Q travel: with BAR­RIE MA­HONEY

‘Twit­ters from the At­lantic'

Q Magazine - - News -

Bar­rie Ma­honey was a head teacher and school in­spec­tor in the UK, as well as a reporter in Spain, be­fore mov­ing to the Ca­nary Is­lands to launch and edit a new English lan­guage news­pa­per. He en­joys life in the sun as a columnist and au­thor, and con­tin­ues to write a se­ries of pop­u­lar nov­els and books for ex­pats.

Wish You Were Here When was the last time that you sent a post­card? I guess, if you are any­thing like most of the younger mem­bers of the pop­u­la­tion, it was some time ago; maybe sev­eral years. Think­ing about this ques­tion re­cently, I re­alised that I haven't sent any for sev­eral years, but with the ex­cep­tion of one of those fun and ex­pen­sive 3D pic­ture post­cards that we thought our el­derly aunt would en­joy re­ceiv­ing. Sadly, she didn't even men­tion it when I spoke to her, so I doubt it made any im­pres­sion, and we needn't have both­ered.

It came as no sur­prise to read that the UK's fore­most pub­lisher of pic­ture post­cards, J Sal­mon, is going to stop pro­duc­tion in De­cem­ber. This fam­ily-owned com­pany has been pub­lish­ing cal­en­dars and post­cards since 1880, but now sales have dried up. Charles and Harry Sal­mon, the fifth gen­er­a­tion of the fam­ily of post­card pub­lish­ers, re­cently com­mented that the pop­u­lar­ity of so­cial me­dia has had such a neg­a­tive im­pact upon their busi­ness that their pro­duc­tion was now un­sus­tain­able. Many will re­mem­ber the beau­ti­ful scenic shots, the comic ones, as well as those very ‘rude' ones that were of­ten so pop­u­lar at sea­side beach shops.

I still like to re­ceive post­cards and pin them to a dis­play board. It is fas­ci­nat­ing to re­ceive a card from some far­away place that I have never vis­ited. A post­card from some­where that I re­mem­ber is also wel­come, since it brings back many happy mem­o­ries and ex­pe­ri­ences. The clos­est that I get to this nowa­days is send­ing a ‘vir­tual post­card' to a few spe­cial peo­ple with one of my own pho­tos, by us­ing an app on my smart­phone. It is quick, con­ve­nient and good value and takes away the need to try to find a post of­fice in some for­eign land to buy a stamp, only to find that it has closed for siesta.

Do you re­mem­ber that well-worn phrase to quizzes in news­pa­pers, mag­a­zines and ra­dio shows? It was al­ways “An­swers on a post­card please”; now it is “send a text to…”, usu­ally at a pre­mium rate charge. The demise of the hum­ble post­card seems to have gone almost un­no­ticed.

As a re­place­ment for post­cards, many peo­ple now post some of the more ecstatic mo­ments of their hol­i­day ex­pe­ri­ence on Face­book, In­sta­gram and other so­cial me­dia sites. This is fine for the sender, but how many of us are bored sense­less with see­ing end­less plate­fuls of hol­i­day food from some ex­otic hol­i­day des­ti­na­tion on Face­book, and the al­co­holic “I'm all hung over” posts that seem to have re­placed the hum­ble post­card from the younger gen­er­a­tion. Are to­day's elec­tronic of­fer­ings in­tended as merely a show­case for the sender, or for the en­joy­ment of the re­ceiver, I won­der? Do we re­ally need to see yet an­other pizza or gi­ant plate­ful of a cooked English break­fast? A shot of the Lean­ing Tower of Pisa or the Syd­ney Opera House would be a nice al­ter­na­tive; just a thought.

A few years ago, I re­mem­ber spend­ing sev­eral en­joy­able hours sort­ing through a bat­tered suit­case be­long­ing to a great aunt con­tain­ing hun­dreds of sepia post­cards with stamps bear­ing the head of long dead monar­chs. Pho­to­graphs of ex­otic des­ti­na­tions, such as Wey­mouth, Edinburgh, Yar­mouth and Blackpool, pep­pered with oc­ca­sional post­cards from more ad­ven­tur­ous des­ti­na­tions, such as Venice, Bruges and Paris. As well as the fas­ci­na­tion of see­ing how pop­u­lar re­sorts have changed over the years, the com­ments on the back were of­ten very re­veal­ing.

I re­mem­ber some of the lengthy dis­cus­sions that my par­ents had when se­lect­ing post­cards for fam­ily mem­bers and friends when we were on a fam­ily hol­i­day. Should we send a scenic shot of the beach to Aunt Joy, would Un­cle Frank like some­thing a lit­tle more cul­tured, or is that one just far too rude for cousin Paul? We had bet­ter be care­ful what we write on the back of that one to Brenda, be­cause we know that her post­man al­ways reads them, and he is such a gos­sip...

I shall miss those pho­to­graphic trea­sures from J Sal­mon and other pub­lish­ers. I guess that the pub­lish­ers are right to draw a halt to the pro­duc­tion of this much loved rem­nant of the past. Like so many things in our lives, times change and maybe it is now time that the hum­ble post­card be rel­e­gated to his­tory.

If you en­joyed this ar­ti­cle, take a look at Bar­rie’s web­sites: http://bar­riema­honey.com and http://theca­nary­is­lander.com or read his lat­est book, ‘Foot­prints in the Sand’ (ISBN: 9780995602717). Avail­able in paper­back, as well as Kin­dle edi­tions.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.