As the price of stamps rocket and people over Britain panic buy them quicker than petrol, I can’t help but wonder how many people actually send letters anymore? I get more emails in one day than post in a month. But, once upon a time, the stamp itself was a revolution. So in tribute to what will probably be the beginning of the end for the humble miniature monarch portrait, here’s a look at how people have communicated through the ages.
Talk to me
The very first way of communicating with another human being was speech. Face to face! It may have been more “Me hungry, kill rabbit” than “I’ll be having the steak medium rare this evening” but it must have been a simpler time. After all there can be no misunderstanding in veiled conversations and ambiguous expressions because those “what are they thinking” moments are erased. After all everyone was thinking the same thing. Food, sleep and reproduction. Bish bash bosh!
Before the entertaining(?) online game, drawings on the walls of caves, pyramids and temples were the way to communicate traditions, stories and messages. What exactly they were drawn for is debatable, but they’ve lasted longer than a phone number scrawled in eyeliner down your arm…
Sorry sir, this is a no smoking area
Used by the Chinese, Greeks, Aboriginals and North American Indians, smoke signals were a good way to communicate over distance. Also, in the case of North America, each tribe had their own meanings to signals so it was private as well. A brilliant way for young warriors to hide experimentation from their parents!
Sealed at a cost…
Obviously there’s post. Originally for rich people, you’d get your servant to write your letter, stamp it with your sealing wax and then get another servant to take it to who you were writing to, who would then wait while their servant wrote a reply and brought it back to you. Personally, I feel sorry for the horse.
Then in regency England letters would be sent via the Post Office but stamps were drawn on to indicate whether or not the letter, or, in reality, piece of paper covered in scrawl folded up like bad origami, had been paid for. What a thankless task! Granted it was probably more IOU than attempts to capture the image of the Sovereign.
At last came the Penny Black. The stamp for a penny. Yup, that’s what it cost. One penny. Only two words spring to mind. Not anymore.
Wish you were still there
Postcards are great things. Pretty picture of the scenery where you’re on holiday or hilarious, or not so hilarious, caricature, scrawl a quick message on the back about what a great time you’re having, pop it in’t post and it’ll arrive approximately three days after you get home! Priceless memories.
Coo got mail
Pigeons! Not just for cleaning crumbs up in public places. Unfortunately they only go back to one place so you need to get the pigeon from where it lives to send a message to the person who owns the pigeon. Probably easier to buy a horse.
Where you @?
Email. Free, instant and saves trees. Increased junk mail tenfold. All in an instant. At least you don’t need to learn to hand write legibly anymore!
He put this status and she liked it and then there was this comment…
Ah the social network. Myspace (RIP). Facebook. Twitter. Goes on and on and on. Permanent records of everyday life. It’s the 21st century cave drawing. I hope our descendants in a thousand years laugh out loud.
No, you hang up first
Pick up a phone, put in a number, speak to somebody miles away. Nice and simple, it’s got more and more flexible. Buttons replaced dials, cordless replaced wires, then all of a sudden everyone had a mobile and everyone stopped talking on the phone. Please leave a message after the tone or send a text.
Let me no l8r, c u soon lol, xxx
The text. Destroyed the English language at an alarming rate. Probably currently the primary form of communication, people have suffered panic attacks when they are without their phone. Really though I have nothing against texting. It’s simple and quick. I think it’s a bit odd that kids who are too young to read send texts. I think it’s a bit worrying that people have knackered their hands texting too much. Definitely don’t like people “tlking lyk dis”. Call me old fashioned. Sorry, gotta go, my phone went off.