I wrote recently about the hate letter I received at Time Out a few years and how it changed my outlook on writing (Like A Demented Seagull: How Hate Mail Changed My Life).
At the end of the post I said that this prolific writer of hate mail, who had rather wittily rechristened the magazine Slime Out, had stopped sending his bile-laden missives to Tottenham Court Road.
Not so, it seems. A former colleague recently contacted me to say:
‘I didn’t want to leave a comment because I’m genuinely afraid he might read it and target me. But I can tell you that he didn’t stop writing the postcards. We have received three or four in the last year. They’re not as personally offensive about individual staff any more, but still mental. I imagine him to look like Buffalo Bill from ‘Silence Of The Lambs’.’
So he’s still out there, reading a magazine he despises and making sure they know it. Somehow, I find this reassuring, and I’m sure these days he has plenty to write about.
This might also be a good time to mention the best ‘hate’ letter I received. This was before I was neutered, when I still prided myself on writing vicious, witty, scathing criticism of anything that came into my sights.
It asked simply: ‘Peter Watts. Is he a short man?’
It still stings.