One of the great known unknowns, in the words of Donald Rumsfeld, and to continue a thread from Blog 1494 - or perhaps it should be one of the great unknown knowns - is which ‘Musical Giant’ (Handel? Elgar? Vaughan Williams? - no definitely none of them) is to be featured on the upcoming Royal Mail release which has that very same title. Those for whom it is a known - dealers under contract from Royal Mail and told to keep shtum until told otherwise - or those of us with no such contract for whom it is an unknown and who waste a laughably unnecessary amount of time
wondering what the answer could be, therefore are left, not that any personal harm results, to guess or not to reveal which ephemeral modern celebrity is to be rewarded for earning vast amounts of money by the honour of being depicted alongside Her Maj on a stamp or two for which we collectors will mainly pay.
Britain however, well known for the quality of its tabloid journalism, has an answer to this agony of expectation and curiosity in the form of the always trustworthy Mail On Sunday which this week reveals that the philatelically honoured ‘Musical Great’ is to be the elderly Elton John (well, 72 can reasonably be described as ‘elderly’) who is much loved by members of the Royal Family with immature musical tastes especially those to whom he is quite glad to donate helicopter rides to solve their transport problems. The issue is said to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the musician’s entry into show business.
The Sunday Mail, if I may call it that (no relation to Royal Mail) has revealed that there will be 4 stamps in the set (which seems somewhat unlikely as Royal Mail has a clear policy towards new issues of why issue 4 stamps when you can issue 10?). It seems likely to me who has no reason to know any better than anyone else that the 4 stamps will make up a miniature sheet and then there will be 6 others besides.
The Sunday Mail (not to be confused with Royal Mail, did I say?) does not provide illustrations of the 4 actual stamps but obligingly provides its readers with mock-ups showing portraits of Sir Reg
Dwight at various stages of his colourful musical career. Actually they are rather good and one fears that they are rather better than the real stamps themselves will prove to be.
Anyway there’s not long to wait to find out how much of this report is the product of the usually fevered imagination of the vulgar British press. To be honest, I’m not really bothered anymore.