Thursday, December 02, 2010

Lifestyles of the rich and … us.

As we wait for the Eurobollox to unravel in a new load of Eurevelations, the UK is under a coating of Eurosnow. This is a special type of snow that is denied by officials right up to the moment of its unplanned arrival and then turns the infrastructure of developed countries into that of Third World states. So today instead we will step back from Europe themes, take a break and offer a little glimpse into the heady lifestyles we lead (hoho).

Well, it's all glamour in the life of a macro man. Yesterday started with a leisurely awakening on the country estate, followed by being driven to the office for a pleasant day profitably saying "yours/mine", a long lunch and an early departure for a night spent mixing with the rich and famous at a private art show hosted by a famous actress (and close friend, of course) at her palatial house. Of course, wit and repartee positively dripped from the tongue and all present were wowed and dazzled by the stream of intellect and insight offered on any subject they wished to raise; the evening ending with a very famous billionaire whisking said macro man off for a night of very classy debauchery... No names, of course.

Well that would have been a great day, but here is the REAL day in the life of...

5am - Awaken to read that the Eurosnow has resulted in no trains from the countryside running into the City. Start to ring colleagues in similar situations to coordinate actions (you can't be seen to be pub-lunching it at home when your treacherous colleagues have managed to struggle in). Drive to local station to find, indeed, "no trains". Drive to mainline station to find the same. 7.30am - give up, go home and start to ring office/log on to Bloomberg, which then intermittently dies on the home PC, making work impossible, as all the local broadband electrons must have been canceled due to the snow. Get a bit gung-ho and decide to break out the ancient Landrover, reserved for just such occasions and drive in to work. Spend an hour prepping the car with de-icer, water, oil, tow ropes, shovel, overnight bag, arctic clothes, drink and food supplies to the point that it's fit for a trans-Siberian expedition. Meanwhile wifey suggesting that, if it needs all that, then the trip probably isn't worth it. But it's become one of those man-missions and MUST be achieved. Set off finally at 11.30am. 200 yards down the road, wonder why the wheels don’t do what they are told. Not the ice and snow, there is something seriously wrong. Limp home and face wifely "told you so's". Not to be beaten ring the local friendly mechanic for an over the phone diagnosis. Nope, bring it round. Frustration now becoming palpable as the mission is losing direction, the vehicle is limped to said mechanic who does one of those air-intake-through-clenched-teeth and shrugs "Oooo, I wouldn't t be driving that. Leave it with me for a week". Ring wifey who kindly turns up to do the lift home. Decant all the survival kit, and then find that the Landy's rear door catch is now frozen and will not engage. Door now flopping around open in a public car park... Arrgghh... Lash said door closed internally with the stashed tow-rope (see? TOLD you it would come in useful), return keys to mechanic and go home. Can't find house/other-car/everything keys. Work out they must be in Landrover... Drive back to mechanic, break into rope lashed car and don't find keys. Ring wifey, who says she's found them in her handbag... HER HANDBAG?? Well I didn’t friggin' put them there. Oh, they were being untidy, were they? So you must have just tidied them up? Get home, apologise for unfair rant and now, adamant not to be beaten, turn down pub-lunch invitations from other strandees and load stripped down version of survival gear into small VW, whilst placated wifey fusses over the bad "man-packing" of the overnight kit and insists on repacking the lot in a "nice" way. FINALLY leave. Now, can someone please sue those people that sell 5 liter containers of blue piss that you put in your windscreen washers? I can assure you it is just blue dye with absolutely NO anti-freeze properties, as the squirties froze up soon into the trip resulting in staring through a screen worthy of a "Help get me out of here" Swamp Trial. But the good news is that after a journey worthy of an episode of "Ice-Road Truckers", mission was accomplished arriving at work at, trumpet fanfare..., 4pm. Just in time to leave at 5pm.

Book into local hotel that is "just a short taxi ride from the office" to save any repeat of above type of trip again. Leave office to find the local tube line is down and hence no taxis . Walk for 20mins through the snow to the Hotel. Check in and walk off to find the light railway station following instructions from the receptionist, armed with a "local map", which turns out to be just a schematic of the UK rail network. Risk life and limb running across a rush-hour highway and scaling a 5ft wall (are you sure this is the right way?) before arriving at the station. At this point the story gets so convoluted in its bizarrity that only regular London Transport sufferers would understand, so the next period shall be blanked over other than to say that a 40 min trip to get to the above mentioned art show ended up taking 2 hours.

So, the witty repartee and intellectual discourse? To hell with that, I need a drink. Lots of drink. Too much drink...whooops.

5am - Awake in hotel. Where's wash bag? It was definitely packed in the "man-packing". Oh, remember? - It got turned into neat "girl-packing" that involved leaving the washbag on the kitchen table. Oh noooo... And what happened last night? Did I really say that at the show? "You must have run out of blue doing that one. It's very...err...Blue" is hardly the cutting edge of critique and "Do you price them per square foot like wallpaper" may not have been the most enamouring question to ask hostess (who was indeed a famous actress). Oh nooooooo... Did I really make the taxi driver back to the hotel pull into a drive thru McDonalds at 1am to then have an argument with the janitor over how a 24hr restaurant could be closed? O, I did? .. Oh noooooo...

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

ECB said "they will continure to withdraw liquidity..."

wonder what they are smoking right now?

Nic said...

"Lifestyles of the rich and famous" That was hysterical.

It seems all the eurostriches have their heads in the sand this morning. Plus ca change

Nic said...

Save this picture Polemic:
http://www.forexlive.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/trichet.png

CV said...

Commiserations TMM ... as I also live in the UK now, I can share some of your sentiment although I am waaay up in the North (North Humberside) ... I have an old knackered Golf with "two" working tyres, so I am a sitting duck in this weather too :) ... I hope the Rangie recovers alright!

However, my "workplace" (the University) is closed for the second day (closed!!!) all due to a little bit of powder. Note that the roads are clearly possible to drive on although I admit that on the small z-road where I live we are not getting out until uhm Mid March I think :).

People are already starting to hawk bread and milk in my local S'burys which to me is amazing. I mean, I AM Danish and all, but where I, erm, come from this is nothing, nothing!

So, we are getting a couple of days off from macro/micro, sorry Math, class which is good, but I am surprised of the difficulties faced with a little bit of powder ...

Oh, and yes ... I hear you on transportation in London. I have some colleagues down there and when I went to see them I a couple of weeks ago, I had to tube in and I reckon it was a normal day, but seriously ... it is apalling. Besides, with these prices for a non Oyster card holder you migth as well cab it around!

Anonymous said...

Seriously though, JCT disappoints admittedly whilst ECB hoovering up paper and yet the rally hardly stops to blink. WTF.

This suggests to me that the s-t low is in and silly season rally is about to start - primarily because I currently have the touch of a donkey wearing oven gloves and sold my final slug of eurostoxx divis early yday morning.

CV said...

Right Anon,

I covered my SP500 short yesterday after bleeding through the rally. Looking at the price action today, it seems to have been the right decision even if Trichet disappointed (WTF indeed!).

Perhaps there is just too much pressure to secure year end bonuses for December to be anything but a sucker rally? However!! we are still not at new highs on the SP, so it might still turn sour!

Claus

Anonymous said...

Trichet lied, EU credibility died.

Anonymous said...

stop thinking rationally and start thinking posiotionally! erg i don't think that a word but sounds good anyway.

Anonymous said...

Anon 4.54pm, am surprised EU credibility lasted this long for you?

CV said...

Well yes, of course we should mention this as well, i.e. we essentially got the same bout of New Speak from the ECB, but they were clearly providing a nice bid in Piggy paper today. At least as far as I can hear from the jungle drums ...

Claus

leftback said...

That was amusing, all the more painfully so for having elicited memories of similar efforts to brave the "deadly blizzards" that ensue when London and its environs receive a couple of inches of the white stuff. Yes, it was a bit nippy in Liverpool, where LB was ensconced for a few days last week.

LB once went to work in Chicago when it was minus 20, so the disintegration of Britain in the snow does seem a little overdone.

Claus said:"Perhaps there is just too much pressure to secure year end bonuses for December to be anything but a sucker rally?"

D' you reckon, Claus? D' you reckon people might lob on trades that are a touch exuberant, and not a little irrational, merely in order to generate a bonus-massaging rally into the end of the year? Then it would be a Sorta Claus rally, eh? I think you are on to something there..

Anon 4.54pm said...

Anon 5:14 PM, I truly wanted to believe in JCT, why, between the hypnotizing finger wag and his finesse of the Crédit Lyonnais embroglio... I guess I'm just a sucker for slick talking inflationists.

Charles Butler said...

Claus,

Save yourself some money. When you hear the Symphonic Chorus of the One True Truth singing a little too much in unison - bail!

They're all sucker rallies as it stands, both up and down.

leftback said...

Charles,

I think this is the kind of analysis that you are referring to, seems most appropriate here (and yes, it has worked for me):

Buy The Dip

Good call on Santander, BTW, if you put that trade on before the ECB unleashed their bazooka!

spagetti said...

the ECB buying PIGS govies in the market - like today during the JCT press conf is more about making noise than really being a bazooka.

they buy 10-15mio EUR clips from the mkt makers just trying to give the impression to the market that they are there and trying to scare the shorts.

it might be annoying sniper fire but it wont win the war

FX said...

Ahh,the memories of an Hokkaido winter return.....I still don't understand why they have a demographic issue over there.

Nemo Incognito said...

LB, TEF and STD are making my month in which I sold some HSI calls (come on 25 bps more on reserve requirements.....). Agree that these cycles are getting tighter and more violent across the board but value is value. Between BP, Spain recently and a few other things the rewards to well disciplined knife catching have been great this year.

Charles Butler said...

re Santander - There seems to be a morbid desire to prove that this emperor is naked. But give some thought to what it took to make it trade under 4 euros in the height of the 2009 panic.

1). The panic itself

2). Forced suddenly and unexpectedly to buy 80% of Sovereign

3). Later 25% dilution to fund the above.

In general, the shorts continue to insist that profits can be news driven. Problem is there isn't any news that I can see. Vis the amazing reaction to the Trichet non-event.

LB - just retail luck, but do you mind helping me with these suitcases?

CV said...

Hi,

Interesting discussion on Santander ... Now, Spain has its problems with Cajas etc, but I always thought the main bullcase for Santander was that it is well diversified and gets a lot of growth beyond the shores of debt ladden Europe (?!)

On the other hand, I have also seen the odd article that some Spanish (indeed European financials) have been forced to divest some of its "star/high growth" assets in order to raise capital.

Oh and yes, LB ... I am sufficiently cynic and realistic to understand how this game might work :) ... the opposite case would have it though that the big money is already all in and have no more fuel to push the rally.

Right Charles, I take your point. Anyway, any retail parasite such as myself trading derivatives on derivatives through an online broker need to understand the importance of a Chinese wall (unlike the IBs) and keep any endeavors (i.e. money committed) into becoming a Master of the Universe quite seperate from the real worlds, of bill, rent, food budget etc. I have made all the rookie mistakes (trust me) ... but not this one and this is the most important one!!

Of course, if you actually do it for a living with your own money, I reckon it is another game ...

Claus

shtove said...

Hehe. Thanks for the laugh. Own up - you made all that effort just to get to the famous actress.

Polemic said...

Cor blimey Shtove, you got me bang to rights. But please don t tell anyone...shhhhhh. Are we really that shallow... err don't answer that...