I had a piece in yesterday’s Guardian about Rowan Williams’ Dimbleby lecture. While it was being edited, a voice down the line said “Can we use the email address at the bottom of your letter? Does it work?” And I said, yes, of course it bloody works. How do you think you got the copy?
Only when the paper was printed did I see they had used “firstname.lastname@example.org” which was a private account to which no one except the cron daemon at Cornerhost is ever meant sent mail. I must have been reading something there when I replied to them. So its publication works like the emergence of a lifeless volcanic island in the empty arctic sea. What spores will reach it first?
So far, I have had
- One earnest and thoughtful fan letter about my views on the MIddle Eastern conflict. I sent back a brief and, I hope, courteous reply suggesting that this was meant for some other article on the page; by return of (e)post I got the same letter again.
- One message that read, in full, if not in HTML,
****** Message from InterScan E-Mail VirusWall NT ****** ** WARNING! Attached file target.bat contains: WORM_KLEZ.H virus Attempted to clean the file but it is not cleanable. It has been deleted. ***************** End of message ***************
- And — of course — a letter addressed to “dear Sir/Ma” from Mr Frank Edward Jr, the son of Steve Mbeki Edward, whose mother Clara got my address “From her private search of the Internet.” You may think “Mbeki” is an unusual name for a white Zimbabean farmer, but your doubts will evaporate once you realise that he has $23,000,000 to smuggle out of the country …