Gasp, primitive humans, for I am now going to try and write an interesting post about sheets of paper.
I could claim that I'm doing this as a personal challenge designed to explore the very depths of my literary talent.
But the truth is I can't think of anything better to write about.
Admittedly, this isn't strictly speaking true.
Excitedly inspired by recent talk of Sheffield, Leeds, Bradford, Liverpool and Manchester agglomerating into one huge mega-city of ten million people, I was going to declare that the only thing wrong with the plan is that Mr Bumbleton, my local Community Support Officer, has now been replaced by Judge Dredd and that the bottom of my street is now populated entirely by hostile mutants. I was then going to use this as an excuse to write a review of a Judge Dredd tale from the 1978 2000AD Annual.
Sadly, this scheme hit the buffers when I actually read the tale and decided it wasn't a substantial enough story to review, and then remembered that scanning hardback books is difficult. I must confess that, while I might live in a mega-city, I somehow fail to have mega levels of commitment.
So instead I fall upon my back-up plan, much as a failed samurai falls upon his sword, and bring you my thoughts on writing paper.
It's not just any old writing paper, of course.
That's because it's Marvel writing paper, as advertised on the back of early 1970s Marvel UK mags.
It's at this point that I must confess that my mind has long been tortured by thoughts of chocolate bunnies.
The reason for this is that fifty percent of the reason you buy them is that they look like bunny rabbits. But, the moment you start to eat one, you begin to wreck its innate bunniness and therefore diminish its spiritual appeal to you. Therefore, you don't want to eat it.
But the other fifty percent of the reason you bought it is that it's made of chocolate and can be eaten. Therefore, if you don't eat it, it fails to serve its purpose as chocolate and is therefore a waste of money.
That very same dilemma smacks you in the face when it comes to the subject of writing paper letterheaded with your favourite super-heroes. If you use it for its intended purpose and send it, in the form of letters, to other people, you won't have it anymore, depriving you of the item you coveted enough to hand over money for.
On the other hand, if you don't use it, then it has no purpose and you've wasted your money.
What is the solution to this emotional trial?
I have no idea.
That aside, the one thing that does always strike me whenever I see an offer on the back of an old comic is what happens if I cut out the coupon and - over forty years later - send it off?
Will I still get my goodies? Will I get a reply from a totally unrelated body telling me that Marvel UK no longer live there anymore? Will the coupon and the postal order simply disappear, never to be seen again? Perhaps all such orphaned coupons are placed in bottles by a government agency and then flung into the sea to float forever, gaining, in the process, a romance that one could hardly ever imagine would be bestowed upon a forty five pence postal order.
And there was me thinking that sheets of paper were less interesting than mega-cities. What a fool I was. Judge Dredd and his big stroppy Chopper bike might be one thing but I see now that, within that very subject of writing paper, lies the route to a madness from which no human mind could ever hope to escape.
Lees Hall, Gleadless.
11 months ago