To Gloucestershire for one of the biggest most prestigious literary festivals of them all. Cheltenham is basking in the Indian summer when we arrive and enter the authors marquee in Montpellier Gardens.
My event is in the Daffodil Cafe, a former cinema with beautiful art deco features. Afternoon tea has been booked by a full house of 132 people under the headline ‘Alan Johnson’s Jukebox’. They arrive to 60’s favourites before tucking into the scones and sandwiches.
At 4.30 the crumbs are cleared and Becky Milligan interviews me to a soundtrack of 5 songs from the book.
Becky is that brilliantly quirky BBC reporter from World At One, PM and Broadcasting House. She’s a good friend and reminds the audience of the time she interviewed me during my abortive attempt to become Deputy Leader of the Labour Party eleven years ago. She placed a guitar in my hands and in front of an audience of primary school pupils at a school in my constituency, I played that rock classic ‘Papa’s Taking Us to the Zoo Tomorrow’!
In the photo above Becky and I are preparing for the event in a quiet corner of the upstairs gallery of the Cafe. We had great fun even though there was no cake for us!