Thursday, 28 June 2012

The declining art of letter writing and a famous letter

Remember yesterday's threshing?
By pure co-incidence I came across this photo in my travels through the internet.

Children at a threshing in Dungarvan around 1940


People have always communicated with one another in some written form. For a long time it was in drawings and symbols.
The ancient Egyptians and Sumerians were the first people to create a writing system.

The first letter writing manuals started coming out 1750-1800, with 400 such works in the US alone.
Until this point, it was assumed that only men wrote letters. But from the mid  18th century, gender division of letter writing began to be questioned publicly.
In 1763, the Ladies Complete Letter Writer was published. Instructions to ladies on how to write a letter differed greatly from men's instructions. Men wrote business and formal letters. The ladies wrote invitations, acceptances and more informal and gossipy letters.
Letter writing was an important part of childhood instruction.
In 1860, the post office was invented, and then letter writing really took off.
I fear that we, in our generation are witnessing a decline in the art and practice of letter writing, certainly in the practice of writing letters to relatives to keep them up to speed with our thoughts and feelings and all the tittle tattle and minutae of our lives.

I hope you are following with me the trials and tribulations of the Gleasure family of The Square as chronicled in their letters;

I have recently come across another site called "Letters of Note". It contains all kinds of interesting correspondence. I loved this one. I hope you enjoy it too.

In April of 1962, 18-year-old Keith Richards wrote the following enthusiastic letter to his aunt, "Patty," and described, amongst other things, an encounter some months previously that would ultimately change his life — the moment he met Mick Jagger for the first time since being childhood friends.

Three months after the letter was written, "The Rollin' Stones" played their first gig at the Marquee Club in London. The rest is history.

(Source: Keith Richards' autobiography, Life; Image: Keith Richards & Mick Jagger in 1963, via.)

6 Spielman Rd

Dear Pat,

So sorry not to have written before (I plead insane) in bluebottle voice. Exit right amid deafening applause.

I do hope you're very well.

We have survived yet another glorious English Winter. I wonder which day Summer falls on this year?

Oh but my dear I have been soooo busy since Christmas beside working at school. You know I was keen on Chuck Berry and I thought I was the only fan for miles but one mornin' on Dartford Stn. (that's so I don't have to write a long word like station) I was holding one of Chuck's records when a guy I knew at primary school 7-11 yrs y'know came up to me. He's got every record Chuck Berry ever made and all his mates have too, they are all rhythm and blues fans, real R&B I mean (not this Dinah Shore, Brook Benton crap) Jimmy Reed, Muddy Waters, Chuck, Howlin' Wolf, John Lee Hooker all the Chicago bluesmen real lowdown stuff, marvelous. Bo Diddley he's another great.

Anyways the guy on the station, he is called Mick Jagger and all the chicks and the boys meet every Saturday morning in the 'Carousel' some juke-joint well one morning in Jan I was walking past and decided to look him up. Everybody's all over me I get invited to about 10 parties. Beside that Mick is the greatest R&B singer this side of the Atlantic and I don't mean maybe. I play guitar (electric) Chuck style we got us a bass player and drummer and rhythm-guitar and we practice 2 or 3 nights a week. SWINGIN'.

Of course they're all rolling in money and in massive detached houses, crazy, one's even got a butler. I went round there with Mick (in the car of course Mick's not mine of course) OH BOY ENGLISH IS IMPOSSIBLE.

"Can I get you anything, sir?"
"Vodka and lime, please"
"Certainly, sir"

I really felt like a lord, nearly asked for my coronet when I left.

Everything here is just fine.

I just can't lay off Chuck Berry though, I recently got an LP of his straight from Chess Records Chicago cost me less than an English record.

Of course we've still got the old Lags here y'know Cliff Richard, Adam Faith and 2 new shockers Shane Fenton and Jora Leyton SUCH CRAP YOU HAVE NEVER HEARD. Except for that greaseball Sinatra ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

Still I don't get bored anymore. This Saturday I am going to an all night party.

"I looked at my watch
It was four-o-five
Man I didn't know
If I was dead or alive"
Quote Chuck Berry
Reeling and a Rocking

12 galls of Beer Barrel of Cyder, 3 bottle Whiskey Wine. Her ma and pa gone away for the weekend I'll twist myself till I drop (I'm glad to say).

The Saturday after Mick and I are taking 2 girls over to our favourite Rhythm & Blues club over in Ealing, Middlesex.

They got a guy on electric harmonica Cyril Davies fabulous always half drunk unshaven plays like a mad man, marvelous.

Well then I can't think of anything else to bore you with, so I'll sign off goodnight viewers


Keith xxxxx
Who else would write such bloody crap


The picture that is in every paper today

Did we ever think we would see the day? 
No bowing, apparently, but lots of smiling.

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