Monday 31 January 2011

Not writing today

I need to think about things, mainly the style of this blog. I'm considering writing in just one voice, one consistent style, with more control. I tried it last year for about a week, but found it boring. I might try again though because my present chaotic style is making me ill. It's [often] enjoyable to write, but reading through it makes me really ill, mentally.

I might go around the shops in London today, treat myself to a book or two, or a DVD, or something. I feel restless.


O Master, see you later.

I'll be getting rid of you, my child.

Yeah. Good luck with that, arsehole.

Thursday 27 January 2011

Rolling in the desert with Thanos Ballos

He does so much, this Thanos Ballos. Such a busy man. He is a founding partner of Strategic Investments Group, managing director of SIG (Deutschland), a director of Permal Strategic Funds, and chairman of Strategic Active Trading Funds. But in his spare time he likes to relax. And I don't blame him. There's nothing he likes more than to roll around in the astral desert. That's something we can all relate to, isn't it?

Rolling, Thanos, keep rolling. This is time we hang on to him blood pouring from our eyes and ears he goes rolling off we hang on to him with our smashed faces our smashed teeth he keeps rolling and we roll with him forever let's roll the pain away let's roll death away look into his heart this is what he wants pumping blood out into the sand mixed with our teeth our sick bodies decayed in sunlight and moonlight we will do anything to escape with Thanos so keep rolling boy keep rolling until you are just a big ball of flesh with bones sticking out we can't get more satisfaction this is the best we can hope for you would I would be happy now children and you would be happy too love this keep rolling man keep rolling until there is no death no pain they don't know the holes in the ceiling back home with rain coming through they don't know the plaster off the walls so let's keep rolling and then we will forget as well we roll to oblivion we are on our way to nowhere and it feels so good it feels like heaven and we keep on with Thanos because he's the one in front he's the one with the right attitude the desire the intensity to make it happen so we roll rolling with him in sands beautiful soul keeps rolling on and on we go rolling rolling on and on we go and on we go bleeding we go laughing we go on and on Christ on and on and on rolling rolling rolling it is life. Rolling, Thanos, keep rolling.

Uproar in Davos as Goldman's Gary Cohn cries: 'Black is black! I want my baby back!'

And he means to get her back. This is serious. Gary Cohn, president for life of Goldman Sachs, was supposed to be speaking about the drive to impose more regulation on banks and how it could push innocent souls into the arms of evil hedge fund managers. It is feared they will be abused and mutilated, these innocent ones. Instead of that, he went a bit nuts, talking about how the world's most demonic financier, Jack Pickles, stole his baby from under his nose. Journalists present at the meeting in his hotel bathroom immediately accused him of being an hysterical fantasist bent on destroying what remains of Goldman's reputation. At this point, Mr Cohn fell to his knees and cried out: 'Black is black! I want my baby back!' He then cut himself with a razor. Both cheeks of his face. The blood flowed down, staining his naked torso, and the horrified journalists ran from him, as fast as their little legs could carry them.

Then he got straight on the phone to me. 'Mikey, black is black! I want my baby back! (I know, I know, I know.) How do you know? (Gary, mate, I saw the whole thing with my astral eyes. You've just made a right fool of yourself in front of the media.) Can you do anything about it, I mean, keep it out of the papers? (I don't really like talking to journalists, but I suppose I could call in a few favours. See if I can get them to pretend you said "Risk is risk" or something inane like that.) Thanks, Mike. Why don't you like talking to journalists? (It's just a nightmare. Take last week. I was supposed to be doing an interview with ****** magazine. This young prat, **** *****, contacts me via email, says he wants my views on the economy, the markets, et cetera. Wants to go out for a drink, take photographs.) Brilliant, Mike! (No, Gary. Not brilliant. You see, anyone who reads my blog, anyone with more than two brain cells to rub together, should be able to understand that I specialize in mystical capitalism. You know, the desert, the ghosts of the dead financiers, the burnings.) And he wasn't interested, no? (Well, that's the funny thing. He said that he was. But then he said that he would have to clear it with his boss.) Oh. And you never heard from him again. (No, I didn't. Of course, I'm just a blogger. It doesn't matter if you don't get back to a blogger, does it? And it's not as if I'm the vindictive type who would write about it. And it's not as if loads of other financial journalists from Reuters, Bloomberg, etc read my blog. So there's little chance of his being humiliated in any way, is there?) No. (But back to you, Gary. What is wrong with you, man?) Jack Pickles has stolen my baby. Can you sort that out as well? (Gary, I'm not a miracle worker. You just have to hope that she's not too messed up by the time he sends her back to you. He won't want to keep her. He has women coming out of his ears.) Okay. But risk is risk, Mike. Remember that. (I won't forget.) Risk is risk!'

Update (4.20pm): **** ***** has been in touch. Didn't ask me to remove his name, but I'm in a good mood for once, so I thought I would. I don't want to damage his career. Moral of the story? Don't fuck with bloggers. Well, not this one at any rate.

Wednesday 26 January 2011

George Soros wants me to go to Davos with him

He wants me there, in Davos, by his side. I don't want to go. And I won't go. I don't care how many billionaires are waiting for me. It's not my scene. All that snow? It's too cold. And I don't care how much money they offer me. Louis Bacon says he'll pay me $1 million, just to show my face for an hour or two. He says he'll send his private jet. It means nothing to me.

Henry Kravis wants his aura looking at. I'm afraid I can't do it. His aura could be nasty black, satanic, sucking the life out of him, for all I care. That Nicholas Berggruen character wants to have dinner with me. Well, screw him. I AM NOT INTERESTED. I might have baked beans on toast tonight. I am my own man. I don't come running when I am called. Deal with it, you billionaires of the world!

Jim Goodnight? Oh, he can say goodnight! He'll never see me in Davos. Not even in his dreams. Let them understand what sort of person they're dealing with. I cannot be bought. I won't roll in the snow. I refuse to. I'll be in the desert sands. That's my natural environment. If they want me, they will have to come to me.

Come to me, billionaires! Leave Davos behind. It's old hat. The desert is new hat. I'll teach you how to burn your money. With my method, you won't get covered in ashes. That's my personal guarantee.

Oh dear. I'm afraid they are stuck in their ways. That's great wealth for you. It goes to your head. It makes you think you can do no wrong. So when you're poor, does this mean you think you can do no right?

Raymond Lahaut found floating in the River Thames

With his Longstone long/short real estate equity fund, Raymond Lahaut has been found floating in the River Thames, alive and well, or as alive and well as a thought-form can be. Obviously, we are dealing with a man who does not exist, who has never existed, at least, not in the way a man in the cold world would normally exist, all fleshes and bones, and hairs, and stuffs. So when we see him floating in the dirty water, when we see the water filling his lungs, there is nothing for us to get upset about. It's just a vision. Something we see with our astral eyes. We should be used to it by now.

It is refreshing to find a flickering light of a fund manager who has philosophy. Raymond invests on a fundamental bottom-up basis, like a duck. He is aware of macro and sector drivers. He likes to generate alpha from a long book or a short one. He's not fussy. And he has been doing it for years. I admire him. I think we all do. Imagine finding a shadow that had achieved so much! I only wish that this figment of our imaginations, this creature of our subconsciousness nesses ness, had a reality to call his own. Of course, the more we think about him, the more life he has. Oh, let's think about him all the time! Yes, children, let's make the effort. Mr Lahaut could be our finest creation. If any man deserves to be superior to a puppet in a box or a picture on the wall, then Raymond is that man.

Marcus Phayre-Mudge agrees with me. 'Raymond Lahaut would be a valuable addition to any property team, if only he could be pinned down; if only genuine people - the sort who possess bodies - could believe in him. It's a problem I intend to solve. I know that I would be the toast of the financial community if I could pluck Raymond out of thin air and display him in a glass cabinet in my office, where everyone could gawp, and gasp, "That's almost a human! Mr Phayre-Mudge, you're a fucking magician, you are". I would consider that my life's work.'

Such ambition! Mr Phayre-Mudge has our support, and our love. Yes, he does! However, a time would come when Raymond would have to be coaxed out of the glass cabinet. He would have to walk and talk, and take proper control of his Longstone long/short real estate equity fund. Seriously get to grips with it, while mere mortals faint and fall to the floor, and the smelling salts are passed around.

It's early days yet. All I know is, Raymond Lahaut can be seen floating in the River Thames, any time of the day or night. It's not a satisfactory situation, but neither is it the absolute disgrace that those in the mainstream media consider it to be. Not that they are willing to report the story. But that's why this blog is so popular. I reveal the other side of life.

Tuesday 25 January 2011

Edward Bramson loves F&C Asset Management so much ...

... that he wants to become its chairman. That is real love. But F&C Asset Management does not love Mr Bramson or Sherborne Investors.

Oh, I know all about unrequited love. I know the torment that Edward must be going through. What does he have to do to make F&C feel his love?


I haven't got the willpower for this, this post. I set my alarm for seven this, this morning. Later than I normally would. But I couldn't get out of bed until nine. I was paralysed. Not physically, of course. Just mentally or spiritually.

This is just broken pieces now. I won't even edit this. I haven't got the energy.

No. See you tomorrow. I'll be better tomorrow. I promise.

Monday 24 January 2011

A2+B Wealth

What's this? Some sort of test? If A2 added to B equals Wealth, then I don't know or care. No, A2+B Wealth is a new wealth management business launched by two Scottish blokes and their friends at AAB.

Zzzzzzzz. E=MC Square. FAB. The two Scottish blokes responsible for making my mood even darker are Paul Lothian and Jonathan Gibson. They founded Verus Chartered Financial Planners, somewhere in Dundee, in August 2005. Yes, in summer. They should have been on holiday. Instead they were starting up a financial firm in Dundee. In case you're wondering, Verus delivers financial planning and advice that helps clients to achieve and maintain their desired lifestyle through the proper management of their finances and investments.

I wish someone would help me achieve my desired lifestyle, through the proper management of my consciousness. That's the only way I can be helped. Forget the money. It's my mind I'm having trouble with. It's my goddamn soul.

How are Paul and Jonathan going to help me? Verus is Latin for true, real, proper and right. How does that help me? Listening to me is their pleasure. They can hear my voice. Knowing what I get up to in my dreams is their passion. Not leaving me [lonely] in the cold is their promise. Exceeding my expectations is their plan. (They've been thinking about me.) Helping me recover my wits is their purpose in life. It's all they live for. Yet I still feel so BAD.

I feel so LOST. It's my mind. It's my soul. That's where all the trouble is. More about death, less about money. This will pass. It has got to. I remember the old days, last week, when I was reasonably happy.

[I found something on the net yesterday. A piece of information that I had been looking for. Now I wish I could go back to a state of ignorance. Knowledge is pain. I wish I could get it out of my head. It will be there forever, I fear. I will not be able to forget. I want to forget. {I'm too old to join the French Foreign Legion. (I was going to join, a few years ago. I wish I had.)} Now it's just all this, with knowledge I wanted but ...]

Yes, we need to bring out the square brackets for something like that. It's all broken up; my thoughts and my writing. But I go on. I am incorrigible. There is something terribly wrong with me. Or something superhumanly right. I can't decide. My self-awareness has deserted me.

I can't even say it, what I want to say. This is like hell. I reckon I will have to delay my new work schedule until February. There is no way I can function with my emotions all over the shop. I suppose I could try again tomorrow. There is always tomorrow.

[There is one thing I am happy about. No other financial blog has this sort of emotional depth. Name one other financial blogger who is constantly on the verge of a nervous breakdown. You can't.]

Emerging markets not all they're cracked up to be, says Reuters

Emerging markets are finished now. There's going to be growth in Europe or something. That's what Reuters reckons. What, you don't believe me? Go and have a look for yourself then.

"The emerging market story has got a long, long way to go ... (but) in the short term, some of the valuations might be a little bit generous. With the prospects of recovery in Europe, it's going to be less of a short-term theme," a London-based fund manager, who declined to be identified, said.

Who is this know-it-all bastard who declined to be identified? Giving his opinion to all and sundry while standing in the shadows waiting for death to take him away from all the pain and the misery refusing to step out of the shadows into the light where we can see his face.

It is going to be one of those days.

It's cold and it's grey in London. My heart, that is. And the weather. My heart is cold. My heart is grey. What’s the weather like in China or India or Brazil? Why should I care? I'm stuck here. Brentford is only a few miles away. Julius Caesar fought a battle there. (Two thousand years ago, of course, not recently.) It's comforting to think that one of my heroes has been so close to me. He could have popped in for a cup of tea and some biscuits, if I had been alive two thousand years ago. Another missed opportunity. Never mind. I could always go looking for him on the astral plane. I think I will, later. After this ... work.

Oh God. I can't go on like this.

Thursday 20 January 2011

FSA fines City Index £490,000 for transaction reporting failures

I'm worn out, so I'm going to write this post over the next three/four hours or so, and I'm going to play a bit of music, and we'll see what happens, yeah?

I think the best thing you can do is go over to the FSA's website and see what it has to say about City Index.

'Between November 2007 and September 2009, City Index failed to submit accurate transaction reports in respect of approximately 2 million transactions, representing nearly 60% of its reportable transactions. It failed to report approximately 55,000 transactions and reported approximately 1,970,000 transactions with one or more data fields completed improperly.' 

So what? Is it the end of the world? Does the FSA need to know everything? Can't it trust anyone? I'm sure the City Index guys aren't that bad, really. Oh, I don't know. At least the FSA won't be interfering with our subconsciousnesses ness nesses any time soon. Maybe we should be grateful for that. I mean, they tried it. But the astral plane was just too scary for them, man. We won't see them floating around again. Not in this lifetime. It'll all be over soon anyway. Some day this war's gonna end.

Who is the investor who took over $1 billion out of Man Group?

Just wait until I get my hands on the bastard. Some bloody lunatic has taken out more that $1 billion (£625 million) of his money from a Man Group fund. This means that Man has now seen its ninth straight quarter of client outflows. All because of the selfish action of one man (I think a woman would have been more considerate).

I have no idea who he is. I've been on the astral plane. I've asked around. The ghosts of the dead financiers couldn't tell me. Big Herb isn't speaking to me at the moment. But don't worry, I'll find out who he is. Man Group is going through a hard time. It needs unfaithful investors like it needs a bag on its hip.

O Master, Man only has itself to blame.

O my child, what do you know about it? You're hardly an expert on these matters.

Man Group hasn't been using its GLG shamans and mystics. Manny and Noam have been sidelined. Well, that's what I suspect.

Surely not?!

I think you should check it out.

Oh, I will. I'll be seeing Pierre Lagrange in the desert this weekend. I'll ask him.

Really? Astral or physical?

Probably a bit of both, if I can spare the time. It's going to be tough getting out to the physical desert every week; you know, with my new schedule and everything.

Yeah. How's Pierre getting on with the mystical life now?

He's a changed man.


Oh yeah. I was with Arthur Simmons before Christmas, burning it up on the plane. Nothing out of the ordinary. Then Arthur says to me, 'Who's that over there, with his eyes full of love and flowers in his hair?' I had to look twice. You could have knocked me over with a feather.

It was Pierre Lagrange?!


Amazing! Flowers as well?

The flowers were a bit much, I thought. But -

He's still learning.

Of course he is.

Do you think he'll make it as a financial shaman then?

With Manny and Noam behind him? Why not? The cosmos is his oyster.

Wednesday 19 January 2011

A man passes a doorway at the Bank of England in the City of London

A blur. Just a blur. Where is he going?

The Bank of England will have to raise interest rates soon. Does he know? Does he care? He has a nice suit, an umbrella, black gloves. He has an aching head, maybe an aching heart. Two lions above him, holding keys. The significance of this? I do not know. And I am sure he does not know. He does not even notice them. 'Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not.' Can he hear anything, frozen in time, as he is? I doubt it.

And that Bible quote, it could apply to so many people. In fact, I am sure it does. Open your eyes, my children! Open your ears! God is standing before you, and he speaks. Invisible silence! Oh, go back to sleep, then. There is money to be made. There are sheep to be sheared. There are slaves to be whipped. I cannot save the world. I cannot save myself.

Will one lion open the door to hell? Will another lion open the door to heaven? How would I know? I am limited. We all are. Images on a door. Oh, if only they were alive! Would they bestow more life upon us, or would they snatch our lives away?

What are you doing? If I could stop you, I would. The stories you tell yourselves are very comforting. Death does not exist in your narratives. You are moving on, moving away; children, you keep on keeping on! I want you to be still. I want you to be silent. This is my sadness. I fear you will not stop until the very end, by which time it will be too late.

You are a blur. All of you. Where are you going?

Tuesday 18 January 2011

Albert Edwards doesn't know if he's too bearish or too bullish

A confused man. And I don't know what he is, this man, this Albert Edwards. I have heard his name mentioned in various places. There is a rumour that he is an analyst at Societe Generale. Associates of mine have seen him in the desert, lurking, not burning.

They say he is a writer of pornographic 'notes' as well. A sort of Henry Miller for the financial community, I suppose. 'The sellside and buyside are locked in a steamy embrace, with the sweet scent of optimism acting like a most potent aphrodisiac.' That is just a small sample of the filth that swirls around in his decadent mind. 

FSA fines Barclays £7.7 million for investment advice shenanigans

Well, 'failings'; that's the word the FSA has used. Yes, shockingly, the FSA is still in business. It's like one of those Hollywood films. The bad guy has been shot, stabbed, hit on the head with an ashtray, and hung, drawn and quartered, and drowned. You relax a bit. The next thing you know, his lifeless body has sprung to, er, life, and there's another five minutes or so to go until Daniel Craig or Bruce Willis (or someone of that kidney) finishes him off with an atom bomb. And, as I recently intimated, even an atom bomb wouldn't settle the FSA's hash.

Karim Samii and his new troublemaking PCM fund

Field Marshal Dr Karim Samii, VC, DSO, MC, the founder, president for life, and chief investment officer of Pardus Capital, is planning to launch a new fund, PCM, which will wreak merry havoc in companies all over Europe. Of course, Mr Samii is based in New York, so he won't have to face any of the carnage himself.

Well, I have been speaking to this extraordinary man. This is what he told me: 'Mr Fowke, the world's foremost financial shaman unto death, let me just say - (You can call me Mikey, Field Marshal.) And you can call me Karim, Mikey. I have a feeling we're going to come to an understanding. (Stranger things have happened at sea.) And I was a submarine commander, as you know. (Yes.) Mikey, I'm an activist, always have been. Why are you getting so upset about my new PCM fund? It won't harm you in any way, or your ghostly friends. Live and let live, Mikey. Remember when you were young and your heart was an open book. (Those days are gone, Karim.) What does it matter to you? You've got your job, shaman of the world. Let me do mine. (No, it doesn't affect me, personally, but I'm worried about the state of your soul. I don't like to see any of God's creatures suffering.) Who said I was suffering? (Are you familiar with the concept of unconscious despair?) No. (Well, you've got a bad case of it. Happy men do not go around trying to win seats on the boards of perfectly well-run companies.) That's just your personal view, Mr Fowke. (Karim, listen to me. You've got to make changes in your life. Put this PCM nonsense on ice.) Then what? (Come with me into the desert, one of these nights.) No, no, no. I've heard what goes on. All this homoerotic bonding in the moonlight, men naked, the dancing! Satanic visions in the flames of the campfire! Not my cup of tea at all, I'm afraid. (That's absurd! Where do you get your information from?) A friend of mine went to one of your weekend workshops. (Who?) Just a friend. (Yeah, right. That's bullshit, Karim.) I'm only telling you what he told me. (Well, no one's ever asked me for a refund, so ... I think your friend enjoyed it a little bit more than he's been letting on.) I'm not going out into the desert, Michael. Not with you. Not with anyone. (But you're from a Middle Eastern background, aren't you?!) So? You're a Londoner. Do you go up the apples and pears, cor blimey, guv'nor, eating jellied eels every five minutes?'

Well, I put the phone down. You can't talk to people like that. I mean, what's the point?

Monday 17 January 2011

RWC Partners and its Ucits III Enhanced Absolute Rate and Currency fund

Haven't I written about this already? Surely this isn't new news? It must be old news. Never mind. RWC has launched the fund for Peter Allwright and Stuart Frost. That's nice.

You would expect me to talk to one of them, wouldn't you? When I hear about a new fund being launched I invariably get so excited that I have to get straight on the blower to the manager(s) who will be managing. But not today.

Today, I did something unusual. I spoke to Mike Corcell at RWC. (He's not even involved!) Now, am I crazy, or am I crazy? Or maybe just a little eccentric?

This is what was spoken between us: 'Mikey, I'm pissed at you, man. (What's wrong, Mikey?) Call me Mike, please. I presume this is going in your blog. We don't want to confuse your readers. (Okay. What's up, Mike?) All this nonsense you wrote about me. You told the whole world that RWC keeps me in a cage. (That's what Peter Allwright told me.) And you believed him?! (Yeah. It sounded plausible.) Mikey, Peter Allwright is a fantasist. (Can I quote you on that?) Yes, certainly. I'm not an animal, you know. (Prove it.) How can I prove it? You'll just have to take my word. (Not sure I can. You see, I know that people have been bitten, Mike. Why don't you come clean? I want to help you. I could be a good friend to you - if only you would let me in.) Let you in?! You must think I was born yesterday. If you imagine, for one moment, that I'm going to allow you to rampage through my consciousness, causing God knows what damage, you are very much mistaken, Mr Fowke. (Oh, Mike, what damage could I do that hasn't already been done?) This is ridiculous! (Shall we talk about the new fund?) No. Nothing to do with me. (How's your diet?) My diet? What, you want to know if I've eaten any analysts lately? (I wasn't thinking anything like that. Are you looking after yourself? That's what I meant.) Yes. I eat in all the best restaurants. (Really? Do you get out much, at night, then?) Oh, what's this now? (What do you mean?) I do read your blog, you know. Do I get out much, at night? Oh yes, I'm always prowling the streets, looking for my next meal. (I'm sorry, Mike. I've got to ask you these questions. I may not be the biggest noise on the astral plane, but I'm responsible for everything that happens on earth; and if a werewolf or a vampire is -) Mikey, what is this werewolf/vampire rubbish? (Well, that's Pete’s theory. I'm not saying I subscribe to it. It's just that -) Peter is a fantasist! Aren't you listening to me? (Oh God! Who'd be a shaman, eh? Maybe I should let you sort it out amongst yourselves. Life's too short.) I'll have a word with Allwright. Don't worry about that. (Okay, Mike, one thing.) What? (I'm not saying it's you ...) Right. (But I don't want to hear any more reports of people being attacked, at night.) Attacked? Muggings, you mean? (You know exactly what I mean.) Mikey, come on. (No, you come on, Mike. Exercise some self-control. See a doctor. I don't know what. Just sort yourself out. I don't want to speak to you about this again.) Wait till I get my hands on that Allwright.'

Whatever. I don't know whom to believe. I'm sick of this saga. Really sick of it. But I'm sure it's not the end.

The FSA and financial promotions

Eh? What's this all about? Let me tell you. The FSA is giving friendly advice to fund managers, basically telling them that they have to be careful when they advertise their wares. [Pots and pans? 'Wares' isn't the right word. I'm leaving it in. I like it.] You know, they can't make any outrageous claims or nothing like that.

I'm just wondering if it applies to me. I don't think it does. I'm not a fund manager. I'm a financial shaman. I'm not trying to persuade anyone to invest in certain funds. I'm not even making predictions, am I? I merely want everyone to open their mind up to the cosmos. I'm sure I won't get in trouble for that.

At some stage, I will be advertising. When my ship comes in, with the songs I'm writing. (I just hope it's not the Mary Celeste.) I'll be putting hundreds of thousands of pounds into billboard campaigns in London and New York. They will be quite simple. Probably just my face and a logo, like Doctor T. J. Eckleburg, staring at people. There'll be some internet ads, of course. But not too many. I want to reach an audience that doesn't necessarily read blogs. Maybe even an audience that is not interested in finance. So I will need some full-page newspaper ads. How much do they cost? £20,000, £40,000, £80,000? I will have to do some research. It's early days yet. I mean, I'm talking two or three years from now. I'm in no position to do it at the moment. As you know, my ship hasn't come in. (I just hope it's not the Titanic.)

The text for the newspaper ads will go something like this -

Did you know that money was the way? Still is, in fact.

Michael Fowke, the world's foremost financial shaman, invites you into a world of spirits and goblins [no, not goblins, I'll have to fix that] where anything is possible. Where the sun always shines, even at night. Where

No, that's crap. But I'm not going to employ a copywriter. I should be able to handle it myself. The sun always shines? Is that from a Prince song?

I'm not inspired this morning. It's pissing down with rain. What a horrible Monday! I'll leave the advert text. There's no rush. It's not as if my ship is anywhere to be seen. (I just hope it's not the Indianapolis.) But it will come in. I have faith.

'Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that's no matter - tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther ... And one fine morning -'

I've read The Great Gatsby five times [six times, 5/2/11]. If I'm Jay Gatsby, then Gillian is my Daisy. 'He knew that when he kissed this girl, and forever wed his unutterable visions to her perishable breath, his mind would never romp again like the mind of God.' We'll see.

As for my songs, I'm still having trouble with the 'Stacy-Marie' one. When I was seventeen (on my birthday, I think) I wrote five songs in one day. Now (approaching forty-two, Christ, I'm old) I can't write one song in three months. I've got to make a bigger commitment. After my blogging each day, after all my shamanic activities, I've got to work on my music. No lazing around, no watching TV. And I've got to reduce my sleep to four hours a night.

I've been living like a zombie for too long. Forty hours blogging a week? I'll do it! Floating on the astral plane? I'll be there! More reading? Definitely! The only Kafka I haven't read is his America. I'm taking that down next. Playing the guitar? Every spare moment! I may even buy a piano. I was always better on the piano, anyway. Songwriting? I need classics! Commercial tunes! Forget Dylan and Cohen. Think Monkees and Archies!

Anyone who knows me can hold me to this shit. If you see me slipping, have a word. Do it for me. Your love makes me stronger.

Thursday 13 January 2011

Christopher Gower fined £50,000 by the FSA!

Holy Jesus H. Christ! Is the FSA still around? If there was a nuclear war, the FSA is the only thing that would survive. I'm convinced.

Anyway, let's deal with the latest disgrace. Christopher Gower, a former MF Global analyst, has been fined fifty grand just for sending a Bloomberg instant message to a few clients! Outrageous! Can't we send messages now?!

"*** HOT OFF PRESS*** Just had meeting with CEO of PUNCH TAVERNS. They have heard from HM Revenue & Customs that it is highly likely Enterprise Inns has been granted REIT status and ETI are due to announce this on 13th May at interims. Expect ETI to bounce (was up 10% on previous HMRC news) BUT then fall back as mkt realises it will take time to implement.... MORE on my meeting to follow.... Chris"

According to the FSA, this gave the impression that he had some inside information. So? Oh, I don't understand. Go and have a look for yourself. You probably know more than I do. I'm only a shaman. All I know is spirits and goblins. No, not goblins.

I just wonder if the FSA is interested in any of the messages that Chris has been sending me from his mind. Yes, from his mind to my mind! It beats all this Bloomberg instant message crap. Here are a few examples -

"HOT FROM THE ASTRAL DESERT. Been speaking to Ganesh the elephant god. Lovely chap. Have you ever seen a trunk like it? He says he'll be able to introduce me to Big Herb. He says the time is right. I must be making great progress, eh, Mike? I'll let you know what happens."

"Mikey, it's Chris. Just come out of a meeting with the big guy. How long was I in his cave? I couldn't tell you. Two hours? Three days? Four weeks? I lost track, man. But that's the astral plane for you. Had a great time. He was telling me about the old days on earth. I didn't know about the space hopper. Have you written about that? Yeah, I'm sure you have. Might be able to do a couple of deals with Big Herb. Got to speak to the ghosts first. Can't say I'm looking forward to that."

"FOR FUCK'S SAKE, MIKEY!!! Those dead financiers are psychotic!!! Why didn't you warn me? Oh, you warned me, yeah, but you could have given me a better idea of what to expect. I AIN'T EVER GOING BACK! I don't care how much money is at stake. It's not worth it, Mike. How do you put up with those nutters?"

Well, as Chris didn't make any money on the plane, I'm sure the FSA won't be interested.

Guy Hands appeals EMI ruling

Oh my God! What's he up to now? Don't get me wrong, Guy Hands is one of my dearest friends, but he's got to stop all this EMI nonsense; I mean, suing people. It's embarrassing. Citigroup won. Can't he understand that? When will he ever learn?

Well, I have been speaking to the odd-looking financier. This is what was said, by him and by me: 'Mikey, you're gonna think I'm freakin’ nuts, man, but I think I can win this time. I'll restore my honour. Just you wait and see. (What is wrong with you, Guy?) Citigroup may get EMI, but it won't get my soul. (What are you talking about?) They want to break me, Mike. They want to see me crawling in the gutter, while staring at the stars. (Ah, the stars in the sky.) No, not those stars. (Give it up, Guy.) No surrender! They won't take me alive! (It's over. You've got to move on. You don't want to end up like Pete Best, still bitter after all these years.) They're taking my EMI away! I won't be able to give you a publishing contract. (I'll speak to Citigroup about that.) Oh, nice. Some friend you are. (Business is business. I don't need to tell you that, surely.) All my friends hate me. Worm, now you. (Cut the self-pity. And I don't hate you.) Just because I look a bit funny. (Well ...) I feel like I'm facing the final curtain. (You've got to get out of show business. I'm serious. It doesn't suit you. Get back to boring old finance.) But I'm friends with Jim Morrison! (What does Jimmy say you should do?) He reckons Citigroup will destroy EMI. He says they're a bunch of squares. He thinks I'm cool, by the way. (Does he?) Yeah. I was on the astral plane with him, Monday night, with some Native American. (What Native American?) I don't know. Just some Native American. Carrying on and that. (Well, they do, don't they?) Jimmy says I should sue Citi for every penny. (You've already tried that! You don't want to take legal advice from Jim Morrison. This is the man who got taken to court for getting his cock out in public, remember. I love Jimmy to death, literally, but ...) Yeah, I see your point. Maybe I should get my coc - (No, Guy. No.) At the Citigroup HQ! Imagine that! (I'd rather not.) Rock and Roll! (You're not a rocker, or a roller. You're a money man. That's all you’ll ever be. Accept it.) Mikey, you're no fun any more.'

No Fun. That's a good song.

Wednesday 12 January 2011

Charles Awdry, Chris Burvill, Tony Lanning, Adam McConkey, Luke Newman ...

... Chris Palmer, Ben Wallace. These are some of the managers [poor souls] that Henderson Global Investors has been able to rescue from the wreck of the Gartmore.

I have been speaking to Henderson chief executive Andrew Formica. This is what he told me: 'Michael, it was the schooner Gartmore, that sailed the astral sea; and the skipper had taken his little daughter, to bear him company. (Eh?) Blue were her eyes as the fairy flax, her cheeks like the dawn of day, and her bosom - (Her bosom?) Listen, Mikey. The skipper he stood beside the helm, his pipe was in his mouth, and he watched how the veering flaw did blow, the smoke now west, now south. Then up and spake an old sailor, had sailed the Spanish Main, "I pray thee, put into yonder port, for I fear a hurricane. Last night the moon had a golden -" (All right, Andy, mate, that's enough of that. What's going on with Charles Awdry and the gang?) They're coming to Henderson. We saved them, man! (Do they want to work for Henderson?) Well, let's face it, they don't have much choice. They're lucky we want them. We could have left them behind, lashed to the helm, all stiff and stark, with their faces turned to the skies. (Yeah.) But we offered them jobs. (What condition were the guys in when you found them?) All stiff and stark. (Just that?) Well, the cruel rocks gored Tony Lanning, like the horns of an angry bull. But ... (You don't want to talk about it, do you?) Not really, Michael. I'm still upset.'

He's still upset! Imagine how the Gartmare lot are feeling.

Henderson Global Investors is buying Gartmore for £335 million!

I must be dreaming, or it must be a nightmaring I'm going through. Someone is paying £335 million for Gartmare?!

{As a pure asset management house, they know what investors want from them [who? Henderson?]: to help them achieve their investment objectives by delivering performance that meets their expectations. [Where are we?] Every investment decision they take has a direct impact on their clients. That is why they have structured (them?)selves with empowered decision-making at the heart of their business. Their fund managers are organised into compact, nimble teams, able to take decisions without the hindrance of a house-style or committee structure. Decisions are taken in a mystical way - mindful of the risks yet alive to the opportunities.}

In a mystical way? There isn't anything mystical about buying Gartmore for £335 million. I would have heard something. I would have felt something. It would have come to me, two Henderson shares for every three Gartmore shares.


I wasn't looking forward to writing this post. But every post is another inch.

This is private, I'm afraid. You shouldn't be reading this. I might have to put up a paywall. It will cost you £100 to read one post.

Are you a spirit? No? Then what are you doing here? Are you a shaman? No? Then you have no business being here.

This is fun, isn't it?

There is no news. Nothing changes. I could never do what they do. It would sicken me. Pretending something is happening. Nothing is happening. There is no story. Just a black hole. Just an empty head. Believe what you want. I wouldn't take it seriously. Don't do it. Don't believe it. That's my advice. Nothing will change.

Don't encourage them. Where do you get all your enthusiasm from? What motivates you? Hasn't anyone told you? It's all over. It never began. How can I persuade you to give it up? What do I have to do?

They are not as intelligent as they would have you believe. That's obvious. The lies are unbearable. The smug faces. But they live in dirt.

This will end soon, this post. There will be another one. More emptiness. At least I know it. I'm not fooling myself, or anyone else. I am honest. That's something, isn't it? I tell the truth. I know it's all death. And I say it is.

Monday 10 January 2011

Colm Kelleher on Morgan Stanley's near-death experience

I recently interviewed Morgan Stanley's Colm Kelleher. We talked mainly about the bank's near-death experience. Here are the edited highlights.

Fowke: Colm, a lot of people think that Morgan Stanley's near-death experience was all about the bank nearly going out of business and then becoming a bank holding company. That's not true, is it?

Kelleher: It's a misconception. What actually happened is that Morgan Stanley nearly died. I mean, all the staff. In a mad occult experiment out in the astral desert, the mystic desert, that is, of our burning love. It was a disaster. But it wasn't reported by the media.

Fowke: Colm, mate, I didn't report it. I missed that one myself. How did you keep it so quiet?

Kelleher: Frankly, Michael, we were ashamed. No one wanted to talk about it.

Fowke: You were trying to compete with Goldman Sachs, weren't you?

Kelleher: It's no secret that we envy Goldman.

Fowke: Really? You would put it as strongly as that?

Kelleher: Mike, we can't get the shamans. Goldman has the pick of all the best ones. We just get the scraps. And I blame you to some degree.

Fowke: Why?

Kelleher: Everyone knows how close you are to Lloyd Blankfein. A lot of Goldman's success is down to you and your contacts in the world of spirit.

Fowke: Well, that's ancient history now. I'm working more with Bobby Diamond these days. Though he hasn't paid me yet.

Kelleher: Right. So, yeah, we were trying to compete with Goldman. We knew we couldn't match them shaman for shaman. So we went into the desert.

Fowke: Astral desert, you say? Or was this the physical desert?

Kelleher: Probably a bit of both.

Fowke: Tell me more.

Kelleher: Well, we started off travelling through the smoke rings of our minds -

Fowke: Obviously.

Kelleher: Yeah, and, er, we reached the astral desert. But it became physical. I mean, after a while, we could literally feel the sand beneath our feet.

Fowke: I get that a lot. I'm surprised you did, but ...

Kelleher: It was unbelievable, at first. An amazing experience. Then it really did become unbelievable - in a bad way.

Fowke: What happened, Colm?

Kelleher: We summoned the ghosts of the dead financiers.

Fowke: Oh my God.

Kelleher: You see, we thought we could bring them over to our side. Somehow convince them that Morgan Stanley was the bank they should be doing business with. Then it wouldn't matter how many shamans Goldman had.

Fowke: Yeah.

Kelleher: Unfortunately, we misjudged just how temperamental they are. Well, they're downright dangerous.

Fowke: Yeah.

Kelleher: Is that all you can say?

Fowke: Well, what do you want me to say, Colm? It was a bloody stupid thing to do. Why didn't you ask me about it? I could have advised you.

Kelleher: No, not while you were in tight with Lloyd. You would have told him. Then there would have been a mob of Goldman guys coming down on us. I mean, the ghosts nearly killed us.

Fowke: You're serious, aren't you?

Kelleher: Serious as a heart attack, Mikey.

Fowke: This is news to me. I would have thought the dead financiers would have -

Kelleher: I think they wanted to keep it quiet as well. A couple of our shamans really put the boot in.

Fowke: Yeah?!

Kelleher: Oh yeah. We gave as good as we got.

Fowke: I still think you're lucky to be alive.

Kelleher: I know I am. Never again!

Fowke: Never again?

Kelleher: No way, man. I've learnt my lesson. We all have.

Whatever happened to Cindy Sweeting?

Nothing happened to her. She's still around. Why is everyone panicking?

O Master, there's been some talk about her handing over the management of the Templeton Growth fund to Norman Boersma.

Well, that will happen in March. But it's no big deal.

She's not leaving Franklin Templeton then?

Of course she ain't!

She hasn't already left, snuck (chiefly N. Amer.) out the back door, like?

Jesus! Where do you hear this stuff?

O Master, thank you for putting my mind at rest.

O my child, let me explain one or two things to you.

This'll be good.

It is an easy thing to laugh at wrathful elements, to hear the dog howl at the wintry door, the ox in the slaughter house moan.


To see a god on every wind and a blessing on every blast, to hear sounds of love in the thunder storm that destroys our -


No, listen. To rejoice in the blight that covers his field, our enemy, and the sickness that cuts off his children. While our olive and vine sing and laugh round our door and -

What is all this shit?

William Blake.

Oh. And how is this connected to ... to anything?

It's complicated.

So what's Cindy going to be doing?

As far as I know, she's going to be focusing on strategic fund positioning and risk management with that Gary Motyl geezer.

Who's Gary Motyl?!

He's the global equity chief investment officer.

Oh, right.

The point I'm making is, there are worse things than giving up a fund.

No, you were just going off at a tangent with the Blake stuff. How would you like it if, say, you went over the road to get a pint of milk, yeah, and the guy in the shop just started going: Tyger, Tyger, I really love your Tyger feet?

Well, you're showing your ignorance now because the poem doesn't go like that.

You wouldn't like it though.

Oh, I wouldn't like it because I would expect the guy in the grocery store to know his Blake from his Mud. That's why I wouldn't like it.


Goldman traders Ariel Roskis and Daniele Benatoff want me to be the CEO of their new hedge fund

Well, they haven't even set it up yet. It's all pie in the sky, if you ask me. But they've got a bit of money, $300 million from Brummer & Partners. Not bad. Ariel Roskis reckons he's going to be chief investment officer. Daniele [strange name for a lad] Benatoff reckons he's going to be head of research. It's nice to have a dream, ain't it? But they haven't got a chief operating officer. And they haven't got a chief executive. That's where I come into the picture.

Ariel Roskis phoned me this morning. This is what was spoken between us: 'Mikey, exciting news! (Yeah, what's that?) Come on, you've heard about the hedge fund. (What's it called?) What? (The hedge fund, Ariel. What's it called?) I don't know. We haven't got a name for it. (Yeah, great. Call me back when you're serious. I'm a busy man.) Oh, Mikey, don't be like that. We'll have a name soon. Brummer & Partners has put $300 million in. (Some people have got more money than sense.) So you don't want to be chief executive then? (Of some Mickey Mouse hedge fund that doesn't even have a name? Stop wasting my time.) You're a hard man, Michael. What will it take to convince you? We'll pay you top dollar. (What do you want me for? I ain't never been no chief executive of nothing. I couldn't run a hedge fund.) Man, you wouldn't have to run it. You would just be the frontman, to give us an air of respectability in the mystical community. With you on board we would have no trouble attracting the ghosts and the shamans and the goblins and the - (Hold the fucking phone! Did you say goblins?) Well, er, yeah. (I see. And what have goblins got to do with financial shamanism, the desert, the astral plane?) I don't know. (No, you don't know, Ariel, because you don't fucking think, do you?) Mikey! (I don't want to be CEO of your hedge fund.) Mikey! Please! I don't understand everything you're about. I don't know my aura from a hole in the ground. But I'm trying to learn. So's Daniele. You should hear him go on about you. It's Mikey this, Master that. He loves you, man. (What's the deal with his name?) Oh, that's a personal issue. Don't go there. (Fine.) So how about it? Chief executive. Michael Fowke, CEO of a hedge fund! Eh? (I'll think about it, Ariel.) You know it makes sense.'

Yeah, I'll think about it. They won't get this hedge fund off the ground, anyway.

Herve de Montlivault? I'm worried about him

Some disturbing news coming out of Credit Suisse in France. They say that Francois Essertel has replaced Herve de Montlivault as head of private banking. They also say that Herve will now be servicing private clients across the world. Whatever that means.

Oh dear. And it was all going so well, for a while. Stints at Citibank and Credit du Nord. He was director of JP Morgan Private Bank in France, believe it or not. A brief spell in the desert, where he was lost. Then Credit Suisse.

Maybe he will get lost again. I'll take him back out there, if he wants me to. Anything would be better than ... I can't say it. I don't even want to think about it.

Friday 7 January 2011

Gendarme Capital Corporation charged by the SEC with dumping billions of penny stock shares

Not just Gendarme. No, oh no oh no oh no. BUT two of its executives as well, Ezat Rahimi the CEO, and Ian Lamphere - who just happens to be some kinda crazy-ass vice president. I don't know what that means. Some firms have thousands of vice presidents, don't they? [Think of all the demons in hell. Are they vice presidents? It's something to think about, ain't it?] Anyway, Ezat and Ian dumped billions and billions of penny shares into the market, after promising all and sundry that they were keeping them as investments only. Oh, that's terrible! They made illicit profits of more than $1.6 million! Nice work if you can get it, eh?

It's at times like this that I turn to Marc Fagel -

"The federal securities laws are designed to ensure that buyers of stock in the open market have access to information about the companies in which they are investing," said Marc Fagel, Director of the SEC's San Francisco Regional Office. "Gendarme and its executives created a novel, but illegal, business plan to make an end-run around these investor protection laws, supposedly buying billions of shares of penny stock for investment purposes but instead turning around and dumping those shares into the market."

More SEC nuttiness, if you want it. And I know you do.

O Master, there's nothing nutty about the SEC, man. These are decent guys and girls just doing their job. Cut them some slack. What kind of world would it be if everyone dumped shit all over the place?

Ah, the voice of reason. Thank you, my child. Yes, you have a point there. Some dirty bastard has been dumping his rubbish in my alleyway. Hasn't he got his own alleyway? If I catch him, I'll smash his face in.

I was talking about penny shares and that.

Of course you were. Forgive me. This is a financial blog. I forget that sometimes. It's been a few weeks now, since the last time. But I would still like to catch him. It would be worth him doing it again, so I could catch him at it. With his filth.

The SEC caught those penny share guys. Just charged them. Didn't smash their faces in though.

How do we know? We don't know what goes on in that SEC basement. But I'll tell you something: it's not the way we do things on the astral plane. You ask Big Herb. He don't care about no penny share shenanigans. Never has done. Bigger fish to fry.

The astral plane is totally unregulated.

And that's the way (uh-huh uh-huh) we like it. Do a little dance. Make a little love. Get down tonight. It's Friday night tonight, obviously. I'll be on the plane if anyone wants to join me. Just lie down in a darkened room. Go to that special place in your head. Nature or instinct or some stuff like it will do the rest.

It's gonna be a gas!

Nitrous oxide. Inhalation of nitrous oxide for recreational use, with the purpose to cause euphoria and slight hallucinations, began as a phenomenon for the British upper class in 1799, known as "laughing gas parties".

O Master, you're very loose today, very free and easy. Is this a new trend?

I don't know. I don't know. Let's see how it goes. I ain't sure which way the wind is blowing yet. I ain't got nothing to prove. I ain't got nothing to lose. And there's nothing I care about. I am free. My immortal words have released me. I don't care what the squares think any more. Do you know how good that feels?

It's like breaking out of prison, Shirley!

You're not wrong! And I didn't have to dig no tunnel. Or jump over no wall. I just went to the cliff in my mind and -

And you were gone, man, like the grooviest cat in Christendom! What a life! What a story! This has got to be the greatest true story of escape and adventure ever imagined!

I didn't imagine it, baby! It happened! It's all true, all of it.

What can your readers learn from this?

Never ever look a gift horse in the mouth. That's number one. Never ever read any straight financial news. That's number two. (Those evil slags will just bring you down. Bunch of fuckin' creeps. Let's be frank. While I'm flying high in the friendly astral sky with Marvin Gaye? Forget about it!) Never ever trust anyone who isn't prepared to mix their blood with yours. That's number three. Er ...

Is there a number four? We all want a number four, Master. You can do it.

Number four, number four, number four. Number four! Always, always, always, yes, yes, yes. I can almost reach it. I -

Don't overdo it, boss. You've stretched your soul enough for one morning. Go and have a biscuit. You deserve it. This one's on me.

Thank you, my child. And thank you, everyone, for making it this far. I love you all so very much.

Thursday 6 January 2011

What you think you doing?

What you think you breathing for? Why you living? Why you here, reading? And when you go back, what you working for?

This is plain English. No frills. No thrills.

There is a way out. I'm looking for it. What you looking for?

I can't write about banks and hedge funds right now. I don't wanna disappoint anyone. I don't wanna let anyone down. I know you need to know. You reckon it's important. Something is always important to someone.

I won't be spending ninety hours on this post. Not that you care. If I wasn't doing this, I guess I would be dangerous. This keeps me off the streets.

I know you. I really know you. I know you so well. I know you. You. You. You.

How does it feels, being you?

I could laugh. I feel sick. I could meet you after work. Call me, I'll be there.

Nick MacAndrew or Edward Bramson?

Who do we want? Who do we want? Who do we want? 'For what, Mikey?' I hear you crying out all over the world. FOR WHAT? Who do we love? Who do we want to be the chairman of F&C Asset Management? Do we want the current chairman, Nick MacAndrew, who may be a wonderful guy, but who has never been burned, NOT ONCE IN HIS LIFE? Or do we want the great Edward Bramson of Sherborne Investors fame, who is not only a veteran of the astral plane, but who was once a close personal friend of the money god Big Herb when he was alive on this cold earth of ours?

Er ... what do you reckon? EDWARD BRAMSON! Yes, Edward Bramson is the man. He's the one we want.

[The rest of this post has been deleted. Too bad if you missed it. You should be quicker. And I meant every word.]

Wednesday 5 January 2011

Edward Bonham Carter is the destroyer of worlds

But we should take his views with a handful of dust. Fine by me. I made it up, obviously. Edward Bonham Carter is not the destroyer of worlds. Bonds are the destroyers of wealth though. He can tell you that, if you give him the opportunity.

As we all know, Mr Bonham Carter is the chief executive of Jupiter. Someone has to be. Someone has to keep those nutters in check. He also has a famous sister, an actress. Gillian Taylforth, I think.

He is not a heroin addict. Despite all his talk. But he is an Old Harrovian. It won't be Gillian Taylforth then. My researcher is an arsehole.

Don't blame me! Oh, did you know his uncle was the drummer in Led Zeppelin?

Yeah, I knew that.

It's going to take me some time to get back into the swing of things. I always dread starting a new year. I hope you enjoyed yesterday's post. Don't expect a repeat performance for a while. I'm back in the foul rag and bone shop of the heart. And I've lost my ladder. But don't worry, I'll find it. It's got to be around here somewhere.

Tuesday 4 January 2011

The immortal words of a mortal man

I am sure these words do not belong to me. However, I am open for a short while, so I will let them come. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. A deathtime extravaganza waiting to happen, perhaps. And if you are a man, you can have your share. If you are a woman, too. Ladies and gentlemen! Our lives, our words. Speak up! If you have the strength.

These are the words. Oh, are these the good words, the following words, that will lift us up, away from money, towards a higher life, where we can be happy? Or are these the evil words, one thousand, two thousand, close to, three thousand, words, that will make us sick, more diseased than we have ever been?

Will these words, the coming words, capture the visions we need? There are ways to chase money, to chase love/sex, to chase all sorts of things on our cold earth. But words can be used to chase the visions that exist beyond. Or visions of those things that exist beyond. If there is a beyond. Are you lost? I have to admit I get confused myself.

Time is passing. Years go by. There are more years ahead. Chances to get wise. How much wisdom does one require? Enough wisdom to die happy, to die sad. There you are, with a light in your eyes, as you pass away, and on and on and on. Perfectly natural. Life will be seen again. This is not goodbye. Not for any of us.

We open our mouths. Gasp for air. We are dying. No rush. Our situations! There are worse things than debt. There are better things than all the riches we go after. Is this the truth? I believe it is. A coffin of solid gold would not satisfy some people. Death makes them angry. They consider death the worst insult. Better things are for light spirits without the flesh and bones, the heavy bodies.

Our bodies are kingdoms of pleasure and pain. I suggest we hold on to them for the time being. We are not free to drift off. We have our little excursions, of course. But we cannot leave for eternity. We have to pay our dues. That enormous mystery will take us soon enough. Just when you think you are comfortable, eternity strikes.

Is death a rotting tooth, waiting to pounce? Or is death some other annoyance? Our bodies are so unpredictable. It is best not to worry. I would like to focus on spirit only, mind possibly, the self hopefully. It was disgraceful, rolling on a grave. They say the skeleton did not complain. I wish I could forget. That episode, other episodes. Old days back in the night-time of my soft dreamy head.

Before we go any further, I should tell you that neither God nor Satan nor any other spiritual overlord will be making an appearance. This is not a decision on my part. I do not possess such power. This is more of a gut feeling. A belief? Oh, it could be a belief. It could be a great fear. Animal thundering inside of me. These old bones of mine. Nothing, no one, to worship. I am afraid we are on our own.

This is going to be difficult. We hardly know each other(s); and yet, we have to trust each other(s), and the others, with us. Countless beings, not all human, moving, gliding. The delicate, glittering ones, all searching for the experiences or revelations that will change everything. I hope we are lucky, all of us.

We are suns with rays of consciousness. Something to be cheerful about, eh? Imagine if we were shadows on a wall, at dusk. We would easily fade into the night. You cannot enjoy that sort of existence. But we are heavy ones. Our bodies! We have substance. A burst of wind could not blow us around like leaves in autumn or like dust after the winter of old age. We should count our blessings. A body is not that bad, really.

Some disturbance, a noise. I wonder if I will be able to escape. Is it too late? The breath on my neck. Is that you? I know you have been following me. I know you are fascinated by my mask. You would like it for yourself. Heart to bloody heart? This is mask to bare face. You can kiss the mask. Will I reveal a secret or two, if you ask me, if you force me? It is not impossible.

Most things are possible in our reality. I said, our reality. I am the sharing type. These words are your words. They come through me. They go through you. I think you will find that your mind is open for business, just as mine is. You have been accepted. Look around you. Nothing but friends. We all want to love you. Let us love you. Surrender, and then the joy of burning. That is the order of the day. You are aflame!

No ashes! That is very impressive. Be prepared to be ignored. The cold ones of this world frown upon our activities. Jealousy is a terrible thing. That is what we are dealing with. It must be so frustrating, wandering in endless night, shivering, with not one flame to call your own. We should pity them.

Vision to vision. Where are we? Somewhere nice? We could be in a green field, on our backs, blue sky in our eyes. A rural idyll. Where? Over there! We are not there though, naked, as nature intended. Here! Sand beneath our feet. This is the desert of our inner spaces. Yes, here we are, naked, our hairs stretching out through our skins, and our skins coloured, stained, blue, yellow, red, cracking on the edges of life.

Our souls are deserts. We know the emptiness. We are not afraid of it. It drives us on. More money! More status! More success! We will never get enough. But the vibrations! Outside of us, all around us, the ultimate reality, the dream. The dream is what we are chasing. We want to taste it. That honey love! We want to get lost in it. The flesh of eternal life! The cold ones refuse to believe in it, if you can believe that. Ha! We may be wretches, but at least we are believers.

We believe in the life to come. We are willing to die for a dream, a mere vision. Our yearning makes us unusual. But we are beggars. Desperadoes. Sea creatures, even! Picture the scene. There is a big blue sea. I am there with you. You are my dolphin. I am your shark. I am biting you. Will you dive with me? Deeper. Everything is flowing. Everything we want flows from space to our minds. Going down. This is not a fantasy. It is death on the seabed.

Are you someone? You could be anyone. I know only too well that I could be anyone myself. We are together, all of us, in this. There are so many of you. I cannot judge you all. Why should I judge anyone? Tell me your stories. I want to fall asleep, listening to your whispering voices. I want to lose myself in your wildest imaginings. Yes, imagine! Imagine for me as saliva trickles from the side of my mouth. Imagine for me as saliva ...

Bubbles of images floating up. Your whisperings have had quite an effect. You must be so proud of yourself, and yourselves. I am awake, and refreshed. How long was I away? Signs of mad hours in your watery eyes! Were you with me? We should do it again, and again, and again. These distractions have been a shot in the arm, a tonic. We will not think of death. Right now, even the horrors of life cannot upset us.

Marching on, over your heads. The troops of my subconscious! I am keeping the Old Guard in reserve. Tactics, you see. It is a war. I fight for your love, your commitment. I demand obedience. Oh, I am a tyrant! Despair has brought me to this point. I strove for greatness. Isolation was my reward. But I was thinking of you as well. I want you to be like me. You have the emptiness. You have the desire. You can do it. You can ruin yourselves.

It is hard to keep going. Word after word. Image after image. A path leading nowhere, it seems. I feel like crying. All I want is a little transcendence. I do not want the gutter life. I want a palace that floats in the sky. I do not want the stains and smells of earthly existence. I want the cleanliness and perfume of immortality, higher up. Or deeper down.

The higher life is not one of my delusions. That is what I keep telling myself. It is what I keep telling anyone who will listen. Are you listening? I am aching for it. I hope you feel the pain the way I feel it. I do not want to be cut off from you. My pain is your pain. It has got to be true. If it is nothing more than wishful thinking then I fear I may not have much of a future.

One perfect stream of words would brighten my mood. The perfect phrase. Maybe just the perfect word. Is my passion under control? Well, my words are under control. Not perfect yet. But they are under control. Odd, for me. There is always a fire raging in my head. A sliver of ice is a surprise.

How will you feel when this is all over? Relieved? Disappointed? Elated? I am not promising you anything. After all, no one ever promises me anything. I have to live with uncertainty in a world of fools. Stumbling through "normal" life, I rarely see a thing. I am practically a blind man in their paradise. If I opened my eyes, I would be saved. Maybe my angel would save me. Nonsense, of course. What an idea! But it is a very comforting nonsense.

A pile of skulls. A torn flag. A burning building. All of a sudden. It can come like that. Oh, how your mind can shift! One minute you might be with a woman, the next, up to your waist in blood. Get back, man! My supersanity is at stake. My visions! I am a special seer. My visions are an investment. I have watched humanity rising and falling through centuries of change. Insignificance is the one constant.

Centuries? Have I been around that long? Maybe in my dreams. Maybe in your nightmares. Will I ever go away? I will take you with me. Are you coming? Speak up! All of you! As loud as you can! No whispers! Let me know your plans. I cannot believe I have wasted my time and energy on a crowd of timid puppets. Ah, silence. What did I expect? You are strange ones. You are shy ones. I am exasperated. But I refuse to let you go. I will drag you to the door. When the door opens, you will be there. When the door shuts, we will be gone.

White noise, buzzing. Chaos. There is the hammer. It smashes my senses. There is the razor. It slashes my intellect. There is the axe. It chops my reality. The light is fading. The darkness will come. Should I submit? What choice do I have? Help me get back on track. If you have any power at all, use it now. Or will you just watch as I thrash around in a pit of damaged images and thoughts?

I will not submit. It took me a long time to create myself. My ideas have piled up to become a mountain in my mind. I will put on a show. Watch this! As darkness comes, I go black. I do not panic. The darkness sweeps over me. And listen! I am conversing with demons. The darkness leaves. The light returns. I am untouchable. Nothing can wear down the rock of my identity. Though the darkness tries again.

A flash of gold! Sometimes a colour will appear out of the blue, even the blue of my despair. This one is gold. I am on the riverbank. Very peaceful. So quiet. I will be moving along soon, and up. The sea is waiting for me with its long line of gold right to my heart. Later, it will be pulling me out of my body. I am resigned to my fate.

We are insects. I am not making any sense. We are apes. You are struggling to understand. Oh, specks of dirt. And I look at you, a scared man, a scared woman. A dog begs for a bone. A bird hovers in the air. We are skipping to our graves. We are human beings. Are you pleased? Were you born for such ignominy?

Yes, yes, yes! Are we looking for God while hiding from Satan? No. We are on our own. This has got nothing to do with them. Our goal is beyond money, beyond art, beyond words; and beyond God, Satan. Are we clear on this? There is no name for the absolute freedom we seek. Forget everything you have heard to the contrary.

We enter a sort of madhouse, together. The walls are paper-thin, not padded. We can hear the screams of lunatics. They are inviting us to join them. You put one of your hands through a wall. You lose a couple of fingers. They are food for someone. Will you stay, or will you run off, away? This is the world, my friend. What are you going to do?

So near, yet so far. Why must we struggle so hard? Is there a reason? It often seems as if we are working for nothing, even playing for nothing. Where is the good life? The worm crawls through its muddy territory. Is it satisfied? Truth is, it does not own any patch of earth. Are we any better?

Step outside yourself, your body. For a moment. Do it. Pretend everything you think you are is what something else is. Do you have any sympathy for the poor creature, this animal? I am afraid that it is an animal. It should be put down. It is suffering. You can see that it suffers. Go back inside your "home". It is only a temporary shelter. You need to plan ahead.

I will leave you soon. Or you will leave me. We will all leave each other, and then we will meet again. Purified? Oh, I hope so. Perfumed? You never know. All the broken things shall be repaired. Tears will dry. Even scars will disappear. It sounds like a fantasy. But I am not a fantasist. What seems a fantasy to some is basic reality to others. Let us try to be different.

Lights in our eyes fire through the gloom! Good! Our glory is out. Our decency! Our righteousness! Evil goes off when you confront it. You have to make the effort. The meek are paralysed. The sceptics are all in a muddle. They are low, on the ground. We stand proud. A strong wind comes. We hold firm.

We can take any storm. Thunder and lightning! What do we care? Nothing is worse than being born. And death will not bother us, if that is what we face. This is the interior. The fools cannot see it. And if they could see it, with mystic eyes, they would turn away. They are cowards.

Rain pours down. Will there be a flood? I am flooded, with emotion. I have never felt such joy to be alive. I have no idea how long it will last. I will not be counting the minutes, the hours, the days, the weeks, the months, the years. Why should I? One second of this illumination is enough for any mortal.

We are on the verge. Or, at least, I am. Just speaking for myself. We all get to that stage in life where we can only speak for ourselves. No one can understand another person and his or her individual human heart. I am on a cliff. I am staring at the sea of eternity. I do not need to be pushed. I am willing to jump.

Off the edge! Here I go, falling to my dream. What words could describe the things I see now? There is no angel. I leave her behind. There is no money. Why would I need any? There is a wave. There is a crash. I am gone.