A couple of months ago I wrote about the hiring of Midas PR to launch “Chances”, the erotic memoir which I had ghosted for an anonymous European lady who was going under the names of Penny.
Last week the mighty Midas machine picked up speed and I found myself writing articles and doing a succession of interviews to promote the book, culminating in an encounter with Claudia Winkleman on her late night Radio2 arts show.
Whenever I mentioned to anyone that I was going to be meeting Miss Winkleman I always received the same response - “Oh, I love Claudia Winkleman”.
It didn’t seem to matter what age or gender the person was, or whether they were likely to be fans of reality shows like “Strictly” or cultural offerings like “Film 2015”, her puppyish glamour had somehow worked on all of them. It appears the woman is fast-tracking towards being a national treasure. What, I wondered, could be the secret of this magical spell she was casting over the nation?
Listening to so many paeans of adoration rang alarm bells too. How could the reality possibly live up to this awesome reputation? Was I going to have to report back to all these devoted admirers that in reality the woman was a monstrous confection of insincerity and vanity, propped up by armies of sycophants, hangers on and make-up artists? Could she possibly live up to everyone’s heady expectations?
I have to report that fifteen minutes in a studio with Miss Winkleman is like being enveloped in a particularly cosy nuclear explosion, flattened by a steamroller of charm and wit so overwhelming that you barely notice the pain when she skewers you with an unexpected stab of journalistic enquiry. All in all it was the most exhilarating and enjoyable quarter of an hour I can remember ever spending with a total stranger. I felt like we had been friends for ever and that, I suspect, is the secret of Miss Winkleman’s magic.