minutes, the reception of the hotel was populated by people pacing nervously in black tie dress and we didn’t realise until later, that we were all there to see the same person.
One by one, the suited and booted were called into a secret meeting with the billionaire who had been ushered into an ante room somewhere. I didn’t get pulled in, but I was handed a ticket to the ball.
‘Why are you here?’ I asked one of the assembled.
‘I don’t really know. I wonder if this might all be some elaborate scam. Are we being filmed?’
I commented that it felt like being in a film without a script and soon the ice was broken and we were all quietly laughing over the ludicrous nature of the whole business. There were bankers, lawyers, wealth management experts, a purveyor of luxury goods, a branding expert, a photographer and me.
I discovered, that apparently, when you are very wealthy and from a certain part of the world, this is how you do business.
Really? I’ve spent £65 on travel, used up 14 hours of my time and so far, I haven’t earned a bean. Plus, I still haven’t got a clue as to what my job would be if I were in fact hired. Maybe we were rentaguest for the night. Who knows? It wasn’t all bad. The food was delicious, the company was great and it happened to be a charity that I care about. Still, I wasn’t one of those who forked out £54,000 plus in donations in one fell swoop.
The billionaire, as ever, was charming and sweet. To be honest, he didn’t look as if he were enjoying the whole affair. Perhaps like me, he wished he was at home in a pair of elasticated pyjamas watching I’m A Celebrity…
Anyway, the plot thickens. I’m not sure how many more hours I can give away for free. A charming Spanish banker told me last night that he has been courting the billionaire for a year. He’s been trailing after him all over the world for an entire year and STILL hasn’t earned a penny in commission. What utter madness.
Where were the billionaire’s real friends? There he was, sat in a posh hotel, surrounded by people who all wanted a slice of his fortune. Nobody really cared about him as a person. I was itching to find out more. Who is he beneath the money? Does he really want to be doing this? What are his values? What does he think of all this?
I had been warned not to ask any questions, so last night, I kept my mouth shut. Next time, I won’t.
I am rich in mind.