Thursday, 26 March 2009

Michael Alen-Buckley: grim year

This post was going to be about Michael Alen-Buckley, executive chairman of RAB Capital. Grim year, reduced bonuses for everyone at RAB, and all that. But I haven't got the energy.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Chris Hohn would rather have Gummi Bears than money

What the fuck?! Yeah, that's what I said when I read the newspaper this morning. Apparently, some geezer by the name of Werner Seifert has said that Chris Hohn - founder of TCI - would rather have Gummi Bears than money; or words to that effect.

Well, I wasn't having that, so I got Chris on the blower. This is what he told me: 'Now, let's have it right, Mikey, Gummi Bears are great. We all love Gummi Bears. But they are no substitute for money. What is this mug Werner going on about? (He's nuts, Chris.) You're telling me. Since allowing Big Herb to enter my life, I've only ever thought of money. It's what makes the world go round. It's what makes your chakras whirl around, if you're making enough, that is.'

Fuckin' A! Chris. Fuckin' A!

Monday, 23 March 2009

Corazon Capital: for those of you who hold cash but are unhappy with low returns

Oh yes, for those of you who hold cash but are unhappy with low returns, I pity you. Have ye no faith? Haven't you looked inside yourself? Haven't you travelled in your mind, and seen the riches that are available there? What is wrong with you?

It's no good relying on Corazon Capital to come and save you with its new Managed Income Service, even if it does hope to produce returns of 4 per cent or so. You've got to get a grip!

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Edward Liddy: give back the bonuses?!?

Edward Liddy is the chief executive of AIG. Yes he is. Insurance group bailed out by the US government to the tune (a wild tune) of billions and billions and billions of dollars. I don't know how many billions. Too many billions! I don't know what tune. A crazy tune, played in the desert of our dreams by a shaman half insane, if not wholly insane. No half measures! Oh no, we want no half measures. Let's burn properly. Let's burn!

But the bonuses? Oh, the bonuses? Yes, Eddy wants his people to give the money back! They ain't allowed to have no bonuses, man. Or maybe a little bit, just a little bit of a bonus. He thinks that will keep them satisfied. Ha! These golden AIG employees will never be satisfied. Who - having tasted it, having burnt with it, HAVING LIVED WITH IT, FOR CHRIST'S SAKE!!! - who, who, who could be satisfied? They want more. We all want more. We are proud capitalists. Our fathers were proud capitalists. The ghosts of our ancestors - all of them capitalists - are watching us. While we sleep, yes; but in our waking hours too! Oh yes. You don't believe me? You want proof, dear reader? I can't give you proof of that, you fool! YOU MUST HAVE FAITH.

I call on all the employees of AIG Financial Products: do the right thing. Hold on to your money! Every cent! Ha ha ha! Let them take it from you! Let them drag you from your offices. Oh. But you won't be in your offices. The communists will not be able to find you. Why not? Well, because you will be hiding with me in the desert. I will shelter you. Come in to my world! O my children, my brothers, my sisters, sanctuary in the sand dunes! They won't get you. I will protect you. Big Herb will protect you! Yes yes yes yes yes! Come burn with us, beautiful ones, bring all your money.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Dear reader, if only we could break through these words …

If only. We could find something that would save us.

I know there is a better world.

Richard Friedman: the master of stressed and distressed debt

Goldman Sachs is looking for money. Billions! Why?

Let me tell you why. A new global fund. That's why. Oh yes. Goldman is starting up a new global fund with Richard Friedman in charge. Debt. Stressed, distressed, you name it. People familiar with the situation know all about it. I know very little. A few sketchy details. Goldman is so secretive. What happens in the basement? Ha ha, yes, we all know what happens in the basement (the London basement, that is).

But let us turn our thoughts to Richard Friedman. He has never been in the basement. So what? Very few people have. Is he a financial shaman? Er, no. Afraid not. This is most disturbing. I am disturbed. Surely a financial shaman should be given the job. Well, not necessarily. A shaman would spend too much of his time in a trance. No good for this job. Goldman has got the right man. I'm sure of it. But if he needs help. Oh, if he needs help, he can approach those righteous souls in the basement. But not physically! Oh no, not physically. (Rich is in New York, anyway.) That is not allowed. He will have to approach them with his mind.

The committee will help him. Yes. I'm sure of it.

Paulson & Co buys a stake in AngloGold Ashanti

John Paulson is all right. I like John Paulson. His firm, Paulson & Co, has just bought a stake in AngloGold Ashanti for $1.3 billion. It was Anglo American's stake. But now it ain't. It belongs to John. And I like John. I really do.

Shantih shantih shantih

My mind is moving, looking for gold. Let's all look for gold on the astral plane! With governments printing money, stealing our savings, we should all look for gold. There's gold in those visions!

Who would bet against a government? Who would wander aimlessly in the night time, beneath the moon, desert or city? Or City? Or Wall Street? Let me take you. Don't scream. Don't cry out for your mummy. This is the end? Is it? Or only the beginning?

I HAVEN'T EVEN STARTED YET.

I've been thinking these last few days, yes, days of despair. Crawling towards death. I have been thinking: Yes! I shall explode the whole fucking show! Explode the blogosphere with flames like no one has ever seen.

The thing is: I DON'T CARE ANY MORE.

I don't care what you think. Look for gold in my words, or look for shit. It is all the same to me. I am alone now. This no longer makes sense.

O Master, did it ever make sense?

O cheeky child, yes it did. A long time ago. I was a slave.

YOU'RE ALL A BUNCH OF FUCKING SLAVES!!!

But I am free now. Free of thought. And of language. Lost and loving it. Loving the cosmos, without a reason. I have no reason to love the cosmos or anything. I have no reason to be writing this. I have no reason full stop.

Tim Pryce: Terra Firma's new chief executive

Yeah. Guy Hands has had enough. He don't wanna be the chief executive no more, man. He has stepped down. No longer the chairman and chief executive of Terra Firma Capital Partners. But he has become group chairman and chief investment officer of the private equity group. Well, that's nice.

But what about Tim Pryce? Well, according to the newspaper, the man has no ego. Oh dear. We've been here before, haven't we? Remember Ewan Kirk at Cantab Capital Partners? Actually, that wasn't so bad because Ewan emailed me to set the record straight. Apparently, he did have an ego after all. It is very important to have an ego in business. And mystical capitalism demands it. We ain't no Eastern mofos. I'm sorry, any Eastern mofos who happen to be reading this, but that's just the way it is.

Tim, mate, if you have an ego, get in touch and I will update this post.

Sir Victor Blank: like a hurricane

You, dear reader, are just a dreamer, and Sir Victor is just a dream. You see, Lloyds, it went out into choppy waters. Now Sir Vic is looking for somewhere safer where the feeling stays. He wants to love you but he's getting blown away.

It's a common problem. We have all - at one time or another - been lost in the hurricanes of the mind. Blowing about. Blown apart. Living an astral life with money no longer meaning a thing. Sir Vic has felt the pain. He has lived the life. Look into his eyes. You can see that he is telling the truth. He wouldn't lie to us.

If you cannot understand this, then let me be the only one covered in the mystic blood of angels. They bleed for me.

If you cannot follow this, then let me be the lonely one burning on the mountain top. A mountain of cash!

If you will not kill your mind for me, then let me be the irrational one who dances for your pleasure, around the campfire, money in flaming eyes.

If you will not burn for me, then let me be the angry one who will cast you out, throw you to the wolves, make you live in the City without a penny to your name.

YOU COULD HAVE BEEN ANYONE.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

See you next Wednesday

No, not Tuesday. Wednesday. I will be forty years old on Tuesday. So I need a break. I need to think about things.

I was going to write about John Paulson today, and how he has made £344 million by shorting Lloyds. But I don't give a shit. Let him have his money. Not everything is about money, okay?

See you next Wednesday.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Words feel like death in my soul …

… but I'll post them on this fucking blog for your satisfaction, even if you don't need no satisfaction.

Great philosopher has spoken, there is no God, but there is. I have spoken to him. You realize what a fool you've been, with money. Nothing burns like an angel. I've always admired Satan's sense of humour. Atheism and supermen and immortality. Not real. God's love is real, but I can't feel it. I need a tonic. A wad of banknotes will just make me worse. Voices. It is all voices. But rarely my voices. The soul is immortal. But you can't live forever in the body. Irrefutable facts. I've had realizations. They don't cost anything. You can get them on any mountain, in any cave. Delusions. But nothing common about them. Special delusions. I don't expect you to understand. I don't understand, myself. I am certain of certain stuff. I know there is a desert. I know I am trapped in my despair. Maybe one day I will feel better. Could I feel any worse? This is what happens when you burn too much. I am like a fucking candle! Searching and burning. I look at you. I see you in visions. Are you aware of your despair? How much money do you have? I'm serious. What am I talking about? I'm sure you're perfectly happy with your life. Ha! Unconscious despair! That's what you have. You just don't know it. You've bought yourself a nice house, a nice car, a beautiful death wrapped in a beautiful life. One hundred holy gods couldn't drag you away. Couldn't drag me away. We are trapped. Without fantasies we would fall apart, someone said. But we are falling apart. Right now. This is the crack-up we've been waiting for. I am not a saint. I am not perfect. Who is? Many things still to discover.

It was definitely him. I spoke to him. Big Herb. Astral plane. What do you expect? What do you want from me? He was shouting things at the ghosts. Even the ghosts are afraid. Sometimes. But I was not afraid. I spoke to him. Made him see sense. Told him we needed help, here on earth. Have some mercy, for fuck's sake! That's what I screamed at him at midnight. Yes, I can scream as well. The ***** was there. An innocent bystander. I told him I would see him one of these nights, but he could never have imagined that it would be such a bleeding, howling night beyond the comforts of this earth, this familiar earth, where we all feel comfortable. Nothing to worry about here! Oh no. But there is something to worry about somewhere else.

There is a terrible price to pay for these visions. But I have my own way of doing things. I do not care about the price. I will pay any price. Instinct. Instinct is very important for me. I instinctively know. What do I know? I know nothing. Just like that fucking Socrates! I need a resurrection. I need one today. No one knows the troubles I've seen. Nausea. But what would God want? How would He want me to go about my business? He doesn't care about money. We don't have much to say to each other. It's a sad affair. But Jesus will put in a good word for me.

I am happy as long as I can hear the voices. They tell me everything I need to know. But I am a mystic. Words are not needed. Let's be silent.

Bernie Sucher: broken world

Drama queen and head of Merrill Lynch's Moscow operations, Bernie Sucher, says in a Gillian Tett article today: 'Our world is broken - and I honestly don’t know what is going to replace it.'

Oh please, come on. Enough with the doom-mongering already.

Our world is going through changes. It was always going to be this way. How can we move from old-school capitalism to the new mystical capitalism without such upheaval? There is a way. There is a will. Maybe we should abandon the cities, and live in the desert - the desert we have all been dreaming of, the desert in our heads. Maybe we should set fire to all the money, and start again. And just a thought: maybe we should be grateful that the gods have not turned their backs on us, eh?

O my children, look at Big Herb's face in your next peyote vision. There is always something to be happy about.

Monday, 9 March 2009

Peter Munk: gold bug

Barrick Gold's Peter Munk says he ain't no gold bug. But he is a gold bug! Everyone is a gold bug! In this time of printing money, we all are. Peter Munk is a gold bug. David Einhorn is a gold bug. Michael Fowke is a gold bug. Keith Busby is a gold bug. Arthur Simmons is a gold bug. Susan Flint is a gold bug. Big Herb is a big gold bug. You, dear reader, are a gold bug. EVERYONE IS A GOLD BUG!!!

Gold, gold, gold, streaming from the desert sun in our dirty city hearts. Gold tears streaking down our cheeks! Have we gone too far, beyond the mind, into a world of solid gold?

Solid gold easy action, I can't get no satisfaction!

O Marc Bolan, you were right. We are all gold bugs without satisfaction.

Weird scenes inside the gold mine!

O Jim Morrison, desert brother, what did you see inside the gold mine? Did it scare you? Did it carry you to your death on a chariot made of solid gold?

Something to write down on pages of gold!

O Arthur Rimbaud, you didn't write enough.

Friday, 6 March 2009

Alexis Stenfors: irregularity

A Merrill Lynch trader by the name of Alexis Stenfors is being investigated by the FSA for an 'irregularity'.

Well, dear reader, I don't make the news. I just report it. What on earth could this 'irregularity' be?

I have been speaking to Keith Busby, and he is as confused as I am. This is what he told me: 'Mikey, I don't know what to make of this. I have known Alexis for a number of years and I can vouch for him. As far as I'm concerned, there is nothing irregular about him at all. He has a perfectly normal aura. No holes in it. His chakras are in wonderful condition, swirling around like God knows what. No, swirling around like chakras are going out of fashion. That's like what. Like that. I fear the FSA has made a terrible mistake.'

My two cents? I think the FSA should think next time before it goes around accusing someone of being abnormal.

The future of capitalism

The death of love?

No. Love shall not die. The love of money. The love of capitalism. Wandering down a lonely road, looking for salvation; how will you die? With a mouthful of ashes? Or with a fistful of dollars?

Those who know, those who believe, shall live forever. Smiling on the astral plane. Burning in the desert of their dreams. Bleeding in the night sky. Such glory lasts forever. Do not be afraid. Do not fear the Reaper.

Have you seen your shadow? Did it speak to you? The shadow of your life, your body, has a reality of its own. Run, and it will find you, carrying all the riches you have accumulated. You cannot escape your shadow. You cannot escape your wealth. Do not pretend to be poor. Do not be ashamed of your profession. Love everything in your life. Love your shadow. It will dance with you at the time of your death.

The love of money is a burning. Capitalism shall not burn you out. Walk into the fire. Have faith. You are doing the right thing. You are not the only one. You are not the lonely one. Millions have died, and lived on. Their ghosts walk beside you. They want you to succeed. They want you to be rich. They want to see you in a shower of champagne. Do not disappoint them.

You shall not be crunched. The gods will not allow it. You are one of the righteous. Look into your heart. You know you have been chosen. Would you be reading this, if you had not been chosen? Would you be feeling the fire of my love, if you had not been chosen? But let wisdom take you beyond these words. Let go. Let go of your mind. Let go of your devilish rationality. Fall. Fall into nothingness. Let your mind die in the abyss. Because your soul shall live. A beautiful spirit burning with money, the way, the way Big Herb intended. He wanted this for you. And you wanted it for yourself.

I love you. Big Herb loves you. Ganesh the elephant god loves you. The ghosts of the dead financiers love you. The mystical children love you. You are a child yourself. You love yourself. And I am sure that Bobby Diamond loves you as well. Give him a chance. He is only at the beginning, and the way is long. The way to money. To love.

The envious losers

Have you seen them, the sad ones? They have no money. It does not burn for them, the way it burns for you. Should you feel sorry for them? No. Let them stew in their own juices. I am not speaking of the happy poor. The ones who are free to dance in the sunshine, with no thought of tomorrow. No. I am speaking of the socialists, the communists, the haters of mysticism, Satan’s useful idiots. Oh yes, these fools do the devil’s work. They are not righteous. They are self-righteous. If they are clean, it is because they have not had the opportunity to get dirty. They are not without love for money. But they hide their love. The sad truth is that money does not love them. Money will not touch them. It will not burn for them.

The midnight moment

Have you ever had an eternal midnight moment? Have you stood staring at the moon, at one with nature, the cosmos, and capitalism?

How are your nights? How do you fill them? Do you fill them with the nonsense of the world, or do you escape to an astral plane in your mind?

You must try to find an eternal midnight moment that you can call your own, and you must burn within that moment for a thousand years. But it will last less than a second. And a moment of a million years will last less than a minute. Billions of years will breathe for you all the way to the dawn.

The secret of capitalism can be found in the midnight of your soul. Money pouring from a wounded moon. Angels rocking in the wind. A desert for you to burn in.

Step outside yourself. Step deeper into the cosmos. In your moment. Will it last forever? Yes. If you want it to. The past is there. The present. And the future. The future of capitalism. Go into a trance. Dance. Dance. Dance. Peyote visions. Dance. Dance. Dance.

The money that grows

We all know that money grows. But not on trees. That is a myth.

Money grows in your heart, your soul. Feed it with fire. Your passion is important. There will be no future for any of us if the flame dies.

The mystic future

The mystic future is coming, as all futures come. So let us bang a monstrous drum. One to scare all the devils away. We shall dance, stoned forever, into the future.

The future belongs to us, and we belong to the future. We have been chosen for this. It is our destiny. Capitalism will grow. It will not die. It will get stronger, and bigger, and meaner, and fitter.

Go to that midnight in your soul. See fires of money exploding in space, stars shining for us, planets moving, dancing to our tune. We are in control. The markets belong to us.

FTSE. Dow Jones. Take them higher, and higher, and higher. Stoned in space. Inner space. Outer space. What do we care?

There was a way that will come again. An ancient way. What do you think this is all about? I have not carried you to the top of the mountain to let you down. Come with me. Let us get high.

Roll the money around and around. Fall down on the ground. I want to see you burning in the sand. Laugh. Cry. Everything is the same. This is the future. Our future. Real strength is coming. Feel the power. The trip of a lifetime. The ride of a deathtime. The healing you have always dreamt of. Burn, burn, burn.

Burning, burning, burning.

It all burns in the end. This is what the future is. Capitalism burns us. Can you feel it? Can you feel the love? Your teeth should be chattering by now. If they are not, you are doing something wrong.

Your eyes should be red by now. Flames coming out. Heat. I want to see the serpent in your eyes. Let us share a midnight moment. Share it now, and forever, in the future, for all eternity.

Bleeding.

Money bleeds. Capitalism bleeds.

Touch the future. Reach out and Big Herb will be there. He smokes for you on high. He burns with you in mind. This is what you wanted. Follow him. Follow me. Follow capitalism. Capitalism is taking you. We are all in this together. We have to make it work.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Andrea Orcel ($33.8m), David Gu ($18.7m), David Goodman ($16.5m), David Sobotka ($13m), Fares Noujaim ($15m), Thomas Montag ($39.4m) ...

... and Peter "I ain't missing you at all" Kraus ($29.4m).

Those are the guys. Those are the bonuses. Merrill Lynch executives. I don't begrudge them one goddamn cent of that money. NOT ONE GODDAMN CENT! But someone does. His name is Andrew Cuomo, and he is New York's attorney-general, and he wants to know when these beautiful bankers found out what their bonuses would be, and who informed them. DON'T TELL HIM, BOYS!

This has got to stop. The hounding of decent, hard-working, God-fearing capitalists. Oh, what does the future hold?

EVIL TIMES ARE COMING!

There is blood on the face of an angel on the ladder to the highest level beyond the clouds above the earth inside my brain buzzing like a bee a demonic beast the size of a mountain with flames of fear and tears of rage and a wheel turning rolling spinning eating the cosmos and expanding and shining and making a noise that smashes my ears to shit.

ANDREA, DAVE, DAVE, AND DAVE, FARES, TOM, PETE!

Only you can stop this. Each of you should send me $1 million. Do it today. Do it now!

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Risk Capital Partners: £75 million fund!

Wow! Risk Capital Partners, the private equity group founded by Luke Johnson and Ben Redmond, has managed to scrape £75 million together for a new fund. £50 million of that has come from institutional investors. How is RCP going to spend all the money? Is this a once in a lifetime opportunity? Is the group looking for bargains thrown up by the credit crisis?

Er, no. I have been speaking to my dear friend Luke Johnson, and this is what the crazy cat told me: 'Mikey, man, we're heading for the desert, and we will be burning all this money in an elaborate ceremony - just like the one that Alexandre Mouradian was planning. But this time it will go ahead. (Hang on a minute, Luke, mate, you told some newspaper that you would be investing the money in various companies. And that is what your investors are expecting you to do.) Well, Mike, always do the unexpected. That's my motto. Always do the unexpected. Bobby is all for it. (Bobby Diamond?) No, Bobby Hashemi. He said to me: Let's do it, Luke. We can do it, Luke. Anyone can do it, Luke. Let's burn with money in the desert, Luke. (I thought you were joining the French Foreign Legion.) Nah, Mikey. (Why not?) I don't wanna talk about it. Those guys are too rough. (Okay. But you still love the desert, yeah?) Oh yeah, man, I still love the desert. I can't get enough of the desert.'

Well, that was Luke speaking to me earlier this morning. And I am 100 per cent behind him.

O Luke, burning burning burning, a great burning is coming for you, coming for me, coming for all the mystical children in the desert. We love to burn! We love to love! We love to love the burning. Beyond the cities, none of the fools will see us. Far from the prying eyes of envious socialists, we shall burn - physically burn - £75 million in the desert of our dreams. A burning in the desert, physical and astral, astral and physical, metaphysical motherfuckers loving the desert wind as it rushes into the flames and the ashes of the banknotes get caught in our mouths, flecks in our eyes, breathing money into our lungs.

O Luke, I love everything that burns. Burn for us, burn within us, burn without us, but burn! Big Herb will be there. Ganesh the elephant god will be there. The ghosts of the dead financiers will be shimmering, in and out of the fire. Fire and snakes, in our hearts, our minds, burning our eyes to fuck, golden desert angels in ecstasy, bleeding all over, the sand will take the blood, swallow up all the money, the ashes of our skins and joyful tears burnt with money from institutional investors who have no idea of the burning but wish us all the best all the same. And the financiers who believe? Let's invite them all. Let's invite everyone who cares for it, the mystic love. Bobby Diamond! Bobby Diamond will be there. Bobby Hashemi as well. One astral Bobby on the desert wind, singing ancient songs. Another Bobby in the fire, scooping up more money and whirling around in those flames. It will be so beautiful. It will.

O Luke, it will be so very beautiful. Prepare for a burning. In the depths of your endless night reach out for something that will end the credit crisis. Touch the fire! Crunch the crunch! Yes, crunch the crunch, and be happy, be righteous, be pure in the desert, the cosmos, be pure in everything. And you shall be saved. We shall all be saved.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Sir Philip Hampton: share options galore!

All right, everyone, calm down. Yes, the markets are being smashed all over the shop, but there is some good news. Sir Philip Hampton, chairman of Royal Bank of Scotland, has been given £1.5 million of share options on top of his £750,000 salary.

O Phil, congratulations! Well done! Share options galore! Mystic blood of angels! Snakes in your eyes! Ha! Take those share options into your astral heart, and burn with them! Let your heart grow in the desert, expanding with mystic love! There is a place for you in the desert, Phil. Big Herb is waiting for you in the desert. His eyes will burn you, but you already know that, don't you? Do you dream at night? O Phil, do you leave your body at night? Where do you go to, my lovely, when you're alone in your bed? Tell me the thoughts that surround you. I want to look inside your head. I bet you love the desert, don't you? Tell me all about it, Phil. Send me a message. Use your mind. I'm waiting for you. So is Ganesh.

Where are all the mystical children?

O Master, we are here!

Where?

All around you, invisible, burning with the mystic blood of angels!

Amazing!

O Master, we are waiting for Sir Philip. Waiting for his message.

Come on, Phil! Lay it on us, baby. We want your message.

SIR PHILIP APPEARS, SMILING, LIKE A MAD ONE IN OUR BRAINS!!!

HE SPEAKS: "Michael, mystical children, Big Herb, Ganesh, my mind is on fire! It stretches out everywhere, reaching everything, touching everyone, loving the cosmos, and burning in the dreams of desert angels. Mystic blood, snakes in my eyes, dancing on a dead moon, share options, share options, share options, bleeding share options from the mouth of heaven, the hole in the highest level, born again with money beyond the imagination of … of …"

O Master, he has gone! Sir Philip has gone away! Swirling in space!

Yes! Yes! Yes! O my children, my brothers, my sisters, but it was fun while it lasted.

Monday, 2 March 2009

Berger Lahnstein Middelhof & Partners: channelling the deal flow

Channelling the deal flow? That doesn't even begin to describe what these crazy cats (or one crazy cat, anyway) are getting up to. Berger Lahnstein Middelhof & Partners is a new London-based investment company which is looking for money-making opportunities in Germany. Well, each to their own. But that is not what interests me. What interests me is one of the founders of this new firm, Florian Lahnstein. Flo told a newspaper: 'We want to be flexible and nimble and channel the deal flow.'

Yeah, sure he does. Sure that's what Flo really wants to do.

I have been speaking to award-winning financial psychic Keith Busby, and this is what he had to say on the matter: 'Channelling the deal flow? Get the fuck outta here! Flexible and nimble, yeah, okay, I can accept that; but I ain't buying this channelling the deal flow shit. I know for a fact that Mr Lahnstein is actually planning to channel the spirits of dead financiers. (Surely not the ghosts of the dead financiers, Keith?) The very same. And the funny thing is, his partners aren't in on it. They don't have a clue what Flo is getting involved in. (Jesus! You mean they are not all in it together?) No. Flo is going it alone. Roland Berger and Thomas Middelhof are completely in the dark. (Fuck me!) I know. Absolutely hilarious. (But does Flo have any training in financial shamanism or spirit-channelling or anything?) No. He's going to make a complete mess of it. (Does he have a spirit operator/guide?) No, Mikey. (Oh, this just gets better.) What do you think Roland and Thomas will do when they find out?'

Well, after speaking to Keith, I was straight on the phone to Roland Berger. The following conversation took place (I'm in italics) -

Hello, Roland Berger speaking. (Hi, Roland, mate. This is Michael Fowke.) The world's foremost financial shaman? (Yeah.) Wow! This is an honour. But why are you calling me? (There's a problem with one of your business partners, Florian Lahnstein.) What problem? (You know he's talking about channelling, don't you?) Yeah, channelling the deal flow; what's wrong with that? (No, Roland, mate, he's going to be channelling spirits. The ghosts of the dead financiers, to be exact.) Michael, is this a joke? (I'm sorry, Roland, but I'm serious.) But Flo has no experience of - (Roland, listen, the ghosts will eat him for breakfast. They don't take kindly to amateurs dabbling with things not of this world.) I'll speak to him, Michael. (Really?) Yes. This could wreck the company before it has even taken off. I'll speak to him. Tell him to pack it in. (Oh, good on you, Roland. It will be a massive weight off my mind.) Cheers, Mike. Thank you for this. I owe you one. (Laters, Roland.)

All's well that ends well.