DIARY: EVENING OUT WITH ... THE BOX - Girl bands and John Barnes only bemuse Lexie Goddard

7.30pm - Sound, Leicester Square John de Napoli of Carlton Digital Sales, which sells spot advertising for pop channel The Box, shoves free drinks vouchers into our sweaty palms. Four vodkas, eight beers, four white wines and four Tia Marias - junior sales execs who have raided their parents’ drinks cupboards feel cheated.

7.30pm - Sound, Leicester Square John de Napoli of Carlton Digital

Sales, which sells spot advertising for pop channel The Box, shoves free

drinks vouchers into our sweaty palms. Four vodkas, eight beers, four

white wines and four Tia Marias - junior sales execs who have raided their

parents’ drinks cupboards feel cheated.



Carlton Digital Sales’ ad director David Sanderson - known fondly as ’The

Colonel’ - strolls up. ’I’ve got my best clubbing gear on,’ he says,

showing off his pristine blue shirt, freshly ironed slacks and shiny

leather shoes.



9pm - Pop bambina Billie bursts on stage sporting a small glittery outfit,

much to the delight of the audience of late 20- and early 30-something

planner/buyers, who sing along and ogle with gusto. ’Britney’s already

done this cover version,’ I overhear one buyer say with authority.



Billie is followed by Girl Thing - in my old age, I have never heard of

them. Heather Small of M People fame tops the bill - now, M People I can

recall.



10pm - Find Nick Downes, sales director of The Box, loitering behind a

speaker and drag him off to the bar for more vodka. De Napoli calls me

over to meet his ’crew’ and plants a Mafia-style kiss on my forehead.



One of de Napoli’s posse turns out to be John Barnes - you know, the

footballing fella of World Cup rapping fame.



’Is that the John Barnes,’ I hiss in his ear. ’We grew up together,’ says

de Napoli with a dismissive wave of his hand.



11.30pm - Our broadcast reporter Rachel Minter gets enticed on to the

dancefloor by a Carat buyer who is twice her height. She tells him she’s

going to the loo and leaves - an old trick, but a very effective one.



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