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The Inner Monologue from David Cameron's Big Wilderness Festival Weekend

Includes photobombing and dangling a cigarette mid-hug.

by Lauren O'Neill
07 August 2017, 12:06pm

Image via Wikimedia Commons

Must be weird being David Cameron in 2017. Forced to resign in deserved disgrace for letting a history-altering vote happen because Nigel Farage said you should and to attempt an in-party power move. Now mostly just spending your time sitting in your frankly enormous home, dreaming of those halcyon days of the Bullingdon and thinking, 'is this it?'

You refuse to let 'this' be 'it.' You're responsibility-free for the first time in years. You're ready to get out there, to feel the wind in your hair – you have very good hair for a man your age, you think – to be young again. And what is it that young people do? Well, they go to music festivals. If it's good enough for Corbyn...

You realise, however, that you have to choose carefully. Music festivals are famously lairy events, and you are, you accept, not the most popular of people among the sort of #liberals who tend to frequent them. So, you choose something local, and, crucially, something Tory. You land on Wilderness Festival, which takes place in Oxfordshire annually, and is the sort of place where one can just as easily sample dishes from the woman who won Masterchef and now owns Wahaca as one can 'jam out' to Will Young.

So, when the weekend of Saturday 5 to Sunday 6 August rolls around, you trot off to Wilderness, apparently completely alone, ready to find yourself. You attempt to keep a fairly low profile, sampling some British ales here (better get used to the national product; Brexit, of course, approaches), tapping a toe to Two Door Cinema Club there. But of course, they spot you. The proles spot you.

It wasn't so bad in the beginning, just a couple 'selfie'-ing in the crowd. You know they have seen you. You see them taking a photo, and, devil may care, you engage in a bit of the old 'photobombing,' via staring vacantly (you can only do 'vacant,' these days) through the crowd and into the very lens of the phone camera. In a strange way, you want this. You want to be noticed; you crave the attention. See me, shitmunchers, your penetrating gaze begs.

But as night draws in, it is not just the sky and general national outlook that have become somehow darker. The revelry is more pronounced now, the spirit of festival taking over, which, when you've paid hundreds for something called Boutique Camping, is the least you could bloody hope for. You take it all in; you feel joy, you feel fear. At last you feel something. And then, at once, as you're traipsing around the site, lurching about a bit from the many artisan ciders you've been sampling, a girl with unearthly lilac hair bounds towards you – you wonder for a moment, compelled by the otherworldliness of the experience you're having here at Wilderness Festival, where Yotam Ottolenghi is an act listed on the bill, if this woman is even real, or if she's a vision. She bounds over to you and throws her arms around you. It is the first human appreciation you've experienced from a stranger since The Old Days. It is a comfort. A companion snaps a photo, and she runs off into the jaws of the festivities. That moment was all you needed.

Fucking brilliant. You've woken up sweating your tits off, fully clothed, in a tent, checked your phone and about 17 people have sent you the photo you had with the fucking purple wig girl who has turned out not to be a lovely Tory but a vile Corbynite. Typical. Sam's pissed off because she thought you'd knocked the cigs on the head. You look like a right tit. You ring the driver and he comes and gets you, and you fall asleep on the way back feeling dried out and vulnerable, a momentary sense of identification with the disembodied pig's head you once stuck your fellow inside washing over you as you slumber.

But once you're home, and you've showered, you find yourself sitting on the edge of the bed, thinking over your experience of the music festival. You did... well, you loved it, didn't you? The abandon, the ambience, the banter. It reminded you of the more exciting days in the Commons, didn't it? You've not felt like that in a while. God. You lie back, remembering the freedom you felt, chomping on an artisan sausage roll, downing craft beers, watching NT Live on an outdoor screen. You felt alive. Maybe music festivals are what you do now. Maybe you'll officially join forces with Alex James. You carefully fondle the shiny VIP fabric festival wristband still around your wrist, and you think about how you will never take it off, to preserve the memories you created. And you, David Cameron, sprawled on your hideously expensive bed, wrapped in a very high quality bath towel, you smile.

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