Monday, 9 August 2010

Letter to BBC Technology

Note: This is a bit of an aside, intended in a more serious manner than the previous posts in this blog. There isn't much to laugh at here, beyond what the BBC terms "journalism".

Dear BBC Technology,

I'm quite frankly irritated by the standard of the Technology section on the BBC News website. It often seems like the authors of the articles do not take the subject seriously. Although I recognise that these articles have to be accessible to those who are not technologically-minded, in many cases the BBC leans towards a human interest angle. While articles of this nature are occasionally a worthy read, there needs to be more discussion of technological aspects of topics, something I would have thought is the most obvious thing to do.

I was intially intrigued by the article on fashion meeting technology, but it descended into banal nonsense about people making jewellery out of circuit boards. This method of mixing fashion and technology fails to make use of the technology inherent in circuit boards, so it does not really warrant being covered in such an article. There are plenty of websites that select worthier topics of interest in the technological spectrum and cover these with more gravitas than the BBC. That said, it is entirely possible to take a more relaxed approach to technology journalism, while informing readers and introducing them to new concepts, as Ars Technica formidably does.

I hope you can take these comments on board and make an effort to increase the standard of your technology coverage, otherwise you will certainly be losing this particular reader.

Yours sincerely,


PS: Don't get me started on how pedestrian Click is. If people want to find out about websites they can go online and do that; Click should make a more serious attempt at introducing people to new technology.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Letter to Jamie Cullum

Dear Jamie Cullum,

I am actually writing to you not because I specifically wish to write letters to you, but because my friend Josh is a big fan of yours. You probably get lots of letters like this, and don't have the time to read all of them, but I think you should read this one, for Josh's sake. That is not me telling you what to do, mind,
because that would be presumptuous of me and fairly impolite. I merely suggest gently that you continue to read this jumble of prose, but if you don't I won't get upset. Josh might, though, but I'll give him a cup of tea and maybe he will recover.

Josh has never seen you live. I have promised him that the next time you play in the vicinity, we shall attend your concert. I did express concerns that he might faint, and I would have to ask a kindly looking burly man to catch him. Josh is very tall, you see, so it would be quite impractical for me to catch him. Perhaps I should train to catch Josh? It is inevitable he will be so filled with joy and wonder at the sight of you that he swoons and collapses, and as his friend I should support him. Literally. It would be kinder than forcing a stranger to intervene.

Really, I'm not sure what to write in this letter. I wrote a letter to Danny Wallace because he is amazing and wonderful (if you haven't heard of him I think you should look him up on Amazon, he is very funny and I'm sure you get bored on tour so his books would be able to stop your boredom and entertain you) and asked Josh if I should follow it up with one to you. He said I should, in French. Sometimes Josh speaks in other languages. This is because Josh is very clever. I am sure you would be impressed if you were to have a conversation with him. He can speak Russian, French, Italian, and even English! I apologise, that sounded a little like I was trying to advertise Josh to you. Josh is a person, not an object. He is a very good person, as far as people go, though. I will stop talking about Josh now, since you will probably meet him one day and find out what he is like for yourself.

I expect most people write to you with requests for signed pictures and things. I feel that is a bit cheesy, to be honest. I'm sure it makes people very happy, though. If you do feel like sending Josh your autograph, let me know. I could provide an SAE or something. His birthday is in November and I'm sure he would love it. Then again he might faint into his birthday cake and that would be quite sad. I would have to make sure someone is there to catch him. Nobody else in our flat would be able to, since we are all shorter than Josh. He is very tall. He is not a giant, though.

Actually, maybe you would be interested to know that I play the piano too? I don't play jazz music though, I like to play Baroque. I can also whistle very well. I note that you use whistling as a wonderful flourish in the song "Get Your Way". It is the only song of yours I own, since I usually listen to rock music. What sort of music do you like? I am sure Josh would appreciate some recommendations. Josh also likes rock. He is a well-cultured person. Sorry, I said I'd stop going on about Josh. Sorry.

I know I keep going off on tangents, but I ought to explain a bit more. I wrote to Danny Wallace for career advice, since I thought broadcasting and writing amusing books would be fun. (You can read my original letter here.) However, my ultimate aim is to become a music journalist. This is where I think you might be able to help me. Have any journalists ever said anything horrid to you? Is there anything I should avoid when interacting with musicians? (Actually, you might include "writing strange letters" as an answer to that. Please don't. It would hurt, and I'm sure you don't like upsetting little girls. Josh might have to make me TWO cups of tea to calm me down.)

To be honest, I'm quite moved by the reaction you cause in Josh. Your musical prowess is something that provokes such a feeling of adoration in him, simply unimaginable. He worships you. I don't really know how you feel about this, since I don't know you very well. At all. If someone felt the same way about my music as Josh does about yours, I would be quite overwhelmed, honestly.

I'm sorry to just attack you with all this information. It is a little forward of me. Perhaps you won't ever read this. That would be quite sad, since Josh does love you a lot. Not as a person, since he doesn't know you, but as a musician. Maybe you can give me some advice on what to do about Josh's infatuation? It's not very healthy in a 19 year old man. He should be out riding motorcycles and doing reckless things like that, not sitting indoors glued to the radio with your music on repeat.

I wonder how you are, today? People probably don't stop to consider that you might just want an ordinary conversation. I expect you won't have to time to reply, but you might say "I'm fine, how are you?" In which case, I'm fine too. I have a bit of a cold though. I hope you don't get ill on tour too much. That would be quite annoying. I can't be in a band because I get sick a lot. It's not fair, but I have accepted it. This is why becoming a music journalist is a better occupation. Music journalists do not typically go on tour.

Well, I think I've written enough. If you've managed to read this, thank you very much, it's very kind of you to do so. Josh and I both appreciate it very much. If you didn't read this, we are mildly upset but we understand you are a busy man.

Then again, maybe you don't get many letters like this one...

Yours sincerely,


PS: My friend Sarah likes your cover of "Frontin'". I also enjoy it, I think it is a relaxing listen.
PPS: I just went on your website and I note that you request people make a donation with their signed photo requests. This is a good idea. Perhaps I will do this for Josh, so you can ignore the bit above about autographs.
PPPS: Since I wrote this I managed to offend Josh so now I have to get your autograph to make it up to him. I would have got it for him anyway because I am good friend, but this means it is imperative I do so. Don't worry, Josh and I are still friends, because our friendship doesn't depend on things like autographs.

Monday, 28 June 2010

Letter to Current Tenants of Tom's New House

Dear current tenants,

I am entirely shocked and disturbed that you seem to be causing issues for my good friend Tom. Your housing contract ends on 30th June 2010, which means you must return all keys and vacate the property before 1st July 2010.

Tom and his fellow flatmates are kind people and have agreed to let you stay until the morning of 1st July. This in itself is going beyond the terms of your contract, but I now learn you are taking advantage of this generosity and insisting you cannot return all the keys to the landlord until 3rd July.

I must stress that this is quite simply unacceptable. Tom does not have anywhere else to go. He is fully entitled to a vacated property on 1st July 2010 and if you do not allow him this, you are breaking the terms of your contract.

Poor Tom wishes to move into his new flat on 1st July. By refusing to vacate the premises, you are forcing him to sit on the side of the pavement with his multitudes of vinyl records and other assorted posessions looking like something off an album cover.

While I would jump at the opportunity to take artistic photos of Tom in this setting, as a friend I have to put his needs first and he needs a home. He has paid for his home, and he does not need awkward stragglers who can't get organised cluttering up his home.

I would be entirely horrified if I moved into my new flat and found some random peasants filling up the hallway. As Tom is a polite person, he is reluctant to contact the landlord about this issue. I personally think he should get the landlord to cart you away on the 1st July, leaving him the freedom of enjoying his new home.

However, it is not up to me. Either Tom will have to put up with your incredible impoliteness or you will have to seek alternative arrangements. I think the latter is the only suitable course of action.

Yours sincerely,


PS I will throw a mouldy burrito at you if you carry on being rude to Tom.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Une Lettre Pour Josh, En Français.

Cher Josh,

Bonjour! Je vais écrire en français à toi parce que tu parle avec moi en français quelque fois. C'est un peu déroutant, mais je comprends tout le temps.

Aujourd'hui j'ai regardé la télé. Il y avait ‹‹Project Runway››; c'était amusant parce que les gens sont fou, comme toi. Après ça, j'ai regardé le tennis. C'est un merveilleux match! Mais un ami de ma soeur est ici, et son grandmère est ici aussi. Ils sont Italien et ils veulent régarder le foot (Italie contre Slovaquie). Pour cinq minutes, je n'ai peux pas regarder le tennis! Quelle horreur!

J'ai dit à Sarah, ‹‹Dit à moi si quelque chose intéressant se passe au tennis, s'il te plaît!››. Sarah a dit ‹‹Il y a un dinosaure à Wimbledon! Il a mangé John McEnroe!›› Quelle dommage! Rapidement, j'ai ouvrir une autre fenêtre pour regarder le tennis au BBC iPlayer. Il n'y avait pas un dinosaure. Sarah est une menteuse.

Après quelque temps, Isner a gagné le match, 70 - 68! C'est un résultat extraordinare! Mais c'est un peu triste pour moi, parce que le français, Mahut, a perdu le match, et Josh, nous sommes un peu français, non? Nous pouvons parler en français, et c'est en assez.

Alors, je vais dire ‹‹Tu est vraiment fou, Josh!›› Tout les gens pense ça. J'espère que tu réponds vite!

Je t’embrasse très fort (et Sarah s'embrasse toi aussi, vraiment fort),


PS Je suis vraiment désolé, parce que mon français n'est pas couramment.

Letter to Danny Wallace

Dear Danny Wallace,

I am writing to you to ask for some advice. I have been considering my future career plans, and having decided I may pursue a career in radio, I thought of famous figures in broadcasting who I could turn to. As I don't personally know any famous broadcasters, I put my suggestions to my friend Josh. Josh is very tall and likes to run. Perhaps that means he is a little insane, but he means well. He was incredibly supportive, as friends are, and even told me of his plans. "I wish to be King of England," he proclaimed, "but I'm starting to think that's not the dead certainty I always presumed it was going to be." I'm sure you will agree from my brief description of Josh that he has many of the qualities required to be King of England, but my mind chanced upon something which would suit both Josh and me perfectly. We could become Danny Wallace and Dave Gorman.

At this point I should mention that Josh is an incredibly talented writer, spinning multitudes of words together in a fashion akin to only one other incredible writer: Danny Wallace. I had initially thought I could aspire to be Danny Wallace, but after a short discussion I realised that I am not of the same calibre. Instead, with my slightly more level-headed consciousness, I would be more suited to following the Dave Gorman pathway. I shall give you an example: Josh recently made friends with some rather vivacious balloons and they hit it off, so much so that he invited them back for dinner. This is what I believe Danny Wallace would do. However, I would not have grown too attached to the balloons, and merely left the interaction at that. This is what I believe Dave Gorman would do. Clearly, Josh and I are the right kind of people to become Danny and Dave. We are aware that there is a lot of work to do before we can reach your wonderfully high calibre, but we are dedicated to this pathway. At least, I am. I should probably check with Josh before he signs his life away to various book deals and such.

In conclusion, I would like to know if you have any thoughts on this pursuit. Do you have any pointers you could provide us with? Are there any useful shortcuts we can take in our path to be as successful as Danny Wallace and Dave Gorman? Do you even think this noble aim is achieveable at all? I would be greatly interested to know, however harsh the realities may be. Perhaps you can read through some of Josh's material to evaluate if it is of the correct Danny Wallace mentality? You can find it here. I regret that I cannot provide you with anything beyond this letter as I feel Josh's writing skills are far better than mine; my meagre scribblings would simply pale in comparison. Thank you in advance for any help you can provide.

Yours sincerely,