Monday, 12 September 2016
LSD in metric...
The new five pound note is in circulation as of tomorrow. It's rather a nice little piece of kit, made of a polymer, which is undoubtedly easier to replicate than special paper, but who am I to judge, I'm only a humble old fart these days.
Years ago, I worked with a chum, who was developing the latest computer chips. There was a state-of- the-art manufacturing business in Sidcup, and it was such a hi-tech business, that the building itself was literally built on springs, to alleviate vibration from the various trains which infest South London. Each laboratory had positive ventilation, such that when you opened a door, there was a 'Star Trek' whoosh, as air was pumped out so that germs, dust, and other nasties didn't invade the procedures being perpetrated within. They also used millions of gallons of water for cooling, which made a few people at some water board or other have a seizure, but it was a good business.
Back then the quandary was how thin could a computer chip wafer be manufactured? I would think that the sort of kit we have in a mobile phone is about a thousand times thinner, and a million times quicker than anything being made in the eighties, so the mystery probably will still be around over the next century or so.
But this fiver bothers me somewhat.
I always hankered after The Royal Mint producing a general circulation £5 coin. It would be big, heavy, and carry the gravitas a good currency demands. Scrobs Senior travelled far and wide in Europe in the sixties and seventies, and always came home with a pocket of pretty useless change. When he popped off this mortal coil, we kept all the coins and used them to tip French lavatory attendants, bugger up foreign parking meters and gave them to scroungers (unkind, but useful), and we still have a huge box of them. Some of these are frankly not worth making! They're often a light alloy, have no milling, and mean very little, other than they look like some of the coins you get with a kid's toy shop till or similar.
So now we're down to a small plastic sheet, with a drawing of a proper politician! (If that's not a contradiction in terms).
I hope it works. The fivers I keep stashed away for Christmas are all old, well folded with writing/darts holes/dirt etc all over them, and I hope the small wallet I use will accept a twice folded plastic membrane comfortably.
And also I hope that it hasn't be reproduced by some gang up North, or in Scotland, or London, and printed on an old polythene bag!