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Tracking David Cameron's Big Festival Weekend

How our once terrible leader learned to quit the haters and live his best life.
People dancing at Wilderness Festival Photo: Andy Carter via Flickr

How was your weekend, mate? Big one? Are you full of that grey, cold, spiritual dreariness this Monday morning? Every time you go to clear your throat there's that phlegmy reminder that you managed to work your way through 58 rollies despite the fact you "don't really smoke". The only thing more empty than your heart is your wallet. You are never drinking or taking drugs ever again, etc, etc. Is that how you feel this morning? You and Dave both.


The headline is this: retired country-drubber David Cameron went to a music festival this weekend and some very important photographic artefacts have since emerged. Post-Jeremy Corbyn headlining Glastonbury earlier this summer, the "politician at music festival" photograph has become increasingly common. Here's Tom Watson dressed as the Megabus mascot at the same Glastonbury, and after popping up at Download last year Labour MP Richard Burgon has been outed as metal as fuck. But what's been distinctly lacking from this discourse, up until now, has been festival Tories. Lovely, windswept, glitter-encrusted, spending-£600-across-the-weekend-on-rum-slushies festival Tories.

Wilderness Festival, let's be clear, is absolutely the most Tory festival in the UK. "Oooh, but what about Latitude?" No, Latitude is Lib Dem. Wilderness is Tory, Tory, Tory. This is a music festival with "long table banquets" on the line-up, alongside Two Door Cinema Club. Last year someone saw Mark Carney flouncing around in a lavender polo shirt. In the "Ethos" section of the website, they've suggested attendees should "Write a love poem, wander the woods foraging for snacks, try acroyoga, butcher a deer." That's right: Wilderness is a music festival where you can butcher a deer – just try not to miss Laura Mvula!

It's also a music festival so Tory that David Cameron was spotted there, just wandering around. Just freely knocking about. Chillaxing. Nobody threw a cup of piss at him, he didn't get rolled around in an upturned portaloo by a pack of ket-raged undergrads. Chances are, nobody even shouted "wanker" in his general direction. Imagine, a wanker-free weekend for Dave. Bet he couldn't believe his luck.


To get a clearer idea of a) what happened to David Cameron at Wilderness Festival, b) how much the hammy sod enjoyed himself and c) what his state of mind is right now, we have no choice but to consider at some length the two photos that have so far appeared from the event. Let us begin.

PHOTO #1: The Prelude, or, the Bottomless Boredom of the Once Most Powerful Man in the Country Trying to Enjoy Himself at a Boutique Music Festival

Can you see him?

Can you see him?


No. Look closer.

Can you see him?

Ah yes.

You know those photos of scuba divers that occasionally pop up online, where they've tried to photograph themselves against some coral and later realised there was a shark hovering right behind them the whole time? This is sort of that, except instead of being a scuba diver it's a Labour activist at a music festival taking a selfie with her husband, and instead of a shark it's the broken former leader of the country staring deeply into the lens of the camera with the blunt boredom of a child-genius trying to enjoy Shrek the Third. The resulting photo – a sort of Where's Wally for PPE students – is the first glimpse we have into David Cameron's big weekend.

For reasons that will become clear, it makes sense to call this photo "The Prelude". This is pre-lash David Cameron warming himself up. By this stage he's dumped his bags in the boutique camping section and "tested" the bed by lying down on it once, prodding the foam and muttering, "good, right" to himself before jumping up again. He has also, by this point, eaten a very nice lemon-parsley risotto with a wooden fork out of cardboard bowl.


He has seen a total of 14 minutes of live music, 12 of which he has spent with his thumb in his pocket, patting his palm against his leg.

Judging by the look on his face, nobody has spoken to him for at least six hours. His wife, standing next to him, has been chatting away to their friends, their kids and anyone else who's up for it, while David Cameron has drifted away. His state of mind has devolved into that very "disenchanted bloke's day out" stasis of mild catatonia. He is deeply uninterested in everything that is happening around him. He doesn't know the band playing onstage. He can't even hear them any more. All he can hear now is the gentle hum of his brain bouncing like a screensaver between daydreams of being friends with John McEnroe and the memory of a particularly good bit of brisket he had last weekend. David Cameron is looking into the camera, yes, but he's also not. He's also looking very far away indeed.

If we were to try to understand David Cameron's big weekend purely on the basis of this image it would be safe to say he is having a distinctly average time. The sort of weekend that, on the DC-scale, probably sits above the VE day Cenotaph ceremony in 2015, but definitely below Gary Barlow's Let It Shine wrap party. Yet, as we all know, after-dark is when Wilderness really starts to get wild…

PHOTO 2: Ere We Chuffing Go, or, Davey Cameron is Pissed Up and Doesn't Care Who the Eff Knows TBQH!

Oh what became of the Likely Lads? What became of the dreams we had? Oh what became of forever, though? Oh what became of forever, though? We'll never know. – Davey Cameron, 2017.


Okay, lots to discuss, lots to cover, please grab a seat as quick as you can and we'll crack on.

Firstly, a bit of housekeeping: yes, I did say Wilderness was unequivocally the most Tory festival in the UK, and yes, since saying that I have also presented you with a selfie taken by a Labour activist and another featuring a jacket emblazoned with the word Corbyn. Here, it is important to remember that the word "Tory" exists far beyond the realms of party-politics. It is a broad categorical device; a measure with many dimensions. For example, an Apple Watch could not vote in an election, an Apple Watch has no party allegiances, yet an Apple Watch is Tory, and this cannot be contested. Thank you.

Right. This photo. Here we get a true measure for David Cameron's big weekend. It's presumably about 10:42PM. The kids have been packed off to the yurt, Sam's catching up with a couple of old school friends near the Travelling Folk Barn and the big man has spent the last couple of hours strutting around the VIP bar, slamming Chardonnays on ice and chuffing on fags like they're grissini. The rouge is back in his cheeks and the air has returned to his forehead. In fact, Davey Cameron is having such a season he's popped not one, but two, collars. The jacket went first, you imagine, until he heard "Inspector Norse" blaring from a mini-rig on a gourmet taco van and popped the second in excitement.

Obvious credit is due to both the Corbyn-jacket wearer and the photographer, who have staged an effective visual embodiment of just how oblivious the Conservative party have been to Corbyn's popularity among young voters. Yet, even more credit is due to just how devastatingly they have captured post-power Cameron. This is a man who, rather than be damaged by the state he left things in, appears to have become a sort of invincible Blue Harbour model. He seems to have been in permanent holiday mode ever since his resignation, constantly thinking about putting his feet up in front of a bit of Wallander, forever "a bit sozzled".

Perhaps the lesson, then, is that whatever damage we inflict on those around us, we shouldn't let anything get in the way of having a good time. After everything he's done, after proving himself the worst to ever do it, Davey Cameron is still out there, chaining straights, draining bags of wine and living his best life. You only get one go at this game they call life, may as well make it a wild one.