I don't claim to know Gordon Brown personally. I've never been to his house. I've certainly never sat down and eaten a meal with the man. I don't know what Gordon Brown's hair smells like, or how he holds a fork. At no time was I on holiday with Gordon Brown, or his family. Neither of us were in Tuscany at the time ... or any other time.
I have never met Gordon Brown.
That said, I would be lying if I claimed not to know his ruff of hair, his ruddy, slightly slacken face. I have a vague grasp on his political pedigree: Gordon Brown, rough diamond, a kind of Obama for the Home Counties, beaming up the left wing. There was a lot of excitement around him, as there was Tony Blair. Though I never heard anyone call Blair a 'saviour'.
Gordon has goen now. I know we were supposed to trust his terrierish ruffle of hair, his calm face. The solid will. But I never could. That is my confession. At a distance, he seemed paper thin. A lost cause. Not so much insincere, as impossibly transparent. To me it was a miracle that he held himself together at all and did not explode under the compression of constant scrutiny.*
["the thing I am now imagining is like a human airship, inflated, aloft from the pressure of the atmosphere around it - a social Jupiter"]
I hope he's happier now.
*this is a defensive take on Borges's poem 'Music Box', in which 'shyness of melancholy ' is invoked as a successful containment of desperation at the arrival and passing of time.