My dad did gossip columns in the Sixties, and he advised me to have an empty champagne flute and quarter bottle of champagne in your bag, so if you’re walking past a party just pretend you’ve been outside.
So much of it is confidence – especially if you’re dressed up to look the part. It always pays to have an emergency kit full of glam clothes at work.
Once in – invited or not – the first thing to do is to get into the vibe of the party, so get a drink. If there are photographers or PRs ask them who’s there already and find out if anyone has made any demands.
Do a mixture of lurking and pouncing – half the fun of it is trying to dodge the security.
Talking to complete strangers: some people take the aggressive approach, but I always thought you should cripple them with kindness.
Women’s toilets are a good place – you can get people while they’re doing their make-up or washing their hands, and try some girly bonding.
Definitely head towards the drunkards – that’s when their guard is down. Celeb-wise, by that late in the night their PRs have usually gone home. If they don’t have people protecting them, they will say pretty much anything.
You have to have a hardy constitution, otherwise, don’t drink. Definitely don’t drink so much that you lose all capabilities: no one wants to see a sprawled, vomiting journalist on the floor.
Hangovers are vicious but you still have a job to do. A plastic bag on the way to work on the tube is always really handy if there’s an emergency.
I also wouldn’t recommend pulling at a party that you’re covering, but if you do, insist on doing it later on in the night (when you’ve got your stories) and do it away in a corner, not in full view of everyone else.
Interview by Rachael Gallagher