Think red carpet. Think glitz, glamour, showbiz and sparkle. Think shiny white teeth beaming from expressionless faces and shrieking E! presenters giving off the sort of ludicrously enthusiastic energy that could power a wind turbine.
While this might be the image beamed to us almost daily from the never-ending tide of awards ceremonies and celebrity backslapping events, the truth is somewhat different.
If there's one thing that can be used to summarise red-carpet events, it's this: clipboards.
Yes, clipboards, hordes and hordes of clipboards, carried by a sea of suited-and-booted individuals talking frantically into those inner earpiece thingies and rushing around with a look on their faces that suggested they were coordinating a synchronised boating performance of Swan Lake by the US Navy's entire fleet of aircraft carriers.
Just to clarify, what they're actually coordinating is a slow stroll down a long maroon rug followed by a film screening in a cinema. The science of modern ballistics, it isn't. Surely just hiring a few more ushers and a couple of extra popcorn servers would do the trick.
But no, apparently these celebrity-heavy events require the sort of precision timing that would impress an elite commando unit. Otherwise, what? Would the stars start walking in the wrong direction, taking their clothes off or eating each other out of sheer confusion? It would certainly give the E! presenters something else to whoop about. "Oh my goodness, Anne Hathaway, who is wearing a simply gorgeous Dolce and Gabbana off-the-shoulder number, has literally gnawed Matthew McConaughey's left arm completely off. That's awesome."
And as for the poor press (yes, you heard me, the poor press), the idiots forced to publicise such red-carpet events through their photoshoots and superlative-strewn fluff pieces, these sorry souls are sadistically penned into a small area throughout the entire proceedings, left to the "biggest elbow wins" fight in the battle for space among their fellow journalists. Such press pens go into "lockdown" (and that's official terminology), often hours before anything starts happening. Heaven help those who forgot to "go" before they dared venture behind the velvet rope.
So next time you see a red-carpet event on TV and hear the wild cries of excitement from the shiny-faced mic-clutching presenters, don't go thinking how much you'd like to be there, waving your "I HEART GEORGE CLOONEY" sign or whooping like a performing seal any time a limousine door opens. Focus on your current situation, a comfy sofa, a mug of tea and the prospect of a decent night's sleep. In fact, just turn that telly off: watching will only encourage them.