Gordon Brown: my secret passion

As told to Armando Iannucci


One of the loveliest things about being born Middle English is you grow up with a profound love of its non-rugged countryside. Middle England is renowned for its breathtaking flat bits and, like many a hardy Middle Englander, I’ve made it something of an ambition to walk across all 284 of its flat bits before I’m 60. Sometimes, there are gentle hills and the views from the top are slightly more breathtaking. They make the three-minute climb worth it.

I also have a profound love of all Middle English sports, apart from croquet. Cricket is a great obsession of mine. I love the thrill of watching the bat-wielder hit the puck and try to get it into the hands of one of the men standing away at the other end of the field. No wonder there’s an enormous cheer when he does get it into the hands of the faraway man, because that sort of accuracy deserves enormous recognition.

Middle English pastimes are also enormous fun and are something I look forward to after a day in the office or a gruelling trip abroad to my Kirkcaldy constituency.

I love pork scratchings and on Friday nights, look out, because I hit the cider.

Saturday mornings are reserved for jam-making, so I was pleased to hear last week that Waitrose is going to sell misshapen fruit at knock-down prices for all jam-makers. This is the sort of enterprise that makes Middle England the powerhouse of industrial nations.

After all, it was a Middle Englander who invented the hovercraft. Anyway, next Saturday morning, rest assured, you’ll find me outside Waitrose’s door, with my apron on, and a wicker basket, simply panting with excitement. Just let me at those bulbous apricots. Mmmm, jam. I simply can’t express too much how I love it and I hope that’s coming across.

Then, after jam-making in the mornings, Saturday afternoons are left free for morris dancing. Sarah always teases me about how nuts I am about morris dancing. I pour my heart and soul into it, but it’s something I like to do on my own. After a tedious meeting in the City about money or some such, I hop straight on to a train into the Middle English countryside with a bag of bells and a stick. Then I go to a secluded clearing or dell in the woods and morris dance to my heart’s content. Then Sarah picks me up and we both go off for a late-night pub lunch. She keeps this magic spot secret, which is why there are no visual records in existence of me ever doing it. I’m extremely grateful to her for that. She keeps me very very un-dour.