For one night only, welcome to the life of a VIP
A few weeks ago I noticed Virgin Holidays were following me on Twitter. Well, I am a very interesting person of course. I then noticed I had a direct message from them. I opened it. It said I had won a prize on their Mojovator of a VIP box at the O2 Comedy Gala for me and.....19 of my friends! Wow. I was absolutely gobsmacked. To be fair, I have only ever won one other competition and for that I got a rubber chicken - don't ask!
I could not believe it. I replied as required by the message and within a day heard back from their Advertising folk confirming my prize. Details would be sent to me. I began to phone family and friends inviting peeps to come with me.
Still having no idea what I had really won, I heard last week that as well as the VIP box (which alone would have been totally amazing), we also had food and drink available. Fantastic.
The big night arrived. We made our way up to the O2 with one set of friends and met up with everyone else there. I was determined to grab a London geocache (well, why miss the opportunity?) so lead my hubby and two friends on a wild cache-chase around the O2 only to discover we couldn't get anywhere near it from within the complex grounds and clearly needed to be on the other side of the fencing. I did contemplate climbing over the barriers but being arrested before a night out isn't a great start I'm sure you'll agree.
It was a bit touch and go for a few friends as due to a football match at Wembley, their train company decided to cancel all trains as they were waiting on the station. A very middle class protest started with people using strong words and threatening well written complaint letters. Our friends then headed home, jumped into their car and drove down, still managing to arrive at 6.45pm which was pretty impressive.
Our hosts for the night - Sophie and Ed - found us and gave us our VIP tickets so while they went and ensured the box was all ready for us, we made our way to the VIP bar and waiting area and got ourselves a drink. We could get used to this. After a good chat and a half hour enjoying the facilities, we went up to the box.
We really didn't expect what was waiting for us. A fabulous suite with a lady taking our coats and serving us drinks. The most incredible nibbles on the table in front of comfy sofas and, at 7pm, the most delicious selections of hot food as well. We were totally spoiled.
The show was about to start so we took our seats looking straight at the stage. Brilliant.
The whole show kicked off with the dance group Diversity doing their thing. Alan Carr joined them and then complained that their name implied the dancers should indeed be more diverse. In came Warwick Davis who did his piece with them. Not diverse enough yet. In came Miranda Hart to sort out the problem. This really was a diverse dance troupe now. Brilliant fun.
Michael McIntyre brought the first half to a close and did a fantastic set, very much appreciated by the audience. His 'Scottish accented, naked, burglar encounter' had me almost in tears. Lee Evans was the highlight of the second half and again had the entire arena laughing with him.
Comedian after comedian came to the stage. All bar a couple were extremely good and had the whole arena in stitches. Keith Lemon's skit (pre-recorded) was absolutely dire and met with silence. No surprise there then. The list of stars was huge - Nina Conti, Jonathan Ross, Russel Brand (can't stand him), Jo Brand (surprisingly awful), Jack Dee, Jason Byrne, Rhod Gilbert, Paul Chowdhry (cringe-worthy material), Kevin Bridges and Jon Richardson to name but a few.
The show finished around 11pm and we headed off saying our goodbyes.
Six of us were going in the same direction so we debated whether to get on the tube with what seemed like 100,000 other people or to just jump in a taxi. As we shuffled our way towards the tube station/taxi rank, we noticed the taxi queue, whilst not too long, seemed to have a total lack of taxis arriving and departing. The tube it was then. We shuffled our way around the top of the station and onto the escalators and onto the platform which was...almost empty! Where the heck had everyone gone? One minute we are surrounded by people, the next we're on a tube - with space around us - heading for Waterloo. I am assuming everyone was going the other way or this tube arrived totally empty and just filled up with us all. Off at Waterloo and we'd just missed the first fast train back to our station but got on the next one that was waiting, grabbed a set of 6 seats together and chatted until the train pulled away 10 minutes later. We were home by 12.30am.
An incredible evening and fantastic experience for us all. Unfortunately, we have all now been spoiled and to go to the O2 again and sit in 'the cheap seats' would be a come-down. I wonder how much we could buy a box for....
Thank you so much Virgin Holidays for giving us this wonderful experience, to Virgin Atlantic for the use of their fabulous box and to Sophie and Ed for being such great hosts.