Monday, 27 July 2009

A natural history of bankers 3

Click on picture to enlarge.
When her dad’s pension fund dwindled to beer money and he was required, along with fellow employees, to take one month’s unpaid holiday, Harriet Walker felt more apprehensive than is customary about bringing home her new boyfriend, Oliver. Oliver was presentable, with Home Counties, privately-educated provenance, no overt addictions or twitches and a reasonably restrained taste in sports cars. He worked, nonetheless, for a bank in the City. He had received bonuses for diligence and assertive behaviour, which, no doubt her father would see as the fruits of rampaging greed, and other men’s gullibility.

The moral standing of a coprophagic child abuser sat easily on Oliver’s shoulders, as he entered the garden where Harriet’s father was listlessly cutting back wisteria. Oliver’s guileless demeanour reflected a complete innocence of his profession’s tarnished reputation in the Walker household, and indeed the world at large. Oliver was a personable young man and determined to be liked by everyone he chose for the privilege.

“My God, Mr Walker,” he offered politely as he surveyed the truncated shrubbery. “You do have green fingers.”

Mr Walker hyperventilated at this sudden intrusion; he forestalled cardiac arrest by inquiring, “Are you Harriet’s bloke?”

“That’s right,” Oliver saw the state of Mr Walker’s gardening gloves and decided to forego shaking hands.

“Met her at that damn estate agents, I suppose,” Mr Walker essayed.

“Oh, no. I work for a City bank,” smiled Oliver, and added with mock sincerity, “Sorry about that!”

“Come on you two! I’m sure lunch must be ready!” Harriet sprinted down the garden path, wondering how on earth she had missed Oliver’s arrival; all her nightmares about to take shape, all her precautions redundant.

.As they walked into lunch, Mr Walker stuck a garden fork into the back of Oliver’s leg; he hoped the brute got tetanus.

Saturday, 18 July 2009

A natural history of bankers 2

Jeremy worked for a merchant bank. He didn’t have the emotional abandon to be a rock star, so he muddled along playing guitar in groups, whose members were similarly encumbered by professional day jobs. He bought expensive equipment and worked diligently on his song collections. He also rose to some prominence at the bank, being known for his diligence and his ruthlessness. However, the amoral rapacity he brought to financial matters just wouldn’t transfer to his creative ambitions.

His latest group broke up when the drummer was transferred to a litigations specialist in Hong Kong, and Jeremy felt himself at a crossroads. He could not be both banker and musician. To his colleagues’ disbelief, he resigned and went to follow his dream, saving them a considerable amount of severance money as the crunch came.

Jeremy found a job playing in a Riverside café frequented by the bohemian middle-classes. He told the manager his history and his dream, and the man took him on immediately. Jeremy would sit on a stool with his guitar and work quietly through his repertoire. The customers would drink coffee and eat recherché salads and ignore him. After a few days however, this lack of appreciation began to irritate him. Next day he turned up with an amp, cranked it up, and began to sing out his soul, a banker no more.

The manager terminated his residency immediately.

“I’m a musician,” Jeremy protested, “I deserve to be listened to.”

“You’re shit,” replied the manager, “I just didn’t notice till you turned up the volume”

Jeremy carted off his equipment, to tell his girlfriend he was between gigs again.
“Thought a singing banker would be a laugh,” the manager explained to his chef. “But there’s nothing funny about them at all, is there?”

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

A natural history of bankers

Ray cruised his Bentley Turbo through the suburban streets to the house he and his fellow hedge-funders had had converted into their state-of –the-art office. Parking was a nightmare with all the middle class women whingeing on about their school runs or getting the ambulance in for granddad’s outpatient visits, but he could ignore them with ease. It was handy for Heathrow, the races and a little state-of-the art oriental girl he maintained in Wimbledon. It was his big joke. He could make money anywhere. And he could spend it exactly how he wished to.

That was all changing of course. The money he’d made had been drastically reduced, and hiding it away was becoming ever more complicated, but times would change. And when they did, he would be there at the front of the queue. The market belonged to marketeers. It was the natural way of things. He parked up and went in to make money.

When he came out again that evening, he was dumfounded. Gouged into his Bentley’s gleaming bonnet were the words “USELESS EVIL GREEDY BASTARD!” He gazed about him in utter disbelief at the quite road, with its pollarded trees and recycling bins laid dutifully out for the following day. Who on earth round there could do something like that?

Ray went back in to his desk and called the police. They took an hour to arrive, a statement and no further action.