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Monday, December 24, 2007

Sellotape


Agent Triple P hates Christmas and all the ghastly commercialism and consumerism attached to it these days. Everyone knows what Christmas should be about. Televison. Yes, the greatest joy of TV past was all the blockbuster films you would get on over the Christmas period and this is what made the double Christmas edition of the Radio and TV Times the most exciting magazines of the year. Now, however, with video recording and DVDs of blockbusters out within months of them being on at the cinemas (you used to have to wait three years before they appeared on TV) most of the fun of Christmas has gone.

Now it's all just a nightmare of present buying and tedious wrapping for people you'd rather not get presents for at all. Particularly, when you know you are spending much more on them than they are on you. How, then is this an exchange?

So, given this, what has happened to the material that literally holds Christmas together? Sellotape.

Sellotape (or at least adhesive tape) was, we are afraid to say, invented by the French, in the 1930's. The patent was purchased for the UK in 1937 by Messrs Gray and Kininmonth who invented the name Sellotape (it was made from applying rubber resin to cellophane film). It is now, in Britain, a classic genericised trademark (like Hoover) although not in the uncivilised bits of the world.

This is all very well, but the key things we remember is that if you bought any other manufacturers' cheaper sticky tape it was not as good as Sellotape. It would break off awkwardly and leave you scratching around looking for the end on the roll or tear lengthwise so you would end up with a long thin strip coming off. Sellotape was thicker and more reliable.

Today, however, Sellotape is just as useless as everyone else's. It's thin and brittle and tears in all the wrong places. Why is this?

Our theory is that since 2002 Sellotape (which used to be made in Acton) has been owned by the Henkel company from Dusseldorf. Now as the Krauts have a strange love for environmental issues (given that their motor industry churns out huge numbers of vast petrol guzzling monsters every day) we are sure that they have changed the composition of the tape to make it more "green" (shudder). So, whilst it may be more biodegradable it is useless for wrapping purposes.

Surely there is an opportunity for Chinese industry here? Go and produce non-biodegradable sticky tape which doesn't fall to pieces as you try to get it off the roll. Then we can all have a slightly less annoying Christmas. Rubbery!

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