This first step towards interactivity was not as popular as all this blogging malarkey might make you think. My first proper employer – a Stockport public relations consultants – had a publishing arm that produced an equestrian magazine called Hoofprint. It did okay, but we had to make up letters to fill the space and on one occasion competition entries (this was tricky, as I had to make sure my entries were good enough to be printed as runners-up without bettering the winners).
Anyway. There are still some good old-fashioned letters pages and Katharine and I make a point of checking out the Manchester Evening News’s postbag every night. 153,125 copies of the MEN are sold each day, making it the UK’s third biggest evening newspaper and even they print almost every letter they receive; look here and here’s a cracker. Then there’s the pennames people use…
It’s sad that Postbag’s web presence – www.manchesteronline.co.uk/postbag is so poorly maintained. Some days’ letters get uploaded, some don’t. I guess there’s some bored geek whose job it is to upload the daily rants and that some days he (almost certainly he) simply can’t be bothered (probably writing his blog). Which is a shame because I wanted to share the letter of an old Swintonian called Ed, published on Monday 26 April. With the web archive skipping a couple of days, I used a feedback form to ask if Monday would appear and to my surprise – I was expecting to get the bored geek – the operations director of Guardian Media Group’s regional digital division replied in such a way as to reveal he knew little of blogs and even less of the MEN’s postbag’s place on his website.
So it falls to me to bring Ed to cyberspace. Ed hasn’t gotten over Swinton’s absorption by the City of Salford in 1974; ‘Real Swinton people still detest Salford and all it stands for…when I pass the Salford sign… I feel it should not be there… oh and I come from Lancashire not Manchester or Salford’. I don’t believe Ed. I think he’s gotten a little carried away. Should I ever go the same way, please shoot me.