The boss of Barclays Capital, Bob Diamond, spoke to analysts in Canary Wharf yesterday about 'noise'. They wanted to know about the £4.5 billion share issue. But Bob would only speak of the 'noise'.
Well, I phoned Bob last night, and the guy broke down. He said to me, 'Michael, I need someone to confide in. I've been hearing a noise in my ears. Not tinnitus. No, this is something more sinister because there are voices in the noise! I'm hearing voices! Oh God, am I going insane? O gentle, Jesus H. Christ, save me! Today - I can't believe I'm telling you this - when I was sitting alongside Marcus Agius on that panel I heard a voice. It was calling to me from the wilderness, you might say. It said: Bob, O Bob, beware of Marcus. He ain't got no religion. And I freaked out. Nearly jumped out of my seat. John Varley leaned over to me and asked me what I was playing at. I could hardly tell him that a voice from the fucking wilderness was calling me and bad-mouthing the chairman, could I? Jesus! Maybe it's the pressure I'm under. This fucking share issue!'
He then burst into tears, and I had to swing into action. I told Bob, 'Bob, mate, there is no need to be afraid. This is beautiful noise. It's a sound that I love. I get it all the time. Soon, the hissing will die down and you will just be left with the voices. But don't you understand what this is? It is the awakening that every financial shaman experiences. You're becoming one of the lads! It is something to celebrate. Don't cry. That voice you heard wasn't from the wilderness, you silly thing. No, it was from the astral plane. It was probably one of the ghosts of the dead financiers. And you should pay attention to it. Marcus ain't got no religion. He has said so himself. Cheer up, Bob. Dry those eyes. Welcome to the revolution.'