An Interview with my Postman
I first met Scott James, my postman, in the early hours of the morning at a party in Falmouth. He was sporting his Royal Mail uniform. A few hours later he was round again, dropping by some post and having a cup of tea with us while we were still in our pyjamas. I spoke to Scott about his life as a local celebrity and he showed me some of the better stuff he's ever delivered.
Vice: How’s the postal life Scott?
SJ: It’s pretty good pay and hardly any hours, which is ideal. I stop at friends’ houses for food and cups of tea all the time. I take my car which means I can motor through most of the seven or eight hundred houses I cover, then take my time delivering to mates.
I’ve seen you partying in your Royal Mail outfit before.
Going out in my uniform just makes it that little bit easier for the early starts. I really like to party and because I finish work so early, (sometimes I’m done by 9.30am), I can just sleep afterwards. Being a postman, students give me flyers for their nights to hand out and stuff, so they start to know me. Then when I turn up at the events people are like “Oh my God! My postman is here!” It’s a conversation starter. I mean, can you imagine if your postman started turning up at your parties?
Yes, because you did. Do you get all sorts of weird stuff to deliver?
One person sent a cut out letter every day, as in an alphabet character, with just a stamp and address on it. I tried to figure out what it spelled, but I think it was a cryptic message for the recipient. People send statues and sculptures a lot and I’ve seen a painted record which had been turned into a postcard with the address on the inner circle.
Very creative. Are the jokes true about dog attacks?
All the postman stuff you hear is totally right. One time this dog came out after me and bit me on the ass. Fair enough, it’s happened before. Then I get to the neighbour’s house and another dog comes out and bites me on the other ass-cheek. By this point I’m like “For FUCK’S sake!”, and I initiate the established protection protocol taught for dealing with dogs: the bag becomes like a matador’s target, because it’s red it’s supposed to divert the dog’s attention. You hold it out in front to defend your crotch, and then back out. Anyway at the third house, these two really small, yappy poodles go for the backs of my legs. Within 10minutes I was subjected to three dog attacks. It was harrowing.
Sounds dangerous. Do you have lonely housewives trying to seduce you?
Not as many as I’d like. I get plenty of tame but flirtatious requests to come inside for tea and occasionally I have latent offers, but I mainly deliver to student areas. There is this voyeuristic aspect to the job though, getting inside people’s lives. I’ve witnessed burglaries and romantic affairs and windows being smashed. I’ve had to open jars of beetroot fortnightly for an elderly lady. I’ve spotted a car on fire out the back of a house. One couple I covered used to continually fuck in the window. A crazy mean bearded lady has suddenly become a bit flirty with me – she could count as an official seduction attempt.
Do people often try to make friends with you?
Yeah, I mean the postman is often the only person a lot of people see day-in, day-out. I’m lonely people’s only chance for interaction, like their link to the outside world. Obviously we postmen don’t have mobile staff toilets, so you use loos wherever you can. It’s a way of getting to know people. I’ve watched a Rolling Stones DVD and had a smoke-up with an elderly guy named Rupert after using his facilities.
The craziest person I’ve met through the job though was Michael, a perpetually wasted artist who’d answer the door almost every day either drunk or mashed, and many times he’d be bleeding from cuts he’s made on his arms. He was a bit depressed but he also used the blood to mix with oil then paint with. He would invite me in to look at his art and have wine and coke at 8am. I declined, but I did venture inside a couple of times out of curiosity. The first time I saw the huge open space where he worked, the floor was littered with half opened bags of sovereign coins scattered everywhere. In the middle of the room was a huge canvas Michael told me he'd slept on. He'd spilled wine all over himself during the night causing a sort of wine silhouette on the canvas and he was going to "coin it up. Fucking stick coins all over the bastard." He also made a series out his prescriptions, he glued them to a canvas and bled all over it. He told me that his mate had a bar or something in London and that he sells these works of art for a few grand. They're authentic at least.
Have you ever defiled the post of someone you intensely disliked, or urinated on a package in a fit of rage?
Not exactly. But I do deliver to a horrible lady who self-initiated a neighbourhood watch to combat the student demographic here. She goes around wearing a high-visibility jacket and a baseball cap she’s sewn the words NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH onto. She’s always barging into parties, sometimes with an inexplicable camera crew in tow. She’s caught me in my uniform at a party before and even phoned up my boss when I was at a party across the road from her, telling him I’d started a fight or something, which is ridiculous. But the bottom line is that you can’t fuck around with people’s post in any way, shape or form. I just punished her by visiting her house last for ages. Her mail was always at the bottom of the pile.
Revenge is sweet, but that's quite weak.
I can’t do much! Luckily a guy I knew ended up sorting out her karma. He’s conveniently called Jeremy Justice, I kid you not. He really hated her for trying to close down his parties all the time, (she’d even try and shut down barbecues). When he was really fed up with her behaviour, he went round her house one night shit-faced and naked, openly cursing at her CCTVs and shouting abuse. He pissed through her letter box. She went to the door to reprimand him, and he started crouching down and he took a shit on her doorstep.
Er, wow. You were working alongside that guy that’s been accused of paedophilia right?
I’ve got to be careful about what I say here, but we worked together. Before that came to the surface I would’ve told you he was really sound. He’s quite juvenile but no more so than other people I work with. I joked around with him the most because we were the only youngsters. He made friends with me on Facebook, and you could tell he was on it a lot. You’d log in and the whole News Feed would just be him playing Farmville or whatnot. That was suspicious in retrospect. But it was a big surprise to see him splashed over the nationals. A bit of a shocker.
On that cheerful note, thanks Scott! Suspected paedophiles don’t change the fact that you make me believe in the Royal Mail.
Sick! Thanks Emily. Bye-bye and see you soon.