Sunday, 23 November 2008

Diana Watch

Note to self, get more stories that sound really cool, more stories that start “I got my cat from a crack den” or end “it turns outs he had been kidnapped by dope dealers.”
My Belle and Sebastian BBC sessions album has come and it is very good, I’m listening to it as I type this. I have to be honest that I’m filling a bit here because not that much has caught my eye this week as most of the UK news output has dwelt, rather to long if you ask me, on John Sergeant leaving Strictly Come Dancing. Now whilst I like the program I think enough time has been spent discussing a tubby man who can not dance and let that be an end to it.
You may remember that last week I complained about the shop Monsoon playing Christmas tunes despite the fact we were only half way through November, well what I forgot to mention was that this seasons range of clothing that they are selling seem to take their styling cues from James May out of off of Top Gear.


As much as I find the man charming and entertaining I would never really call him stylish but clearly I am wrong. I know older men want to buy clothes, oh mid life crisis following the male pattern boldness noticing update, I bought skinny jeans (2 years late there) and a T-shirt in Topman, I am nearly sad, not quite there because I look alright in them, but I’m circling the drain, but that’s what Marks and Spencer is for.

Another story that kept popping up this week was the Pirates story. For those not familiar with this here is a quick update. A very large Oil Tanker, as long as 3 football pitches I’m told, was 450 miles off the coast of Somalia when it was attacked and taken over by pirates. They then sailed it too a Somali port and demanded a ransom. I have several questions about this, 1) why do news programs insist on indicating length, tee hee, with the “football pitch” simile, there is no standard length of a football pitch, 2) do you think that the pirates really expected to take over the oil tanker or where they just giving it a go? You know, a sort of learning experience but it all went rather well and they were left with a quarter of Saudi’s daily output and the question “What the hell do we do now? Does anyone how to make petrol or plastic?” 3) Why was it the news so much? Was because 2 of the crew were British or was it, and this is my guess, because it was pirates. Parrot on one shoulder, black beard wearing, plank walking pirates. In the BBC’s mind was it Jack Sparrow boarding the tanker rather than ruthless man with AK-47’s, grenade launchers and GPS tracking systems? “And now we cross over to our pirate correspondent, Jim Hawkins.” “arghhh, pieces of eight” “thank you for that Jim.” The BBC even had a piece from a business correspondent on the pirate’s business model and on their investment in technology. It was almost as if the BBC were holding this up as an example of how the small business man can beat the credit crunch, apparently you need to reinvest you profits in the latest technology, better guns and faster boats, and in the training of your staff, now you come to mention it these pirates may have a point.

You can’t have missed the world is having a little problem finding all the money that we thought we had or had promised to each other but is everything as bed as we are being told? Ok, the stock market is down and most banks have tumble weed rolling across their entrances but some companies are doing all right, not Woolworth’s obviously who are trying to negotiate a sale for the nominal fee of £1 and they are having trouble doing that, but the sales at Heinz are up. Porsche has managed to take over VW and given us one of the biggest financial laughs in recent times. For those who don’t know here is how the story appeared on the,

“Last Sunday, it (Porsche) released a statement saying that it had quietly built up its stake in Volkswagen - through stock and options - to 74 per cent, just shy of the 75 per cent controlling stake.
In a climate of economic gloom, when car stocks are slumping due to softening demand, the news electrified Frankfurt's staid stock exchange.
Volkswagen shares trebled in value in Monday trading and, when they crossed the €1,000 mark - making VW the most valuable company in the world, if only for a few minutes - traders stood up and applauded.
"I have huge respect for what Porsche has achieved, it's an incredible performance," said Jürgen Pieper of the private bank Metzler.
Not everyone was cheering. In anonymous offices around the world, hedge fund managers went white as €30 billion worth of short bets on VW stocks went spectacularly wrong. They were caught out by Porsche's silent shopping spree and completely unaware that, by Sunday, all but 6 per cent of free-traded stock was now in the hands of the Stuttgarters.
The problem was, hedge fund managers had promised their clients twice that amount.
So when trading began on Monday, it was they who were behind the surge in the share price as an undignified scramble began to buy back, for more than €1,000 apiece, millions of shares they had borrowed and sold for a third of the price. Rather than making a fortune with their bet that VW shares would fall, allowing them to buy back later at a discount, they lost a fortune.
"I've had hedge fund managers on the phone all morning, literally sobbing down the phone," said one Frankfurt analyst on German television. The value of the "people's car" company reached obscene levels this week before coming back down to earth when Porsche released stock options to ease the hedge fund squeeze.
The episode has provided much amusement in Germany. While other countries celebrated hedge fund managers during the boom as masters of the universe, German popular opinion never moved beyond contempt.”

Oh dear, that is sad. Hedge funds loosing lots of money, ha ha ha, really really funny. Anyway, my point is retail sales figures were realised this week and all the predictions were that they were going to bring forth the end of the world or something, or that is the impression that was given on the news. When they were realised, however, they were only 0.1% down on this time last year and the figures for last year were exceptional. There were record sales last year and a barely mentioned fact is that retail sales are actually up about 2% on last year. You lot are still spending too much money but you would never know that from the official news outlets. The CBI keeps telling us that sales are down but that is because they are using like for like sales, i.e. comparing a single shop with it’s self from year to year but this is a very inaccurate way of comparing sales because it ignores all new shops that have opened and there have been quite a few this year. They are doing it on purpose of course because they have an agenda. They want to government to lower taxes, such as VAT, and they want to Bank of England to lower interest rates to stimulate sales but there is no real need, they just want us to spend more and for their members, who they are there for, not you and me, to pay less tax and make more profit. Why to talk ourselves into a recession everyone.

Some awards now because I want a short blog this week which means I’m missing out the story about increased penalties for speeding, why do the British think that speeding is ok? Why do they think that only the laws that they agree with are the ones that they should abide by? Sorry, I’m getting sidetracked,

The Award For Really Weird Thing To Do To Yourself Of The Week,

There was a report out this week by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) about the increasing and unregulated use of tanning drugs, specifically one that are injected. I’m sorry? What now? Sun tan injections? Oh yes, “you have about 10 injections. You take an injection every day and after 10 days you should have a nice tan” and track marks all over your belly you vain idiot. The drug is called Melanotan and has not yet been licensed for human use. If you could see me I would have a despairing face and would be shaking my head.

The Award For Still Not Able To Smile Convincingly Even After Several Years In Show Biz,

This goes to that ginger one in Girls Aloud, what’s she called? Oh yes, Nicola Roberts. Honestly, she looks like a bored child at a wedding being told to smile for the 200th photograph.


Ok, that’s enough for this week. Next week I will be away for the weekend, we are going to significant other’s parents for the weekend with my parents, can you imagine my joy, but I think we should be alright for a Monday Diana Watch instead of Sunday. Have a lovely week.

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