Hardly hatemail, sure, but a recent arrival in the work post was a little bemusing.
It was just a cut-put of a fairly innocuous piece I'd recently written about proposed police reforms, pasted onto a blank A4 sheet only decorated with the angry comment, "Typical Tory liar!" and a "cc" for the editor of the Daily Mail - who, incidentally, is not at all my boss and would probably be more impressed than distressed by the nature of the allegation, but still...
All things considered, it seemed entirely worth the cost of the second-class stamp, and I hope it brought the sender certain satisfaction...
But as complaint missives go, it impressed me less than the email I once received out of the blue from a cult group calling themselves the "Friends Of Hecate", responding to a light-hearted, yes indeed, foolishly frivolous feature I wrote after a venture into Clapham Woods (no, not London, but West Sussex), supposedly the scene of various UFO-sightings, dog-nappings, animal sacrifices and worships on behalf of the afore-said Friends...
The moaning missive, sent a baffling nine months after publication, ticked me thoroughly off for being so dismissive of the Wiccan belief system, before signing off with the treasurable two-step:
"Get your facts right, you Christian bastard!
Friends Of Hecate".
Sadly, my winsome reply, pledging genuine interest in an interview to put their side of the story, went unanswered...
But back to the "Typical Tory liar" jibe - well, I'd certainly take umbrage at part of that, as a lifelong wishy-washy Labourite - despite, or perhaps due to, growing up in the then-Thatcher-owned fiefdom of Finchley, and watching as the family homestead hosted local party HQ wakes as successive general election results rolled in (people would drift from one room to the other, one TV to the next, hoping against hope ITV would tell better tidings than the BBC...)
But as for the "liar" allegation, well, that might take a little trickier refuting...
And even then, you may not believe me...
After all, who could argue against the imperious scene from Pete'n'Dud's original Bedazzled, all the so-so-better for its total Hurleylessness...
George Spiggott (Peter Cook as the Devil): "Oh, by the way - I forgot to tell you something about Margaret Spencer."
Stanley Moon (Dudley Moore as a very short-order cook): "What's that?"
Pete: "She's dead."
Dud: "... Oh, she's not?"
Pete: "No, she's not. No, she's alive."
Dud: "Then why did you say that?"
Pete: "Malice. I'm a liar. I do it the whole time, I can't help it."
Dud: "Are you telling me that everything you've ever said is a lie?"
Pete: "Everything I've ever told you's been a lie. Including that."
Dud: "Including what?"
Pete: "That everything I've ever told you's been a lie. That's not true."
Dud: "I don't know what to believe."
Pete: "Not me, Stanley. Believe me..."