Jack in a Box
– Thoughts on the demise of the R*E*P*E*A*T PO Box

I hate to agree with the Daily Mail, but they ran an article last year saying how small businesses have been shafted by the Post Office’s massive hikes for the costs of PO Boxes, increasing them by 400% over 4 years.

While never dirtying the name of R*E*P*E*A*T by calling it a small business, it is true that the privatised Post Office’s price rises have been astronomical. In 2009 it cost me £60 to renew the box for a year, today it would cost around £270! Hardly worth it considering that the amount of physical promos, orders, letters, poetry, images and fan mail we get sent has fallen, as the amount of e-correspondence has risen.

I was inspired to get the PO Box after some intensely intense Manics fan journeyed from Italy to stalk me at my old house in Ferry Lane (an address I was then advertising wildly) and wouldn’t go away. Other readers were sure that the Manics, or later Freeboy, The Saffs, Miss Black America or The Virgin Suicides would be spotted in this modest, mouldy dwelling which they mistook for full time record company offices, or else imagined it was the venue for non stop rock’n’roll debauchery, and so became keen to visit. To maintain my sanity and my lease, I quickly learnt my lesson and invested in the PO Box, though even recently bin bags of dodgy demos and CDs were still being sent to that benighted bungalow, much to the despair of the current occupants who subsequently came to a R*E*P*E*A*T gig and emptied them all on the floor in front of me as some sort of anti- DIY punk protest.

Posties, some of whom worked on the PO Box, welcoming the LMHR banner during their strike against Post Office privitisation

Having the PO Box has also been worthwhile since the unfortunate return of the Fascist right, whose cocky confidence has seen them sending me a number of rather colourful emails, letters and texts that made me glad not to have my home address online. I am not sure what we’ll do for a postal address for Cambridge Love Music Hate Racism and Unite Against fascism in the future, but I am sure we’ll think of something.

It may sound strange to say this about a box that I’ve never actually seen and may not even actually exist (having just collected its contents), but there are things I’ll miss about it. Not least of these will be my journeys there to excitedly inspect the latest bundle of hopeful CDs, always longing to discover a track of gold but nearly always instead unpacking a crock of shite. The staff were always a laugh, helpful beyond the call of duty and quick to welcome the Love Music Hate Racism contingent during their strike action against Post Office privitisation. And of course there have been the little gems sent in, the heartfelt letters and songs and stories and poems, the drawings in blood (glad not to receive too many more of them) and the handful of incredible CDs and ideas that really have immeasurably improved my life.

Box of delights : A mystery donor once sent a massive box of highly useful huge padded envelopes to the PO Box.


So thank you PO Box 438, Cambridge CB4 1FX, you’ll be missed. And did I ever tell you that I’ve always found something undeniably cool and FoXy about the juxtaposition of the letters F and X?!

It is of course gratifying to get real letters and orders, demos and fanzines, not just paypal receipts and Spotify statements, Soundcloud links and jpegs. So if you want to write in to R*E*P*E*A*T on paper (though by definition, if you don’t like to use the internet you are probably not reading this) please do so; feel free to e-mail in for a postal address. Nazis and intensely intense Manics fan with an intention of stalking me needn't apply.

Rosey R*E*P*E*A*T, 5.8.14