Moral Dilemmas

A waste of space? Sure, but our errant columnist came in pretty handy when we wanted someone to look after the office hamster while we were on our holidays…

illustration: joel benjamin

Last month, you’ll no doubt remember, I asked you to write in with your moral dilemmas. “But we don’t want to,” you screamed at the magazine, and I dangled the office hamster over a shredder until you relented. The good news is that you responded in your droves, whatever a drove is. The bad news is I’m a bit butterfingers so I’m spending my lunch hour unclogging the shredder. Mavis insisted on getting a cross-cut when she saw an offer on the Ryman’s app, but now I yearn for the simple ribbons of a strip-cut.

Let’s look at your letters. Clark Bollard of Nether-Flangle writes: “My Phasemaster EQ-90 is muddy around the 400Hz area so should I map the cosine input against the coaxial frequency of the–” Let me stop you there, Clark. I’m not sure if you read the last paragraph, but I clearly asked for moral dilemmas. This isn’t some tech support group for geeks in Apple caps. I want proper ethical conundrums such as, for example: if you drop a furry creature into a shredder, is it more of a blessing to hit the “fast” button instead of “stop”?

Pendle McGuffery of Clapton Ornamental Village writes: “When you compare the Mellotron stylings of ‘Space Oddity’ to its use on Edgar Froese’s ‘Epsilon In Malaysian Pale’, I’m reminded of the–” Pendle, Pendle, Pendle, you really haven’t understood my request. I’m sure you’re a conversational whizz at parties, dressed in your ‘Unknown Pleasures’ T-shirt and brandishing a hummussed celery stick as you conduct an orchestra of yawning onlookers. But I asked for agony aunt-style letters, for example: can I Sellotape together tatters of raggedy rodent without anyone noticing the joins, or should I use gaffer?

Lady Susan Flute-Pandemic of So Solid Crew Drive, Buckinghamshire writes: “When spinning phat beats at block parties, should I drop Hudson Mohawke bangers or vibe it up with some Fly-Lo shizzle, because my dealer Lord Testes-Wobbleboard says the sickest way to–” Oh Susan, hush your stupid words. This isn’t some trendy modern magazine like Kerrang! or The World Of Interiors. We don’t print inane surveys that declare “if you chose mostly Bs, you love cottage cheese”. I want complicated quandaries, for example: how do I stop the RSPCA reading Electronic Sound magazine?

Mavis has given me a precis of the rest of these letters. An angry rant about new romantics. And seven pages of bile in purple crayon. And some beardy weirdo calling himself a grand wizard asking about keytars. Yeesh. I’m having doubts about Electronic Sound readers. In the early days of the magazine, when it was all Letraset and sawdust, all dozen readers were intelligent, astute, even a little dashing. These days, it’s read by basement-lurking oddballs with hair on the wrong side of their knuckles. No offense, dear reader, but for all the good you’re doing, this page might as well be read by a sandwich.

Penelope Manhole of Wem writes: “I have a moral dilemma.” FINALLY. Thanks, Penelope. “I read your magazine monthly and I’m getting increasingly bored with your columnist. Can’t remember his name: Flat Rolex or something. In the latest issue, he’s pretending he asked readers to write in, but he never did anything of the sort. He even invented an office hamster and an assistant called Mavis. My dilemma is should Flat Rolex be fired out of a cannon or should we shove him headfirst down a–” I’m terribly sorry, Penelope, we seem to have run out of time for your, er, excellent reader letters. Really excellent. Great stuff, everyone.

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