Ads containing unsourced, gothic quotations from Edgar Allan Poe, Friedrich Nietzsche, or HP Lovecraft must attract only very specific partners; the lyrics of the post-punk band Half Man Half Biscuit even fewer.

Last week an ad appeared stating simply: "I hate you Alan Rusbridger" - whether from a disgruntled hack or a critic of the Berliner redesign, only the advertiser knows. Vegan love-god on the brink of mental and physical collapse (M, 26) seeks pallid, calcium-deficient F for nights of apathy, depression and headaches while touring the moral high ground.

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51 - Dn Laoghaire/Rathdown, Dublin Im russian well educated lady, love nature, art, classic music and sport Im very attractive, active and happy person. The first time we met we were both instantly in love, and very right for one another! Little did I know that my life was about to change drastically!

Started a few months back, and with every single messaged exchanged the chemistry was explosive. We are engaged now and talking about wonderful prospects of life on the horizon. Alexandrios, I had always been sceptical of all these dating sites until I tried this one out of curiosity.

For seven years the LRB personals column has been producing surreal haikus of the heart like this.

It began with "67-year-old disaffiliated flaneur, jacked-up on Viagra and looking for a contortionist trumpeter" and has never looked back.

The sheer obscurity of some ads has led to an urban myth that a North Korean spy was once picked up in London with a copy of the LRB containing several circled personals ads."The LRB is an extremely serious read," says Nicholas Spice, the periodical's publisher. When you do that voodoo that you do so well, I invoke 16th century witchcraft laws and have you burned at the stake.

"It takes quite a bit of commitment, so the personals are valuable because they break up the rhythm; they represent some light relief. "There are some who are probably not that interested in finding a partner.We know we have some people who've been sending in two or three ads every year since the column launched."The fear was that it would be dowdy and slightly depressing, but it really wasn't," says Spice, who is planning to hold more get-togethers. True, I am a forest, and a night of dark trees, but he who is not afraid of my darkness will find banks full of roses under my cypresses. Wondered if I'd get a mention in the Alan Bennett 2002 diary." Peripheral bloke (47). "They were younger, more energetic and more beautiful than I imagined." And none of the men brought their mothers. Part-time heavy-metal Guardian sub-editor (male, pale, drinks light ale)."August 14th. "We hardly got any letters about it, but we gave the advertisers a free one anyway," he says.