Discover more from Tom Watson's Newsletter
The anarchists on acid edition
Oh, and I've published a book. Did I tell you I'd published a book?
Glastonbury is like a federation of mini-festivals. There's something for everyone, other than a luxury toilet. I've had several embarrassing moments; many chronicled in national newspapers.
My colleagues referred to the picture below as my Pilsbury doughboy look.
As it happens, that was 2017, my best Glastonbury. I was with excellent friends, and we laughed for three days and even saw some bands.
2016 was not so good; the Brexit festival.
After the referendum, I got there a day late on Saturday afternoon. It'd been a hell of a week, and I started heavily drinking with a group of pals, mainly from the GMB union, in the Bread and Roses Tent.
Rather disastrously, I'd recently started using Snapchat and went bonkers. It started with a can of Thatcher's Cider in a muddy field and ended at 3 am in the Silent Disco.
I’d drunkenly chronicled the binge on Snapchat, which was lifted by several newspapers and broadcasters.
It was so ridiculous that I made it onto Gogglebox! People started to dress in parody clothes to go to parties.
While the drinking continued in the Bread and Roses bar, Jeremy Corbyn sacked shadow Foreign Secretary Hilary Benn. By the time I woke up at about 8 am, there were more than 100 missed calls and texts on my phone.
I had to get back to London and fast. My head was spinning. Calls were coming in, and my phone battery was running out.
I missed the return train to London by two minutes. That day was like an episode of The Thick of It.
I answered the phone to a team member: "Get off that fucking platform. You've been papped. And do NOT get on the next train. There’s a media pack heading your way.” I felt hunted.
It was only then that I remembered I had no money and no cash machine at Castle Carey station. I had to negotiate with a minicab driver to take me to London on the promise of a massive tip.
It was all pointless; by the time I got back, a third of the Shadow Cabinet had already resigned, and we were in a full-on crisis. Reflecting on these events, I can see the tell-tale signs of ADHD in this story!
As one wag commented to my brother in a Kidderminster pub the following week: “fair play to your kid. He can’t be the only bloke who's come back from Glastonbury and jacked his job in.”
Fair play indeed.
My WORST EVER Glastonbury was my first.
Thankfully it never made it into a newspaper. It was 1985. Labour HQ gave me a free ticket for escorting the Labour party bus onto the site. It rained for three days.
I shared the journey down to the site with a woman from the computer department and her Alsatian dog.
We were to share shifts to guard the bus. As soon as he parked up, the bus driver left the area and said he'd see us in three days. Ten minutes after he left, my colleague from the IT department disappeared and left me with her dog.
I was 17 and on my own (other than the dog). It was tipping down with rain. The whole site was a mud bath.
At 3am, it was still just the dog on the bus, and me. I was woken from a makeshift bed on the top deck when the vehicle started to rock violently. Several hallucinating anarchists were trying to tip the bus over.
Thankfully they kept slipping over in the mud. Thank God for the Alsatian, who started barking like a wolf. Some of the anarchists screamed in fear and ran away. The others wandered off into the night.
What a lineup it was that year, though! It was almost worth it.
Let’s see what this weekend holds. I’ve high hopes.
So, I launched a new book
Yes, Lose Weight 4 Life was published on Thursday. I actually got hold of my own copy of the book just a few minutes before our online book launch event. Thank you, Sainsbury’s!
I’m really, really pleased with it. The feedback so far has been great. And if you joined us for the book launch-slash-ask me-anything on Zoom, thank you. It was joyous.
I really enjoyed answering all your questions. So much so, that I’ve been thinking about holding similar Q&A sessions in the future. If that’s something you’d like, would you leave a comment to let me know?
I’ll be sending around the recording in a separate email next week. And if you asked a question which I didn’t manage to get to, sorry. Do leave a comment if that’s the case and I promise to get back to you.
Listening & Reading
To be fair, I’ve been busy launching my new book and now I’m at Glastonbury.
Normal service will be resumed next week. If you’ve any recommendations, send them my way. I’ll need something to occupy me on the way home!