Back before the advent of blogging, I would sometimes give an idle thought to writing a book about my experiences in the investment industry. It wouldn’t be fiction because, trust me, you couldn’t make this stuff up, and there’s certainly no shortage of humorous, not to say surreal, material in that strange world I left, without regret or backward glance, more than two and a half years ago.
Reality bites, and I know now that the book will never be written. The shortfall in my literary ability is unbridgeable and while this doesn’t seems to have deterred E L James, I suspect that bondage probably has broader mass appeal than the bond market. I also doubt that I have the powers of concentration or self-discipline that would be required to put it all together in a coherent fashion. Instead, my life is being laid out in unconnected instalments in the various posts on this blog.
So basically you’re already getting my autobiography – by stealth.
Be that as it may, the book was, for a brief period, a semi-serious project. Well, it was if the definition of semi-serious is deciding on a title and writing a short introduction.
It was going to be called ‘The Analyst Is Out’, inspired by Lucy from the Peanuts cartoons:
When I definitively decided to abandon the project – such as it was – I deleted what little I had written. I now wish I hadn’t, but at the time I was following the advice of Stephen King in his book ‘On Writing’: “kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings”. It was probably the ‘egocentric’ jibe that led me to do it. The last thing I’d ever want is to be accused of is egocentrism. Well, it’s just asking for trouble, isn’t it? Besides, an egocentric blogger? Surely there’s no such thing.
Anyway, it’s gone, but then WordPress came up with this recent Daily Prompt: “Write the blurb for the book jacket of the book you’d write, if only you had the time and inclination”
So moved, I’ve tried to drag from down the back of the sofa of my memory at least the gist of that short introduction – or blurb, for want of a better word. It went something like this:
So there I was, kicked back in my first class seat a couple of hours into a Qantas flight from Sydney to Los Angeles.Toying with my caviar and blinis, washed down with alternate shots of chilled vodka and Krug, I imagined I could see small palm-fringed islands below, as ‘Shine On, You Crazy Diamond’ pounded through my headphones.
‘This, me old son’ I said to myself, ‘isn’t such a bad way to make a living’.
ABOUT THIS BOOK
During a thirty year career as an investment analyst […..] lived through the Big Bang and the Crash of ’87, got made redundant – twice, flew round the world first-clas at someone else’s expense at least three times, and came to know more than was really good for his sanity about the foibles and accounting chicanery of the European banking system. He stuck at it for so long that he eventually reached that state of grace where absolutely nothing could surprise him.
Except maybe RBS buying ABN AMRO.
This book isn’t about the turgid detail of capital ratios, privatisation prospectuses or the theological difference between bad and doubtful debts. Instead, it’s more about the characters that inhabit the parallel universe that is the investment business: the inept, the insouciant and the just plain insane. It’s also about some of the things they got up to: also inept, insouciant and plain insane.
He knows them well, because In his time he worked with some of the brainiest people on the planet and also some of the most gratuitously unpleasant. A few of them managed to be both at the same time. Bound by the conditions of his various termination agreements he can’t name names. But they know who they are.