Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Drop me a line 

Reading: Churchill by Roy Jenkins.

Churchill was a great letter writer. He was a great many other things as well, but his prolific writing must have made the job of his many biographers that much easier. While part of the government, and working in Whitehall, he would send a letter out in the morning, get a reply to which he would respond in the same day, and so on, until as many as half a dozen epistles (and he was not known for his brevity) had been added to the correspondence within 24 hours.

My grandfather used to run an engineering business in London , and told me how he could receive an enquiry in the morning post, send out a quote at lunchtime, and receive an order that afternoon - all by regular post. The obvious parallel these days is email, which has brought back the possibility of a frequency of communication on a global scale that was possible only within a large city two generations ago. Are we any better off for it, or making good use of it?

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