I live in Tyrone and it's been quite a while since I bought the Sunday Tribune. It was interesting to compare today's edition with my memory of what the Sunday Tribune used to be. I found your radio column's undergraduate humour interesting, including the obligatory swipe at the learned professor. I had no difficulty understanding what she meant but maybe my advanced age influences my approach to everyday speech, which even you use. For instance, I think I understand what you intend to convey by the phrase 'muttered darkly' and I'm so old that I even recognise the provenance of the phrase 'formerly known as'. I suspect you recognise them as clichés that you would rather not have used, but you may have been providing the sub-editors with something to do, even if they didn't do it.

If I was being pedantic, I could enquire further as to the purpose of the phrase 'I ask you' – what are you asking me? – but I recognise it as an expression of purported exasperation. What was your point in simply quoting Charlie Bird's answer to the question on racism? Having quoted it, I had expected a comment from you. As for 'Bird flu'...

The style you adopted for this column might be better suited to a stand-up routine than your contribution to what I remembered as having been something akin to a paper of record. Perhaps my memory is failing me and I should stick to the Observer. I hasten to add that I don't mean actually glue myself to it.

Paul Maguire


Co Tyrone