- 22 Mar 04
In which your correspondent receives a surprisingly courteous reply to his recent devastating broadside against Metro Life magazine. Kind of.
The following is a copy of a letter which was not delivered to my house last Friday. Or indeed, ever.
Dear Mr Glendenning,
I am writing to thank you for your letter dated February 7th and also to address some of the many points you raised which, in the interests of clarity, I will attempt to deal with one by one.
First of all, we at Metro Life magazine regret that you found our recent feature entitled 50 Things Every Londoner Should Do This Year to be “an unspeakably irresponsible waste of paper, ink and valuable man-hours.” However, we feel we must take issue with your description of it as “a cravenly trendy and all too predictable cultural diktat compiled by middle-class bohemian tofu-junkies who wouldn’t know a good time if it kicked them in the swingers.”
It should go without saying that we at Metro Life respect the right of every individual to their own opinion, but we cannot help but feel that you may have taken our introduction to what was ostensibly a helpful list of suggestions as to how best bored Londoners might spend their leisure time this year a tad too literally.
For example, when we described the activities in our feature as “must-dos” for 2004, we were not actually implying that all Londoners were obliged by law to “do” them. By the same token, our legal department has confirmed that our “guarantee you’ll enjoy these” was merely a figure of speech used by an experienced sub-editor and not a legally binding contractual agreement with you, the reader. Accordingly, we must inform you that we cannot be held responsible for any physical discomfort or embarrassment you suffered while participating in suggestion No27, the Tate-to-Tate boat trip.
While we have every sympathy with your plight, we feel that anyone such as yourself who by their own admission “doesn’t have great sea legs” should know better than to book passage on water-faring vessels of any kind. Therefore, we feel under no obligation to reimburse you the £4.50 you paid for your excursion by return of post, as requested. Nor do we have any intention of “stumping up a substantial out-of-court settlement” in the hope of preventing you acting on your threat to “take the whole vomit-drenched, aquatic fiasco before a beak.”
With regard to some of your other complaints …
We are prepared to concede that your criticism of our suggestions that readers should see Dogville (No4), School Of Rock (No8), Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban (No14), Thunderbirds – The Movie (No29), and Zatoichi (No39) may have been valid. However, while you may be correct in your assertion that “recommending movies that can be seen in any multiplex in any hick backwater in the civilised world as must-dos for Londoners shows a stunning lack of imagination,” we do not agree that this should preclude us from recommending them. Despite this, we are delighted that you enjoyed Jack Black’s “stellar performance” in The School Of Rock, and promise to make every effort to print the movie’s title in its entirety in the future.
While we agree that your myriad grumbles concerning our selections in the fields of music, theatre and other areas of the performing arts “are as valid as the next man’s” we make no apologies for the choices we made. As a capital city, London is second to none when it comes to catering for all artistic tastes, which meant the experts who compiled our list were forced to exclude plays, concerts and musicals which they felt would be of limited appeal.
For example, while we accept that the only time you would pay money to see Elton John (No31) or Pink (No40) is “if they were lying on mortuary slabs with a stab-wounds in their chests and tags around their toes,” the popularity of both artists would suggest that yours is not a view shared by the majority of Londoners. Hence their inclusion. We can only assure you that the inclusion of “these preposterously coiffured, squat, self-absorbed trolls” was in no way meant as a “blatant snub” to the forthcoming Pixies residency at Brixton Academy, as you menacingly suggested.
Finally, it remains only for me to say that our novel suggestion that Londoners should get a taste of Morocco (No45) was aimed primarily at those whose budgets or schedules will not permit them to travel abroad to sample Moroccan cuisine in the coming calendar year. It should go without saying that in an ideal world most Londoners harbouring a desire to sample these culinary delights would, like you, prefer to “get on a plane and fly to fucking Morocco rather than Tube it to Hyde Park for afternoon tiffin at the Marrakesh Hotel.” Unfortunately, Mr Glendenning, it seems that not all our readers are as broad-minded and open to new experiences as you are.