Friday, 2 August 2013

In which Alex writes a letter to the BBC which starts an internet storm

I've never written a letter to anyone to complain about anything before.  It really takes a lot to make me angry, and usually I take a rather fatalistic view that there's nothing much I can do if it's already happened or if it doesn't directly involve me.  But the other day, I saw a BBC interview packed with lazy cliché, attacking one of my favourite art forms, and something just snapped.

Here's the interview which started it all:



And here's my letter of response:



I posted the letter via "snail mail" and emailed it round to a few musically-inclined friends, who seemed to like it and encouraged me to share it more widely.  Just as I was leaving work on Thursday, I posted it to Facebook.  By the time I got home 30 minutes later it had already been shared by at least 10 friends and garnered 1000 views.  By 20:30 the view counter was up to 5000.  At some point around then, Norman Lebrecht ran the letter on his blog.  At this point I knew that I must have touched a nerve somewhere.

We are now about 24 hours later and the view count stands at 84,000.   My letter has been shared on Facebook by friends, friends of friends, friends of friends of friends, and made its way back to other friends via people neither I nor they know.  Paavo Järvi has reposted it.  I really had no idea that, in sending what I thought to be a mildly humorous letter of displeasure, I would create such a phenomenon!

EDIT 9 August: the link to the HARDtalk video had broken.  This has now been restored.  My original letter of complaint has so far attracted 139,000 individual visitors.

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