Friday, May 26, 2006

Don't Stand So Close To me

I’ve probably mentioned/bored you with this before, but as well as sending a 600+ word article to the newspaper every week, I also have to send them two small 100 word snippets commenting on something topical. This is so the paper can add a graphic or a photograph to attract the reader’s attention and suck them in to having a go at actually reading the words. For obvious reasons I usually try and mention Gillian Anderson whenever I can.

More often than not though, I find myself scrambling about 15 minutes before the deadline trying to find something suitable. Such was the case a few weeks ago when I happened to stumble across a story which mentioned that Sting had been given an honorary degree recently by Newcastle University.

This gave me the licence to have my usual moan about him not reforming The Police and I sent the paper this photo from a few years ago featuring Sting and I at a book signing. His, not mine.

As a throwaway line to use up the 100 words, I invited readers to write in and tell me what they thought his response had been when I’d asked about the whole Police reformation thing. (I also lied and said there would be a stunning prize for the best entry.) When I’ve tried this crafty ploy in the past, I’ve never had much – okay, any - response (presumably because the readers are too busy looking at the photos of Gillian Anderson) but in the past few weeks I’ve received four, count ‘em, FOUR replies of varying degrees of surrealness-ness and I reproduce them now below for your reading pleasure. I swear I’m not making these up.

1. This first one arrived last week in the form of a letter – yes, a REAL letter written with pen and paper and everything – from a girl in the Western Isles of Scotland. I liked it a lot because she’d obviously put some thought into it and I know from personal experience that living on these islands can often feel like being the caretaker of that hotel in The Shining. It said…

Dear Neil. I could imagine Sting’s answer to your “yes must be the answer” question being quite long-winded and going something like this:- “As you know Neil, every Police story has a sting in the tale – uh – if you want to spread a little happiness, don’t stand so close to me as I can feel every breath you take; just don’t think for a minute you’ve got me wrapped around your finger – I will, within the next year, send you a message in a bottle to answer your question and until then de do do do, de da da da.” All work and no play makes Morag a dull girl… All work and no play makes Morag a dull girl…

Okay, I made up that last bit (her name was actually Margo) but I thought it was cute when she underlined the song titles to make sure I got the gist.

2. The other three entries arrived via that new-fangled email thingy and were forwarded to me by the paper this week. The first of them took a similar tack to the one above and read…

Neil, I reckon that Sting gave you a chorus of his old hit, “Don't stand so close to me.” Regards, Steve from Luton.

Things are obviously less dull in Luton.

3. The tone of the correspondence got a bit stranger as I read the third one…

Hi Neil, by the look of the photo in today's paper, I think he whispered “sorry my name's Liam Neeson, Sting’s in tomorrow”........ oh and by the way you look the smug one from Westlife lol. Regards, Tom

I wrote back immediately of course to point out that I am, in fact, the fat one from Westlife.

4. And finally the coup de grace (from the French “coup de” meaning “written by” and “grace” meaning “drug addict”) which stated simply…

C*NT... oh well i do stay in glenrothes… it does look that YOU would say it… oh well maybe not win, but you never know… p.s. oh f*ck it, yeah c*nt… keep up the good work… Peter

Touché mon amie. I have no answer to that.


At 28/5/06 5:36 pm, Blogger Lesley said...

Why are you wringing your hands and looking so anxious? Worried you might get a tantric organsm just from standing that close to him?

At 29/5/06 12:41 pm, Blogger DC said...


is the smug/fat one from Westlife, also the gay one ?

At 30/5/06 12:16 am, Blogger Neil said...

Lesley - I'm hoping he won't noticed I've peed my pants.

Donald - The gay one in Westlife is the bass player.


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