Dear ''Stiff Little Fingers''

Re: Gotta Gettaway

You have my sympathy, Sirs.

I too occasionally suffer not inconsiderable discomfort directly attributable to rheumatoid arthritis, but, unlike your good selves, tend to get it not in miniature extremity digits but in my knees. Fortunately, I find that the application of a bespoke 'memory pillow' helps considerably. Occasionally however, when I am merely mildly irritated on account of a less inflammatory joint and not in need of such bulky cushioning armamentarium, I have been known to grab it and change it for an alternative bolster, such as a pair of woollen socks or a folded tea towel.

As you are no doubt aware, it is always worse in the damp, hence, hailing, as you do, from Belfast, I can fully understand why you feel that you ''Gotta, (Gotta, Gotta), Get Away'', most likely to warmer climes for a small break, in order to decrease the effects of an attack or alleviate one altogether.

I am, however, somewhat befuddled with regard to other motivations behind your yearning to go on holiday, not least your obvious irritation at clan-based coercions. Although not for one moment doubting that there may well be ''plenty of folk to tell you what to do'' in your locality, I find it hard to fathom how you may interpret their discourse as of a browbeating nature when, by your own admission, ''they don't speak the same language as you''. Prior to checking flight availability on Ryanair therefore, I must recommend that on the next occasion that you witness an approaching multitude, you either refer to a phrasebook or ideally politely request the suspected scalding throng to speak clearly into your iPhone, whereupon the mass gobbledegook can be simply decoded via the google translate 'app' thereby rendering your conjecture either substantiated or fallible and possibly avoiding unnecessary travelling expenses.

My wife Jean has also just advised me from the kitchen that our next door but one neighbour, Gordon Gilliard swears by cod liver oil and that if you have not already attempted said supplement you really should 'Go For It', given that even if the capsules do not work, you can buy a 170ml bottle of Seven Seas Original in our area from Jolon’s Pharmacy, Tuckton Road, for as little as £3.48. Even should the remedy prove ineffective, she reasons that divided four ways between 'Guitar and Drum' 87 pence is surely not 'At The Edge' of your pop star budgets these days.

We await your response at your earliest convenience, and would advise that it should not be typed out on a suspect device; my erstwhile work colleague Willy ''Won't He'' Wallace recently bought a ridiculously reasonably-priced 'Samson Galaxy' from a local car boot sale and the screen almost always 'freezes' before he can get to 'Yours faithfully'.

Yours faithfully

Derek Philpott



Reply from Mr. Jake Burns, received 5/7/14


Dear Derek,

Thanks very much for your letter. I’m very sorry to hear of your arthritic knees, it must be very painful and inconvenient when winter rolls around. I fear I must admit to being a bit of a charlatan in the arthritic finger department as the band’s name is just that: a name. None of us suffer from stiffness of the digits, small or otherwise. However, your advice


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