Copies of The Dark Side of the Sun have arrived from Graham Campbell of Engadine. I have no recollection of correspondence relating to this series but my head space is on the dark side of the moon. Perhaps a new dawn will shed light on the mystery.
A parcel from Keith Whitfield of Woy Woy, the first reader to respond when this column was initiated, contains a disc of Ninotchka (1939). Keith hopes someone will want it. Where it will end up is anyone's guess, given the contents of the next paragraph. But it seems like a suitable item to close the loop.
According to a piece of paper just handed to me by an attractive young intern, today's edition carries the last Ask Doug column. It would be nice to blame interference by OH&S bods concerned by the growing putrescence, grot and mucid surrounds of this workstation but the truth is marginally less fanciful. Due to changes in the Herald's direction going forward, Ask Doug will be no more. Nor will Doug. Such is life - a diamond is forever but a crazy diamond relies on a kindly light, now sadly dimmed.
It has been fun, challenging, frustrating and a privilege being the go-between connecting generous readers - motivated by a desire to share their pleasures and their treasures - with counterparts seeking to revisit the back stalls of their memories.
It has been a successful enterprise in some regards - well over 80 per cent of published requests being fruitful, even if a depressingly smaller percentage of letters received has been dealt with. Humble apologies for all those entreaties that remain unfulfilled - never enough time or space.
The Guide team greatly appreciates the magnanimity of everyone who participated in the exchanges over almost 20 years, extending back to the days when this section, and your correspondent, were both a rosy shade of pink.
At funerals mourners sometimes approach to ask whether it would be possible to get their hands on some old Audie Murphy western or Mae West comedy.
Special acknowledgment of the most frequent contributors is perhaps the most appropriate way to sign off. Deep gratitude and salutations one last time to: Patrick Fay, Glennys Ferguson, Marlene Olsen, Graham Campbell, Lucky Burner, Billy the Kid, June Holdup, Bob Russell, Mort Peacock, Lucky Al, Dr Patrick Dalton, A Nonne and NFP, Coastwatcher, Keith Whitfield, Fred MacPherson, Bill Shaw, Jack Munro, the Elegant Mess, Paul Myers, Peter LeMarquand, George Boldison, David Bolton, Joe Luddite, John Guy and numerous others.
To those whose optimistic mail will henceforth be redirected to the dead letter office, sincere apologies. And now this correspondence is - like the old Cremorne Post Office - permanently closed.