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1 hour, 55 minutes
First broadcast:
Tuesday 06 September 2011

Simon's guest tonight is the very tall English singer-songwriter and musician, Nick Lowe. Most famous for his hits 'Cruel to Be Kind' and 'I Love the Sound of Breaking Glass', he's also a respected producer, having worked with the likes of Elvis Costello and Graham Parker. He releases his latest album, 'The Old Magic', in September.

Plus, the collective hear a new Confession, there's a Homework puzzler to solve, Rebecca Pike has the money, Matt Williams has the latest sports news, and Sally Boazman keeps you moving with the travel updates.

Music Played

13 items
  • Confession: Yeah, I’m The Taxman

    Dear Brother Simon and the collective.

    I write to you asking forgiveness for a simple youthful mistake.

    My story starts back in the heady days of 1996 when I was but a young 15 year old schoolboy and army cadet. At the particular time of this tale, I was doing a fortnight’s work experience at the Inland Revenue, which mostly involved filing, making cups of tea and other generally unimportant dogsbody work.

    In the middle of these 2 weeks of work experience, I was on a weekend camp with cadets and I happened to mention to a girl called Kate - who I'd had a crush on for a little while - that I had work on Monday morning. "Oh? What do you do?" she asked. "I work at the tax office" I said nonchalantly. At this point, I should probably have pointed out to her that I was in fact only doing my work experience there and at 15 was yet to actually leave school and enter the job market. Instead I let her believe that I was 16 and a half and was gainfully employed by the prestigious Inland Revenue. It seemed to me that artificially increasing my age and experience could work in my favour while trying to woo the young lady.

    And there it could have ended. Except that I was a victim of my own deceitful success and we ended up ‘going steady’ for about 4 weeks (which back then seemed like half a lifetime). After I finished my work experience and returned to the school corridors and classrooms, I had to think fast in any conversations with my new girlfriend to keep up the lie and give off the impression that I was in fact going out to work daily.

    All of this would have been fine and harmed nobody except for the fateful day a couple of weeks in when I took the long bus journey across town to my young lady’s home and met some of her family. They all seemed suitably impressed that this young wet behind the ears lad had such a promising future at the tax office and I had to think doubly fast to field their questions.

    Up to this point, everything I'd done so far was reasonably forgivable - until that is, Kate's Uncle Ted started quizzing me for advice over his tax affairs. After batting away a few questions with half hearted non-committal mumbles, he leaned over and said to me with a raised eyebrow "The thing is, I'm married now, but the wife and I are separated. We've been thinking of getting a divorce so we can both start afresh but won't we lose our married persons tax allowance?"

    I had to think on my feet – and quick. "Um...err, Yes" I stuttered. "You'd certainly be much worse off if you got a divorce as you'd both go under separate tax codes and you'd have to complete a P11D form each and have them sent off for adjudication" - this was of course a load of rubbish, I had no idea whether it would make any difference or not and I think that in reality a P11D form was something to do with company cars.

    "Humph... I reckon we'll just have to stay married then and keep the extra allowance" he said grumpily, frowning, and on with the dinner we went - with me breathing a sigh of relief that the conversation had turned somewhere else.

    Sadly, Kate and I split up about 2 weeks after this, which was a relief as I was sure that my lie would have been uncovered if we'd been together much longer. To this day I've no idea if getting a divorce would have made any difference to Uncle Ted's tax affairs or not.

    So, dear collective, I'd like to ask forgiveness from Kate who probably still believes that she went out with a young man a year older than her when in actual fact I'm a couple of months younger than her. From the Inland Revenue who I'm sure wouldn't have been best pleased about me handing out tax advice without a clue what I was talking about. And most of all from Uncle Ted and his wife who in all likelihood stayed married for longer than either of them would have liked on the back of my poorly informed and mostly made up advice.

    Best Regards



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