Friday, 27 November 2009

What about Dubai?

Apologies. I've been slacking on the blog. My work week has been shortened by four hours by a very-ridiculous-situation. With that, I'm finding it rather hard to sneak in some keyboard time. I expect the next few weeks with work deadlines, Christmas shopping., loads of parties and the dreaded end-of-term school Roman project my son is dithering on completing ought to just about finish me off.

How on earth working mums find the time to do the Christmas thing is the wonder of the day. Mail order? Sneaking away early from work? I've been doing both and naughtily slotted in a hairdressing appointment yesterday to ease the stress. I had visions of cascading locks, a messy kind of fresh out of bed look. I emerged the dot opposite, with blow-dry straight straight hair. I felt shiny, organized and quite unlike myself. It occurred to me I ought to cry and make him start anew. But I did not have the time.

Hair? No no no. Never mind the hair. What about Dubai? The answer is, thank goodness for Thanksgiving. The U.S. markets were closed yesterday, which most hopefully was helpful. I'll be watching today - futures look a bit grim at the moment. But, apart from market movements today, what does this all mean in the big picture? I'll tell you. It is a lot like my hair. Appearances can be deceptive and little things can reveal the true state of things. I'd much prefer it goes all messy upfront rather than this nervous tic repressed state we are being held in. Thin ice is never much fun. Let's slosh.

Thursday, 19 November 2009


Coca-cola "incentivising" buskers on the London Underground to sing a Jingle?

Oh dear. More here on the BBC...

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Try and control it...

Oh my. Man-made blizzard paralyzes China?

Read about it here.

The China Meteorological Administration has produced the following video to explain artificial rain, and, whether or not it is harmful. See it here on their website...(in Chinese)...

There is perhaps an analogy to quantitative easing but I shall resist...

Wednesday, 11 November 2009


Contests. Would you rather enter a contest based on luck, or, on skill? Or, are you a contest avoider? If you are a contest-player, how strongly do you ever feel about winning?

For instance, Missmc feels very strongly she might win things based on skill. I might play those. As far as luck contests, I've no strength of feeling. And, with that, I am a contest avoider, though the odd "hey...I might get lucky" moment does cross my mind from time to time.

Which is more satisfying? Winning contests of chance, or, winning contests of skill? For me, it is winning games of chance. Because it seems so utterly magically Santa-claus-y when random luck happens.

I ought to be more attracted to contests of chance more than to contests of skill if I find chance-based contests more satisfying to win. But I have no particular attraction to them.

Obviously it all comes down to my a-type tendencies and skeptical nature. Perhaps it is time to play some more chance-based kinds of contests and loosen up...

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Channelling my inner Goldie Hawn...

Missmc does not deserve to be in the intermediate pilates class but was placed there purely for economic reasons. There were only two beginners this term so I've been asked to join in with the ladies-who-know-what-they-are-doing. I am now officially the class clown. This role I truly relish.

Until tomorrow morning. When the muscles howl and mewl and remind me that I am not intermediate, my sense of humour might just wisp away. I expect I will curse the beginner-ladies-of-Dulwich who ought to be standing alongside me in the name of solidarity. Things might be tight, but, really, other things need to be umm...tight.

I am terribly inspired by my high-maintenance teacher - mostly because she has a delightful sense of humour. She has gone from long haired brunette to short haired blonde this week. I can just imagine if I had made that leap. Within weeks, I'd be scraggly and brunette and take to wearing a hat. I'd be muttering about my feminist mother letting me down, not teaching me that it is okay to be glamourous. She read Ms magazine and liked Gloria Steinem and other hairy 70's feminists. Who I loathed when I was young. They were gross. Looks do matter.

I'm having flashbacks of rebelliousness and think I might just have to become a blonde someday soon. My mother would faint.

Monday, 9 November 2009

The Dread Spread...

The recent insider trading investigations have honed in on Steven Cohen's SAC Capital Advisors. Ah. Art has entered the picture. Cohen is a voracious collector of contemporary art and is one of the top ten collectors (from a monetary perspective) worldwide. Here is a New York Times article on his influence on the art market. Here is a profile on Cohen in Business Week Magazine from 2003. Hedgies have been good customers of contemporary art and the closing of several funds has indeed had an adverse influence on the art market. This status-du-jour set of collectors has the potential to sully the good name of art if investigations again spill over from the finance world to the art world...

Big shadows of dread are creeping over Chelsea..

Friday, 6 November 2009

*%$£*%& Forecasting

The dutiful side of me won out and threw me in the car, staring at my iPhone map and deposited me at a coffee morning with the school-mums. You are right -- that is a bit out of character. I survived. Just.

As we were walking out to our cars afterward, one of the mums started fretting about the weather forecast over the weekend. A harp crescendo strummed. No more idle chatter about children -- here was a serious topic - the weather! Here was something I could relate to - something to be lyrically obsessive about. After-all, I am a believer. But, I shielded myself with a fond goodbye and jumped into my car. And checked my email. As it happens, a friend had just sent me a great weather site link - The Fucking Weather.

Thursday, 5 November 2009


The plumbers in America and the U.K. are both under the sink, mucking about. The Bank of England is on tap for today. Yesterday, the U.S. Fed announced the continuation of "exceptionally low levels of the federal funds rate for an extended period".

"The public seems to have some more confidence - they seem to have believed the talk about green shoots, but actually the data haven't really looked that way at all."

Former MPC member Professor David Blanchflower

David Blanchflower is known as as an expert in the Economics of Happiness and has published several papers on various tangents on the topic. In one study, he asserts that as the GDP goes up, happiness does not necessarily follow. But what about down? I've not found anything by him on that, but, Blanchflower is a big advocate of copious amounts of sex and a long-lasting relationship.

So. Ummm....extrapolating all that, it does appear there might be a variable that could help get the world back on its feet. Perhaps another Valentine's Day needs to be added to the calendar. Right now.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Danish Innovation...

Hurrah! Danish educators have it right. I think I have to move to Denmark now...

From the BBC...who, from the tone of it, seem to find this incomprehensible...


It is the time of year when Christmas suggestions for the children's grandparents are sent. I've been thinking about what my children enjoy and it really does not seem to involve much that I could put on a list. My children are growing up in a world where the phrase "the best things in life are free" is the working reality. But that is only because they have discovered all the free games apps on my iphone. They obviously need an ipod touch. But the price tag seems too dear to put on the grannie list. Dilemma. I could spring for one, but two??? That ruins my austerity pledge.

And what about the grandmother list? What else do they play with? Other children, ropes, pens, paint and paper. And cardboard boxes. What else? Nothing. There is only so much lego needed in one house.

Back to the concept of free. Free art, free information on the internet, and free games are offered up to them on a daily basis. Behind the facade of free, there are large corporations footing the bill. Will my son really go out and buy a Volkswagon when he grows up just because they have sponsored the nifty little racing game I have downloaded for him? Will he someday click on one of those google paid-for ads? More than likely, somewhere along the way, he will pay for something. More importantly, they have impaled volkswagon on his mother's brain. Nothing new. Television, radio and newspapers have operated on similar models. But much of the "free" we are provided with in the new online world is sponsored by large global companies. Where is the "local" and "independent" in this new model? Well. That is coming. I can now picture a start-up industry something like desktop publishing evolving that designs nifty little entertaining apps for small businesses. And big apps to umbrella small businesses with their little apps. It is happening already for some small firms, but, they haven't exactly hit the entertainment nail on the head. Big hint: silly games hit a wide range of consumers.

Digressing again. Now I've got a company idea, but, no Christmas list for the children.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009


There is so much going on with the markets and the economy at this very moment and Missmc has been off shopping? I know. But the behind-the-scenes scrambling both here in the U.K. and the U.S. is frothing over and bubbling out from under the lid. Even the bloggers have been called into the Treasury for a meeting. Honest engine. Read it here.

RBS and Lloyds have just been given a second bailout of 51million. The FTSE is not pleased. This week is one of those deja-vu weeks for Missmc. I'm having flashbacks. I'm drinking tea.

Dead banks, lifted from graves sit on the grassy banks. Some lie there forever. Some decompose with remaining bits scattered about. Some are given to some taxidermists. Like Cher, they rise and offer promise. They look good.

Look. Rain pelts shamelessly down down down. Wallow. Follow the streams down the window. They race. The one on the left pauses. The other wins. Hours pass. Radiators clink. The blanket smells of horses and must. Another life. The past comes forward, not linear, but a rhizome of mildew, puffeting through and through.

Retail Report

Missmc has a retail report for you this morning. After spending a whole day in some of the bigger London shops I can report that the bountiful Christmas markdowns that occurred last year will not be as bountiful this year. Why? There is far less stock out there. Selfridges has re-vamped. The who-is-not-there-anymore-or-have-they-been-moved made Missmc a bit faint. Some brands have disappeared (Marchesa) , some not so terribly exciting brands (Cos) have popped up. The whole second and third floors have been turned topsy-turvy causing Missmc to have to break her rule about wandering up to the dowdy third floor as the dowdy is no more.

After that dizzying experience it was onto the Gap. They have a bountiful supply of puffy coats for a price that makes one gasp. As an animation? Picture the hard eyes of fairtrade glaring so intensely that little holes are burnt on your backside as you walk the 66pound thing up to the register. I ended up buying it and then returning it. Not for political reasons, but, more that I decided I did not need to look like everyone else this year.

Topshop? Yes. Full of shoppers. Full of stock. But the jumper I saw seven weeks ago is still being featured and there are millions of them. That seems very un-topshop. Fast fashion appears to be slowing down a bit.

Liberty. I was the only customer. I felt like a wounded fawn wandering through a dark forest. The salespeople all attempted to guide me, lure me, dress me and help me. It felt a bit desperate.

Banana Republic. Ok. I needed a few plain well made jumpers. Found them at a very good price. Serious deflation is underway.

Fenwick? Yes. The shop is still much the same but also appears to have far less stock.

All in all, the women's retail landscape is changing. Perhaps for the better. Pleasure is being redefined as we speak. But, honestly, the answer is not Cos.