Things!!!

Stuff that doesn't fit elsewhere.

If you know where I might find something I mention looking for, please do not hesitate to contact me!

Some movie from the '70s or '80s.

This is the sort of thing the Internet is great at finding, but it never seems to work out for me.

Some time in the late '80s I saw a movie which featured:

Sounds like the kind of thing that it should be easy to find, but I've never managed. A few close calls, and some very wild goose chases that have introduced me to interesting movies, but no luck on the main thing as yet.

Solved!

Thanks to a IMDb's trivia section, I have the answer after a decade of looking in earnest!

The movie is Real Men starring James Belushi and John Ritter; it's no wonder it made such a mark on me given its lysergic plot and my age when I would have seen it. No wonder I retained an unnatural fondness for John Ritter up to and after his death. I'm leaving this here in case it helps someone else find the answer! I probably won't write about my impression of it as an adult, if I even risk watching it. It's somehow just enough to know once and for all!

UK Civil Service Briefcases

These things get referred to by dozens of names. People refer to them as "diplomatic bags" which they aren't. (Besides, the average diplomatic bag these days is a shrink-wrapped pallet of stuff, right?) They are "government despatch" bags and "civil servant's attache cases" and "civil service satchels" and a dozen things besides. Some people claim that they used to be used as post bags, which seems unlikely to me. The BBC seems to have issued the same cases at one point.

The design has actually changed quite a bit over the years, even just among those bearing Queen Elizabeth II's royal cypher (which some people refer to as "EIIR" or "E2R" or even the dreaded "E11R" -- we're a ways yet from Elizabeth XI.) Sure, they're all black and gold, but some are leather and some are PU leather on some kind of hard back, it seems. Some have leather straps, some metal clasps. The lock size and shape and metal varies quite a bit, with most (but seemingly not all) being made by Cheney, or Mitchell Davey.

I'm interested in getting one, but never seem to spot them on eBay (until weeks later), or when I do, it's never the right one. See, I have an unhealthy love of the television show The Sandbaggers, the opening of which features our hero (such as he is) carrying one of these bags. His looks like a 1979 model, or thereabouts, of a style that were made by Barrow and Hepburn in the late '70s. Models of a similar style tend to be marked "BHE 197x" for the year of manufacture. At this point I'm thinking of getting the wrong kind and then waiting around for the right one, but it's all sort of silly. It's not like I cosplay.

The really odd thing to me, though, is that there's no accepted name for them that I've found, and nobody's collected much information on their manufacture, history, etc. I could probably cobble together more details than any one person on the Internet seems to have done, at this point, and I've only spent a few hours on the subject, with no good resources. It really seems like the office responsible for issuing them ought to have a page about their manufacture, and the models that have been issued throughout the years. Maybe some day.

With further investigation, it seems that in some years the royal cypher is just stamped in, not gilt. Black leather or leatherette is most common, but there are occasional versions in brown, too. Small portfolios and even suitcase form factors (like a larger version of the Red Box) are made similarly, as well.