My recent coffee table cum bedtime read is “Am I Alone in Thinking…?” published by British daily newspaper The Daily Telegraph. It is a compilation of unpublished letters sent in by readers and I found them highly enjoyable and entertaining.
I remembered first reading the book at a coffee shop, which on hindsight is a very bad move because I was either bursting out laughing or grinning from ear to ear all the time. The other customers probably thought I was mentally deranged but the letters were simply too good for me to contain my laughter.
Some of the contributions did make very specific references to local incidents or events that might deter those who do not follow British news closely enough. Yet as an outsider, most of them can still be easily appreciated for their perspectives, wittiness and literary value.
“The (letters) page is a daily tribute to the wisdom of crowds, a judiciously edited form of “citizen journalism” at its best. It is also a tribute to the generosity of our readers,” wrote Iain Hollingshead, editor for the book.
The use of English was a topic of of heated and animated discussion amongst the contributors with many in dismay over the mainstream media’s choice of language.
“SIR – Why do people being interviewed always say “you know” in answer to a question? If we did indeed know, then we wouldn’t be wasting our time listening to them. Gone, it would seem, are the good old days of the simple “er.””
And I was impressed by some of the readers’ efforts poured into crafting their letters, some made to rhyme, while others presented as acrostic poems in order to make their point heard about a particular issue they feel strongly for. More impressively though would be the sub-headlines, which are short but always pack a marvellous punch, epitomizing great British humour. See below for example:
SIR – For many years I have been wondering why the shape of my piece of toast and marmalade invariably looks like a map of England when I am halfway eating through it.
Perhaps it indicates the intense Englishness of the debate about marmalade on your Letters page recently. It certainly underlines the fact that there can be no other country in the world capable of maintaining such a long-running national debate about a breakfast preserve.”
“Sir- Since you reported the impending opening of a lap dancing club here in Henley-on-Thames I have organised a new glasses and a blood pressure check with my doctor. I can’t wait!”
Have a great jolly weekend ahead everyone!