Letters To The Editor: The Industrial Revolution, or Thereabouts

Written by Erskin Quint

Sunday, 5 February 2012


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It's 1753, and Thomas Earnshaw has nothing to play his Nana Mouskouri LPs on

Dear Sir,

whenever I hear the song 'I'm 'Enery The Eighth I Am', I think, "that wouldn't work if they said 'Henry' like we do in real life."

The cockney accent makes it worse; they are implying that all cockneys say "Enery" instead of Henry.

Now if they used "Emery", as in Dick Emery, that might just work, plus there would be quite a demographic to aim for when it comes to re-marketing the song to all those who remember the TV of the 1970s.

Surely the idea of someone marrying 8 men called Emery is no more unbelievable than that of someone marrying 8 men called Enery.

In fact, it's more believable. At least Emery is a real name.

It's typical of the drivel people will accept when it comes to popular entertainment. I'm glad I have my steam engines to keep me sane.

Yours faithfully,

George Stephenson
Tapton House

PS There was that athlete called David Hemery, so, to add a touch of realism, we could suppose that some of the 8 might have been called Hemery. And if the song was sung with a cockney accent, you'd never know which was which. Now that's a solution.

PPS Don't get me started on 'The Ladies Of The Harem Of The Court Of King Caractacus'.

Dear Sir,

I would like to write to you, if I may.
(this first sentence was written in 2008)

Well, not having had a response from you yet, I am writing anyway. Most of the letters you get are hardly more important than mine, so I may as well be hung for a sheep. What I am writing about is Cliff Richard's song 'Bachelor Boy'. I am writing because I want to point out what a load of old tripe this song really is.

In this song he is singing about his Father telling him to stay a bachelor until his dying day. So is he going to get married on the day he dies then? How will that be arranged, exactly? Will they arrange a marriage of convenience, then top him after the wedding?

Also, he sings that he won't forget about staying a bachelor until his dying day. So why will he suddenly forget on that day?

Then we have the 3rd verse, viz:

as time goes by I probably will
meet a girl and fall in love
then I'll get married have a wife and a child
and they'll be my turtle doves
but until then I'll be a bachelor boy
and that's the way I'll stay
happy to be a bachelor boy
until my dying day

Well, apart from the fact that it doesn't even scan and he starts going on about turtle doves (where did that come from?), there is a mystery here:

he says he will stay a bachelor boy until he gets married and that means he will be happy to be a bachelor until his dying day.

We are back with this wierd arranged marriage now, after which he gets killed. And they've dragged a child into it this time. Can you imagine the effect that would have on a child? Not only is the poor kid born out of wedlock, but they have to witness their father being killed after he gets married, just so he can fit in with the lyrics of a stupid song.

They vilified Garry Glitter, and Cliff Richard gets away with murder. Well, it's him that gets killed, so it's more like he's getting away with suicide, but you see my point. The fact that he's still playing tennis at 90 only adds insult to injury.

It explains why The Shadows mainly did instrumentals.

It's this kind of corrupt shite that has ruined the youth of this country and destroyed the family unit. They really are taking the piss with this one.

Thank goodness I have my experiments in four-field crop rotation to fall back on.

Charles 'Turnip' Townsend,

Dear Sir,

can I write in to complain about the Fruit Corner? I know I am always going on about it, but really. As ever, I only want to ask:

What is a Fruit Corner? I used to think it was a part of a grocery shop, but now that they have done away with those in favour of the supermarkets, I am all at sea for an explanation.

Nobody can tell me what it is. I'm not surprised, mind, since nobody can even tell me what a corner is, precisely. Where does the corner start, and where does it end?

So these people have made a fortune out of a load of vague drivel. It's the public who are the fools, as usual.

There was a coroner around here who had an affair with a judge which came out. But that was a fruit coroner, which is not quite the same thing.

"Not quite the same thing as what?" I hear you ask. Exactly!

I'm just glad I've got me Spinning Jenny to take my mind off things.

James Hargreaves

Dear Sir,

some say the Spinning Jenny was so named because 'jenny' is an abbreviation of 'engine'. What? How does that work then? Surely an abbreviation of engine would be 'en', or 'gin'. And if you know Mr Hargreaves like I do, then 'gin' is definitely, how you say, germane in this context. Perhaps that accounts for the other set of tales about how someone knocked over a spinning wheel and it kept working even with the spindle upright, giving old Jim the idea for his Spinning Jenny.

That sounds like a typical night at the Hargreaves'. There would be plenty of spinning going on, but it would be old Jim's head that was spinning, if you get my drift.

And don't get me started about his taste in music and yoghurt. I'm just relieved I've got my Spinning Mule to distract me from all the horror.

Yours sincerely,

Samuel Crompton

Dear Sir,

I would just like to remind your readers that I invented a spinning contraption of my own but, foreseeing that its widespread adoption would take the very bread from the mouths of the poor, I went ahead with it anyway, figuring that I would be able to retire early, to a mansion on the shores of Lake Windermere.

Only joking! Of course I didn't go ahead. I destroyed the machine, being loth to advance the cause of the Industrial Revolution and usher in the fantastical absurdities of the mechanised bourgeois state.

At least I still have my original vinyl Nana Mouskouri LPs, which I cherish, to make me smile at the end of a hard day's anti-industrialisational self-denial. I don't have anything to play the LPs on, as it's 1753 where I live, and the record player hasn't been invented yet, but that's a small price to pay for not dirtying my hands with blood money.

I did think about trying to invent a record player for a while, just for my own personal use, but I couldn't get the right sort of wood, so I gave up.

Yours faithfully,

Thomas Earnshaw

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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