This morning I attended the Edinburgh book festival with a gaggle of children to see the fabulous Steve Cole. Cole is a children’s author with (at least) 4 series running at the moment: Slime Squad (genetically modified monsters who live on rubbish heaps); Astrosaurs (dinosaurs who fly spaceships); Astrosaurs Academy (the prequels to Astrosaurs); and Cows in Action (about time travelling cows fighting to save history from the Fed-up Bull Institute – check the acronyms).
Cole is an engaging book festival presence. Full of enthusiasm, he has many good jokes, ideas, and involves the children in a way many bigger names do not. Having seen him in each of the past two years it was a pleasure to take the children again for a third visit.
However, this year, despite asking a question in the auditorium, speaking with Steve Cole afterwards and having books signed, and laughing their way through the event, Steve Cole came in second place in the excitement stakes.
Just before the show started a familiar man of medium height came in with two young children and at least one bodyguard. “that’s Gordon Brown,” came the murmur from the children and a frisson went through the room. Indeed it was. He took the boys to the back of the auditorium and was a member of a crowd generally delighted by Steve Cole’s energetic performance.
Afterwards my children are usually desperate to get to the signing tent. This year they dawdled – only showing any energy as Gordon Brown and his children made their way down the steps until they were by our sides.
“Hello Gordon Brown,” my son said.
“Hullo, how are you?” the former Prime Minister replied
“Fine thank you” my son replied. And ran off to the signing tent singing, “I spoke to Gordon Brown. I spoke to Gordon Brown.”
As we made our way to the train to return home my son said that if he had been able to speak to Gordon Brown for longer he would have told him he was sorry about him losing the election, and asked him what he thought about David Cameron.
He then assured his friend that “David Cameron hates poor people ” and “He will make poor people much poorer, you know.”
His friend nodded sagely.
Then they turned back to the time-travelling cows and prepared for adventures.