I haz a breakthrough, let me show you it

Is all seethrough and stuffI have a sad confession to make: I've never been 'papped' before. Now, just in case you're sitting there thinking that I've just said something very rude involving boobies, don't, OK? Honestly, you're just filth, filth, filth, aren't you? No, I mean I've never been caught by the paps* going into, out of, or even on top of anything. Up until Friday evening I had been a paparazzi-free zone.

And to be honest, it's a sodding freaky experience. Standing there like a lemon while a barrage of camera flash-guns go off in your face. FLASHFLASHFLASHFLASHFLASH... One bloke shouted, "Come on mate, give us a smile. Smile costs nuffink, you know?" Little did he know that I had purchased my smile from a very expensive boutique and I didn't want to wear the batteries out.

When I smile, I do it without teeth. I'm just not a toothy smiler. Some people can get away with flashing everything back to their molars, but I look like a serial killing squirrel whenever I try it. Probably not the best of images.

Anyway, thence to the star-studded bash.

Now the invite said gents were to turn up in 'suit or black tie'. Now the only 'black tie' think I have is my kilt. And while it's a mighty fine kilt, the damn thing weighs a ton and a half, and being made of three miles of tightly-woven wool, it's like wearing a microwave oven: everything between the hip and knee gets thoroughly cooked. That's why Scotsmen stand with legs-akimbo when they're in the full get up, it lets a little air circulate. You still end up with steamed vegetables though. So, not wanting cooked underparts, I was in my one and only black suit (no tie). Agent Phil had gone to the other extreme, and turned up in a bespoke tux made of bin-liners and electrical tape. Very fetching he looked too.

There then followed loads of mingling and catching up with people not seen since Harrogate and meeting some new ones too, like Michael Robotham who was also up for the Breakthrough. A very nice bloke, who spilled the beans about the book after the book about to come out. He didn't tell me the plot, just the location and even that sounds very, very cool. But that's the beauty of writing standalones: you can up sticks and set the next book anywhere you fancy.

So, after the schmoozing and a little boozing: the award ceremony. I've never been to one of these things before. I've seen them on the telly from time to time, but never really thought too much about it. Plus, as it was blatantly obvious that there was no way in Satan's frozen armpit I was going to have to do anything, I hadn't really given the whole thing too much thought. Oh idiot, thy name is Stuart.

First off, when they made the announcement I stood. Dithered. Not really sure if I should be going up onto the stage or not (ah ... the joys of being the first award** and not having anyone to copy). Then I had to wing a speech (didn't think I'd win, remember?), and in doing so forgot to thank Agent Phil. AGAIN! I screwed up in exactly the same way last years at the Daggers. And then I tried to leave the stage the wrong way, and had to be guided back the way we'd come like some sort of idiot.

Mind you, they edited that bit out when it went on the telly Monday, so I actually look as if I know what I'm doing. Ha! Oh, the television, it LIES to us!

Thank God.

* Steady, Tiger, what did we just finish talking about?
** Not counting Film Of The Year, which ended up as a skit involving two stuntmen fighting in hoodies, then bolting from the stage having nicked the award.

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