Treat Me Like Somebody

A couple of weeks ago I went along to a glitzy showbiz party in a posh London hotel where the reception area resembled Buckingham Palace after a refurb by Croesus and Donald Trump  – gold ornaments everywhere and rugs thicker than Trump’s hairdresser is used to. It was classy beyond belief, the kind of place where you don’t just steal the toiletries but the loo paper too.

We all gathered in one of the function rooms and supped champagne, eating canapés and posh, filled rolls that owed less to those six inch meat ball subs on the high street and more to what the navy would spend on actual platinum plated submarines.

I’d hate you to think I spend every night like this, arriving in a limo beforehand and going on to casinos and parties afterwards. I actually arrived by Tube train where someone had been sick in the carriage - his way of sharing. I also missed the last train home and had to walk in the rain looking like I had been trapped in a car wash during a monsoon, and I struggled to get a cab. Glamorous life it is not.

At the party at one point a well known TV face Kindly took a photo on my ‘phone of me and some friends, and we started talking about mutual acquaintances, people we’d worked with. We both looked over at another well known face I hadn’t met before.

“She’s really lovely,” said my new friend. “One of life’s good people. A genuine type of girl who is always welcoming and nice.”

That’s always nice to hear, isn’t it? Later I walked up to the “Really lovely, genuine” girl and introduced myself.

“Hi. I’m Paul Coia. We work in the same building for the same organisation.” She looked at me quickly and said “I know who you are,” then turned and walked out. Ouch! Maybe I have this effect on people.

Then today I was working with another, genuinely nice, broadcaster and the TV was on in the studio when, who should pop up but the far from “welcoming and nice” girl I’d met. My fellow presenter looked up at the set and made a face. “Well there’s the worst human being on the planet. A thoroughly horrible person.”

So, the same girl, with one person describing her as genuine and lovely, another saying she was in league with the Devil. Who to believe? I guess it reinforces what my mum always said. You should react to people only after you’ve met them and had a proper chance to see if they’re “your type of people.”

Another friend who is a singer and actor put a photo of a newly elected Peer on Facebook a couple of weeks ago saying he’d met her and she was stuck up and snotty. His followers waded in with agreement phrased in swear words, bile and internet trolling words that chilled my blood. When I commented that this was vile, in fairness my friend took it down, not realising how out of hand it had become. But maybe the damage was done.

I hope I’ve always been kind when meeting people, but who knows? Maybe I’ve been in a rush and not treated them with respect. Someone last year went on Social Media and said I was pompous and hadn’t signed something for them when they were younger and I met them at a gig. I replied, apologising, and wondering where it was we’d met. Turns out it wasn’t me at all, but someone else. Would he take his comments off Facebook? No. He was too embarrassed, and I’ll have to live with it.

So, I guess the lesson is that whether we’re at a showbiz party or a Halloween bash at the neighbour’s house, it doesn’t hurt to be nice.

I can’t wait now to meet this famous girl again to talk to her properly and see whether she’s a Goddess or Satan. But I’ll make up my own mind.

And I won’t be sharing it on Social Media.