Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Close encounters with Madonna

I had a little groan during Mr Osborne's autumn statement when he said that Buy-to-Let landlords would have to pay extra stamp duty.  Not that I'm planning to buy somewhere else, but it was final recognition that people like me have done well out of rising property prices in the last couple of decades, and it's time to pay the piper.  I don't begrudge him the money that he is already collecting having reduced the tax benefits for rental income.  However, the next day when I read the detail I realised that the corporate fascists that David and George are, have really started turning the screws.  Many 'buy-to-let' landlords have become so because either they have seen the value of their pension pot pissed away by feckless financiers so have turned to property as a safer haven, or because two single people who own property have decided to let one when they decide to co-habit, rather than sell it.  Many, therefore, are not avaricious landlords determined to screw every last penny out of tenants....just people trying to make an honest living.  BUT if you read the detail of Georgie Porgy's proposed changes, the increase in stamp duty will ONLY apply to small-time private landlords.  Corporates with fifteen or more properties are exempt.  Yes, the perfect example of how the Tories are continuing to screw the lower orders for the benefit of their corporate buddies.

Christmas has arrived chez nous, and all the decorations have gone up.  For The Cat's Mother this is a major military operation which takes several days.  For me it's about getting my head down and avoiding any flack for not pulling my weight.  A small disaster (oh first world problems!) was that  we could only get a 9' tree and not our usual 10 footer...the new kitchen has been decorated for the first time which is really quite exciting...modern kitchen, minimalist approach!  Outside (which sadly I haven't been able to photograph) looks like Blackpool Illuminations...not that we're trying to out do everyone else in the street, but simply because we acquired an extra set that gave us loads of spares...and it would be a shame for them to miss out on their month of glory!

I sent a note to Matt Charman, the write of 'Bridge of Spies', as he'd given me his e-mail address a year or so ago, to congratulate him.  He was kind enough to reply...and even repeat his request to join us for Christmas and our antics...The Cat always writes a play for us all to perform.  What a lovely fellow indeed!  I hope he goes from strength to strength.

Last week we saw Madonna at the O2.  She's certainly a showgirl and the performance was fabulous.  She was fine, but her support dancers and acrobats were amazing.  We'd been lucky enough to get half-price tickets in one of the corporate boxes...not quite sure how that all worked, but it meant we were pretty much on top of her (no jokes please about how that's not the first time she's had more than one person on top of her...) and it was a great event.  There is a strong suspicion that for some sections she was miming...but does that matter when you're creating a show?  I'm not sure.  She's certainly not great at audience interaction, but she did try....poor lass.  But this isn't the closest I've been to the girl.  Some years ago, she was directing a film using the area below our office. She and her cohorts were shielded completely from the public gaze...but we had prime positioning, so I took my own paparazzi shots...perhaps I should have sold them as I'd never seen her with specs on before (or since)