When I was thrown into the jaws of the Tory party two years ago (with hilarious consequences), you'd think I wouldn't go back for more.
Yet, the moon rose in Uranus as the stars decided that this week I would meet tall, dark, be-suited, blue-badged strangers. Once more, I was their official bookseller.
Here is my Tory story in tweets. This is part one. Click to read part two.
"Right then, twums. Tomorrow, I will be at the Tory #cpc11 conference. Expect numerous bitter / sarcastic / funny tweets on Monday and Tuesday. I am warning you now so that you're ready for an increase in my tweeting and you're ready to be offended if you're a Tory. You're not a Tory, are you? Are you a hot Tory? Hot Tories confuse me. "It has always been an ugly anachronism that the Tories choose to dump their annual shindig right in the middle of Manchester, mere yards from the site of the Battle of Peterloo in which the authorities mowed down poor workers and helped coalesce left wing protest for the next two hundred years.
"Many people inside #cpc11 confused as to why people were shouting "Tory scum" at them today. Seriously. I must admit, it's confusing grammatically. I find all tautologies confusing grammatically. "
That didn't stop me, however, producing for them one of the best temporary political bookshops in the country for the four days they are camped in our beloved city. You have to remember that most people at the conference are not true blues, but are workers, media, other politicians and the like. It's just a good job I had Twitter through which to vent my rage.
"If you don't want to read me snotting on about Tories a lot, then unfollow me for a couple of days. Having said that, it's unlikely to be different from my normal snotting. Just a bit more frequent. I'm going to runny-nose your feed.With my followers fully forewarned, I entered the conference to discover a much more professional affair than two years ago. This is the party of government, so no silly blue phone boxes or people dressed up in costumes this time.
"I should also point out I'll probably hit 1,000 followers today half way through me tweeting a complicated Eric Pickles sexual fantasy, This isn't going to be pretty. (Unlike Eric.)"
I am at the Tory conference. It is everything I hoped for and more. They've upgraded the Gordon Brown pork pie stand to an Ed Miliband jerk chicken stand.
And here come the celebrities...
I've just breathed cheesy crisp breath into Jeremy Paxman's face. Don't think he noticed. I'll upgrade to prawn cocktail next time.Jeremy Paxman would become a key part of this year's bookshop. He (or his people) had decided not to do a book signing, so when he turned up to the shop, I managed to pin him down. He would do a signing. And it would be one of the most exhausting moments of the conference. More of that later.
Paxman called me an incompetent bookseller.
Everyone who's everyone is here. There's a Tory with massive testicles (bad trousers). And there's Nick Robinson.All of this is in good humour from a wishy-washy leftie. What could possibly go wrong? My job was to run a successful bookshop and I was going to succeed? Wasn't I?
There are less shouty motivational posters this year. But Oliver Letwin's here with 'kill the poor' tattooed on his forehead, so that's OK.
My anti-Tory ire was barely beginning to bubble. And to make it worse, things were about to get somewhat scatological in one of the most illuminating, and disgusting, moments of the conference.#
This is part one. Click to read part two.