There’s never a dull moment in the life of Mark Dinning. He reflects on his first time at Cannes
Time Out Dubai staff
In the last two weeks of May, I was texted more photographs of beautiful women than even that weekend in April when my beautiful wife and her two beautiful friends went to see Robbie Williams in Abu Dhabi. And if that sentence doesn’t make up for me shouting at her this week for draining the car battery – AGAIN – by leaving the boot open overnight, then I don’t know what will.
Why all the pics of beautiful ladies? The Cannes Film Festival, that’s why. Clearly still on some photo agency’s contact list from my previous life as a film journalist, every day of its fortnight runtime I was sent pictures of various A-list actresses in expensive dresses sashaying up the stairs of the Palais du Festival. Monday I got Salma Hayek. Tuesday was Cate Blanchett. And so it went on. I have, to be fair, had tougher weeks.
The truth is, I thought I’d miss Cannes, but really I didn’t. Partly that’s because I was getting these texts while lazing on the beach in sunny Dubai. Mainly, though, it’s because Cannes is actually a shambles of sunburn, shouting and stress. Case in point: the first time I ever attended. Arriving on La Croisette around 10am on a Tuesday, fresh out of the taxi and dragging a suitcase with a dodgy wheel behind me, I was ushered into a room containing loads of other cranky journalists, to queue up and collect my pass. This took two hours. When I finally got to the front, I gave my name to the man behind the desk. ‘Hi, Mark Dinning,’ I said. ‘Here to collect my pass.’ He looked at me, suspiciously. ‘Sir, you have already collected it,’ he said. ‘It says so on my list.’
Clearly, this was impossible, I said. I had, after all, literally just arrived in town. But then, he had a list, and the list apparently didn’t lie. Another 20 minutes of this back-and-forth continued, before it was agreed that there was only one conceivable answer: I had an imposter. And he had my pass. And that’s when Severine appeared.
Severine had a name like a Bond girl, and could have passed for one, too. And it had been her – the fool! – who had handed out my pass to my imposter. I waited for an apology. Then I waited a bit more. ‘How could this have happened?’ I shouted. ‘The passes even have photographs of the people on them, for crying out loud!’ I was furious. She was French. And so it was that when it eventually came it was without doubt the finest back-handed apology I have ever been hit with by a beautiful lady.
‘I am sorry,’ she said. ‘He looked just like you. Only thin.’
Mark Dinning is our editor. It’s a tough life, isn’t it Mark…