Monday, March 31, 2014

One For Me Ninteen For You

I think I came across a bit of government frugality the other day.

Every year the Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs people send me a nice letter telling me how much, as a self employed person, my monthly National Insurance contributions will be for the coming year.  This is the back of the envelope containing this year's letter for the 2014/15 tax year:

"HMRC changed banks in April 2009.
  The old accounts will be closing in 2010"

Does this mean this envelope is over four years old and the HMRC are diligently not wasting taxpayers money by using up out of date stationary?   I like to think so. Mind you...  they must send this letter out every year to every self employed person in the country.  There are millions of us. It does make you wonder just how many decimal places were slipped when they first placed the order.

Bloke behind the counter at Prontoprint: "You sure about this?  That's a LOT of envelopes..."

There must be warehouses full of the things. And how much has it cost to keep them all dry for all these years? 

Monday, March 17, 2014

I love films.  Old films, new films, good films crappy films - I also really like film magazines.  Recently I bought a huge pile of 1970s and 80s Photoplay Film Monthlies from eBay for peanuts (well, okay not quite peanuts - pistachios).

It's getting dangerously near nostalgia reading them,  though most of the articles in them (like most articles in most mainstream film magazines ever published) look very much like publicity people's handouts and press releases reworked to fit the space on the page and are pretty bland.  The letters columns, filtered through 35 years of 20/20 rose-tinted hindsight, are a hoot:

Here's one from January 1976
    What's The Attraction of Jaws?

    I cannot for the life of me understand why the public are going in droves to see Jaws in America. What is the attraction of sitting for two hours watching a shark attack people?  A reflection perhaps of the sort of society we live in today, though I must confess out of curiosity I went to see it to see what all the fuss is about. But then this is why everyone probably wants to see it.

    I recently went to see Gone With the Wind for the 21st time and it remains a beautiful, moving film in the very best traditions of film-making.

    Here is a great film that will always be remembered

    Will Jaws live as long as Gone With the Wind - so far 35 years? I doubt it very much. because Jaws will be swallowed up by the obvious number of imitations that are sure to follow.

    I don't remember there being a flood of civil war love stories following in the footsteps of Gone With the Wind.

    T. H. Gaymor, Kingston Road, Staines, Middlesex
I really wonder who the magazine was aimed at. It's all very British and a weird mixture stories about new, big-budget films (Logan's Run, The Man Who Would be King, Rollerball etc.), good old family values (with wholesome good old Hollywood stars like Bogart, Gable and Garland featuring in the '1976 Souvenir Calendar'), and slacious photo-features on wannabee starlets heaving their naked tits at the camera (not that I am complaining).  I'd forgotten just how weird the 70s were.

Another letter on the letter page starts:
    As President of the Alice Faye Appreciation Society, may I request...
Now that's a polite stalker!

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