I’ve been trying to pretend that I’m too cool to blog about this, but I’m not…
On Friday night I was invited to a reception at Downing Street – or, as Sarah Brown rechristened it for the evening, Downing Tweet. She’d invited an eclectic cross-section of her followers – I was part of a fairly large Labour contingent, but Kirstie ‘Biggest Tory on Question Time’ Allsopp was there as well, not to mention gazibillions of tweeting moms. Oh, and Beverley Knight. I’d sort of forgotten Beverley Knight existed. But standing among various minor celebrities, drinking wine and watching one of the Midlands’ finest divas hit high notes with impossible volume at a private performance in front of the Downing Street Christmas tree, might make a fan out of you.
Turns out Beverley Knight is one of those singers who likes to do the actions. Every time she sang ‘shoulda woulda coulda means I’m out of time’ she looked at an imaginary watch. It coulda got a bit annoying. But there’s another line in that song which goes ‘People ask how it feels to live the kind of life others dream about…’ (hence the title of this blog. I don’t have the kind of life others dream about, unless they dream about Twitter and ‘phone canvassing and Greater Manchester public transport) and as she sang it she raised her arms and looked around the room like she couldn’t believe where she was. I liked that. I liked the idea that even if you’re a talented and famous person who probably gets to do this sort of thing all the time, you might not find it easy to get used to.
I don’t get to do that sort of thing all the time. I probably never will again. I was as uncool as you can possibly imagine. When Sarah Brown sent me a direct Twitter message, asking for my postal address so she could send my invitation, I accused her of having been twitter-hacked. When Rebecca Front arrived at the event I squealed “It’s Nicola Murray!…wait, she’s not a real politician.” When the Prime Minister asked me what the big issues on Twitter might be in the run-up to the general election, I couldn’t think of a single word in the English language. Not even 140 characters’ worth.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, it’s amazing what happens because of Twitter. I – the least important person in the Labour Party; the kind of person people look around (or over) to see if there’s anyone more useful in the room – get to meet these amazing people. I learn about their activism, in the Labour Party and the women’s movement and the environmental movement. And we all get to talk about the things that are important to us and the causes we care about.
So on that note, since Sarah Brown was kind enough to invite me for an evening I shall always remember – even after I was unintentionally so rude to her! – allow me to plug the cause that means the most to her: Million Mums. Sign up at the website if you haven’t before (you don’t need to be a mom. Do it for your mom). I’ve blogged before about the appalling facts of maternal mortality, but let me remind you: worldwide, 1400 women die every day in pregnancy or childbirth. We wouldn’t let it happen here. Click above to donate or to organise an event – why not a tweet-up of your own? – and spread the word…and don’t forget to follow @SarahBrown10 and @WRAGlobal on Twitter.