Reading List

Monday 23 May 2011

How to make friends in London

Making friends in London can be difficult. Getting a dog is a good start, I'll give you that.... oh hello, what's his name?

Reading someone's else magazine on the Tube, less so... are you reading my magazine? why are you reading my magazine? 

But today I can reveal a new tactic: carrying a 4 foot tall, mock Victorian post box. 

Whether you're in a taxi, on the street corner or in a bookstore, people want to talk to you if you're being pressed into the ground by one of these. I've lived in London for 8 years and after carting one around this morning, I am left amazed by its power. 

Every door was opened for me, one woman wanted to know how I'd made it (for the record I admitted I hadn't). Several people even offered to carry it for me.

Anyway, why was I carrying a mock Victorian postbox? 

On Saturday (28 May) at the Gower Street branch of Waterstone's I'm giving a 'postcard tour' of the shop. And at the end of the tour I'll be offering a free postcard writing service. I'll pay for the stamp (well, the British Postal Museum & Archive will actually) and the postcard, but there's a catch. I'll be writing people's messages for them. 

Of course, to hand will be all the techniques of the Edwardians - tilted stamps, codes and other ways to play with the form. Hopefully I'll be able to put a few examples up of what people asked me to write next week. 

For more details click here or see the postbox in store. There are a few spaces still left on the tour.

And then this Thursday (26 May) is my talk at the BPMA in Clerkenwell, London. Like the Waterstone's tour it's free but you do have to book. Click here for info on how to get a ticket.




  1. Good Luck with the talk Guy - the postbox looks ace. Why don't they make them like that any more?

    There's a set of traffic lights in Manchester close to the science and industry museum, that some street artist has decorated with crochet (I think it's called 'yarn bombing') and it always makes me wonder why the everyday objects like phone boxes and post boxes aren't made the way they were many years ago.

  2. I wish I could come to your talks. I'm in the US, so it would be a bit long to travel. Best I could do: post it on my Facebook page for any friends in London.

    I'm proud of you from afar, even though we don't know each other.

  3. What a marvelous post! Thank you so much for sharing! lol You made me smile today.

    Happy PFF!

  4. i'm mad about victorian postboxes...whenever i visit the UK i photograph them wherever i come across them!

  5. Sounds like a great event. A post box would appear to be a must have accessory:-)

  6. What fun! Sounds like a great event. Chuckled at Modest and Brazen! Happy PFF!

  7. Carrying a postbox around - that sounds like a great movie scene. I'd love to attend your talks - I've seen the various tilting of stamps and cards written in code and all things enchanting and would love to know more about them!

  8. This is one great idea! Perhaps we should try this in the U.S. with the declining First Class mail volumes.

  9. Tilting of stamp, that's a new one on me. Sounds like it will be an informative talk.

  10. Great post - hope the talk went well.

  11. Thanks for all the comments guys and for the support. Last week was quite an adventure. I'll post something up over the next couple of days. Still trying to digest it all.

    Pete - have a look at the British Postal Museum & Archive's catalogue online. You'll love it.

    Liza - you're so kind and your encouragement meant a lot last week. There's going to be a podcast of the talk last thursday. will let you know when it's ready.

    Beth - PFF is always a source of smiles! Thank you!

    Debs - you'd have loved the store room I went into at the Museum to borrow the postbox. Full of them! Including a green one, which was apparently their original colour....

    Joy - I am never leaving home without one.

    Snap - hee hee!!

    Hazel - and the same to you!

    MuseSwings - it felt like something out of a movie, especially when the taxi driver turned out to be an ex-postman and had some great tales to tell about reading postcards whilst on his delivery rounds. The sequel "Returning the Postbox to the Museum" is on Tuesday. Phew.

    MrCachet - Sir, let's do it.

    Heather - it was great fun. And yes, get tilting!

    Dakotaboo - always great to hear from you, thanks and hope you are well.

  12. What a great idea, wish I could have been there. I look forward to seeing more on the outcome... Thanks for sharing... Happy PFF!

  13. Don't ever feel lonely in London, if you want to explore the capital's fantastic history and culture, then check out the London Cultureseekers Group.

    We have over 5500 members and organise 60+ events a year visiting museums, galleries, historical buildings, going on guided walks and visiting the theatre.

    We are a very friendly group and it's a great way to discover the capital whilst making new like minded friends!

    We can be found at: