I'm no longer Marley Marvo the clown, but the PM still won't be pictured with me

Poor Paula Yates - her death has been on my mind a lot recently. First, because I met her; and second, because I'm beginning to realise that we occupy the same space in the mind of some journalists.

I met her in either 1995 or 1996, when my professional name was Marley Marvo, not Lauren Booth. In those halcyon days, I was a children's entertainer and was the clown at the birthday party of one of her and Bob Geldof's daughters. In face paint and oversized dungarees, and armed with bags of magic and enthusiasm, I played pass the parcel and musical bumps with gusto. As I was cutting the birthday cake into throwable pieces, I was treated to the sight of the famous Yates breast implants, as she flashed them proudly to Michael Hutchence and several dozen disapproving Kensington parents. Geldof looked on with a sort of bored resignation.

I would have carried on in my part-time role as Marley for longer, but after the Blairs' mercurial rise to fame in 1996, things began to get difficult. At homes around N1, I began to be recognised as one of Tony and Cherie's "family". This made the parents (not me) very uncomfortable. Sitting with children called either Harriet or Oliver in vast gardens, stuffing down crisps and organic cheese sandwiches, I would watch the parents gratefully rush indoors to enjoy champagne and crudites. At this point, I would overhear barristers anxiously asking their businessmen husbands: "Should we offer her a seat, or a glass of wine? She is one of them after all." Sometimes my niece, Katherine, would be at the party, and her eyes would roll when faced by "Aunty Lauren" in pigtails and red nose for the fourth Saturday running.

But these days, I may well be asked to enter the homes of the great and good via the front door on a permanent basis. You see, broadsheets are suddenly queuing to profile me in 3,000 words for their "Sunday Review" sections. One particular e-mail request started off very well, by gently massaging my ego. "We would like to talk to you about your increasing prominence in the media," it smarmed. It seems that their readers would love to know all about my attitude to fame, too. I was sighing with pleasure until the telltale question marks began to appear. "The hook is that with Ms Booth's New Statesman column and various other media activities, she is achieving a significant profile? And a following?" Punctuation can reduce you from famous to merely infamous in a mouse-click.

Fame as opposed to infamy is proven when the powerful want to be photographed with you. So far, Dave Courtney, the East End "gangster", is the only well-known face to try to be pictured with me on a regular basis. I'm always very polite to "Dodgy" Dave (the Vinnie Jones character in Lock, Stock was based on him), but when the flash goes, I pull the weirdest face possible to ensure the photo never appears in the Mail or the Sun. So far, it has been very successful. Unfortunately, I seem to have this "Dave effect" on power-players such as Anji Hunter, the PM's personal assistant and gatekeeper. At the NS bash in Brighton, we were chatting warmly when she suddenly sprang away from me as if burnt. A television camera had appeared over my shoulder, and although Anji assured me that it was "nothing personal", I am getting suspicious. Worse, I'm beginning to wonder how Tony Blair has avoided being photographed with me all this time.

When I am finally pictured next to the PM in a broadsheet (and he isn't sticking his tongue out), then I'll know that I'm out of the Paula Yates hall of infamy and truly into the corridors of power.

This article first appeared in the 20 November 2000 issue of the New Statesman, The New Statesman Interview - Lord Falconer