Red carpet, paparazzi, impossibly pert bosoms, botox and of course the oompa-loompa tan - welcome to the Old Billingsgate market where the UK's "who exactly are they?"-list celebs are gathering to mwa-mwa each other and part their money to a "worthy cause".
This particular event is the launch of the Fortune Forum, writes Sam Haque. It's a charity that will raise awareness (and lighten the Gucci purse strings) for Africa. Cue: the former American President Clinton and Hollywood's Michael Douglas - there to make the fabulously wealthy (but not recognisable to Heat readers) believe that this is THE place to be seen.
And, this is the place where Yusuf Islam aka Cat Stevens of Wild World fame is going to perform songs from his new album "Another Cup" released in November. Poor lamb - after almost thirty years of shirking the world of mainstream music, he's back - but what a crowd to showcase his beautifully profound lyrics to.
A Channel Four exclusive with Yusuf! the PR promised me. Now, my definition of certain words in the English language can be somewhat hazy but doesn't the word exclusive mean yours alone? So imagine my surprise when I see others that work in the same building as us and CNN with cameras posed to get their "scoop" with him. My hack's hackles are raised.
"Paul (the PR guy) why are they interviewing Yusuf when the point of us coming here was because we get the first interview with him?" I enquire.
His words do nothing to reduce my stress.
"They only want one minute with him, don't worry you have 20 mins..." he replies.
My suspicions are so not soothed at this.
We manage to blag a seat at the £1000/plate table. I cannot rest, my eyes are glued to the back of Yusuf's seat. My third eye on my forehead is trying to pin down our rivals who are hovering like piranhas in the background. (Note: £1000 plate is £1.50 worth of food - my main meal was spring roll with filling that harked back to the days of school dinners - and £998.50 of charity - I couldn't wait to go home and have a fry up).
Suddenly Nima points out that CNN are taking Yusuf away for an interview.
Thus ensues a scramble to get everything ready for our turn. I'm prepping my camera when Nima tells me that Yusuf has just finished his interview and has said to her he will do no more, not only that but we're not allowed to film any of his concert - the two things I promised Will my editor. It turns out that the interviewer from CNN has rubbed Yusuf up the wrong way with hard questions about the middle-east. I'm seething, all of the press have been prepped to not go down the political route with him and now thanks to this wannabe Paxmanite's pathetic attempt to get her two minutes of glory, we've lost our interview.
I have a nanosecond to gather my thoughts: Will is going to kill me, I can't go home without this. Either I chase after the PR who I can see slinking away or I can aim for the man himself.
So begins the begging and appealing to his sense of muslim brotherhood.
"Nima and I have been fasting all day and she's come in on her day off. All we want to ask is how you are squaring your faith with your return to mainstream music. Please just give us 5 minutes of your time."
He hesitates and looks around him and then nods "OK, you have five minutes."
Yipee, I rush back and tell Nima and our cameraman it's back on. Nima doesn't waste any time. The questions are concise and put in such a way that we end up getting what I think is a very personal interview.
Nima has the sensitivity to avoid the usual questioning that unfortunately a lot of Western reporters pander to - that is "So you're muslim, so let's talk about terrorism, any allegiance to extremist organisations or your condoning of fundamentalist groups." Sensational but not necessarily relevant to being a British muslim. No wonder many muslims feel a reluctance to talk to the press. That feeling of, as Yusuf puts it, "you have to explain yourself" becomes very trying at times.
The interview is such a success that his agent and friend agrees to us filming his performance of Peace Train. Although it's Yusuf that's singing it's the Cat's voice that belts out - he still has it. And so the night is ending and I breath a sigh of relief. My friend and colleague Helene calls me and asks me how it's going, at that moment Michael Douglas passes me.
"Michael Douglas is passing me" I tell her. I'm not sure she believes me. I have no shame so ask Michael to speak to her.
He chats for about 30 secs telling her she's not missing much then hands my phone back to me.
"Sam I'm on the no 38, did I really just speak to Michael Douglas?" she asks. I confirm she did. It's at frivolous times like this I love my job.
So there it is, after a night of standing to adrenaline attention we got the interview. And I'm glad that our channel did an alternative and interesting one without being antagonising.
Watch our exclusive interview here.