Have you ever wondered how people get their photo in the social pages of the Sunday papers? Neither have I. However, having just attended the launch of a glossy new women’s fashion magazine, Russh, I can reveal the formula.

The first thing you need to do is stand within eyesight of a photographer. Second thing -“ don’t look at him. This is vital. You want to appear nonchalant but prepared to spell your name at any given moment. Third tip? Wear something inadvisable. If you question the wisdom of spending $800 on a pinstriped trilby (or, for that matter, a vinyl kimono), you obviously don’t belong.

I did some sub-editing work on Russh, which is the only reason I was invited. Held at Bennelong restaurant in the Opera House, it attracted a few hundred of Sydney’s most committed social nibblers, the usual mix of fashion fringe-dwellers, advertising suits and boys whose hair looked like it landed on their head from a great height.

Clutching my piss-weak apple vodka concoction and trembling with fraudulence, I ventured into the throng. Immediately, I was engulfed in a sickening cloud of perfume. It occurred to me that these walking chemical weapons are the reason god invented air kisses. Get any closer and you’d wake up in Emergency at St Vincent’s.

The best way to achieve an air of entitlement at this sort of gathering is to scan the room like you’re stifling a yawn. This suggests that not only do you attend magazine launches on a tediously regular basis, you have a better one later this evening. For the full effect, punctuate your ennui with random smiles at a fictional friend. Excited wave optional.

It was total gridlock inside, but I was determined to complete a lap of the venue. Executing the aforementioned steps -“ scan, yawn, smile -“ I accomplished this in about five minutes. Bugger. Bereft of a sense of purpose, I decided to chase a tray of food instead. Such is the lot of the freelance journo.

Sitting in the cab home, still trying to suck the infuriating little remnant of nibbly thing from between my front teeth, I pondered the question: if you don’t get your photo in The Sunday Telegraph, were you actually there? More to the point, why did you bother? Because when you think about it, witnessing Sydney at its shallowest is a high price to pay for a free drink.

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