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