In odd moment, when I'm bored, tired, lonely, or usually when I've just read something that annoys me, I pick up my pen, scribble a quick letter, and send it to the offensive publication. If I'm lucky, they publish it. If I'm very lucky, they pay. Why not earn £10 for 2 minutes work (that's the equivalent £300 per hour, slightly above the National Minimum Wage). They also give an insight into the soul - sometimes a few lines can say a lot more about someone than a whole novel.
Links to the magazine or newspaper's website are provided where possible.
25TH AUGUST 2006
At least Robbie Williams is totally honest about his inability to remain faithful. His attitude is far preferable to all the people in relationships having secret affairs behind their partners back. With Robbie, you know exactly where you stand.
28TH APRIL 1998 - TOP LETTER
Having heard England's official World Cup song, I think I'll stick with 'Three Lions'. The Spice Girls & Co sound too much like a car commercial, and I'm sure at least four of them know nothing about football. Frank Skinner and David Baddiel's anthem is straight from the hearts of two passionate fans. It's the song everyone will be singing in France and at home this summer.
4TH OCTOBER 1996
After Lottery winner Karl Crompton's third motorcycle crash perhaps lotto tickets should carry a health warning stating: "Spending winnings on powerful vehicles you can't control properly can cause death." How long before Karl kills himself or someone else.
14TH JUNE 1995
Cash from the National Lottery could be used to reduce unemployment. Camelot should pay sweepers to pick up discarded Instants scratchcards. My precinct looks like a National Littery Zone.
7TH APRIL 1998 - SOAP WON'T WASH
I can't understand the fuss people made of Deirdre being jailed in Coronation Street - old ladies wanting to go to court to support her and people campaigning to 'Free the Weatherfield One'. Now actor Owen Aaronovitch - the conman Jon Lindsay who put Deirdre behind bars - has gone into hiding in Spain rather than be lynched. If people put this much energy into helping their real-life friends, the world would be a happier place.
27TH MARCH 1997 - DEAN HAS BOTTLED OUT
I'm glad Eastender Dean Gaffney gets 'an incredible feeling' from being the father of his ex-girlfriend's twins and from bottle feeding them both a few times. I wonder if, as an absent father, he's had the full pleasure of the dirty nappies, the sleepless nights, the teething etc. Will he still find it 'incredible' after that?
JANUARY 2006 - DID ENGLAND'S CRICKET TEAM DESERVE A STAMP ISSUE?
Like the rest of England I'm delighted that the Ashes have been regained, but does this justify the issue of stamps? After all, it wasn't a World Cup victory. And would it have been considered if the England teams of recent years hadn't been so poor and had therefore won Ashes series on a regular basis? My 10-year-old son Billy has just beaten me at table football for the first time, an achievement that to him is as great as that of the England team. So how about a stamp issue for him?
I've just read another article on how Southgate and Co are cashing in on their penalty misses. Crap! At least their advert is better than Cantona's sad Eurostar effort - is he cashing in on being French? "You need the space to move, to work, to breathe." More crap! You only need the space if you plan to gallically gesticulate all the way to Paris. And I've never heard of anyone suffocating on a train because the seats are too close together. As for working, isn't Eric a professional footballer? I didn't see him curling free kicks in standard class compartments, or tucking away penalties in the buffet car. I only heard him twittering about birds singing. Perhaps players should give up advertising and stick to kicking balls. It's what they're paid most for - I think!
SEPTEMBER 1995 - FOOT FETISH
You wanted to know what cats dream about. Our little tabby, Nipper, undoubtedly dreams about hunting. I know this because he sleeps on the end of my bed, and if ever my feet stick out from my duvet, he attacks them while he is still fast asleep. I'm left covered in scratches, and it's a wonder I've any toes left. That's also how Nipper got his name.
AUGUST 1995 - DAD'S EYE VIEW
Further to Gillian Thornton's article on lateral thinking for article writers, it is always worth looking for a new angle on an old subject. For example, baby magazines are keen on readers' experience articles, in particular birth stories. One publication, claiming to be for both parents, carried several stories from mothers and some from couples, but none putting across the father's point of view. I set about filling this gap, sending in a piece unfortunately much longer than they usually use. However, a few months later, because of my new slant, it was accepted, a success more sweet for being my first published piece.
4TH MARCH 1996
Having read his letter I believe Peter H. has failed to understand the concept of the Big Issue. This magazine is sold on the streets by the homeless for 70p, 40p of which goes directly to the vendor. Selling it in a newsagent, therefore, would completely defeat it's objective. I agree there is an ever increasing number of vendors on Norwich's streets. Surely this shows how bad the homelessness problem is in the city. Mr. H. may find them annoying,but would he be more annoyed if they simply sat in shop doorways and begged? They are just trying to help themselves to find a better way of life. Please give them a break
8TH JULY 1995
I was interested to read of the Make-a-Foundation and their Odd Sock Week (July 3-9). Personally I would join in, but as I wore nothing but odd socks between 1987 and 1991, I think I'd have trouble finding sponsors. People would often stop me and ask me "why?", to which I replied "why not?" After giving me a strange glare and a shrug, they left me alone. Sadly my unmatching exploits came to an end when my fiancee refused to marry me unless I conformed with society. I did, and I haven't looked back, or down at my feet since.
I hope everyone taking part can answer the questions about their socks the same way I did, with a smile, and not only will they raise a fortune, but they'll discover it's fun to be different. Good luck to them all.
17TH OCTOBER 1996 - HOMES WITH A BLEAK OUTLOOK
I agree wholeheartedly with the chairman of Broadland council's health and housing committee. It is appalling that so many of the houses around St Andrew's Hospital, one of which we occupy, are standing empty when they could be used by homeless families. We've seen at least six perfectly good houses boarded up needlessly. However, what would happen to the families after they moved in? We were homeless when we moved into this "temporary accommodation." That was two and a half years ago. Now we have a house we are no longer homeless so not a priority for rehousing. We just have to sit and wait for the impending redevelopment. No-one can tell us when this will happen - it could be years, or months. Meanwhile our lives are in limbo. For example, is it worth redecorating or replanting the garden, when bulldozers could soon be moving in? It would be the same for anyone else moving in. And what happens when the houses are demolished? A neighbour was recently given an eviction notice - part of the process of repossessing the properties before redevelopment. When she told Broadland Council she was told there was a good possibility of her being put into bed and breakfast. Will the situation be any better in the future, or will the homeless families move in, only to be returned to bed and breakfast before long?
All parties involved have got to get together to decide for definite what to do with these properties, and so end the uncertainty of those of us living here and the families who need houses quickly. By all means use them as temporary accommodation, but make sure it is temporary and that the families are suitably rehoused afterwards.
7TH MARCH 1996
So Ipswich is to have a new 13-screen cinema, built by MGM. This adds to the existing state of the art Odeon Film Centre already operating in the town. If Ipswich Town Council can see the benefits of a multiplex cinema, why can't Norwich City Council? It was the council's objections to developments at Costessey and Thorpe St Andrew that led to the plans being dropped. It believed these developments would take business away from the city centre cinemas and restaurants. This would not be the case. People would continue to use the city centre because of the wider choice of restaurants and bars. At Nottingham, a 13 screen Showcase multiplex on the outskirts happily co-exists with city centre Odeon and MGM Cinemas.
Norwich City Council's preference is for Riverside to be developed, but this would cause major traffic congestion, and surely a multiplex so close to the the city centre would force the closure of any nearby conventional cinema. The lack of a multiplex cinema not only puts Norwich behind Ipswich, but also Peterborough and Northampton. These are all towns, while Norwich is a city. Councillors should open their eyes, look at the benefits, and let the developers go ahead. What better way to celebrate a Century of Cinema than by building the Cinema of the Century?
JANUARY 1995 - THE BEST OF CARE
I would like to thank all the staff at the maternity unit of the Norfolk & Norwich Hospital who helped in the safe delivery of my son William on January 9th. From the moment we arrived to the moment of the caesarian section, we were kept fully informed and advised by all the doctors and midwives, and they did their best to reassure us in a very stressful time.
This is the third hospital my wife has given birth in, and the care was by far the best. Pregnant women of Norfolk be assured you will be in very safe hands.
11TH NOVEMBER 1994
Re: "Natural Born Killer". "It's not our job to be censors," said the spokesman for Showcase Cinemas. "We played the film in America and it made money." It's that sort of attitude from cinemas and especially video rental shops, a "take the cash and run" outlook which results in many children seeing unsuitable 15 and 18 certificate films. For the record, cinemas may not be censors, but they do have a responsibility to uphold the censors' decision. That is part of the job they are licensed to do. In my time as a cinema manager, I always stuck to the certificates, even if I disagreed with them. On one occasion I was assaulted by an angry father when I refused to let his 4-year-old son watch a 12 certificate film. Perhaps that man had seen too any violent movies.
In my opinion, the BBFC is very inconsistent in the way it censors violence (for example, why was Jurassic Park given a PG rating?), but in the case of Natura Born Killers they've made the right decision. If there's even just a small chance that one person could be hurt by someone influenced by the film then it should not be released.
(Since I wrote this letter, and having seen the film, I am now of the opinion that Natural Born Killers shouldn't have been released, because it's rubbish!)
August 16 2007 I'd like to thank all the staff, residents and relatives at Sanford House Nursing Home and Caring Homes Ltd for supporting me with my recent charity run. In February I couldn't run 200 metres to the end of the road. With their encouragement and support I successfully completed the 10K Great Capital Run in London last month in just under one hour ten minutes, running every step of the ay and raising £300 for the Alzheimer's Society in the process. Without hem it would have been a lot more difficult. I am now undertaking another 10K run in September in aid of Cancer Research in memory of my father, and again they're helping me along. Anyone who wishes to sponsor me can do so at www.justgiving.com/mikerad4cancer. October 19 2006
I'd like to thank all the staff, residents and relatives at Sanford House Nursing Home and Caring Homes Ltd for supporting me with my recent charity run. In February I couldn't run 200 metres to the end of the road. With their encouragement and support I successfully completed the 10K Great Capital Run in London last month in just under one hour ten minutes, running every step of the ay and raising £300 for the Alzheimer's Society in the process. Without hem it would have been a lot more difficult.
I am now undertaking another 10K run in September in aid of Cancer Research in memory of my father, and again they're helping me along. Anyone who wishes to sponsor me can do so at www.justgiving.com/mikerad4cancer.
October 19 2006
I would like to publicly thank all the staff at Northgate High School, Dereham for helping my children settle into their new school so quickly. Billy (year 7) was nervous as he was expecting another year of middle school in Norwich before our sudden move to Dereham, so had only a couple of weeks to prepare for the jump to high school. Amy (year 10) had bad experiences with bullies at her previous school which I feel were never fully dealt with. Now both of them seem to look forward to school each day. It makes a huge difference to me knowing that my children are happy in their new environment.