Sunday, March 30, 2008

Throwing Myself On The PC Bandwagon

I don't normally join campaigns. Whilst I did lend my support to the campaign to ban plastic carrier bags, I am normally happier to launch my own campaigns rather than join someone else's. Who, for example, can forget my campaign to fit modesty lids on waste bottle boxes, or my bid to get the Staunton and Stanley Ferro-concrete part-clad lamp-post on Bradley Road declared an endangered species. However, every so often a public campaign comes along - a campaign so close to the heart, a campaign so essentially right in every sense - that I can't stop myself leaping onto the band-wagon. And this weekend I have enthusiastically thrown myself onto the PC band-wagon.

It all started with an article by James Meek in yesterday's
Guardian on the glories of the British postcard. "In our age of privacy, the postcard is an endangered, subversive species", declares the title. I am hooked. Here is a philosophy that, in one fell swoop, links my intense dislike of the twenty-first century fad of middle-class privacy with my love of old picture postcards. I have not felt so excited, so motivated, since I read Frederich Engel's "Condition of the Working Class in England. I want to reach for my banner and marching boots, but instead I reach for my pen.

The actual campaign to save the Great British Postcard has been launched by Coast Magazine as a means of supporting the British seaside economy. But in his article, James Meek, rightly identifies a whole series of other reasons to celebrate the "union of card, stamp, pen address, message and postbox". There is a pleasure in seeking out an appropriate picture postcard to suit the recipient, or the intended message, or both. There is a joy in having to take time over the very physical act of sending a card which, compared to an e-mail or a text, represents a major investment of time. There is the satisfaction in knowing that you will give the postman something to read as he pounds the pavements. And there is the possibility that you might have created something which will be left at the back of a dusty drawer or the bottom of old filing cabinet to be re-discovered fifty years later. The postcard is a lasting public statement, a ticking literate time-bomb, a thing of beauty.

I am resolved to send off a postcard immediately. The nearest blank postcard to hand is a picture of Manchester Central Library. Libraries mean books and books, to me, mean my good friend Dave Hornby (the infamous dph of mythology). In future I will send off a postcard each week. It could be to anyone of my acquaintance, so be warned. If anyone is moved to respond in a similar fashion ... be my guest. Together we could start a PC revolution.

1 comment:

  1. Brilliant! But I think you need to expand this to include postcards in general.

    Personally, I almost always delete those vile "e-postcards" people sometimes send. I find them a tad insulting...

    "You're not worth the effort of picking out and purchasing a real postcard, so here's one I found on an Internet advertisement."

    Yeah, no thanks.


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For a time, during the late 1970s, I had a job leading parties of foreign visitors on tours of historic London pubs. One of my favourite sto...