And so I'm back at the International Festival of Big Yachts and Parties, also known as the Cannes Film Festival. I may sound as if I'm mocking it, but it really is one of the very nicest things about a very nice job that I have been able to come here regularly for the past few years.
For the past few days, I've talked grandly to people about the trip. "An event of artistic importance" – that sort of thing. But in reality, I'm leaving the serious stuff to my colleagues on the arts desk, while I'm here for a couple of nice parties.
It is, of course, the parties and the aura of glamour that sets the festival apart from its rivals. And it's that which helps to keep people coming down to Cannes year after year, from the yacht-sure men swaggering around the old port or the well-dressed girls on the Croisette.
It's also the reason the most fashionable Parisian clubs, like Le Baron, Silencio and VIP Room, host their own temporary venues in the town for the duration of the festival.
There exists a hierarchy among the bashes here. The standard is a hotel party, perhaps for a small film, then come the ones on beach fronts. After that are the ones in nightclubs, above those are the blow-outs in the big houses in the hills that overlook Cannes, and finally there are the ones on the yachts. Higher still are the ones on the yachts that you have to get to by tender boat.
In fact, one invitation this year came with a picture of the implausibly luxurious yacht where the party was taking place – just in case you were wavering about which event to choose.
But no matter how much fun the event might seem, shortly after they arrive, most of the guests start worrying that they are going to get stuck and miss out on something more exciting (or get stuck in the hills with no lift home).
All the while people are talking about other parties going on, and however glamorous the spot in which you find yourself, fellow guests are always convinced that there is somewhere better and cooler to be, right around the corner.
And that search for the better party is another reason they keep coming back ...Reuse content