🇦🇺 Collectors of the stamps of Royal Mail will be aware of the upcoming issue to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the world's longest running television soap opera, Coronation Street, on 28 May 2020. Soap opera is traditionally viewed among those who judge themselves to be from an educational elite as the lowest form of television drama though often with good reason and soap’s ability to attract large audiences, certainly here in Britain, has long evaporated as producers and writers continue to churn out hysterically improbable and lurid story lines with increasing frequency - thus, according to the unsalvageable BBC, there is a square in London where every resident or previous resident is either a murderer or a murder victim or at best the victim of an improbable fatal road accident. Given how dangerous it is, why anyone would want to live there has never been explained by the writers of the notoriously depressing EastEnders. One can only guess how awful the place will be when the COVID-19 infection finally finds its way to the Square. At least with all the characters socially distancing they won’t find it quite so easy to murder each other I suppose.
But the Coronation Street commemorative issue from Royal Mail has been preempted by a ghastly My Stamp pack issue from Australia Post which commemorates the 35th anniversary of the first broadcast of a soap opera so dire that Coronation Street and Eastenders appear to be works of Shakespeare in comparison - Neighbours. 35 is clearly an important number in Australia and a thirty fifth anniversary must have a significance unrecognised beyond the Antipodes. The only good point to make about this issue is that it celebrates a subject related to Australian popular culture rather than featuring subjects from North American popular culture which seem to have little or no relevance to Australia. The issue is made up of a sheet of 12 different self-adhesive stamps in unusual shapes and depicts identical-looking young characters, smiling or gurning, from Neighbours. The item was released on 12 March 2020 and has a face value of $13.20c but is sold for $15.50c.
There is much more where that came from. Australia Post has found it worthwhile to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the first Bugs Bunny cartoon. Bugs Bunny is outlandishly American and of no relevance to Australia save that Australia Post hopes to grab another $15.50c from gullible buyers of another MyStamp pack issued on 25 March 2020. The issue, as with most of these tiresome products, again takes the form of a sheet containing 12 uninteresting self-adhesive $1.10c stamps featuring Bugs Bunny and nothing else on a canary yellow background (though despite the colour there’s no evidence of Tweetie Pie being anywhere around). Don’t all rush at once.
It goes on. Disney has a lot to answer for :- 7 April - ‘Cinderella’ (12 stamps, cost $15.50c); 28 April - ‘Disney Princesses’ (12 stamps , price $15.50c, the bill’s rapidly getting bigger):-
And from DreamWorks we have the 10th anniversary of How To Train Your Dragon - another sheet of 12 stamps, cost again $15.50c please. Issue planned for 12 May 2020. The publicity says, “The pack contains 12 $1.10 MyStamps that feature cool character graphics within the stamp designs”. If you say so.
If you decide you want something a little more traditional, say gummed stamps instead of self-adhesive, then there’s always two jolly packs each containing 20 Greetings stamps with attached labels and both, as we would expect, on subjects relating to contemporary popular American culture. The first commemorating US comic characters, the Justice League, was released on 25 March 2020 with a total face value of $22 but sold for $25.50c and the other, commemorating the 40th anniversary of the American movie Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back, is intended to be issued on 12 May 2020 and also at a premium price of $25.50c.
If films and television are not your bag then there’s always football and rugby. And what conjures up more the excitement of the game than 2 sheetlets each of 20 stamps depicting football and rugby club badges each with a total face value of $22 but sold for $25.50c?
Three months worth of MyStamps and ‘Collectables’. Meanwhile people in the real world are falling victim to COVID-19. Some countries are starting to fall apart. Some postal administrations are honouring by a philatelic means those at the front of the fight against a disease the significance of which has probably still not been fully realised. Meanwhile Australia Post is out there commemorating the 80th anniversary of Bugs Bunny.