these australians did a pretty good job on clinton. early days as it might be, it does look as though obama has all the momentum. the kennedy’s have come out for him, and will presumably be followed by other democrat grandees. the republican side is harder to call. i don’t think such an old fart as McCain could be elected in Britain, but in the states i just don’t know. Romney is the status-quo guy, Paul seems to be the underground’s favourite but isn’t getting enough attention, whilst giuliani is a fucking vampire and is about to get a stake driven through his cold heart (can’t find the link i was after - but it means he’s going to lose big in florida). my guess would be it’s going to be obama Vs mccain, the most popular change candidates.
Rob said the other day that he wanted the contest to be between John Edwards and Guiliani in a big Good Vs Evil fight so that the m’fuckers go down hard. I don’t. i’d like both parties to pick someone who professes anything but the status quo. The US is in deep shit and could do much to extricate itself from the worst of its inevitable decline. A consensus for change would be welcome to the little states hanging of america’s coat-tails, of which my country is one. By november we are all going to be well and truly mired in economic concerns. some blairish “only way is up” sentiment is going to be required. young and popular with all demographics would be good. and then we wait for the shooter.
one of my smallest items of expenditure is Rizla Blues. Or it should be. I’ve noticed prices creeping up month by month, to the point where i found myself paying 69pence for a packet the other day. This is still just 40 sheets of gummed paper, right? You can get 10 packets for £1 on the Walworth Road, a supermarket will charge 22p a pack. Newsagents have begun to take the piss. It’s got so I’d rather do without than be ripped off. In the city it’s understandable that you should pay extra for the convenience of having somewhere on the corner, but wholesale these things must cost less than the 10p i referred to earlier. Enough already!
Rizla Blues are the king of papers. there are good alternatives, “smoking” from spain are pretty good. but rizla is the real deal, the original (a 500 year history!) and the best.
The Rizla tradition has a humble beginning that started in 1532, when a Frenchman named Pierre de Lacroix began making paper. As the legend goes, one rainy day in the French city of Angoulême, Pierre de Lacroix was inspired to begin the production of rolling papers when he traded a rolling paper for a bottle of fine champagne and realized their potential market.
The first Rizla Blues were produced in 1910. The centenary is almost upon us.
i was at the albert hall earlier. it was a beautiful day and it was good to be in kensington for the first time in a while. lady blessington, of whom i am fond, lived on the albert hall site in a house with three acres in the early 19th century. right now it’s all red brick colleges and albert memorabilia. in front of the hall is a monument to the great exhibition in 1851, featuring a rather fabulous bare-breasted african woman. one one side is a list of countries exhibiting. these are divided into “british”, including india, new south wales, barbados etc; and the rest of the world, a list of equal length including many countries i have never heard of.
in the interval i walked over the albert memorial for a cigarette. it looks amazing since its restoration. it was great to see a queue of asian tourists waiting to have their photo taken in front of one of the four continents featured at the corners, “asia”.
like an idiot i’d forgotten to take a camera’ all images from flickr.
derren put me on to robertson davies years ago. i read “what’s bred in the bone” (vol. 2 of a trilogy) and liked it. i recently came across the concluding volume, “the lyre of orpheus”. i read that and liked it, a lot. today i went for a coffee on sydenham high street, next to my favourite 2nd hand bookshop. i found “fifth business” and “the papers of samuel marchbanks”. i bought them both, despite having ordered fifth business on the net yesterday. anyone want a copy? robertson davies doesn’t introduce radical ideas, illuminate the human condition etc. etc. but, fuck , he can write. i’d put a random sentence of his against anybody. the books are flawless.
we have a friend staying with us, down from northern england, to visit the american embassy tomorrow. as a convicted drunk driver, she needs to be interviewed before being cleared to visit a relative in seattle. she tells me she has had three emails explaining the security restrictions at the embassy for visitors. she is not to bring a bag or a mobile phone. she must queue outside the embassy and there is no place to store such items prior to entry. ok a bag, maybe, but a phone? wow.
business idea number 974, a secure storage van parked up on grosvenor square, £3 an hour for a 6″x3″x2″ locker - “phone-alone”.
there’s something about US embassy security in the guardian, from last may.
once again i have become bored with my music. i have lots of it and spread it across three computers to retain some variety. ubiquity is not necessarily a good thing. but no matter what i turn to i get nothing. of course this has happened many times before. i tend to hit classical music first. this time i bizarrely went to monteverdi. i try the radio, bbc radio 3’s late junction is a favourite (and how i discovered kimya dawson), but the presenter that seemed to play what i was after (verity sharp) seems absent from the schedules. now i have other choices. last.fm tracks everything i play, no matter what machine i play it on, and offers friend’s music ( i listened to bar’s radio last night) and neighbourhood radio. this streams music based upon what close musical matches play that i don’t listen to. but i just find it so hit and miss. tonight i enjoyed cake’s “the distance”, heard a few things i already owned but choose not to play, and nothing else of much interest. here’s hoping the drought doesn’t last long.
last saturday we had a party to celebrate ita getting her MA. at about 1am i started showing someone how you could DJ using youtube and get pretty much anything you could think of. i asked him what he would most like to listen to right now, any song, and band. whatever it was i found it. then someone else jumped in with a request. this carried on for four hours. people were often in some kind of competition with each other. i would get a whisper from someone so that i could tee up the track to be launched and received the moment the other faded. but almost always the music was at least on the fringes of what the group would want. there was dancing, singing, the works.
of course, in a perfect world, each of the guests would be last.fm users. i’d plug in their user names into the, as yet unborn, “party radio” feature, and all night i could have rested my index finger.
i’ve just begun to read of some of the mortgage deals that were a part of the sub-prime problem in the US. The mis-selling looks pretty big, brokers operating a production line of ready-made documents, even further falsifying them without their client’s knowledge. One would think that many of punters would have a case against them, rather like they did in the UK with the pensions and utilities mis-sellings of the last decade. It’s that old economic imperative at work again. The brokers got all of the upside and none of the downside. Of course they were going to sell beyond all expectation. And, of course, they were going to over-sell. Bubbles burst. Look at this young day-trader’s blog:
DO you wait it out? Cut your losses like me? Or average in?
Lesson be learned…..you don’t want to make the same mistakes I did.
I got out of my long futures position when YM was down 300pts, it is now down 650pts and still going down and the market hasn’t even opened for US investors!!
I may look stupid for holding my position so long, but I look less stupid now, with the trade down 2x as much from where I sold it.
What do you do today?
Do you short Solars and Financials?
How about shorting NYX and the brokers? Who’s going to be left holding all these worthless stock certificates when the market tanks? JPM, GS, BAC, MS, C, LEH, NDAQ.
Remember BAC earnings tomorrow at the bell…..And never count out the surprise FED cut!
Spreads are going to be huge, and I predict YM to have 10-30pts swings every few seconds. The market is going down.
THIS IS A STOCK MARKET CRASH!!!
Everything looks bad right now. Inflation is going up (chinese rising prices and oil), and the Bank of England is supposed to adjust interest rates on an inflation target only - indicating interest rates go up, trade deficit is at an all-time high, the property market is about to plummet from a cliff. An economy fueled on equity liquidation and debt turns off both taps at once and wills the water level to rise, all the time aware that the plug is not a perfect fit.
As someone who’s been predicting a large crash for ages (and hence wins no kudos - heads have got to come up, right?), i still find myself as bemused as the next guy. Even people whose knowledge/experience/track-record one might respect seem intent on insisting that this one isn’t going to be so hard, that we’ve learned some things, or that other factors are in play. It seems to me to boil down to whether the new economies of China and India, together with the oil states, provide sufficient demand to keep the world economy afloat, or whether they just end picking over the remains of the western economies at their leisure. They might just amount to the same thing.
Some parents i know report interesting things in this year’s round to get your kids into a half-decent state senior school. The open day at Haberdashers required a police presence due to the number of parents and offspring eager to gain entry to one of the few south london schools with a good reputation. At the St Olaf’s admissions day parents were left in tears trying to get their children into the hall at the required times, past rush-hour commuter-like scenes. The reason these schools are so attractive is that they carry the same key benefit as a private school. Your kids have to be a bit brighter than average and, to get them in there, you are going to have to invest a lot of effort. The effort in private schools is expressed in cash.
There was once a system, dreamed up by Rab Butler and resulting in the 1944 Education Act, that involved a tripartite system. Children went to school grouped by ability. In the succeeding several decades the proportion of children attending private schools was tiny. Education changed in the seventies and eighties, grammar schools closed down or went comprehensive. We now have overt socio-economic separation, at least in London. State schools are denuded of the professional classes. In the London borough of Kensington & Chelsea 45% of kids go to private schools, but the same borough has a free school meals rate three times the national average at 37%. It’s not pretty.