Dear Thompson Twins

My apologies for my former correspondence, which I wrote in haste before listening to
your statement in full. It is now my understanding that you attribute your dangerously high temperature to a deeply romantic emotion. From this information I now assume that you use the context as a metaphor to describe how you are feeling, and that you are not physically on fire. I wonder, however, if it is love you are feeling and not a touch of heart ”burn”. If this is the case a visit to your doctor may be appropriate, although I feel a pharmacist would be adequately equipped to advise you on the problem.

I thank you for your invitation to dance across the sea towards a destination you call “Eternity”. As I’m sure we are all aware, to dance on water would be an impossibility. Therefore, I assume this dancing would take place on a secure vessel, an experience which would be most enjoyable. I gratefully accept. May I recommend Brittany Ferries’ “Barflueur” which sails from Poole, Dorset. If we were to take advantage of their midweek offer, the four of us could travel with a car for £29. This price includes the onboard entertainment which features a cinema, a bar area, and a disco, with live music provided by the popular duo “Savoir Faire”. Unfortunately there is no discount available for family groups; in any case, the unusual numerical nature of your siblinghood (plus my own presence of course) may render our application for such a discount unsuccessful.

Please contact me again advising when you would like me to make our booking. The “Barfleur” departs at 8 am every weekday, and the crossing takes approximately 4 hours 15 minutes. The destination is Cherbourg in France, which is not “Eternity” (I hope this doesn’t disappoint) but a very nice town all the same.



Your friend

Wilf Turnbull



Reply from Tom Bailey, received 20/4/2014



Dear Wilf,

Thanks for your serial missives. Please forgive my lack of promptness in replying but I was unaware of your having made contact until very recently.

Firstly, to be absolutely clear: you have written to the Thompson Twins but it is I, Tom Bailey, who replies. I’m sure you understand that, for legal reasons, I cannot represent the views of all the group members.

Secondly, although I wrote the music and sang the song in question, I did not write the lyric. This was the work of Alannah Currie, to whom due credit must be given. Therefore, in your efforts to get to the bottom of this, my explanation must only be given the weight of a subjective interpretation, not a definitive author’s opinion. But whilst I may lack the authority of the horse’s mouth, I was at least in the same stable for a while – so here goes:

Yes, the song was about the fevers of wounded passion, but only on one level. I’m particularly fond of the triple-layered metaphor and, in this case, I decided one of its strata referred more generally to medical practice but also specifically to the NHS. You may be forgiven for thinking that was just my private way of getting through a tricky gig, but I can’t miss the opportunity of drawing your attention to the way in which the once-noble organization has sadly floundered in the deep and murky waters of privatization since the piece was written. I remain hopeful that it will survive. So it’s a sad song, but with a glimmer of optimism.

Which brings me to your generous offer of a group ticket on the ferry from Poole to Cherbourg. You certainly impress me with the thoroughness of some aspects of your research but, unfortunately, because I live in France, I would be travelling in the other direction. This rather puts us at cross-purposes so, regretfully, I must decline. However, now that we graze together on the lower slopes of Parnassus, I feel that I can get in touch if my schedule takes me within shouting distance of Poole.

Many thanks again for your message. I must confess, finally, that I was in two minds about my ability to reply. I think it was the picture of Bassett’s Murray Mints on your website which pushed me over the edge: it should have been a Nuttall’s Mintoe.

Warmest regards,

Tom Bailey

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