DESPITE two decades as an MP and rising to the ranks of Home Secretary, a life in politics wasn't always Alan Johnson's dream.

Now, the man who narrowly missed out on becoming Labour's deputy leader under Gordon Brown is bringing his first passion to Ilminster - music.

Last year Alan Johnson published his fourth book, a musical memoir entitled in My Life.

Following the theme of his previous three memoirs, Mr Johnson's titled is borrowed from the Beatles song, a band he confesses he is obsessed with.

The book, which will be discussed at Ilminster Literary Festival on Thursday (May 30), covers his musical journey until he joined politics.

Talking to the News, Mr Johnson said: "It covers 25 years from my earliest music memory to 1982, when I decided I wasn't going to be a rock and roll star or songwriting.

"That is what I had always wanted to be.

"The history of rock and roll has all been seen by 'My Generation', as The Who would have put it.

"We were there at the birth of rock and roll and saw popular music develop.

"Before that you had things like Pinky and Perky had three top 10 hits in the late 50s.

"We saw the way that the BBC had to respond to the demand to hear popular music and then Radio 1 came along.

"It is all an important part of our social history."

Alan's first musical memory is discovering Bing Crosby and Grace Kelly's 1957 hit, True Love.

He said: "I can remember hearing it on the radio at Sunday lunchtime on Two Way Family Favourites.

"It was a request programme for forces serving abroad and they could request songs for people back home, and vice versa.

"For a long time you couldn't really get popular music on the radio, but because this was a request programme it always had the hits.

"Music captures a memory like nothing else. I was living in North Kensington, my mother was cooking the Sunday lunch, and on this day True Love came on the radio.

"I remember my mum leaving the peas on the stove and sitting in her armchair and just being transported.

"People who have read my other books will know she had a hard life and she had a heart condition, but the powerful thing about music is it can just take you away and I saw her being transported by Bing Crosby and Grace Kelly.

"When I hear that song now I can still smell the roast lamb."

Mr Johnson, stood down from politics ahead of the 2017 general election, will be interviewed at the Warehouse Theatre.

He will also be discussing his other memoirs, his life in politics, and may even give a glimpse into his current project.

"I am currently working on a book of fiction, and in a way it is a completely different skill," he added.

"I am currently working on a book of fiction, and in a way it is a completely different skill.

Just because you are a good writer, it doesn't mean you are going to be good at fiction.

"I have had some success with my memoirs, but this is completely different developing plot and characters.

"It is fun being in control and to write fiction is like playing god.

"There are Russians included, a bit of romance in there, but it is not based in politics or around Whitehall.

"I just hope that people pick it up in an airport and read it on a long journey. I am not looking to win the Booker Prize."

The event is set to kick off at 7.30pm on May 30, and will be one of the festival headline events.

Mr Johnson said: "Literary festivals are always great fun.

"We will have an evening of musical memories with a bit of politics mixed in, and there will be 15 minutes for people to ask questions at the end."

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