“The Pen” is mightier than the sword
Aside from stories about dog-dirt-riddled pavements or brave ‘Supermums’ repeatedly giving birth in order to achieve unnecessarily large families, the undoubted lifeblood of the regional newspaper is the mentally-unhinged serial letter writer. With boundless dedication to the cause and, occasionally, a fierce intellect, this special breed of ‘letter columnists’ can be found in all corners of the country and rarely shirk an opportunity to spout forth on any topic of note. Whether it’s social ills, sociable pills or antisocial people at tills, they’re all over it in the next day’s paper.
It would appear that the Sunderland Echo has a serial letter writer on its hands in the form of the self-styled Mick “The Pen” Brown. He’s not scared to put his pen to paper and is a most enlightening man, from whom we can learn much.
Lesson one: how to blame economic inequality on the long-term unemployed
Sunderland Echo, 21 April 2010:
PERHAPS the biggest problem in this country is the long-term unemployed. I have visited various cities in the last few days and the shopping centres are full of them.
You can spot them a mile off hanging around on benches watching the world go by, normally smoking if that city doesn’t have a ban in force and normally with a cheap carrier full of cans of alchohol. Just what are they doing in a city centre with no money?
People say that you should not tar all of these people with the same brush but did you know that they all have one thing in common? They can get in touch with the council, get their name on a list and get a house free.
Yes that’s right, free – and in the meantime somebody who works cannot afford to buy a house or rent a property as good as the one the benefit scrounger gets. So something is wrong somewhere.
The point is I can accept it if someone cannot find a job in a year – but four years, five years, ten years? It’s a joke.
I would like to see these people identified with a yellow stripe on their back then they should hang their head in shame as they walk through the streets as the workers count what the people have cost the taxpayer.
Mick “The Pen” Brown,
A better idea would surely be to get these people with yellow stripes on their backs to lie face-down in street gutters and serve as road markings to denote restricted parking. At least then they’ll be serving a purpose. “The Pen” has been slow here.
Lesson two: how to link inelegant diction to brands of footwear
Sunderland Echo, 26 April 2010:
Wrath of women
ONCE again I felt the wrath of the women who congregate on the steps of the Southwick bingo hall.
I was walking along minding my own business when I tripped and fell against a rather coarse and vulgar woman who was smoking and wearing a pair of Scholls.
In the melee that followed she dropped her carrier and various tins of cheap own-brand products fell upon the pavement. She then uttered some expletives that couldn’t possibly be printed in a newspaper and we went our separate ways.
The point is that bad language must not be tolerated in any form on the city’s streets and I propose that both men and women should be banned from swearing in public and heavily fined.
I dont know whether or not these people were bingo players or that they were waiting to catch the bus to the university, but you do not see many women wearing Scholls these days.
Mick “The Pen” Brown
Lesson three: how to sneer at the bingo-playing underclass
Sunderland Echo, 29 April 2010:
Why the trainers?
IS bingo now considered a sport?
I ask the question because every time I pass the steps of a bingo hall the players stand there in the traditional outfit of Aldi carrier in one hand, Woodbine or roll-up in the other and on the feet a pair of trainers.
I cannot understand this as I have never considered bingo as a sport. The thought of winning some cheap Tupperware has never appealed to me. It seems as though there are very few big winners you can tell when you see the gloomy expression when they leave the halls on their way to get the shopping at Aldi.
I think training shoes should only be worn in the street by serious sportsmen and women. It doesn’t exactly look feminine when yo see the over-sixties walking the streets in trainers.
Mick “The Pen” Brown
Lesson four: how to hate everyone/everything/yourself
Sunderland Echo, 3 May 2010:
On the buses
HAVE any Echo readers witnessed some of the behaviour by bus passengers?
The schoolchildren are unruly, bad mannered and cheeky.
Will they ever give their seat on a crowded bus to a OAP? Never, no chance. It’s the way they have been brought up.
As for the OAPs, they are just as bad or worse. They get on the bus with carriers full of tins of own-brand products which they place on their lap and also on the lap of the person sitting next to them, as they normally get on with too many bags.
Another reason for not using public transport is the dire conversation.
Why do the older passengers keep discussing the cost of food going up by a few pence? It’s the same old boring patter on every journey.
I would reintroduce the bus conductor, the clippie. She was normally a big stout woman with a ruddy face and wiry hair who had two satchels full of change and wouldn’t put up with any cheek from any children. She would sort them out. She may also refuse to allow some unsavoury types aboard.
I recently had the misfortune to walk through the interchange at Park Lane and this was without doubt an unpleasant experience.
A few of the folk hanging around resembled the third-class guests on the Titanic, the great unwashed. I would make them walk. Getting on a bus is a privilege.
If any Government minister thinks he is going to railroad me into helping the environment by travelling by bus he can forget it.
Mick “The Pen” Brown
Now close your textbooks, and we’ll see you at the next class.