Thursday, March 17, 2011

Twitter For Gentlemen

I have tried getting involved with Twitter about as many times as I have started to read Ulysses : with similar results. I know many find it fascinating, compulsive and life-enhancing, but at my age I wonder whether I have the time to spare. But I remain a keen supporter of that early prototype of Twitter (or Facebook or indeed Blogging) - the humble picture postcard. We should always remember that the great-great-grandfathers and grandmothers of the kids of today who constantly send each other little messages and pictures on their mobile phones and computers spent their time sending each other little messages and pictures through the post. But postcards are a more sedate form of blogging, a more relaxed Facebook experience. They represent Twitter for Gentlemen.

You may recall that a couple of weeks ago, Tess Kincaid and I carried out an experiment by a transatlantic exchange of postcards. There was something so satisfying about the very solidity of the postcard when it fell through my letterbox, so much more than the electronic ping of the new mail message. I was talking to my good friend Mike Lucas about postcards the other day as we sunk a good few pints at an Old Gits Luncheon. He too was a fan of postcards so a couple of days later I sent him a card and yesterday a card from him arrived in return. The front of the card is illustrated above, the reverse is as follows :


Mike is a writer and actor and founder of the Mikron Theatre Company. He is also a member of the famous Old Gits Luncheon Club. The reference in the first sentence is to the England v Scotland rugby match (England won), whilst the hillside he mentions is in the beautiful Pennine village of Marsden.

I will try to persevere with Twitter (and, who knows, I might even give Ulysses another try) but it is Twitter for Gentlemen (and of course Gentlewomen) which fascinates me. So if there is anyone else out there who wishes to exchange postcards and share them on our blogs, just let me know. Who know, together we might start a postcard revolution.

21 comments:

  1. A postcard revolution, indeed! You are right, there is something so very satisfying and tangible about holding a piece of handwritten correspondence in your hand, the texture, the image, the unique handwriting.

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  2. Tess : If there is a revolution : you were the Rosa Luxemburg to my Karl Liebknecht.

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  3. I love writing letters and cards. When travelling, I always send post cards. We're a dying breed, I'm afraid. I still send between 60-80 Xmas cards each year but the postage is now more expensive3 than the price per card!!! That's pretty daunting.

    Glad to hear someone else not able to wade through "Ulysses". I couldn't understand a bit of it. Had to study in college. ugh. I do not get the fascinating with Joyce. The Americvan version is William Faulkner. Try reading one of his books some day...zzzzz.

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  4. Yes, I can relate to the Twitter/Ulysses predicament.

    One of my prized postcards was sent to me by the late Alan Plater. I had been picking his brains regarding his TV series, The Beiderbecke Affair. He duly responded on the back of a postcard that had James Bolam and Barbara Flynn pictured on the front. From that moment, I knew he was my kind of playwright.

    Long live the revolution!

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  5. I love postcards - dont send that many but always pick a couple or three up from wherever we visit, trouble is when we go back again we always end up with duplicates.

    The digital photos always stay on the PC so hard copy is always good - Ive fancied a polaroid for those reasons but they seem impractical and probably dont even exixt any more.

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  6. I've successfully finished reading Ulysses. I haven't done anything with Twitter because I'm not online enough to make it worth it.

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  7. There is something special about receiving a card or hand penned letter in the mail box I have to admit. I'm on Twitter but never use it, then I never send postcards either.

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  8. Is the message 140 characters long? Or does it have too much character for that?

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  9. It's sorta ironic you should mention twitter today as I cant get on it at the moment (Firefox keeps booting me off it????) So I will be awol from it for a few days until all is sorted......
    Anyway.I cant remember the last time I sent a postcard.Maybe it's the future (again)?
    I always think of myself as "The Richard Brautigan of Blogging" Lord Knows What Sort Of Postcards He Would have sent...........

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  10. Alan - Like you, I tried Twitter, but I found it reminiscent of the results of a poorly phrased Google search: you can't see the wood for the trees. There just aren't enough hours in the day to sort out the interesting stuff ... and do something useful.

    My family and friends sometimes - ok, often - get exasperated with my repeated requests for postcards whenever they go on holiday, whether it's to their holiday cottage down the road or to far-flung destinations, but I get a great deal of enjoyment from receiving them. It intrigues me as to which style of card and subject each person will choose. The messages can vary from jovial to pensive and thoughtful, but are often just salutary. They are all appreciated.

    Most are put up on the kitchen wall for a few months and then, when there's no space left, removed and stored somewhere safe. Some, however, like this one recently sent to me from Krakow, don't make it to the wall display.

    I'm up for a postcard exchange any time.

    Great photo, by the way! I particularly enjoyed the unimpressed look on the right-hand pipe-smoker's face - he's seen it all before.

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  11. I have a twitter account but only because it's the fastest way to find out how long my train will be delayed. :)

    I'll send you a postcard if you send me your address!

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  12. Postcards = Twitter for Gentlemen (and Ladies, too, I assume). I like that.

    As for the more modern Twitter, it was suggested to me that I try it when it was just getting started. Me? Brief tweets? Can you imagine?

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  13. I've relegated Twitter to just folowing the BBC and Al Jazeera. Can't face hearing the minutiae of someone's daily life in small sound bytes.

    I wonder if anyone has used that expression before?

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  14. I still have no interest at all in twitter. Or facebook. I tried facebook but still did not get interested in wasting my time with it, I have lots of other things in my real life to waste time on. Ha.
    When a letter arrives in the mailbox, it is so fun that I make a point to send notes myself so others get to enjoy the same sensation.

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  15. Not a twitter fan at all but postcards are something completely different. There is no comparison between the two!

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  16. smiles. you are revolutionizing communication chap...the postal service greatly thanks you i am sure...smiles. getting post cards is rather fun...

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  17. It seems to me that the real difference between a postcard and Twitter is that a postcard is sent with one recipient in mind.

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  18. I would love to be a part of a postcard revolution, AB! I've never been interested in Tweeting because I dislike texting. Give me your snail mail address and I'll send a post card.

    As for Ulysses, I waded through that during my undergraduate days and can't say I'm any better for the experience. I empathise with your exasperation.

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  19. Alan, this is a great idea. I can only imagine the loss to literature if Churchhill or Lincoln had had Twitter in their respective days.

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  20. Snail mail would be revived and maybe stamp collectors could find more stamps to collect.I love getting the old snail mail.
    Maybe an audio book version would get you going??lol

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  21. Alan! What fun! I miss the handwritten notes that are quickly becoming passe'. I should think there is not ONE person who does not smile to find a HANDWRITTEN postcard in their mail box!

    As to Twitter...I am WITH you...tried it...have no patience for it. NO TWITTER FOR ME!

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