You may recall a lovely little book released in 2014 called Letters of Note: An Eclectic Collection of Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Audience, edited by Shaun Usher.
It’s a fascinating collection of letters, faxes, postcards, telegrams, and memos from ancient times up to the digital age of today.
It contains Leonardo Da Vinci’s job application letter, Gandhi’s letter to try to calm Hitler, the first recorded use of the expression “OMG” in a letter to Winston Churchill, Iggy Pop’s beautiful letter of advice to a troubled young fan, and many more.
There are 125 letters in total celebrating the power of the written word. The selection of letters is entertaining, unusual, and inspiring.
The book — which started as a website — was so well received that it inspired a live performance of letter reading titled Letter’s Live, which took place in London earlier this year in March.
Here are some, but not all, of the names that read some of these entertaining letters to the live audience: Benedict Cumberbatch, Juliet Stevenson, Ian McKellen, Kylie Minogue, Russell Brand, Clarke Peters, Caitlin Moran, Matt Berry, Louise Brealey, Colin Salmon, Ellie Bamber, Tom Hiddleston, Sally Hawkins, Sanjeev Bhaskar, and Sir Ben Kingsley, and they had music from Tom Odell, Natalie Clein, and Kelvin Jones.
Watch this preview of Letters Live at Freemasons’ Hall, London:
Letter’s Live is set to take place again next year, March 10-15, 2016. To add to next year’s performance, a bunch of musicians, actors, and writers will write and share their letters to Father Christmas.
One of the letters released early on NME was from Radiohead’s front man Thom Yorke. It’s a charming read with wishes for some snow, along with peace, love, and understanding for his kids. He also reflects on how he has behaved since he wrote his last letter to Santa at the age of nine. And last but not least, he turns back into a kid as he thanks Santa for the zx81 computer he got when he was eleven.
The letter is formatted exactly as he sent it:
dear father christmas
it is years since i wrote to you.
i hope this letter finds you well and that the snow is still continuing to fall up in lapland.
here it is mostly rain. not even jumper weather yet!
but the christmas albums are already being played in the shops.
that must be so embarrassing for you.
i know this year you will be exceptionally busy for you.
we all expect a little too much of you now i think.
and there are so many imposters on television. even in the street.
since i wrote to you last when i was 9 i have tried to be good, but sometimes failed spectacularly.
i have also tried to do what i’m told but often have delighted in doing the exact opposite.
but always i have tried to give love and try not to cause hurt.
dear father christmas
what i’m saying is ..
now that i’m 47, if i have any last remaining credit with you, i have just these small requests.
that my kids have a beautiful christmas
with love and understanding and peace.
perhaps some heavy snow? that would be really great.
and can you just send the precious things that will really mean something to them?
and can you send them some hope for the future. that is very important.
i won’t ask you to solve the problems of the human race. those are our problems alone.
but perhaps this year you would consider not giving any presents to oil company executives and the politicians whose influence they buy?
and for me? just some reading glasses.. : / the blue ones.
yours completely sincerely
p.s. thanks for the zx81 computer when i was 11. that was really wicked.