Thursday 28 May 2015


Bankers mess up an entire global financial system and what's the level of reaction we get? Sorry..can't really hear you people. A little louder please. Half-hearted calls for punishments and lazy ripples of insistence on retribution carry around the more concerned global citizen-ville. Couple of old corrupt codgers mess around with football though and what do we get?.. a mightily thunderous global synchronised boom of, " the wrath of Thor!!". Wow, corruption is allegedly (really think?) within the midst of the most seemingly sacred of human endeavours and the entire global population goes into acute psychogenic shock! The antichrist that (for now) is Sepp Blatter has awoken a primeval monster within us all.

Mess with football, mess with the world it appears. Hold on a minute here..the last four years have witnessed allegations and confessions of near unprecedented levels of highly damaging, immoral and almost immeasurable levels of financial carnage at the hands of the filthiest bankers and traders we were silly enough to entrust with economically vital elements such as Libor and mortgages. What has been the public response and mainstream media coverage? Highly vitriolic and expressing charged furious emotion at first yet worryingly apathetic of recent. What has been the public outrage and emotional disgust directed toward these oh-so-guilty Zegna-suited criminals?..apart from a few squatters messing about in Central London and Manhattan, with one or two scapegoated individuals being hauled in front of an irate judge..a grand total of 1 (that's right ONE) perpetrator behind bars.

The entire basis of our modern existence threatened, built on excess and the spending of money we did not have, the resulting retribution is a muted open hand light slap on the backside. Corrupt practice in football? A brain-damaging knockout blow from the U.S.'s most powerful heavyweight legal force has landed right on the chin of FIFA. Priorities? Go figure.

Surely corruption rife in the once trusted slippery hands of the world's financial elite would overshadow any other acts of lesser immoral practices? Worrying about what seems less significant is common for this modern, frivolous and shallow world you might say. It is not really. Throughout history the masses have been placated and manipulated with the use of games and sporting replacements for destructive wars, allowed to unleash their inherent bloodthirst for violence in relatively controlled environments, known as sporting arenas. Coincidentally, rulers, Emperors and dictators alike have used such large-scale sporting events at times their hold on the masses appeared somewhat wobbly. From the great Gladiatorial coliseums to state-of-the-art modern stadia, our species has intricately destroyed itself through the ages, for the modest price of an entrance fee and something to nibble on.

Is corruption simply inherent in our very genetic code? Violence definitely is. One could argue violence and corruption are inextricably linked. Only today an announcement of the "first example of violence in our species" was presented from examination of two ancient skeletons (discovered a few years back in Spain and believed to be 430,000 years old) with killer blows made to the skull so similar they must have been made intentionally. An act of violence as far back as we have been understood to exist. We may have not been so simply "chosen" either. Our DNA is based on millions and millions of years of evolution (Scientologists - we haven't got time to discuss your theories right now sorry). Recent findings and studies have now begun to understand that where we once believed our particular strand of species (the humble Homo Sapiens) was unique in its time of existence and hence destined to rise to the top of the fraught evolutionary ladder, there were possibly several parallel Homo-species living simultaneously. Think about that. Violence and the presence of several most likely competing similar species. Only one survived. Yep, your thoughts have led you to the correct conclusion..we (Homo Sapiens that is) murdered our way to the top. Real-life "Dynasty" drama of our history.

Is it really any wonder then that our genetic code has unleashed itself once more? Corruption is in our every neolithic bone (every pun intended). It has manifested on this occasion in a "game", affecting our basest sensitivities. It may well be that first act of violence in Spain 430k years ago was an offside decision gone a little wrong! Clearly there is no way absolute corruption in the financial world, bringing our entire banking system to its knees and still now wreaking havoc on global nations' economies, can compete with the horror of skull bashing corrupt football officials.

Friday 22 May 2015

Ex-Machinomics - cont'd

Amidst the storm of Libor rigging $5bn fines, admissions of incredible levels of manipulation and deceit - other than Raheem Sterling's destructive agent -  new record highs on US markets and extreme losses in Hong Kong ($20bn wiped out in a matter of hours), once more this year a stampede of green-fingered flower lovers descend upon London's Chelsea Flower Show to admire a multitude of nature's extravagant colourful creations. How different a scene from the one unfolding a short NetJet hop south in Cannes...there a crowd of camera-lens loving socialites, with little else to do than admire their own self-proclaimed natural "beauty", shamelessly hogging the limelight from the true stars of the Cannes Film Festival - the actors! The modern "celebrity-gram" once again hijacking any remaining semblance of glamour in the art world. Soon we shall be expecting a Kardashian inspired "buxom garden" - actually now that I think about it...

Rumours of an upcoming Uber IPO only the latest in a series of increasingly eye-watering tech successes. The tears originating from both joy at the advancement of convenience and development, alongside an apparent suspension of all logical valuation calculations. Tech really is a wonderful thing. Even Saudi Arabia has admitted it may well no longer use fossil-fuels itself by 2050 (a little unrealistic) instead becoming a net-exporter of solar and wind energy. Smart and efficient technology would surely make this possible, if indeed there was political and industry coalescence. Fat chance. Let the barrels continue their roll.

Tech is both scary and wondrous. Emphasised in a modern classic Sci-Fi story translated into a fantastic big-screen experience - a wonderfully rare and extremely welcome event, near-perfectly conveyed in the awesome visual and mental experience of Alex Garland's thought-provoking narrative of a sensually cunning female "robot" named Ava: Ex-Machina (Great Gatsby brought to the screen by a let's-get-loud Aussie this is not). Not only are questions raised on the very core of our humanity during this most voyeuristic of experiences, entire new possible industries throw themselves up for imagination.

Tesla is building the world's largest battery factory - storing energy efficiently is the final frontier to renewable technologies. You really think that's about charging your 0-60mph in 3secs space-machine car? Nope..try powering your entire home and all its gadgets of the future. Entirely off the grid. The biggest and juiciest gadget that we will have looks set to be an AI "assistant". Siri and Cortana already lurk on our handheld devices, stationary and relatively inept but still smart enough to begin understanding what we want, when we want it and most importantly perhaps..what we might want that we haven't even thought of yet.

Does this mean we are controlling the machine or will the machine be "suggesting" what we should be controlling? Spooky I know. Now imagine Siri in a fully manoeuvrable humanoid form. Not only able to suggest nearby Chinese take-aways, actually able to pop out and grab your food for you. Think about the incredible new "Ex-Machinomics" that will evolve from such an industry. There will be endless add-ons and purchases savvy, if not slightly morally decrepit, programmers will surely innovate. Shoulder to cry on?..done. Friend to laugh at your jokes? your service. Need a sexual experience? it (and feel it) in either SD or HD for 24hrs. Entire new industries will leap from once sidelined extravagant hobbies, to mainstream services with the almost limitless leisure time people will find on their hands, allowing the Machines to do most of their work.

Creating sophisticated and expensive machinery to do little more than further our own slovenly nature and selfishly increase our perceived enjoyment of leisure time? Doesn't seem right does it?..but hey..if maximising lethargy for personal elation worked for the Greeks..the Romans..oh..where are they now? There is plenty about the human ego we will never truly understand. If a former Qatari official, that became a multi-billionaire spending his nation's gas wealth, can and does buy a record price setting Picasso ($180m) which he will likely never display due to its "offensive nudity" (does he still stare at it alone in his Batman-like cave you think?), there can be little surprise when man eventually switches on the holy-grail of AI programming to serve as little more than a personal supermodel escort. I worry though...there may not be enough carbon fibre and graphene from which mass production of "PA-bots" can be constructed if the trend if still for Kardashian like backsides! At least we'll still continue to enjoy the purest form of effeminate beauty that mother nature so gloriously provides every spring. Smell those roses while you can.

Thursday 21 May 2015


Rare. Very. A great book translated into a fantastic big-screen experience - a wonderfully rare and extremely welcome event, near-perfectly conveyed in the awesome visual and mental experience of Alex Garland's thought-provoking narrative of a sensually cunning female "robot" named Ava: Ex-Machina. Great Gatsby brought to the screen by a let's-get-loud Aussie this is not.

Watching it before reading this piece would be highly recommended. Discussions abound across a variety of subjects from philosophy, theology, modern materialism, power, manipulation, the "self", freedom and whatever else modern man is capable of filling into a stunningly rendered landscape of simultaneous hope and despair. What struck me most was the entire new world of Ex-Machinomics that emanated from the screen and into my popcorn during the final fifteen minutes and after a re-read of the original book. I shall explain...

I will allow you a day to get your hands on Ex-Machina..and we shall then continue.

Monday 4 May 2015

A fractured bone (temporarily) breaks the writing spirit

It has been far too long, I know.

An unfortunate "incident" has seen my left foot suffer a fracture, rendering me unable to take lovely long walks in London's almost-spring gardens and gather my thoughts, let alone begin to find the correct mood to write. Ah the little things....

So much to discuss as well: Global markets still at incredibly lofty levels, particularly tech companies' valuations continuing to defy all logic and economic expectation, ironically the world's largest company, yep our deliciously profitable Apple, is still one of the most undervalued tech companies out there, just ask Carl Icahn. $1.5trn market cap here we come, next week. Nah, just kidding haha! Next year. Am serious. As long as we do not suffer a new crises at the hands of bulgingly dangerous junk-bonds and investors retreat from taking undue risk in the seemingly futile search for yield, we may make it out of 2015 in good shape. Doubt we can say the same for the Greeks, whether in or out of the fragile-looking EU. Oh well, cheaper bills at Nammos beach always appreciated.

Japan's renaissance has continued in my writing absence and we were unable to mark the wonderful return and subsequent rise above 20,000 on the Nikkei - Omedetougozaimasu!! Abe-san's recent visit to Washington was filled with rhetoric pulling the two great nations closer, focus on the TPP agreement ultimately expressing Japan as the crucial ally in the growing "tussle" against China. Interestingly, it was only the 8th state dinner Obama has hosted in his whole WhiteHouse term. I would have been more impressed with Abe-san and Japan's importance to the US, were it not for understanding that the next guests at a state dinner Obama will offer his silky-tongue to guessed it, the Chinese. Ohh those clever WhiteHouse folk..stick and..Presidential charm carrot.

UK is having its own fun with the closest elections in living memory, the Conservative/LDP coalition deserves another term, yet betting terms on Cons/Lab coalition are excitingly rewarding! Fast and furious changes in the Kingdom, as Saudi princes are lined up to propel the country forwards..ahem, Ok it's all quite relative I suppose, at least they may push out of its outdated and backwards state. The continuing aggression playing out between the Sunni GCC states and Iran's new found "friendlier" status taking its toll on the Yemeni innocent, whilst the poor Syrian civilians continue their catastrophic descent into total despair. 

Even ISIS's loss of land (and oil revenue as a result) small compensation for the general sense of unease the entire area is experiencing. Shenanigans in Lebanon are resulting in some (typically) colourful conspiracy theories..the latest that Rustam Ghazaleh was trying to provide information on Hariri's assassination and hence taken out..did Hezbollah leak some info to Saad and provide whereabouts in a big-picture "let's put this all behind us" deal? Nothing the Lebanese mafia heads..oops excuse me.."political party leaders" do would surprise us. 

Those Saudi changes taking place at a blinding pace were almost as fun as the other Fast and Furious (part 7!) that saw a wonderfully accurate portrayal of life in Abu on earth did Sheikh Khalifa allow that out of the cutting room!?..brilliant..leave it to a ludicrously unrealistic Hollywood film franchise to hit the Gulfie it and you'll see what I'm talking about. Don't blame me for the headache when done though. 

Plenty of time on my hands as I'm not on my feet - get in touch and let's talk more.