Monday, July 27, 2009

Yes, I once stole.


I've already blogged here about one of my first jobs which was at the Royal Opera House. After I left there I went to a famous film company in Wardour Street and worked in the department which calculated 'distribution rights of films shown in the eastern hemisphere'. I actually realised I was out of my depth by the end of the second week when I could not really grasp what I was expected to do. But I was in my early twenties, it was 1980 and I was busy being a New Romantic, most notably a female dandy - with ruffled waistcoats, pixie boots, tricorne hats and the rest (no, no photos will be shown).

One good thing about this impossible-to-fathom job was that the office shared the same space as the stills library. All those great Rank films had folders of stills on the shelves and of course I looked and looked and looked. A lot of the films I had never heard of but two stuck out - Henry V (Olivier version of course, Branagh had not yet made his far superior version) and The Royal Hunt of the Sun (the film with Christopher Plummer based on the play by one of my favourite playwrights, Peter Shaffer). Now my closest friend at the time had this mad obsession about 'Larry' and I'd seen the RHOTS and loved the portrayal of the Inca King by CP. Yes, you know what's coming...I filched quite a lot of stills from both films, felt guilty for the rest of the day and by the end of the third week, when it was clear that I was never going to shine at Rank, I called it a day (by mutual consent). This was before pcs and spreadsheets; there were complicated formulas, multi-currencies, piles and piles of paper - and it was never going to be a perfect job for me.

Now what I did was wrong; yes, it was theft and these photos are probably the 'worst' thing I have ever taken from a job. After that I moved into the more normal realms of theft from one's office - envelopes, pens and maybe a postage stamp here and there. I never felt guilty about that sort of theft though because I justified it thus - I often worked on various projects over the weekend for no money whatsoever and sometimes did in fact use my own stamps on business letters.

Back to these photos - the 'Larry' ones I gave to my friend; the ones of Christopher Plummer in all his glory as Atahuallpa I stashed away somewhere and unfortunately, during a clear-out- when I was engaged to someone and was moving abroad to start a new life, they must have got slung. This is why there are no photos available for this film I think* - I tried to find one for this post and came up with nothing - oops, feel a bit guilty now.

Anyway, are you going to own up to filching anything from your job (not the current one obviously) and what was the item?

*I'm sure his agent would have had copies anyway

41 comments:

Bill Stankus said...

Being self-employed it's rather difficult to steal from the boss - he's always here and watching me.

French Fancy said...

Never bite the hand that feeds you -:) (I like your new pic)

marc aurel said...

When I quit being a film editor,I took with me a two thousand foot film can, 35mm, (we used to put the mixed magnetic track and the film,(both 16mm), in the same can). Also a felt cloth for cleaning film, several wax pencils and bits of film I had cut and wanted to keep for my own posterity. I have it all still and, every time we move, I pry it open and look at a career I gave up thirty years ago. I also kept the black card with my name on it, which they used for my credit. More recently from another employer, I borrowed, but never returned, a book of all the Oscar winners since they were first awarded. There you have; master thief.

Owen said...

A long time ago I once worked for a big financial services company that sold credit reports about all possible sorts of business enterprises to other companies that wanted to check on their credit rating. Before leaving I printed out and kept the credit report concerning the band The Grateful Dead... now that is a piece of trivia if there ever was one... well, smack my knuckles... funny, I feel no remorse whatsoever...

Lulu LaBonne said...

I used to make lunch for a pop star, one day I remembered that I needed a cucumber for my evening meal at home, there were a couple in his fridge so I slipped one in my coat pocket - just as he walked in the kitchen

*red face*

Steve said...

The worst thing I'm guilty of is making personal photocopies of my own stuff or printing out my own projects in work time and on work paper. I dread to think how many hundreds of pages I've filched over the years. Possibly thousands.

Elizabeth Bradley said...

Nothing exciting, I'm afraid. Pens, paper, my bosses husband. Oh...I'm just joshing with you.

Carol said...

I'm afraid that I have no exciting pilfering anecdotes to share with you!! Like Steve, I've only ever printed a few things or made photocopies....master thief I am not!!

C x

LadyFi said...

The worst theft is probably time - surfing on work time - and using the photocopier to make my own copies of stuff...

There is that time when I filched a couple of toilet rolls though... Mmm.. I can't for the life of me remember why!

Jennysmith said...

Tippex was far as i went.

What adventures you had in London, FF. There could be a book in this.

xxxx

French Fancy said...

Marc - wow, you've got some booty there. I don't feel so guilty now :) How great to have your name board - something for the kids to treasure.

Owen - now that would be worth a lot to a Dead fanatic. I remember 'Casey Jones' very well

Lulu - oh, how did you get out of it? Must have been a healthy pop star, so not anyone too rocky.

Steve - oh yes, I'd forgotten photocopying stuff - yes, I've done my share. I bet yours was all your academic stuff - so it was Worthy.

Elizabeth - you tease :)

Carol - oh dear, I'm starting to feel bad again...Mr FF thought I was a bit 'too' frank with this post :)

Ladyfi - I bet every worker in the world is guilty of the time thing - except for me of course

Jen - nah, can't remember half the things or people that I happened across. If the dead brain cells are regenerated then perhaps

x

Dedene said...

I took a three-hole stapler once. But otherwise, I've just stolen time from many jobs.

I love all the Rank films; Alec Guiness is my favorite!

Lulu LaBonne said...

I said
mind if I borrow your cucumber for the night? - I'll replace it tomorrow

he laughed

Lulu LaBonne said...

Actually, you've suddenly reminded me of my teenage terror years, I had a great line in 'swapping earrings' - going into a jeweller wearing a pair I didn't like any more, trying on some new ones and leaving my old ones behind in the little holder.

Contemporary Troubadour said...

Hmmm, would have to say photocopies for personal use. Nothing exciting :).

the fly in the web said...

What interests me is how did you get the job? I'm betting it was the New Romantic dress style.

Hadriana's Treasures said...

What I would like to say...is that I committed the best bank job ever...AND...I got away with it (until now).

Nora Johnson said...

Dear FF, I do believe there's a book there for your memoirs. Now, in a previous post, I wrote about a rather engaging local chap called Senor Munoz who, it transpired, was planning to set up BlogAddictsAnonymous. However, since that little project's rather fallen by the wayside (he's now in jail), I'm sure nonetheless he'd be only too happy to assist with the publication rights, royalties etc (ie all things financially profitable). Do let me know if you'd like his contact details (that is, in the local jail).

What a varied outpouring of interesting misdemeanors! Now, how about ConfessionalsAnonymous?

x Nora

Blu said...

Chocolates, a boss of mine was a chocoholic, and he had boxes of them in his office!

Ann said...

I had a Saturday job in a restaurant, they did cream teas, with thick clotted cream, one day I decided to help myself, my goodness the cream was quite lovely, next thing I look, and it is nearly all gone, I put it back in the fridge, everybody was wondering where the cream had gone, I put on my most innocent expression, a little while later I had the most awful stomach pains, they lasted all day, and I carried on, serving teas without any clotted cream.

From that day I have never touched the stuff, nor ever will again.

I am sure the agent had many copies FF.

French Fancy said...

Dedene - a 3 hole stapler -I've never seen one of those (we've got one x 2 hole and one x 4 hole all bought and paid for - not nicked) - grin

Lulu -aw, I bet he told his friends though - my chef stole a cucumber - a house full of treasures and that's what she took! (and moving on swiftly from the earring story :)...

Contem - please don't think less of me - I was very silly back then :)

flyintheweb - I was going out with an actor at the time - quite well known actually - and he knew a man who knew a man etc

Hade - it's funny how so many of us get good jobs and then feel a bit of a fraud and wait to get found out - I felt like that with the job I had before I left France. I'll probably blog sometime about the job I had and the celebs I met whilst doing it

Nora - the thing is that many of the things I've done sound a bit made up and people would claim they were not true - but they would be.

Blu - chocolates do not count - it is a boss's duty to give staff chocolate - you are automatically absolved

Ann - oh you poor thing - I like cc on scones with jam but, on its own, I don't think I could manage it. Now a cream cake I could probably scoff in two sittings - all on my own (surprised you didn't comment on the previous post - do you know I've joined Brandon Flowers page on Facebook - I'm becoming sad)

Ann said...

Which previous post FF, I cannot find it, mind you my cousin died the other day, she was only 42, breast cancer, and I am all over the place.

Will you give me a clue as to where to look please, brain is not working as it should.

French Fancy said...

Ann, Iam so sorry to hear that and it seems really trivial to even talk about stuff like this in the light of that

((Ann))

I changed the title of the previous post and I wonder if it has made it inaccessible for some - this was it

http://frenchfancy.blogspot.com/2009/07/how-brilliant-band-failed-to-impress.html

mrwriteon said...

I can honestly say that I never purloined a thing from a job other than a few photo discards from the paper I worked at. One of them was one of my stunning ex-wife taken when she was about 22. I still have that somewhere.
But, if I'd worked where you did I would have been tempted. Ah, I can still see that sepia-toned Rank identification logo with the sweaty guy and the gong.

Ann said...

Trivial is okay FF, you were not to know, anyway Trivia keeps us all going don't you think.

Why not join Brandon Flowers page, you like him very much, you have seen him nearly face to face, ( did you kiss him from me )so the next logical step is reading his words.

claire p said...

A cucumber from a greenhouse. I know, throw away the key or what!!

david mcmahon said...

Wasn't Superman the ``man of steal''? Oh no, that was ``steel''.

Okay, after you;ve stolen the limelight here, it's official - would you perhaps care to do a Sunday Roast interview?

No, I'm serious ....

ArneA said...

May you rotten in ???????
I am a-religious so the 7th or 8th Commandment is of less interest.
But you are a great joint winner of PotD
:)

Moannie said...

The only thing I have ever stolen was a very cheap and nasty lipstick from a reject bin when I was nineteen. I never used it and threw it away when I reached home.I still remember how terrified I felt at the time and have no idea why I did it.

Sandi McBride said...

Ummm...well...no, not that I...ahh...let me see...I may have lifted a speed loader once...but we were out looking for an escapee...so does that really count? Yes? I take it back, I don't know nothing about no stinkin' speed loader...
Congrats on Post of the Day nomination from David's. He always provides...
Sandi

FrankandMary said...

I took a pen home while I working on a project. Mostly because it was an "exact" sort of ink and I wanted to finish with it at home that night. I left it on my desk and had it around a few weeks until I looked at it closer when using it one day and saw it was engraved and damn it looked like a very EXPENSIVE pen...I brought it back!
I hopped over from David M's blog..he linked to you.
~Mary

Suldog said...

Congratulations on your Post Of The Day listing over at David's!

I have never taken anything home from my present job without permission, but I certainly took things from some previous jobs. I guess the worst was some nice Cross pens. I worked in an office supplies company, and they were top of our line. I still regret doing it, actually, and I'd even repay the company in some way, but they went out of business years and years ago. Perhaps I wasn't the only one taking Cross pens?

Phil Lowe said...

I too am a fan of Peter Shaffer. Did he write Sleuth? Watched it recently on dvd. Dear dear Larry and dear dear Michael (not a lot of people know that) Caine.

I once stole a girl's heart. Does that count?

Phil Lowe said...

PS: I would pay good money (not stolen money)to have seen the New Romantic French Fancy. Were you French Fancy cuffs? lol

Crystal Jigsaw said...

I think most of us have been there etc. Pens are so easy to pinch!!

CJ xx

Joanna Jenkins said...

Hi, I just stopped by from David McMahon's to say hello. Congrats on your nomination. You're a terrific writer!

French Fancy said...

Mr WO - everyone used to sneak into the library and take photos - it's astonishing there are any still there.

Ann - I feel a bit like a teenager some days with all this. :)

Claire - I feel more and more guilty now with fellow bloggers taking such modest things

david - that's very kind of you but I'm going to decline - I'd be too indiscreet and give away all my secrets = and I've got loads!. But thank you very much for asking

ArneA - I would never do anything like this these days. In fact I think you can safely say that this was a one-off theft situation - apart from minor stationary items

Moannie - A bit of me feels a weeny bit anxious that I'm going to get a letter now from Rank's lawyers. I've confessed so what can they do to me? Wonders.

Hiya Sandie - I don't even know what a speed loader is - but it sounds impressive and you were only joshing anyway :p

FrankandMary - pens just seem to jump in one's bag - and out again. I've lost as many as I've gained

suldog - age brings guilt for sure. I feel more guilty now than I ever did at the time

Phil - yep, Sleuth, 5 finger exercise, Sleuth, Equus. His brother Anthony is also a playwright.

I saw Sleuth on the stage and members of St John's Ambulance were on standby at the back of every performance for people with weak hearts - it was a great selling point

Phil - I don't know if you know the old actresss Margaret Leighton - I bought a costume she once had in some swashbuckling melodrama and would wear it to clubs. It did get me noticed, I must say!

Crystal - pens don't count, they are immune

And Joanna - thank you very much :)

cheshire wife said...

I have a few treasury tags from the days when I was a civil servant but I don't think that they are in the same league as duck houses and moats.

Brother Tobias said...

The inevitable biros and snowpaque, I suppose. Nothing to the unpaid hours they borrowed off me. But every reorganisation and office move seemed to require new furniture and some of the old stuff was auctioned off - map chests were a particularly good source of wood, and there is still an IBM golfball typewriter somewhere under the stairs.

French Fancy said...

Cheshire wife - treasury tags? Are they those dangly things to secure file papers? I'm shocked!

BroTob - yes, I also got legitimate things no longer wanted by the bosses and duly purloined - my computer chair for one. Map chests sound lovely though - quite glamorous.

Ken Devine said...

Hiya FF
you made me think...so I did a post which includes more than stealing anyone's heart (I wish), taking time or pictures.
These comments are a good read. We're a dishonest lot!
Great post.