Thursday, 12 March 2009


Please make sure you are sitting down and that medical support is not far away.

You've heard of books being threatened by the internet; you've heard of literature being damaged by cultural dumbing down and obsession with celebrity non-writing; you know that author income is falling in these straitened times. But, fellow-authors, I must warn you of a new and terrifying attack from an unexpected quarter.

Pause for a deep breath.

Yes, it is that bad. And it's starting, I'm ashamed to say, in Scotland. (I may have to disown my adopted country. Adopted, see: I'm not really Scottish, I'll have you know. I don't even have a Celtic fringe. I'll happily take a few bottles of single malt, preferably from Islay, and then leave.)

The shocking news: a Scottish doctor, who is clearly not an author, is proposing a tax on ... chocolate.

In my view, this is the single biggest threat to the future quality of literature since the man from Porlock interrupted Samuel Taylor Coleridge while writing Kubla Khan.

This is nothing but a Tax On Books. It's a short step from such amorality to knocking the feet from under old ladies or removing the brakes from babies' prams.

Writers need chocolate. A writer without chocolate is like a ship without water, a bird without wings. Without it we are but amateurs, struggling in the dark, whistling in the wind. Surely we must see this absurd suggestion as the last straw, the final unacceptable threat to our honourable profession? Rise up, I say, gird up your Lindts, va-voom your Valrhona, gather your Green and Blacks (especially the ones with little bits of orange in them) and go forth and ... er ... eat. You see, this proves it - I haven't had any chocolate this morning and I've totally run out of good words.

I'm not sure if I can write any more at all today after that news with my breakfast. I may have to go shopping instead. First stop, Hotel Chocolat.


The Dotterel said...

And don't forget the readers! They need their chocolate.

Nicola Morgan said...

Quite right - what was I thinking of? The doctor is clearly neither reader nor writer, nor does he have any soul.

acpaul said...

For shame! How heinous! How low can a doctor go!

They take our beer, they take out fat, and our salt, and every good thing left in this life, and now, now they dare to have the audacity to attack the one remaining bastion of writers and readers. The chocolate. I could weep.

I must now go eat a chocolate bar in mourning of the passing of our dear comestible. And clutch even tighter to the last remaining shred keeping us all alive. Coffee.

Barb said...

And they thought the poll tax riots were bad. Imagine if they tried to legislate this!

Obviously a man that has never experienced Nigella's chocolate heaven cheesecake.

Book Maven said...

What about a tax on praise?

Maybe 15% of insecurity for every kind response?

Or should there be a sliding scale so that the tax is higher on friends' praise and lower on the kindness of strangers?

Tara Maya said...

A tax on chocholate?


Sarah said...

I'm munching chocolate chip cookie dough as I write this, by the way.

Of course that doctor is soulless! I'm wondering if he's even human. Give him a bacon cheeseburger and chocolate milkshake. That'll bring him round.

Nicola, I was expecting something about the Kindle. Imagine my horror when I discovered the situation was much, much worse. I'm worried, and I live in the US.

Nicola Morgan said...

The Kindle is as nothing to this. Mind you, if the Kindle is anything like my Sony eReader, (which is supposed to be more delicious than the Kindle) books are not threatened by that either. What a paltry little gimic it is. It's useless. I could have designed better myself.

Anyway, don't you worry over there about chocolate taxes - we will ensure that it doesn't catch on. We will fight.

Donna Hosie said...

Dr Jekyll will prise my Lindt 70% out of my cold dead hands.

Barb, I will take your "Nigella's chocolate heaven cheesecake" and raise you a Nigella's Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova!

Donna Hosie said...

...and I've just read this news story to back up our assertions that chocolate is a main food group and essential for absolutely everything! - God love her!