So here’s my Gordon Brown story. It’s 2004 and I’m in a lift at 30 St. Mary Axe, better known to Londoners as ‘the gherkin’. The gherkin is (how shall I put it?) this year’s big new thing on the skyline, and I’m about to be shot up to the glass glans on the 40th floor, where the editor of the Guardian is holding a summer party. It’s like being one of the sperm in Everything You Wanted To Know About Sex But Were Afraid To Ask. I’m standing next to the artists Francis Upritchard and Grayson Perry, who’s looking fetching in a hot pink pvc Alice dress with black lace trim. Wait a moment, he says. Someone else wants to get in. Accompanied by an aide, Gordon Brown steps into the lift, looks at us for the briefest of moments, jams his tongue into his cheek, then stares fixedly at a point somewhere near the ceiling. The doors close.
I pass the next thirty seconds in a kind of private ecstasy as I implore providence to grant me a short conversation between the iron chancellor and the Turner prize-winning transvestite potter. What I’m after is something along the lines of:
“Nice frock, Grayson.”