on the schmooze
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The laminated ticket for the wildly glamorous celebrity launch of Janet Street-Porter's l!ve tv says 8.00pm, so I arrive a fashionable 3 minutes late - at 8.03pm - and glide inwards, past the TV crews and flashing photographers, grinning fabulously at the huge bouncers. Inches in front of me, legendary PR supremo Max Clifford, with a delightful Cleo Rocos on his arm, swan ahead - an exciting portent of the showbiz wonders that lie within.

"Oi, stop," screams a bouncer, grabbing me by the shoulder. "Where's your ticket?"

I squeak.

"Lloyd," the bouncer continues, yelling at his collegue, still clutching me by my collar, "if you stop chatting up the ladies and start paying attention to your job, then you'll see that this youngster has just wandered in without a ticket."

"Ticket," I squeak, pointing manically at my top pocket. "Ticket. Inside." Lloyd grabs the ticket from my pocket and studies it for an eternity.

"You can't come in," he decides eventually. "Because the party hasn't started yet."

"But," I whine and stutter, "Max Clifford ... Cleo Rocos..."

"They," replies Lloyd confidently, "are VIPS. Come back in 10 minutes."

Finally, at 8.35pm, we non-VIPs are permitted entry, and we all but scrape our knuckles across the floor with pitiful gratitude. Inside the club - the Hop Exchange near London Bridge - Janet Street-Porter welcomes her guests while being discreetly filmed by a TV crew. From a distance, I notice her shouting something at the crew's producer, and they hastily - sheepishly - wander away.

"They're from the BBC," she explains to me later, "and they've been making a fly-on-the-wall documentary about me for a few weeks. I just told them to fuck off."

Two people in a camel outfit walk past us at this point, and Janet tuts, wearily. "I wash my hands of this party," she says. "I really do."

I follow the camel to the bar, and attempt to get to the bottom of it all.

"What's it all about?" I ask the camel. "Why are you dressed as a camel?"

"Neigh," whinnies the camel, and snorts in the air.

"Are you doing a routine later?" I ask.

"Neigh," replies the camel, and says something else, which I can't make out because the loudest rave music I have ever heard starts to pump through the room like computerised machine-gun fire. Consequently, I decide to take my leave, and head instead to the more sedate book launch of Rabbi Shmuley Boteach's latest tome, The Jewish Guide to Adultery.

"This," announces the Rabbi, "is the Groucho Club's very first Kosher launch." Everyone cheers. Somebody whispers something in his ear. "Actually," he says a tad disappointedly, "it's the Groucho's second kosher launch." Everyone shrugs."But," he continues, "we're going to have some fun tonight. Everyone help themselves to chopped herring and blinis."

"The Jewish Guide to Adultery..." proclaims the T-shirt and the baseball cap I am handed "...Do It With Your Wife!" This - it transpires - is the book's central premise. The Rabbi, an ultra-orthodox New York Lubivitch Jew based in Oxford, has, however, incurred the wrath of his fellow Rabbis with all this frippery, and has been all but excommunicated from the Lubvitch movement. Consequently, a fly-on-the-wall documentary crew are following him about too, and they filmed our following conversation:

Dickie: Thanks for the book. I'm sure it'll help. I just got married myself.

Rabbi: Congratulations!

Dickie: I married out of the faith. I hope you don't mind.

Rabbi's Wife: (Gasp)

Rabbi: (to wife) He's a journalist. Think of something nice to say. (To Dickie). Give the book a good review and God will forgive you.