Wednesday, 14 December 2011


I got a letter this morning from the Inland Revenue reminding me that I'll need to pay about £4,500 in tax at the end of January. 

It seems my earnings for 2009/10 went above a certain threshold, which means I have to start paying my tax in advance again - in effect, a double payment, which I'm going to struggle to find. I think it's utterly ridiculous to expect a creative person, whose earnings fluctuate, to pay his or her taxes in advance based on his or her's previous year's salary! This approach surely only works if a person's earnings are remotely consistent. And it's not just the tax system which doesn't work for freelancers. We also struggle to get mortgages and pensions because it's apparently invalid to live a life of feast or famine...

Here's a conundrum. The money I was forced to pay back to the Lincolnshire Soul Sisters was money I'd already paid tax on. My earnings for 2008/9 were actually two thousand pounds lower than the figure on which my tax was calculated. One assumes I can expect a rebate on the tax I paid that year, and that the tax burden for this amount now rests with the Choir Invisible instead? 

Fiona and I went to the markets in Camden today. It was freezing cold, but the experience of shopping on a week day in the run up to Christmas  is considerably less painful than the hell of a Saturday afternoon in the Arndale Centre! 

We even managed a spot of lunch, which would have been very bourgeois, had I not been scoffing a slightly mangy veggie burger (sold to me by an ageing hippy) whilst Fiona chowed down on pie and mash. She said it was so delicious it had made her week. Or should that be "made her weak"?

I like the markets at Camden. A seemingly endless warren of corridors and passages, all smelling of frankincense and Thai noodles whilst selling anything you could ever imagine recycling, or crafting or knitting or sculpting. We even found old-fashioned tapes, turned into necklaces. Camden market really has maintained a sense of true independence and nutty Bohemianism,  whilst everywhere else in London, these sorts of places have sold out, raised  their rents and become the exclusive stomping grounds for chi-chi furniture shops, cafe Pauls  and "too-cool-for-school" designer brands. Take Spitalfields for example, or Hoxton... Or the King's Road.  

I've just been to meet a record producer in Kennington. We talked about music for the Hattersley project and I like him very much. He's top notch and I think he's going to bring something highly unique to the table which could well force me to raise my game big time. We met a number of his colleagues in a pub who included the most astonishing bundle of energy I've ever encountered. He appeared from nowhere, clutching a pint of beer and delivered a 32 minute monologue about microphones and sonic waves without pausing for breath. I listened intently, desperately trying to learn something from the experience, but couldn't understand a word of what he was saying! Not one word! 

350 years ago, and Pepys had a long lie-in with his wife, something he confessed to having done more and more of late. Perhaps it was the cold weather. Perhaps he was simply getting lazy! 

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