The topics you and your 1980s penpal Pierre from Toulouse wrote to each other about

PAIRED across the Channel, you corresponded with Pierre in the hope you’d one day visit him, drink vin rouge and baiser his sister. Your letters covered these areas: 

What you had for dinner

Even French peasants are gourmets, your teacher told you. So you expected Pierre to breakfast on croissants, lunch on foie gras and enjoy duck a l’orange for dinner. But Pierre’s family were working class like yours, so he told you he had soup and you told him about tinned beans with those weird tiny sausages that taste nothing like sausage.

The weather

‘It is sunny and the temperature is twenty nine’, Pierre would tell you in English, like a Gallic Michael Fish. You in turn would tell him that Britain was ‘Il pleut ici’. Sadly, neither of your reports were timely because it took you a week to finish the letter, a further fortnight to send it and another week for it to arrive. Not that it would matter anyway.

Your musical tastes

Desperate to sound cool, you’d tell Pierre how you listened to The Smiths and Depeche Mode. Pierre, meanwhile, would reel off the names of French bands you’d never heard of. Gambling they were cool, you headed to Woolworths and left bitterly disappointed that they didn’t stock the latest Début de Soirée or Elli et Jacno single.

Football teams

Pierre played centre-forward for his school team and sent long, tedious match reports, ignoring that you couldn’t care less that Christophe tackled him just as he was about to pass the ball to Olivier and Guillaume scored from the subsequent penalty. You filled him in on your quest for a Bryan Robson sticker.


Pierre casually mentioned that he stole cigarettes from his father. Desperate to emulate his Gallic cool, you went to your corner shop and said your dad had sent you to get him 20 Gauloise. You smoked one at the end of the garden and vomited behind the shed. ‘Tres bon!’ you wrote to Pierre.

Pierre’s sister

Pierre sent you a photo of him and his sister, Amandine, and mentioned she was single. She was also 19, but no matter. You promptly told your classmates that she was your girlfriend and you would summer together in Saint-Tropez. Pierre did not follow up on your ambitious plans in his reply.

Sign up now to get
The Daily Mash
free Headlines email – every weekday

Six films that will rightly cause everyone to lose their shit if you admit you've never seen them

OUR society is based on the foundation that everyone has seen certain films and understands references to them. Without that? Chaos. You must have watched these: 

Titanic, 1997

What, so you’ve no idea where ‘draw me like one of your French girls’ or the ‘it’s been 84 years’ meme came from? You’ve no idea where Leonardo DiCaprio’s fixation with young women and boats came from? You’ve never suffered through Celine Dion’s operatic emoting? You’ve never seen the guy falling for ages then bouncing off the propeller?

Jaws, 1975

You really have no business having a job, friends, or a romantic partner if you’ve not seen one of the finest films by one of cinema’s greatest directors. If you have those things they’ve been obtained fraudulently and you should give them back. You cannot be considered or treated as a proper human if you’ve never seen Jaws. 

The Matrix, 1999

It has everything: a great concept, brilliant action, shitloads of guns. If you’re yet to see it, first mass text an apology, then call in sick and tell your boss you’re taking the day to watch The Matrix for the first time. They’ll understand and probably promote you for your honesty and dedication to what really matters. Don’t watch the sequels.

Star Wars, 1977

What must it be like, having not seen Star Wars? Blundering through the world with every second sentence going over your head? Looking blank when friends joke about womp rats? Knowing that you could rectify it all in two fun hours, but choosing to continue a benighted, ignorant existence? Why?

Shrek, 2001

It’s not that it’s good, particularly, though it’s alright and at 90 minutes you won’t get bored. It’s that we’re now on the second generation for whom this is a cornerstone of their youth, Smash Mouth, Hallelujah and all. It’s like growing up in the 1950s not knowing about the war.

The Godfather, 1972

Everyone’s seen The Godfather or lied about having seen The Godfather to save face. It’s the basis of 50 years of Mafia movies, Al Pacino’s career and the Olivio adverts. If it’s discovered you’ve never watched it, nobody should speak to you ever again. That’s called omerta. You wouldn’t know, you prick, because you’ve never watched The Godfather.