The Mail

Another issue, another sack o’ mail. Crank letter of the year to date:

Gustav Gustavsson, Iceland – “We have Trash City in our school library for pubic [!] reading. Last week we had “Man Eaten by Polar Bear” and “Penguins from Outer Space Raped my Daughter” stories in the Daily Nordvik Icicle. Very much we like the back cover. We go everywhere by train now [???]. Trash City would be even better if it wasn’t printed entirely upside-down”

Something causes me to doubt the authenticity of this letter. Perhaps it was the 19p stamp on it, perhaps the Basingstoke post-mark… Onto reality. The new format was welcomed all round and there were plaudits generally for the piece on “Gwendoline” :

  • Glyn Williams, Mickleover – “The most polished and entertaining piece of writing I’ve read in ages.”
  • Ben Gruber, New York – “Gwendoline [is] ‘The Perils of Gwendoline in the Land of Yik Yak’ over here”

Figures – we British always seem to end up with duller titles than abroad, e.g. “View to a Kill” became “The Indestructible Iron Man Fights Against the Electronic Gang” by the time it got to Hong Kong. More mixed reactions for ‘Nightmares…’ :

  • BG – “A good takeoff”.
  • Alun Fairburn, Ammanford – “…pretty enjoyable, a great idea”.
  • Richard Owen, Skewen – “Just dreadful, get rid of it quick!”

“Half-Way to Heaven” also got a variety of responses:

  • GW – “…remember how you feel when everyone in the office starts arriving with their packets of holiday photos…”
  • AF – “Your vacation story was well written and a welcome change.”

The opinions on Film Blitz were almost neatly divided down the middle. Some people wanted longer reviews, others liked the short ones. Personally, very few of the films that I see NEED pages of reviews – however, last time I did feel I had to write no more than three lines, which in some cases was just too little. I’ve now loosened the restrictions – where a film deserves more, it’s got it & where three lines are enough (you try writing any more on “The Streetwalker”!), I’ve said no more. Speaking of which :

GW – “The idea of selecting short quotes from letters is interesting, but may in the future stop the development of interesting points of vi..”

That’s quite enough there, Glyn. Since his letter came in at 10 sides of thoroughly enjoyable A4 plus appendices, I sympathise with him. Most other letters, though, are very much a series of short points, which is only to be expected when I ask for people’s opinions on a collection of articles. No-one should refrain from expressing longer viewpoints since if they’re too long for the letters page, I can just as easily strip them out and use ’em as articles. Onto the back-handed compliments section :

Simon Wood, Blewbury – “…pleased to see that you are as opinionated as ever!”

Hmmm. I prefer to think of it as having the courage of my convictions – at least, I’ve got the courage, Steve’s got the convictions [society’s to blame, Steve?]. I’ll forgive him since he enclosed five pages of Nastassja-pics, always a good way to get into my favour. A couple of people still don’t quite seem to have grasped this trash thing QUITE right:

  • Andrew Jones, Huddersfield – “More articles on Trash Music i.e. Stock, Aiken and Waterman.”
  • Claire Blamey, Norwich – “I am a [Dustin] Hoffman fan…”

Oh dear. At this stage I might venture to suggest they are subscribing to the wrong magazine, except that since they represent about 8% of our readership, I don’t want to lose them – I’ll just grit my teeth, smile sweetly and recount the apocryphal tale about Hoffman taking a girl back to his apartment. He suggests putting a film on, she agrees. Turns out, not only does it star Dustin himself, but he insists in fast-forwarding through the scenes he doesn’t appear in. Finally, for those of you who missed out on the free video offer, here’s a selection of comments from those who got the films:

  • GW – [“Virgin Among the Living Dead”] “The end came as a blessed relief. No sex, no blood, no point.
  • Tommy Campbell, Glasgow – [“Queens of Evil”] “Almost managed to stay awake…very dull.”
  • SW – [“Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue”] “…wasn’t the greatest but provided a few laughs, especially the awful accents and flares!”

I DID warn you! Keep them coming, in any case. All letters will be considered as publication material, unless you say otherwise. The more controversial the contents, the better. Send an SAE if you’re in any hurry for a reply, otherwise I tend to wait until you’re getting sent the next issue. And the used stamps on your letters go to buy a guide dog or something, so you can feel morally superior, too!