The Harry Moseley Charity Ball, 2012

I met the Phelps twins again, or rather Oliver, at the inaugural Harry Moseley Charity Ball at the ICC in Birmingham on October 19th. Oliver arrived fashionably late at the venue and immediately he started to mingle with other celebrities, thereby missing both the champagne reception and first, second and third call for dinner!

Oliver was smartly dressed in a black tuxedo, white shirt and black bow tie and he was accompanied by his parents, his friends David and Geoff and his long time girlfriend who was dressed in a long, blue evening gown.

James joined the party at the table for dinner, dressed in a black tuxedo and bow tie like his brother and wearing his hair very short and black like Oliver, too. For once the twins looked totally identical, something they usually don't. James was accompanied by his girlfriend, who was dressed in a short black and blue cocktail dress.

Like the rest of the celebrities (and me!) the twins and their guests were situated at a front row table, but although the twins got a mention from the compere, The Goalzone's Tom Ross, they more or less went unnoticed. They were clearly not as famous as other celebrities at the ball - actor Adam Rickitt, Olympic gymnast Kristian Thomas and football legends Ian Taylor and Michael Johnson to mention a few - who went on stage or were caught in the spotlight on the big screens.

I hadn't seen Oliver for 5 months and as I sat almost next to him, having to pass him whenever I went to the bar or the ladies room, of course I said hi to him and had a handshake and a hug. Mostly the twins kept to themselves and their mates, though, and didn't speak to anyone else during dinner.

After dinner Oliver was one of the first on the dance floor with his mates David and Geoff whereas James preferred to slow dance between the tables, avoiding the dance floor altogether. Oliver soon ditched both his tuxedo jacket and the bow tie and unbuttoned a few buttons in his shirt. Hardly any of the other men at the ball did that!

The rest of the evening the twins opted out of sitting at their table, but stood beside it instead. James talked to a few female fans, but stayed close to his girlfriend, whereas Oliver left with some other fans and didn't get back until 10 minutes before the ball ended, only to pick up his jacket and head home.

At the Harry Moseley Charity Ball the twins showed a very different and more "realistic" side of themselves than what fans were usually allowed to see during the Harry Potter days. Now Harry Potter is over and so is the clean cut, picture perfect image of the twins. Instead they showed themselves in public as very ordinary blokes and that suits them much better than the glossy image.

Lise Lyng Falkenberg, 2012