Friday, April 16, 2004

The One and Only Watso!

Well, what an interesting evening I had yesterday - went to the pub (!?!?) with Phill to meet Tom Watson, ostensibly to talk about blogging and politics and things like that. I, of course, drank water all night (got through 2 litres man, hardcore...) but the evening began to take a turn for the more rambunctious (gently rambunctious admittedly, but rambunctious none-the-less) when several of the regulars and the landlord came over to join us.

The evening started with me and Phill wondering if we were in the right place, until getting a text from "Watso" (who's only known as Watso to me and Phill, but still) saying he was on his way. The pub is on West Bromwich High Street and we were sat in the small bar in the front, with posters of old west bromwich decorating the walls and people milling around the bar (see what I did there, I set the scene...) When Tom arrived we pretty quickly began talking about politics, and it was basically a dream come true for me, a chance to talk openly and honestly with a committed and passionate politician about the big issues of the day (all off the record so I'm not going to relay any of it here!) We also talked about blogging a bit and he recommended Clive Soley's blog as a thoughtful and insightful example of political blogging. He also recommended Mighty Girl for its take on human interaction. He turned out to be (as I suspected he would) a really nice guy.

Anywhoo, after sometime we were joined by some more people, two of whom were described to me as local legends - Finbar the Irish landlord of the pub (who said to me "Me and the bookies have an arrangement - I give him all me money, and he sends me a diary every year") and Tweedale "That's Tweed like the jacket and ale like the ale - the only Tweedale in the Birmingham phone book") a 72 year old ex-headteacher and rock-climber who told me several stories. The best of these was the story of a time he was rock-climbing (they were all basically about times he was rock climbing). Any way, on this one occasion, his friends had taken a different route down the mountain to him, and he ended up in a field, where he happened upon a young lady. They got to talking, and were getting on like a house on fire, when lo-and-behold, and aide appeared and said to the young lady - "Another cup of tea Miss Bergman?". Now is that a good story or what? She was in the middle of filming The Inn of the Sixth Happiness at the time. When the evening was winding up, he said to me "Listen, I don't normally proselytize like this, but, you know, you can tell when someone belongs, and I know you belong in the Labour party." He then uttered words, which though lacking in apparent logic, and definitely not true, formed one of the finest sentences I've ever heard.

"If you think about it, just stop and think about it. I mean really think about it, for long enough - you will definitely become a member of the Labour Party."