Quality Time with Britney Spears
To fair Vancouver, where we lay our scene, and a small backstage room where I, along with a journalist from Smash Hits (RIP - sniff!) are waiting for our brief audience with Britney Spears, then one of the biggest stars on the planet.
As is the way with these things, we have been granted 20 minutes of precious Spears Time to gather as much vital and life-affirming information as possible with which to somehow fashion a cover story which will both entertain and inform the Spearsian UK fan base.
Schedule-wise, we are sandwiched between a pale but jovial Norwegian print journalist and a nervous Mexican TV crew - nervous because they too have been allocated 20 minutes Despite estimating that it will take them 19 minutes to set up.
I've met Britney before, briefly. She was pleasant, professional, but (if we're honest) didn't have a lot to say - a result of being cocooned in the showbiz bubble since pre-birth. I decide that when our moment comes, I will put her at ease with a hilarious opening line. I'm just not sure what it's going to be yet.
The Norwegian finishes his interview. We have overheard much of it through the thin wall and it seems to have consisted of some very long and interesting questions followed by some answers in inverse proportion. As he's shepherded out, the Norwegian says brightly, "On behalf of your Fans in Norway, may I be the first to wish you a happy birthday, Britney! (It's July and her birthday isn't until December!)
i seize the moment. "Hi Britney," I beam. "May WE, on behalf of your British fans, be the first to wish you a happy Christmas!" A look of total confusion crosses the Spears face as she possibly tries to weigh up the likelihood that they celebrate Christmas much earlier in the UK. Finally, she sets her face to "professional" and smiles. "Thank you so much!", she says, and the interview can begin........