Back in the late 1990s I used to run into Sean Hughes all the time at parties. He was a Perrier Award-winning stand-up comedian and team captain on Never Mind The Buzzcocks who would go to the opening of an envelope, so long as it included a free drink. I was the Showbusiness Correspondent of the Evening Standard so I was often there too.
Such was the case when we both found ourselves in a room at the ICA waiting to meet Madonna one night in November 1999.
Madonna had expressed an interest in seeing the band Sneaker Pimps and, unbeknown to most of the audience (but not me and Sean, who were in on it), had sequestered the upstairs area of the music venue so that she could watch them without having to mingle with the plebs - me and Sean, and all the paying punters. The first most people knew of that was when we were all herded out of the bar and into the downstairs auditorium before the gig began.
We then waited, muttering darkly, while security men blocked the exits for Madonna and her then-boyfriend Guy Ritchie, riding high with his film Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, to ascend the stairs to the balcony and take their seats in the front row. It was like the Royal Box at Wimbledon: all that was missing was a regal wave from Her Madgesty to signal to the band that she was ready for her command performance to begin.
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Madonna pictured below with The Sneaker Pimps from that night.