How would we express ourselves without greetings cards?

YESTERDAY I brought you an extract from the trial in which Damien Frontway, who never knew his father, is suing the mighty Birthmark Card empire for issuing Father's Day cards and thus causing him mental and emotional distress by reminding him of his absent parent. Today we hear more of the evidence given on the stand by Mr Roberts, chairman of Birthmark Cards.

Counsel: Tell me, Mr Roberts, has it never occurred to you that your apparently harmless little greetings cards, with their idealised little drawings and jejune little verses, might be the cause of suffering?

Roberts: How can a four-line verse offend anyone? It can only make people happy. "This little card to you I send, / With season's greeting at year's end, / Hoping all the best to you, / To both your children and to Sue."

Counsel: Did you just make that up?

Roberts: Yes.

Counsel: But you still haven't told me how you cater on Father's Day for people whose fathers ran off years ago!

Roberts: "This little card to you I send, / Hoping it will make amend/ For failing you so long ago. / I've been a rotten Dad, I know."

Counsel: That might be a good card for an absent father to send, but what about the person abandoned by their father after birth?

Roberts: I would recommend them to send their absent parent a Wish You Were Here card.

Counsel: Hmm. And what about those people whose fathers vanished before they were born?

Roberts: I would recommend them to buy a Whatever Happened to You, You Old Bastard? card.

Counsel: There is such a thing?

Roberts: Certainly. The card trade has moved a long way. When I joined Birthmark Cards, people only wanted the most innocent of cards. A Happy Birthday card looked much like a To My Favourite Nephew card. But now one can get satirical cards, blokeish cards, rude cards, film cards, Great Master parody cards, gay cards...

Counsel: Gay cards?

Roberts: We have two ranges. There is the Who's A Big Boy, Then? rude range, and the Michelangelo's David range in which we use gay icons of the past.

Counsel: Why gay icons of the past?

Roberts: Because they are out of copyright.

Counsel: And do you now have a To My Favourite Gay Nephew range? Or perhaps...

Judge: Mr Beasley.

Counsel: Yes, my lord?

Judge: Please stick to Father's Day.

Counsel: Certainly. Mr Roberts, let's return to those who have no fathers. Father's Day is a very cruel time for them, is it not?

Roberts: That is like saying that Bastille Day is a cruel day for the Queen. Is Christmas a very cruel time for Muslims? I think not.

Counsel: There is a difference. Father's Day, unlike Christmas, was created by the greetings card and advertising and flower industry. You must bear responsibility.

Roberts: Then the Christian church should bear responsibility for the ill effects of Christmas.

Counsel: Oh? And what are these ill effects of Christmas?

Roberts: Bankruptcy, obesity, appalling industrial output in late December and a grim lack of AA batteries in the shops.

Judge: Mr Beasley, I think we are straying from Father's Day again.

Counsel: Yes, my Lord. It's just that for those of us without fathers...

Roberts: Ah ha!

Counsel: I beg your pardon?

Roberts: Did you say, "those of us without fathers"?

Counsel: Yes, I may have...

Roberts: So you are in the same state as the man you are representing? You, supposedly the impartial advocate! You too feel a grievance against my card firm because you have a father who let you down!

Counsel: Grievance? No. That is too strong a word. But it is true that my life has been coloured by the absence of a father. He left my mother and me when I was three, and all I remember of him is a tattoo of a mermaid on his shoulder and a smell of Bruno pipe tobacco.

Roberts: Mermaid? Bruno? Good God! May I ask you a very personal question, young man? Was your mother called Iris?

Counsel: Yes, she was. But -

Roberts: Then I am your long-lost father! My son!

Counsel: My father!

Judge: Oh God, I can't bear this. Court adjourned!

Roberts: Before we adjourn, may I just say this? "Father's Day is here again, / With such a thrill for you,/ For the man here in the witness stand / Is the dad you never knew!"

The case continues, though not in this column

Arts and Entertainment
Thomas carried Lady Edith over the flames in her bedroom in Downton Abbey series five

TV
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck as Nick Dunne, seated next to a picture of his missing wife Amy, played by Rosamund Pike

film
Arts and Entertainment
Rachel, Chandler and Ross try to get Ross's sofa up the stairs in the famous 'Pivot!' scene

Friends 20th anniversary
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham

books
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey

There’s revolution in the air, but one lady’s not for turning

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Chloe-Jasmine Whicello impressed the judges and the audience at Wembley Arena with a sultry performance
TVReview: Who'd have known Simon was such a Roger Rabbit fan?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Frost will star in the Doctor Who 2014 Christmas special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Actor and director Zach Braff

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Maisie Williams plays 'bad ass' Arya Stark in Game of Thrones

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife

film
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur

film
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne modelling

film
Arts and Entertainment
Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel are bringing Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to the London Coliseum

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape

Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'

music
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'

film
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

    Not That Kind of Girl:

    A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

    In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

    Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
    Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

    Model mother

    Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
    Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

    Apple still the coolest brand

    Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments