I am standing in the centre circle of hell. On one side of me a group of people is simulating pole dancing for a hyperactive lady holding a megaphone. On the other, a row of grown men and women crawl on their knees and bark like dogs.
The only thing worse than watching this feral scene is knowing I'm up next. I am in the queue for the last ever Big Brother auditions – the reality television show that, after 10 series, is finally grinding to a halt.
"Next 10 please," shouts a security guard, as we walk towards what looks like a team-building day fortified by Viagra. Four groups are being watched while they perform tasks, including performing frottage on each other and passing footballs between their knees.
The auditions for the 11th and final series of the reality show have been open to anyone, and thousands have already flocked to trials in Manchester, Dublin, Cardiff and Glasgow. London's Wembley Arena is the last chance left for people to get themselves into the Big Brother House.
Arriving at 8.30 in the morning, I thought I'd be one of the first, but I joined an already enormous queue of wannabes braving the cold in the hope of being this year's Jade Goody or Craig Phillips.
Most in the queue seem to be passing the time by shouting about themselves for judges who have not yet arrived. "I'm well hyper, me!" screams Ben, a 19-year-old hairdresser, who is swigging from his second can of Relentless. "People say I've got ADH-whatsitsface, but I think I'm just more fun than you!" he continues, pogoing up and down and pulling out a can of blue hairspray to douse his Gok Wan-style barnet.
Unabashed by the silence that greets, Ben attempts a more physical tout for attention. "GROUP HUG!" he shouts, before throwing his arms around me and three other unsuspecting girls.
Keiley Dobson, 19, from south London, is one of Ben's headlock victims. Like the other girls, she has already reapplied her make-up three times and looks as if her hair is freshly permed for the day.
In an attempt to blend in, my chosen outfit for the day is jeans and a hoody. But looking at the girls around me I realise I've made a big mistake: I am the only female in a mile radius not wearing three-inch heels and three-inch thick foundation.
"Some people have made no effort," Keiley's friend Claire says, looking with disdain at my trainers. "I did my fake tan specially, but look at my hands now," she adds, turning up her palms to reveal their deep ochre shade.
Some people won't take no for an answer. Ahead of me is Andy, a primary school supply teacher in his forties, queuing up for the second time. Having arrived at midnight, he is not going to go home until the audition room closes. With a baseball cap pulled low over his eyes, he's hoping nobody will notice his second appearance. "I really want to do it. It'd be more fun than teaching kids, and the money's not bad either."
The air is heavy with a noxious mixture of perfume, aftershave and sweat. As my turn approaches, and the strains of the hokey-cokey float through the air, I begin to worry this will be little short of ritual humiliation.
The first two games are harmless. We pass a football along a line and make the word "Love" with our bodies. So far, so unalarming. But when the order comes to "split into pairs and learn two interesting facts about each other", my competitors begin to up their game. "I've got four clitoris piercings," says one. "I'm into domination and whipping," chips in another.
My partner, Keiley, who has been standing in the queue with me for the past four hours, is not leaving her future fame to chance with a boring fact. "Last week I got so drunk I pissed myself," she confides, before adding for good measure: "I did this lip piercing with a drawing pin when I was bored."
My mind draws a blank. "Urm, I've always wanted to be a pro surfer," I venture, "and I used to be a football coach in Malawi." Both are vaguely true, but neither is remotely interesting. Keiley is unimpressed. "Can't you think of anything else?" she pleads. "Anything embarrassing?" It's clear from the bored look of our adjudicator that she is equally underwhelmed.
"Right," she shouts, putting us out of our misery. "Now you need to evict each other." Dividing us into two groups she makes each choose someone from the opposing team who they think wouldn't make it in the house.
Our opposite group is quick to decide. "We pick Emily," they say in unison, avoiding my eye. "She can't surf or play football in the house, so she'd be boring."
We are made to stand in a line with our hands outstretched while the judge walks along stamping those who have made it to the full interview round. The girl with the clitoris piercings sails through, as do three other strange-looking specimens, but the rest of us are stampless.
"What a waste of time," Keiley huffs, flouncing up the stairs and pushing open the doors. But within three minutes she is making her way round to the front of the building. "I might as well audition again," she says. "I've got nothing better to do."Reuse content