Friday, 30 March 2012

Nowhere is where we're gonna be

I say, Nowhere. I say, Nowhere. It's where we're gonna be. If it all goes well, if we can just get lost in our heads. And the idiots who think they know all about money won't be able to find us. When they think they see us flying naked through the sky, they won't know what's going on. (With their arrogance, they'll think they know.) They'll point and say: 'Oh my God! Idiots in the sky! How amusing!' But we won't be there! We won't be anywhere! We'll be gone! And they won't understand, and they won't really see anything at all, because these cold bastards are about as dead as it gets, with dead eyes. That's the truth! I'm not going to sugar-coat it. With their fake concern, their rotten jokes, their wretched humanity completely inhuman filthy scum won't be able to touch us ...

I say, Nowhere. I say, Nowhere. I think it's gonna be confusing for the ones left behind. What'll we be able to do for them? (Oh, we don't care, do we?) Not a lot, I mean, nothing. They'll be so jealous. Thinking of us, wailing, gnashing their teeth. And we'll be gone! Existing, how? We could be little Napoleons in the snow. (If we get the dreams.) We could be space monkeys on the moon. (If we get the balls.) There'll be no limits once we've left reality behind. Child(ren), it'll be Nowhere, Nowhere for us, Nowhere is where we're gonna be, and we are going to be, be, be, so happy, when we get there. You better believe me. (Be, be, be, be-bop-a-lula.) I always tell the truth. It'll be a gas! We're going to roll through decades and centuries, way out of their time. They won't be able to touch us. We'll be clean away. Their dirty fingers, their dirty minds ...

I say, Nowhere. I say, Nowhere. I say, Nowhere. And now I'm crazy, a crazy bee, buzzing, writing this. I've lost my grip on meaning, which is just ... what we needed? Yes! Yes! Yes! We needed, we needed, we needed, to get free. Can't you just be? That's for them, not for us, because we are ... just free!

_________________________


Right, that's enough of that. You won't believe how many hours I put into it. I haven't been able to concentrate all day/yesterday. / Some good news: I've finished the lyrics for my second "new" song. This means I have two whole songs now, and the music for one other song. (Just need the lyrics for it.) / Well, the new song is ... strange. That's all I'll say at the moment. I made a (very) rough recording of it earlier, but my guitar strings are in a terrible state. I'm waiting for some strings to come through the post. When I get them, I'll record again. / I still need a killer song, I think. I know. This Sunday, I'll work on the other lyrics. I might have to write another tune or two. / I want to be ready by the beginning of May. / I need to improve my guitar playing. / I wish I had a piano, or a keyboard of some kind.


Update (Sunday, 4.15pm)

My guitar playing isn't good enough. I can't afford to hire musicians like the old days, so I've got to improve. / I said my latest song is strange. It isn't. That was just my first reaction because it didn't turn out the way I was expecting: it turned out better, the way I've been dreaming of, really. It's worthy of Bacharach/David, Lennon/McCartney, Paul Simon, anyone. It's far superior to Gilly Marie, so there's no way I can allow that song on the demo now. I need to do a lot more work. Well, I knew this wasn't going to be easy. / My guitar playing is really shit though.

_________________________


Not everything here is meant to be read. And when we get to Nowhere, we might not want to read anyway. Do you know that there are billions of earth-like planets in the Milky Way?

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

It's Verboogen!

It's Philippe Verboogen who will be the new chief operating officer for eFront in Europe. eFront is somehow mixed up in software solutions for alternatives. I mean: 'eFront is a leading software provider of solutions dedicated to the financial industry with recognized expertise in alternative realities. eFront’s solutions serve major companies in the private equity, real-estate investment, banking, and insurance sectors'. So, eFront basically does what I do then, but with computers, I suppose. Have I got that right? I don't know what it's all about. Sounds a bit nutty, if you ask me.

And Verboogen? I don't want to investigate. Please, I don't. The sun is shining. Yes, shining - again! Nine days in a row! And you want me to write about this Verboogen character? You're crazy! If he's so special, someone else will write about him eventually. Me, I'm determined to enjoy the good times. 'There have been good times', as David Essex sings at the end of Stardust before Adam Faith puts him in the ambulance. And there are good times RIGHT NOW! / By the way, my nan used to know Adam Faith's mum. But you don't want to hear all this, do you? (Can you hear me? Am I in your head?) You're not into music. This isn't a music blog. It's a financial blog!

Gary Shaughnessy is leaving Fidelity

Or maybe he has already left. I feel sad. It's a real shame about Gary Shaughnessy. I never knew him. And now that he's gone or going, I'll never know him. Unless he turns up somewhere like Zurich. But what are the chances of that happening?

It's tragic. This Gary guy had over twenty years experience in the financial services industry in roles spanning the general insurance, life and pensions, personal finance and investment marketplace. (Oh, it seems such a long time ago.) And his responsibilities? You won't believe me, but I'll tell you. His responsibilities included distribution across wholesale, banking, IFA and direct channels as well as Funds Network (what's that?) and defined contribution. All gone to waste. Unless he comes to his senses. And even if he comes to his senses now, will a firm like Zurich want him?

A lot of these men (and a few women), they just get sick of it. They want to find themselves in the desert. That was fine in the old days, but I've closed the desert down. But still they go. The fools think there must be something there. There is nothing there. It's in the cities we must live. And we must work in the financial businesses. Well, you must, work, and hard. (Even the shamans amongst you, all of you[s].) I'm above it, of course. Remember: I am your spiritual leader, not some vulgar trader or analyst or whatever.

I'm going to fix this. / Do you know David Sims at all? David Sims is the chief executive of Zurich Global Life Europe. I'll phone Dave later and see if I can get him to offer Gary a job. We go back years. And he owes me a favour. Let us hope that he will be able to save Gary from himself. Now, am I kind-hearted or what? Who else would put himself out like this for a total stranger in a strange land?

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Man Clarus: what in the name of Christ is it?

I really don't need this. It's a sunny day, and I've got to write about monsters? All right. I heard a voice (which is rare for me these days): 'Mr Fowke, they've finally done it. They've unleashed the Man Clarus.' And I didn't even know there was a Man Clarus.

Man Clarus. 'Beware the Man Clarus!' Absolutely ridiculous. Who are they trying to impress? Man Group must be getting bloody desperate. A bunch of idiots. Well, Eric Burl at Man has said: 'The Man Clarus provides the heightened sense of reality our investors seek.' (Investors! Always investors!) Oh, I hope so. I hope there's nothing more to it than that. I can't see it though. These creatures aren't very stable, you know. I have a lot of expertise in this space - as a phoney type might say. Yes, I know what's happened. There can be no doubt that the Man Clarus was created on the astral plane. And this bothers me. Firstly, I've banned all activity on the astral plane, ain't I? Secondly, Man has never been into mystical capitalism anyway! / I suppose it's the GLG crew, up to their old tricks. I didn't know anything about it, until now. Why would they keep me out of the loop? 'Think about it. You've already answered your own question.' You're right.

I haven't got the energy to interfere. I'll let them get on with it. But if there's any trouble, I'll kick some arse afterwards, you can be sure of that. People are bound to blame me if it all goes wrong. They'll say I was encouraging Man Group or something. 'It goes with the territory, Mr Fowke.' Yeah, I know, I know. Thank you. I'm the world's foremost financial shaman. This is the life I've chosen.

Coutts fined £8.75 million by the FSA

The FSA - again?! Well, yes. Of course it's going to be the FSA. That dead shark is the only thing around here biting lumps out of people. We're not surprised. No one is surprised.

What's this all about, for crying out loud?!

'In October 2010, the FSA visited Coutts as part of its thematic review into banks' management of high money-laundering risk situations. Following that visit, the FSA’s investigation identified that Coutts did not apply robust controls when starting relationships with high risk customers and did not consistently apply appropriate monitoring of those high risk relationships. In addition, the FSA determined that the AML team at Coutts failed to provide an appropriate level of scrutiny and challenge.' More, than is healthy.

Jesus Christ! They've got a bank to run! Are they supposed to monitor all the people they do business with?

_________________________


It's a sunny day, and I'll never make a fresh start, and I don't care. I live in dirt. I live in chaos. This is my destiny as an artist. So be it!

And I'm going to write about music. (Maybe I should start a music blog.) I've decided my demo has got to be outstanding. (Who's interested in very good music?) Outstanding guarantees success. But it means more work, obviously. Gilly Marie will have to be left off the demo. And I'm stalled on the lyrics again. I have a fear I don't have when I'm writing my blog. (Maybe it's because a great song has more monetary value than a great blog post.) I'll work it out, don't worry. I mean, I know you're worried.

I ...

I've changed my mind. I'm back again. Or I will be back again, in the morning. The "I" has to be me, or what's the point, eh? It's personal. The only way to be.

The reason I've changed my mind is because I've just watched the last ten minutes of my favourite film, Fandango.

Do you understand? I hope so.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Jason Quinn will work for a hedge fund

Jason Quinn has left Barclays Capital. With words like a dead soul, the news is brought from somewhere. He traded. Soon, he will work at a hedge fund. Credit-default swaps. A secret frisson of delight. He will work at Caxton Associates. 'Caxton Associates and its affiliates currently manage approximately $9.7 billion in assets. The firm was founded in 1983 by Bruce Kovner.' Bruce has devoted himself to mysticism.

Jason doesn't know about it. The blood, the fire. So, oh, ah, what will happen? Despair? Madness? I! Who knows, or cares? Anyway, he should be used to it after BarCap. (Bobby's shamans!) But some of them never get used to it. They're not even aware, half of them. And Jason doesn't know. They would be dreamers, if they had any dreams. It's just dust in their heads, and spiders. Visions never appear like lightning for them.

I?

_________________________


This is the fresh start. "I" will address "you" for the last time. (You can only make a true fresh start if everything sickens you. Everything sickens me.) It's going to be a different "I" from now on. It's going to be an "I" that could be a monster or a god, or a worm or a clown. But don't look for me, not here. I won't be here. Do you understand? I need to protect myself. So I'm vanishing. I want to be free of the dirt and the chaos. Goodbye. / I will purify myself.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Whatever

This is going to be a big(gish) post about whatever. I'm going to write for some hours about whatever enters my head. I will post it late tonight, or early tomorrow morning. Whatever. It doesn't matter when I post it, does it?

I've changed my mind again. I'm going to leave Gilly Marie off my demo. This means I will need to write another new song. The Beatles helped me decide, finally. I Saw Her Standing There on the Please Please Me album stands out like a sore thumb. I don't want that happening with my stuff. So, more work! (I'll be the hardest working man in show business at this rate.) Newsflash: these music updates are going to stop. They've got to. I'm going to make a fresh start on Monday. 'Ha! We've heard that before!' I mean it this time. Even if I get a publishing deal a few months from now I'll not tell you about it. But if you see my posting diminish to once a week or every couple of weeks, you'll know why ...

I want to squeeze the personal out. It's like a disease. I could get clean and aloof if I didn't have all this personal shit. I want to eradicate "I" as well as "you". (Yes, you'll be gone soon.) Am I a dreamer? I always want the impossible. (Or what seems impossible.) And I want to transcend the subject matter on a regular basis. (I've written over fourteen hundred posts, but only a handful have gone beyond.) How am I going to manage this? Christ knows! I'm not sure I have the discipline. Or the energy. The will. The passion? Oh, I have the passion. It's important to me because no one else does it. And I like to do the things other people don't do, and maybe don't even know about.

However, there's more transcendence in pop music, believe it or not. I think it's the joy that takes you out of yourself. It's why I want to write pop songs now (rather than any other sort of songs) which many people may regard as silly. Obviously, I want to earn a decent living for once in my life, too. (Lloyd didn't pay me as much as you might think. And Bobby D didn't pay me at all.) I should have done this twenty years ago. After giving up my dream of becoming a rock star I could have continued with the writing. There's a potential gold mine in my head, you know. I'm just like Colonel Sanders with that chicken recipe of his. But he waited until he was sixty-five. I'm only forty-three! By the way, people who have been rich their whole lives have missed something. Or it might be more accurate to say that something is missing in them.

Let's hope it's not years. It won't be years. Months, a few, six, nine. I don't know. Whatever. I'm thinking, I'm thinking, I can't stop thinking ... Gilly Marie is too good to leave off a demo. Damn! What am I going to do? I wish I could let you hear it. You'll hear it one day, don't worry. Two journalist girls into one. You can't beat that, can you? I must be a genius. What other explanation can there be?

I'm listening to Hurdy Gurdy Man. Donovan backed by Led Zeppelin (well, maybe, I want to believe it). Heavy shit! ... Now, Sam Cooke singing Summertime. Wow!

All I need: literature, pop music, my angel. I got literature coming out of my ears. I'm doing the pop. The angel will take time. I'm not in any rush. But ...

I must get rid of the "I". Oh, I'll never get rid of the "I". / If only words were like music. My third new tune makes me strong inside, lifts me up. I gotta find words for it. / And here? I gotta use words when I talk to you but if you understand or if you don't that's nothing to me and nothing to you ... and: some of these days you'll miss me honey ...

_________________________


When I was seventeen I wrote a nice ballad on the piano. My music teacher at school, Mr Brown, told me that none of the chords went together. I grabbed him by the lapels and said: 'I'm playing all the right chords. But not necessarily in the right order. I'll give you that. I'll give you that, sunshine.' That's a true story. Well, no. I actually said: 'It sounds okay though, doesn't it?'

Thursday, 22 March 2012

The Budget from Planet Bullingdon

A sort of science fiction horror film sort of thing, only it's real. I ain't got no problem with the top rate of tax going down to 45p. (I may be poor, but I intend to be rich.) So, the millionaires are sorted. But there wasn't much for anyone else, was there?

This Budget combined with the slave labour programme they've got going has started me thinking there's a fair chance we're being ruled by *****. Just an observation, you understand. I'm not really an expert on politics.

Of course, Labour wouldn't be any better. We need to do away with politics, and politicians. Let's evolve! We might need help though. I'm hoping aliens are observing us from outer space. I want them to invade! I reckon they would reorder human society and rank us according to our levels of consciousness. I would end up controlling everything. The world would be mine!

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Taylor Woods Capital Management is doing what they all do, eventually

Oh, I hate it when this happens! Taylor Woods is closing its Master fund at the end of the month because it has $1.3 billion now and doesn't want any more.

George Taylor is running the show, of course. Apparently, he made his name with natural gas at Credit Suisse. It must have been very difficult for the poor sods who had to sit next to him. Some people have no consideration.

It's still sunny. I want to be OUTSIDE. God knows what sort of summer we're going to get this year. Make the most of these days, guys.

Music? I'm listening to Exile on Main St. (or Street - ?) I bet George Taylor is working hard in the States, dealing with investors trying to get in at the last minute.

I'm working, too. I'm writing this, making slow progress. One day I'll be free. I mean, I'll get myself free. One day you won't see me for dust, stardust.

Why doesn't George want any more money? Is $1.3 billion really enough? How much is enough? I get the feeling that George is a confused man.

I'll probably put Gilly Marie on my demo, in third place. I ain't got the time or energy to write loads of songs. Some great piano on Exile. I was always better on piano. I only have my guitar at the moment.

I wonder what sort of music George likes. And I wonder what he does when he's not working. 'Emptiness?' Yeah. The nights in front of the TV with cans of beer. I'm sure there's a lot of pain there.

Hot Rocks. Is time on my side? All depends on whom you compare me to. (Don't compare me to Shirley Temple!) Colonel Sanders was sixty-five before he took to that lonesome highway, trying to get someone interested in his chicken recipe.

If George Taylor was a man of ambition, wouldn't he want more than $1.3 billion for his Master fund? Maybe he's a poet. Or maybe he has got religion.

Closing. Oh, but they all do it! They let go. They lose the hunger.

I need Andrew Loog Oldham to lock me in a kitchen

Yes, I'm writing about music again. You can sue me if you don't like it. I'll be writing about finance this afternoon, hedge funds and shit. But right now I'm writing about music because the sun is shining for the second day in a row and I'm feeling rather happy and I don't want money to bring me down, man.

I've been thinking I might have to leave my Gilly Marie song off the demo. I know I described it as a classic in previous posts, but it's what I would call a simple classic, like Louie, Louie. Meaning it sounds good but doesn't display any great songwriting skill. My latest songs are far more melodic. So I might need a new piece of music to match the other two. And I've still got to finish those lyrics. Where the hell is Andrew Loog Oldham when you need him? I don't want to spend the rest of my life mucking about like this. 'Let's see some action, Mikey!' Exactly. Thank you. I couldn't have put it better myself.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Oh my God! Now we've got Mitch Ackles to deal with!

Just when I thought it couldn't get any worse, I discover that someone by the name of Mitch Ackles has become president of the Hedge Fund Association. 'As hedge funds become more mainstream, the hedge fund industry has a greater responsibility to help everyone understand its contributions to the financial markets.' That's the man himself! Speaking like a genuine human being! Not a thought-form conjured up in some hellish other reality! Can we believe it? Or should we refuse to believe? I'm open to suggestions on this one. I may be the world's foremost financial shaman, but I need guidance. I'm reaching out to you, dear reader(s). Do you know of Mitch Ackles? Is he as real as he seems?

I dozed off after lunch and had a short dream. I dreamt I was being followed through my local park by white tigers. They weren't chasing me. I wasn't in any danger. I was just being followed, like they were curious about me or something. Then I woke up, switched on my laptop, and came face to face with Mitch Ackles on the internet. How utterly bizarre is this life?! Many people claim we live many lives. They say we keep coming back. Others say this is our only life. Well, once is enough, after today. Let me tell you: once is enough!

Oh, there's more. See if you can get your head around this: 'I am looking forward to continuing the groundbreaking work that David Friedland has done as HFA president.' Absolutely terrifying!

Proceed with caution: even more.

I wish I had the foggiest idea who Jeffrey Bunzel was

Jeffrey Bunzel is leaving Credit Suisse to join Deutsche Bank. He's actually joining the bank's equity capital markets group as a managing director and head of equity capital markets for the Americas. It sounds very exciting, and I'm happy for the guy, really happy. However, I haven't the foggiest idea who he is, this Bunzel, and I don't know anyone who knows who he is. Should we be concerned?

Some people call him Jeffrey H. Bunzel. (The "H" being a lot like the "H" in Jesus H. Christ, I should imagine.) I don't know any of these people, of course, but I spoke to a few of them yesterday. Unfortunately, they weren't able to tell me who Jeffrey H. Bunzel was, or even who he is. Oh, it's very frustrating. I'm on the verge of giving up.

_________________________


Yes, I've given up. Do you blame me? Jeffrey Bunzel is one of these men we'll never know. (Maybe even one of those men.) The way he went from Lehman Brothers to CS First Boston was very clever. No one noticed, at the time. And no one cared until later - when it was too late! I suppose we have to admire him, don't we? Whoever he is. It's quite an achievement. I don't envy Mark Hantho.

_________________________


Yes, I've given up. Let's discuss something less mysterious: music.

I am so close to finishing my three songs, I can almost taste them. The music is done. I just need one and a half lyrics. I'm not going to do a rush job though. When I was seventeen I wrote five songs in one day, and they were rubbish. Quality takes time.

It's a nice sunny day, so I've put Bob Marley on. Reminds me of one of my Cornish holidays. I was sitting on a coach, desperate for it to cross from Devon into Cornwall. (I don't care for Devon at all.) And it was a really sunny day, just like today, and I was listening to Bob Marley. Jamming and all that. And when we went over the Tamar Bridge, I was in ecstasy!

Monday, 19 March 2012

Government to consider privatizing air

As we all know, the British government is desperate for money, so it is now looking into the possibility of privatizing the air that we breathe. It's been done with water, so why not air? Cameron is going to say: 'We need to look urgently at the options for getting large-scale private investment into the national fresh air network, I mean, the sky and that - from sovereign wealth funds, pension funds, and other investors.' Well, he's always saying something, isn't he? But why shouldn't he say this? It makes as much sense as anything else he's ever said.

It's the age of austerity. We're all in this together. I'm glad about that. I'm so happy we're all in this together. Imagine how terrible it would be if we weren't all in this together, in a big happy society! Personally, I would be distraught. I would be inconsolable if I thought for one second there were Bullingdon Club tosspots about the place living the life of Riley.

I'm in a bad mood today. (What's new? 'Is that news?!' No, it isn't.) I suppose it's not Cameron's fault he doesn't know anything. He was only educated at Eton and Oxford. You've got to feel sorry for the guy. If he had educated himself, he might now have the advantages that I have. It's not fair, is it?

Thursday, 15 March 2012

The 20 greatest Lennon and McCartney "pure" pop songs

According to me, you understand. Don't get upset. And this is "pure" pop. That means no slow loveliness like Here, There And Everywhere, no avant-garde craziness like I Am The Walrus, and no heavy-ish rockiness like Get Back. Just exciting pop!


[20] - From Me To You

Lennon and McCartney wrote more great pop songs than anyone else has ever managed to. From Me To You isn't one of my favourites, but it was a big hit, so ...

[19] - Can't Buy Me Love

Yeah, a big one. I don't really like it all that much. I remember taping bits of it when I was seven years old, along with bits of other songs, in a mad attempt to create a new song, hoping that no one would notice. Sampling? Oh, I was a pioneer. 1976!

[18] - A Hard Day's Night

One of their most famous early hits, with the famous opening chord. However, I prefer the Peter Sellers version.

[17] - All My Loving

Probably the first great song that Paul McCartney wrote by himself. Unless there's an earlier song the sneaky git hasn't told us about. I wouldn't put it past him.

[16] - Every Little Thing

Another nice McCartney song, but sung by Lennon for some reason, with Paul providing a harmony vocal.

[15] - Paperback Writer

Paul's trying to tell a story with the lyrics. I don't know why. There's no harm in it, I suppose. Influenced (musically) by The Beach Boys.

[14] - And Your Bird Can Sing

This is from Revolver. The Beatles were getting more experimental and serious, and "pure" pop songs were becoming a thing of the past. I love the lead guitar on this track. I could also mention Got To Get You Into My Life from the same album. Well, I just have.

[13] - You're Going To Lose That Girl

An exciting song with a great Lennon vocal. McCartney and Harrison doing great backing vocals as well. I like the bit at the end when Ringo falls through the floor. I mean, in the film.

[12] - The Word

One of the least well-known songs on my list, but an amazing album track (from Rubber Soul). I reckon it has The Beatles' best vocal performance.

[11] - We Can Work It Out

A brilliant example of John and Paul working together. Paul wrote the main parts of the song, while John chipped in with the 'Life is very short' section.

[10] - Nowhere Man

Late '65 and the lyrics are starting to get serious. There's no need to worry though. Nowhere Man is still a great pop song. / However, the late Ian MacDonald doesn't agree with me - for reasons best known to himself. Revolution In The Head, his book, is certainly worth reading. But the problem is that MacDonald seems to think pop music should be written about as if it were fine art or great literature or even classical music. It's pop music!

[9] - Ticket To Ride

A slow, powerful song that builds momentum. My favourite bit is Lennon's 'Ah' at 2.31.

[8] - Eight Days A Week

The best song on Beatles For Sale. Having said that, I have a soft spot for I Don't Want To Spoil The Party, which is actually a sort of country song.

[7] - Help!

An upbeat piece of music with downbeat lyrics. Originally slower, but speeded up no doubt to take people's minds off Lennon's desperate cry for help!

[6] - Drive My Car

Six of their most exciting pop songs now. Very well-recorded this one, with the piano and guitar solo and all the rest of it. (Oh, I'm no Ian MacDonald, am I?)

[5] - Day Tripper

A classic Beatles moment from 1.30 to 1.40. You can just see the shaking heads. Well, I can.

[4] - I Feel Fine

The first ever use of feedback on a record, or so "they" say. Great repeating guitar riff on this song - maybe the best they ever came up with.

[3] - Please Please Me

The Beatles' first success in Britain, after the lacklustre Love Me Do. There's a version where you can hear Lennon laughing at the fun (or absurdity) of it all.

[2] - She Loves You

The ultimate Beatlemania song. It literally sounds like mania! I like the bit when old Steptoe pops up. In the film, of course. The other film.

[1] - I Want To Hold Your Hand

Lame lyrics by today's standards (maybe even early Sixties' standards) but this is an incredible pop song. They broke America with this song, and it became their best-selling single. Thirteen million copies worldwide! You can't argue with that.

_________________________


Oh, and an honourable mention to George Harrison's best pop song, Taxman.

Carl Huttenlocher has raised $900 million already!

This is what I'm talking about! This Carl Huttenlocher, he's a freakin' genius or something. It's all for his Myriad Asset Management. Of course, he couldn't have done it without me.

Carl actually phoned me last night: 'Mikey, have you heard the news? ($900 million?) Yeah. (Carl, that is pretty impressive, I must say.) Man, I couldn't have done it without you. (Oh, come on!) No, I'm serious. You gave me the confidence to be the sha ... man I wanted to be. (Well, very few people have ever become a financial shaman as quickly as you have. You're probably a natural.) It's a different world now. I see things that I never saw before. (Like spirits?) Yeah. (And that doesn't bother you, does it?) Mike, I'll tell you the truth: I'm having the time of my life. How come more financiers don't know about this shit? (Carl, I've been writing about it for years. No one wants to listen though.) I suppose if everyone knew, they would be raising money like me, wouldn't they? (Exactly.) I'll have billions soon!'

Billions? I reckon he will, you know. The guy's got a positive attitude, and he knows the value of burning love.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

I think I've been overdoing the finance lately

Just writing about it far too much. Greg Smith at Goldman. Nicholas Kyprios getting fined by the FSA. My fantasy about RWC's Mike Corcell. And that Otlet Monster Fund. I don't want to turn into one of these awful squares who can't live without finance. Not working in it. I mean, writing. ETFs and that. Unbelievable, some of these people. You know the sort, don't you, dear reader?

I'm listening to Donovan at the moment. Sunshine Superman, Mellow Yellow, Hurdy Gurdy Man, all the pop classics. 'Yellow is the colour of my true love's hair ...' Oh, tell me about it, Donovan. My true love, too, mate.

Lloyd Blankfein wants me to hurt Greg Smith

Yeah, hurt Greg Smith, oh, hurt him real bad. I keep telling Lloyd that I ain't like that no more. It means nothing to Lloyd. He wants to see Greg in pain. And he wants me to be the one.

As you have no doubt guessed, Lloyd has been on the phone to me again. He doesn't seem to understand that I stopped working for him ages ago. Well, anyway, this is what was spoken between us: 'Mikey, you know I've got a sense of humour, don't ya? (Lloyd, are you phoning about that goddamn commie?) Greg Smith? Yeah, Greg Smith. What else would I be phoning about? Have you read what this f**king mook has written in the New York Times? I want you to hit this guy, Mike, with everything! Hit him hard. Get your f**king spell book out, your book of curses, whatever. Really do a job on him. Then I want you to deal with those c**ks**kers over at the New York Times. Old Gray Lady? I'll f**k her in the ass, Old Gray Lady - or you will. (Lloyd, calm down, man. People will see this for what it is: a bitter ex-employee trying to get revenge, trying to be the big man in the media. I mean, what's the deal with this loser? Didn't you give him enough hugs?) He said I ain't got no morals. My God! Do you know how that hurts a guy like me, Mike? I've devoted my life to - (It cuts you like a knife?) F**kin' A it cuts me like a knife! I've lived my life with morals coming out of my ears. But does this mean I shouldn't like, no, no, LOVE money? And this is America, for Christ's sake! It ain't Cuba! (I understand, Lloyd.) Listen, he's in London, you're in London. Can't you do something, for an old friend? (I don't know.) Be like old times. Let's do this. Hell, I'll fly over with Viniar, if you like. We can do it together, the three of us. (Like the old days?) Yeah, man. Come on. (It's tempting.) I know you're getting excited just thinking about it.'

That was an hour ago. I told him it would be too messy, the three of us. He still wants me to handle it though. I can't say what I'm going to do. I hope my angel doesn't read this. I do miss it, you know, the action. But I promised her. Shit!

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Nicholas Kyprios was playing the guessing game

Now he's playing the crying game. Yes, Nicholas Kyprios, head of European credit sales at Credit Suisse in London, has been fined £210,000 by The Dead Shark That Refuses To Believe In Death. The FSA, that is.

Why?

'On 11 November 2009 Kyprios called a fund manager to invite him to the bond issue road show. The fund manager told Kyprios he did not want to be wall crossed. Although Kyprios did not have a pre-meditated intention to disclose the client confidential information, the fund manager asked Kyprios about the bond issue and in response Kyprios engaged in a guessing game, including advising when the fund manager was "getting warmer".' More, than is healthy.

You can't even play games. Jesus! This is what happens when you let a dead shark go on the rampage. We're all to blame. One day, we'll free our minds from the horror.

As for Mr Kyprios playing the crying game - outside of work, I presume - that's his personal business. I ain't even seen the film, so ... whatever. We all have our ... desires.

I don't know what's going on

What's going on? I woke up this morning determined to write about a bank or a hedge fund or a banker or a hedgie, but I couldn't get a signal on my internet thing. So I'm writing this now, and I haven't got a clue what's going on. Oh, what's going on?

Maybe I should imagine some shit. Maybe I should imagine that Mike Corcell has broken out of his cage and run amok. (In the daylight. London. The streets, full of people.) Now that would be news! That's something I could get excited about.

I've got a signal! I'm just checking that Mike is still at RWC Partners. Yes, he is! I'm reading on the RWC website that they keep him in his cage twenty-four hours a day now. Right. They don't let him out at night any more. I know it sounds cruel, but a fund manager is for life, not just for Christmas. Does that make sense? No. Let me try again. I know it sounds cruel, but Mike Corcell is an animal. I can't believe they used to let him out anyway. So many lives were ruined!

_________________________


Oh, man. One of these days I'm going to make a fresh start, and it's going to be a real fresh start. In the meantime, I'm going to write about music. I'm very close to having three classic pop songs. I mean, nothing like the muck I wrote in the old days. A few fragments - words and music - need to come together, but any publisher who turns these songs down will have to be mentally ill. Seriously. I need to finish them. I need to improve my guitar playing. And I need to record the songs. I reckon I'll be ready by the beginning of May.

I’m almost starting to feel ... happy.

Monday, 12 March 2012

The Otlet Master Fund

Don't worry, dear reader(s), it's only a new hedge fund. So incredibly special situations. I'm sure Douglas Ormond and Michael Schwartz at Otlet Capital Management aren't trying to upset anyone. (And what the fuck is an otlet, anyway? And why would we want an otlet to be our master? I sometimes think these hedgie types aren't a part of the real world. That's why I like them so much.) Oh, such crazy, crazy, crazy guys! I wish them all the luck in the cosmos.

_________________________


It's really sunny today, outside. And I'm feeling really sunny, inside. Just like Georgie Fame. Or have I got that wrong? Wasn't he singing about someone called Sunny? Who cares?! Life is too short to worry about nonsense. Or is it a song about the sun? I haven't got a fucking clue. Bobby Hebb wrote it. I'm only the messenger. And Georgie is only the singer. Cut us some slack, for Christ's sake!

Well, I've got a song of my own - almost - and I want to finish it. I know what I said yesterday, but please ... I'll be back tomorrow with news of some other goddamn hedge fund. You wait and see.


Update (6.30pm): All right, all right, all right. I know this isn't a music blog. But do I care? No. Some big developments today. ONE, I slowed my second song down a bit. It's not the song I wanted to write. However, it sounds much better now. TWO, I worked out a new way of performing my first song, Gilly Marie. Just a slight variation in rhythm. This song also sounds better now. Then, THREE, I found a note of a chord sequence I wrote months ago. I started playing the chords and this amazing melody came out of nowhere. I was so shocked that I started singing gibberish lyrics to it. Monkey Pie - believe it or not. (Don't worry, I'm not sticking with that title.) So, all in all, one of my most creative days ever. And I'll soon be forty-three! There's always something to look forward to in life.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

The last music update (maybe)

I might even delete all the music posts/updates at some point. Finance, from Monday.

I've written the words to the chorus for my new song. I'm quite pleased, but I'm not sure this is going to be the killer song I need. Maybe I should reserve judgement until I get the lyrics for the verses as well.

I wish I hadn't packed music in twenty years ago. I met a big-time music manager in the Grosvenor House Hotel. He was interested in my songs, but not my singing. And he was right, I'm not a singer. But you can't go back in life, can you? Only forward. I've got to trust my instincts now, and work hard, and be patient.

Laters.

Oh, I saw Jupiter in the sky tonight, and Venus.


Update to the update (9.30am): I've just made a recording of the chorus, and it's much better than I thought it was. (So it helps to record, and then listen.) My words seem to have changed the rhythm of the music, but that's no big deal.

Friday, 9 March 2012

The 20 greatest Burt Bacharach/Hal David songs

According to me, obviously.


[20] - This Empty Place (The Searchers)

A minor song, really, but I love the melody and rhythm. I don't care for Hal's lyrics all that much in this one. I mean, they're not bad, just not classic, that's all. I'm not having a go at him or anything. By the way, Blue On Blue (Bobby Vinton) nearly made it into twentieth place.

[19] - Alfie (Cilla Black)

Not a favourite of mine, but a very well-written song, so it deserves to be here.

[18] - Twenty Four Hours From Tulsa (Gene Pitney)

I love American songs with place names in the title. By The Time I Get To Phoenix by Jimmy Webb is another great one. I'm thinking of writing My Dinner Will Be Cold By The Time I Get Home From ... Hammersmith. Or maybe I shouldn't bother.

[17] - Close To You (Carpenters)

This one is a bit cheesy. So I've put it quite low on the list. Nice melody though.

[16] - I'll Never Fall In Love Again (Dionne Warwick)

It's classics all the way now. This is a cool pop song with brilliant lyrics. I love the way the strings come in at 0.36 and louder at 0.58. It's hard to judge a lot of these songs without also considering the quality of the arrangements/recordings.

[15] - You'll Never Get To Heaven If You Break My Heart (The Stylistics)

Very smooth. And I know an angel who will never get (back?) to heaven if she breaks my heart.

[14] - Don't Make Me Over (Dionne Warwick)

An emotional song. I love the backing singers. And the saxophone. And the strings. And Whitney's cousin, of course.

[13] - I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself (Dusty Springfield)

This is much better than the Tommy Hunt version. Oh, I'm being too harsh. But who the hell is Tommy Hunt when he's at home?!

[12] - What The World Needs Now Is Love (Jackie DeShannon)

Lovely song about love and world peace or something.

[11] - Make It Easy On Yourself (Jackie Trent)

I prefer this to The Walker Brothers' version. I think maybe women are better at the melodramatic stuff. That's not sexist, is it?

[10] - There's Always Something There To Remind Me (Sandie Shaw)

A great and exciting pop song. My favourite bit is from 1.45 to 2.00. Totally sublime!

[9] - Do You Know The Way To San Jose? (Dionne Warwick)

Beautiful atmosphere to this song. It makes me want to live in California. In fact, I would like to live in the reality of the song. However, I could do without the gas pumping. I'd rather be a star.

[8] - To Wait For Love (Tony Orlando)

I suppose most people wouldn't put it in the top ten because it's a minor song, but it's my second favourite. For me, the most emotional song/recording of theirs. I love the strings from 1.30 to 1.39. They get me so down that I get high.

[7] - Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head (B.J. Thomas)

A simple and perfect song. It actually sounds like sunshine with a light shower going on. I always wait for the trumpet to come in. And I'm sure there's a story about how the singer got his name.

[6] - The Look Of Love (Dusty Springfield)

A very sophisticated song, and recording. It's hard to separate this song from its recording. And who would want to try, anyway? These last six songs almost leave me lost for words.

[5] - I Say A Little Prayer (Aretha Franklin)

Amazing mood, melody, rhythm, and that. I don't know what else to say about it.

[4] - This Guy's In Love With You (Herb Alpert)

I used to love Petula Clark's version, then I discovered this, the original. The melody is beautiful. I love the pace of the song. And that trumpet! Off the hook!

[3] - A House Is Not A Home (Brook Benton)

It took me a long time to appreciate this song. Now it's my favourite song/recording of theirs.

[2] - Anyone Who Had A Heart (Dionne Warwick)

A very powerful and dramatic song. Cool piano part, and strings, and saxophone.

[1] - Walk On By (Dionne Warwick)

A grand pop/R&B masterpiece. It is absolutely flawless. The recording as well as the writing.

_________________________


What about, Magic Moments? I don't like Perry Como, sorry.

I forgot Dusty Springfield's Wishin' And Hopin' - !

Stephen Czech named it after himself

The man has an ego the size of a planet. But there's nothing wrong with that. If I had a fund, I would call it Fowke Capital or Fowke Asset Management. Stephen Czech has called his fund Czech Capital or Czech Asset Management. I don't actually know which one because the stupid fucking journalists can't get their stories straight.

I wish I had stuck with my original idea for a post: The 20 greatest Burt Bacharach/Hal David songs. Maybe I'll write it later.

No, I'll write it now ...

Thursday, 8 March 2012

I don't want to sleep tonight

I've tried getting to sleep, but all I got were dark thoughts. Normally, thank Christ, I fall to sleep within a couple of minutes. Not tonight. Tonight has been terrible. I would call it a nightmare, if I were asleep. It's after two. I'll be writing until about six. And if you think I'm writing about finance, you're gone in the head. Really gone, boy - or girl.

Regular readers will know that I'm listening to Brian Eno's Apollo. It's the only thing that can comfort me when I'm feeling like this at night. Is it just my imagination or is life one endless stream of horror? Well, not endless. There are so many things that can go wrong. If only we could keep our eyes open all the time. Maybe I should work at night, and sleep during the day, on a regular basis. It ain't so bad sleeping in the light. By the way, I won't be editing or polishing this post. [Oh, come on, man, maybe a bit, eh? All right.] I'm in a foul mood. I really don't give a shit what it reads like. There might be some value in this sort of writing, anyway. Who knows? [I doubt it, man.] I'm hoping that twenty years from now I'll read this and laugh. [I'm such an optimist.] I shouldn't even be writing a blog. I should be writing my songs. Soon, oh, soon, I'll pack this in, or at least slow down. One polished post a week would be enough. I don't need this grief. Utter misery. The more I write, the worse I feel. It shouldn't be like that, should it? It should make you [me] feel better. And this post? I know it will be muck I'll regret in the morning. Never mind. So be it. Let it come. Let it be. Let's roll. It's a sort of freedom. Not caring.

I've been thinking I should sell everything except my laptop and my guitar. Then I should work all the time, only stopping to eat when I'm hungry and sleep when I'm tired. Wouldn't that be the best way to escape? I can understand why Bill Gates used to sleep under his desk. Not one day off in five years. And I can understand why Colonel Sanders took more than a thousand rejections and kept on going, travelling that lonesome highway, sleeping in his car. And I can understand why - after two heart attacks on that cockamamie ship - the Krishna man, Prabhupada, just went nuts opening temples left, right, and centre, hardly ever sleeping, from age sixty-nine to eighty-one, writing sixty or so books as well. Constant activity! It's an escape from the horror of existence. I think too much. I worry too much. I don't act enough. I'm like Prince Hamlet, for Krishna's sake!

Regular readers will know that I am now listening to the instrumental tracks of David Sylvian's Gone to Earth. Low and Heroes instrumentals coming up soon. (Oh, reader, don't you envy me, asleep in your bed? Where do you go to, my lovely?) I might move on to Charlie Parker with Strings. I might finish with Sinatra's Point of No Return. Anything is possible tonight. Absolutely anything. As regular readers will know.

I watched "10" earlier. That will be me one day. Getting drunk and rolling down hills and staring at naked women through a telescope. I can't wait! I'm going to make it happen. I ain't gonna cut my ear off like Van Gogh. Sod that for a game of soldiers!

Feeling very sleepy. / Low is depressing, and brilliant. Now that Bowie's happy, he'll never do anything like it again. That's art. That's life.

I've been Michael Fowke, and you've been a great audience. I'll be here all my life. Try the veal. Good night! / Good morning!

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

A rough night

Late last night ... I was playing Catacombs on my laptop, that old ZX81 game. I managed to find over two thousand pieces of gold. Or pounds, sterling. Pieces or pounds, I don't know. Anyway, it was my best score EVER! But staring at the computer screen with such intensity gave me a migraine and I had to get up at 5.00am to be sick. Then I went back to sleep for a few hours. Well, I've had my lunch. The migraine has gone. However, I'm very confused, so I won't be writing about finance.

Some bastard phoenix got me in the end, I think. Well, it didn't actually kill me, but it did most of the damage before an orc finished me off. Or was it a serpent? Does it matter?

A complete waste of my time, really. Monsters chasing me around. (It wasn't real gold, was it?) I could have been writing a post about Allen Stanford. Or playing my guitar. Or getting on with that song lyric. I've had the music for over three months, and it's as good as any mid-period Beatles tune. As you know, I've got the title now, and the idea. I just need the lyric to be cool, like a Hal David lyric. This is my chance to get out of the shit. If I get this right, it'll be a total fuck-off song: one that sets me apart.

Imaginary gold, ha! Who needs it?

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

What will Glencore's Ivan Glasenberg do with his £70 million?

Someone has given Ivan Glasenberg £70 million. (And I thought he had enough money already. Didn't you?) Ivan says he deserves it because it's not a part of his pay. He doesn't actually get any wages as the chief executive of Glencore. And he doesn't get a bonus either. What he does get are brown paper bags stuffed full of cash, left on his doorstep every couple of months by a friendly soul. Oh, £70 million, £50 million. It all adds up, you know. That's why Ivan is so rich. He's a billionaire. I wish I had his luck. And his money, obviously.

So, what will Ivan do with it, this £70 million? [Who cares, honestly?!] Will he buy a new house? [No, he's got twenty houses! He doesn't need twenty-one, for Christ's sake! And a house is not a home. Just ask Hal David.] Will he buy a Picasso? [No, he's not into art! He's a terrible philistine. Or a rather good one.] Will he buy a bottle of the finest Tizer? A whole case, even? [A whole case, I should think.] Yeah, a few cases of Tizer. [Hundreds!] But if he had any class at all, he wouldn't settle for anything less than Shandy Bass. [You can't get Top Deck any more.] With some Space Dust. [You can't get Space Dust any more. This is the world we're living in.] Millions of cans! Millions of packets! He'd wreck his teeth. Well, he will wreck his teeth, anyway, with all that fucking Tizer. I mean, if he gets ten thousand cases of the stuff. [The man has no self-control.] His dentist will be laughing all the way to the bank. Dentists aren't cheap, are they? Ivan will blow the lot. I can see it happening. Tizer and teeth. Why can't he be sensible with his money? I'd put it into Glencore, myself.

Mike Stewart of Whard Stewart, apparently

More hedge fund shenanigans! Oh, Lord have mercy! I take my eye off the ball for five minutes, five bloody minutes, and there are even more hedge fund shenanigans.

Mike Stewart was a big head of global proprietary trading at JPMorgan. [He still is, isn't he?] That would satisfy most people, wouldn't it? Our Mike wasn't satisfied though. He wanted more out of life. So he left the bank. [He's still there - for now.] And he went out into the big, bad world on his own to found a new hedge fund, Whard Stewart. [This is all in the future, isn't it?] To add insult to injury, he took his entire team with him! That's how these bastards do business. He didn't leave one man or woman behind. Poor JPMorgan! Talk about selfish! How do these people sleep at night? I mean, how does Mike Stewart sleep at night?

Fortunately, I still do a bit of astral travel. (Yes, I've kept my hand in. I haven't lost the knack.) So I know exactly how Mike Stewart sleeps at night. He sleeps curled up in a ball, like he's afraid of attack. You're probably wondering, dear reader, who would attack Mike in his bed at night. Well, I would, for one. And there wouldn't be anything bent about it neither. I ain't like that. No, astral attack. It's just standard shamanic stuff, really. I used to do it all the time. Up to this point, I've only been observing Mike, being all nosy, but you never know ... one of these nights, as The Eagles would say.

_________________________


Music. / I'm still buzzing about my song breakthrough from yesterday. Soon, I'll have two great pop songs. I need three for a demo. And if I can write three great pop songs, I know I'll be able to write fifty - my target. It's not a matter of talent. It's a matter of desire and will. There are plenty of songwriters who have written two or three great songs, and they live off those songs their whole lives. I suppose they're satisfied with their lot. But I feel sick if I can't reach the big goals I've set myself. Mentally sick, that is. I give myself real pain, and the only way to relieve that pain is to achieve what I want. Is this a common thing, do you think? I don't know.

By the way, I will stop these music updates, eventually. I seem to have lost all my blogging discipline. I'll get it back. I'm just distracted at the moment. And excited.

Monday, 5 March 2012

I wish I had the gift

I wish I were superficial, and stupid. Wouldn't it be an easy life? Man, I live in hope. One of these years, I'll say the things people love to hear. And I'll write the shit they love to read.

I want to be so smooth. Yes! I want to entertain, and please people I don't even care about. Imagine if I were enthusiastic! On a roll, with everyone digging it.

I would slash my wrists ...

_________________________


6.45pm. Forget about that miserable crap I wrote earlier. I've just made a breakthrough with the lyric for my second "new" song. (It's only taken me three months.) I've got a title and a pretty good concept. I've been on Google and found one old song with the same title, but that doesn't matter. It's not well known.

I'm a bit more cheerful now!

Sunday, 4 March 2012

How come these fascists don't have any poetry in their souls?

They always want to see you working. They don't want to see you enjoying life. They just want to see you working, for some reason ... while they're smoking their fucking cigars.

It's not something they're too keen on themselves, of course. The real work that has to be done. (Oh, why does it have to be done? Because they say so.) They are not good people.

And the beautiful things aren't all that obvious to them, anyway. They recognize dirt, even appreciate it. They know death, yes, really savour it!

Look, their eyes! Their eyes. See their eyes, just full of dirt, and death. Windows of the soul, ha!

Thursday, 1 March 2012

This isn't what it is

Should I say: welcome! - ? Have you come to the wrong place? It's been known to happen. Maybe someone has been telling lies. You can't trust everyone - or anyone. Maybe a person thinks he (or she, women are evil, too) can have a laugh at your expense. I'm not sure what I would do in your situation. No, I am. Why don't you keep reading? Try to stay calm. Make sure no one is watching you. It'll soon be over. Unless you get a taste for it. Are you hungry? I have nothing for you.

I have some news for you: this isn't any sort of news on a financial blog. 'Tell me something I don’t know.' Okay. Well, not your usual blog, then. And it's not a short story. It's certainly not a poem. It wouldn't be a novel, would it? I refuse to live in the past. And it's not a play. I mean, the whole thing, here, the whole of it, is not. Clearly, it isn't reality. 'None that I've ever experienced.' And I'm not writing about anything. 'Ah, nothing.' But it's in your head now. I want to help you enjoy the emptiness, and get free, really free. However, you're not going to feel any better if you insist on something. Isn't it the case that you're your own worst enemy? Yes, I know you've suffered. You think I don't know? Artists have been entertaining you for years, and yet you're still not satisfied. They can't get rid of your body for you. They can't get rid of your mind. 'I always feel the same. It's always me, at the end.' And I understand that. You want more, don't you? (Or maybe less, of yourself.) It's an ache, a yearning. 'Er ...' I'm not saying I have the solution to your problem. But I will say that I'm the only artist in the world today who is looking for a solution and who is even aware that there is a problem in the first place. 'Mummy, I'm scared. Why am I here?' I'm not your mother! Christ! This is your destiny. We all have a destiny. So get involved! I know what I've got to do. Actually, we've made quite a decent start. I know you need my nothing - in your heart, and right in your soul, not just in your head. Well, you have it. You have it! And that will do for now. Remember, I'm working for you, for your extermination. I have no intention of letting you down.

'I understand, Mr Fowke, but I'm not really feeling it.' It's in your soul, and you're not feeling it?! I suppose the nothing has to become real. It's still a mere concept for you, isn't it? Oh, if the nothing was real, that would be the solution, I'm sure.

Is it anything for me? Unreal concept? I'm losing my way. If I have no idea where I am, no one will follow me. This is going to take a lot of work, a hell of a lot. Damn! Any sensible writer would give up, admit defeat. 'You're not exactly sensible, are you?' It's true, no one's ever accused me of being that.

It's magic I'm after. I want nothing to lift me up, and out. If only I could make you believe in the possibility of it, you know? What a great achievement it would be for all of us! 'Just believing?' Yes, reader(s). If you can believe in the possibility of something, you're halfway there. I just hope we don't have to pay the ultimate price for the ultimate escape. 'But that's entertainment!' I fear you may be right.