Rob Brydon, Matt Lucas and Graham Lineham are all fans of a Twitter account which tweets out vintage postcards and their messages.One man’s online tribute to the dying tradition of sending postcards has become an unlikely Twitter hit. Tom Jackson, from south London, tweets images of postcards from the past, together with a snippet of the handwritten message on the back.
The juxtapositions are sometimes funny, and often touching, and since its launch in March the niche account has picked up 15,000 followers, including celebrities Rob Brydon, Matt Lucas and Graham Linehan.
We spoke to Mr Jackson about his tribute to the humble postcard.
:: Why did you create @PastPostcard?
I’ve collected postcards on and off for years and always found the messages at least as interesting as the pictures.
But it struck me a couple of months ago that now that postcard-sending is more or less dying out, it would be great to present messages from very ordinary cards, and they seemed perfect for Twitter.
So I started uploading these little micro-dramas.
It’s just me, surrounded by boxes and boxes of old postcards.
: More and more people use social media instead of postcards to stay in touch while on holiday. Is it a tradition you’d be sad to see die out?
It would be a shame if postcard sending died out, but things change.
Of course the postcards I’m tweeting are still here, 30 or 40 or more years later – it might be a lot harder to revisit social media messages in 40 years’ time.
:: Have any of the messages you’ve seen on the postcards stayed with you for any reason?
A lot of them are touching, and often simply because they express so perfectly emotions and experiences that we all have – “life is a struggle” or “we are so lucky to be here”.
Sometimes the messages can be really simple but they kind of resonate and feel almost poetic, like: “We dance every evening and swim every evening” or “There are primroses on the railway banks”.
Some are just weird: “When we got to the car it was full of water” and “It may not have been worth bringing the accordion”.
:: What is your favourite kind of postcard?
There are loads of different kinds of cards that appeal for different reasons. I suppose the ones that leap out at me are the ones where the picture is full of local detail – a bus with an old advert on the side, a shopfront that is long gone.
Then the relationship between the message and the image – that’s the real appeal.
:: How do you decide which bit of text from the postcard to tweet out?
I flip through a lot of cards before committing to tweeting. I’m looking for a message that jumps out at me – something weird, something funny, something touching.
People do ask if the messages are real. And, yes, they are all real. But it’s my job to select the phrases that will resonate. If they make me smile, they get tweeted.
:: Has the response to the Twitter account surprised you?
It has grown far larger and far more quickly than I could have anticipated.
As soon as I tweet a card and message there are likes and retweets, and comments or jokes about the message.
:: Finally, how did you get your hands on so many postcards?
All the cards belong to me. I’ve acquired a pretty sizeable archive over the years, and it grows all the time.