Category Archives: Money

Three Four B Movies Worth Checking Out

A good B movie is great fun. The format is officially dead, but the label lives; and now people use it to refer to a genre film (usually horror or science fiction/fantasy) with a small promotional spend as much as they use it to describe one with a low budget. If a non-blockbuster non-cult non-art-house non-sequel […]

If You To Want See A Briton Fight, Threaten To Bring Down The Price Of Her House

Rory Sutherland’s wiki man column in The Spectator is one of the few things remaining inside that magazine that might yet tempt me to buy another print copy. In his latest he sticks a finger through one of the biggest holes in the Tories’ buckshot “Big Society” balloon of bullshit: In one sense, it seems, […]

Support World-Class UK Research Universities

Which of this month’s begging letters from my almae matres more rapidly and effectively earned its place in my bin? Was it the one from Oxford University that began: Dear Mr Counsell Today the defining struggle in the world is between relentless growth and the potential for collaboration. which, if it means anything at all, […]

“Does anyone know the way, there’s got to be a way To Block Buster!”

This Slate piece about Blockbuster, the movie rental chain, is fascinating; well, it’s fascinating to someone like me who thinks formats and markets and channels and digital data and movies are interesting in themselves. Stir them all together and… In 2005, Greg Meyer wrote a letter to the management of Blockbuster. He wanted to warn […]

Don’t Say I Didn’t Warn You

Sarah Palin is a phenomenon: Sarah Palin is a singular national industry. She didn’t invent her new role out of whole cloth. Other politicians have cashed out, used the revolving door, doing well in business after doing good in public service. Entertainment figures like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jesse Ventura, and even Ronald Reagan have worked the […]

“There is an appropriate use for paper”

The Paperless Office, like The Flying Car, is one of those technological icons of the future whose ascendancy, no matter how much time passes, seems stuck in the future; but I reckon offices without paper are going to become more common more quickly than cars that fly. Indeed, we do seem to be printing fewer […]

Two excellent blog posts

The first is at Freemania: The really important thing about Iraq: us Today Gordon Brown gives evidence to the Chilcot inquiry. This weekend, amid violent attacks on polling stations, Iraq holds an election. I wonder which will get the most coverage? The rest of the world exists primarily as a mirror for us. The second […]

Waking Up by OneRepublic

Ryan Tedder wrote Bleeding Love for Leona Lewis and his band OneRepublic consists of friends from his church in Denver making music for people who think Coldplay are a bit too experimental. They are about as uncool as it’s possible to be without actually being David Hasselhoff. I love their new album, Waking Up. It’s […]

Son Of English Teacher Resists Using Name Of Austrian Modernist Writer In Blog Post About Interminable Bureaucratic Torment

For the past four years, I have been involved in a dispute with a utility company over a sum that ultimately amounted to several thousand pounds. The company will remain nameless here because, today, thanks to the intervention of the relevant government watchdog, we finally settled without having to go to court. It is a […]

“It’s always a good time to invest in litigation”

Slashdot links to a report in the New York Times about a project to combine genetic material from lawyering and fund management and create the highest hourly fee known to man. Richard W. Fields says he has come up with a win-win financial strategy for the downturn. He is investing in lawsuits. Not in trip-and-fall […]

How Can You Tell?

MySpace sex offender charged with running “fake” church. It’s lucky they caught him before “real” churches became associated with fraud and the sexual abuse of children. Like this:Like Loading…

Paddy’s Wager

PADDY POWER OFFERS ODDS OF 4-1 THAT GOD EXISTS A bookmaker has slashed its odds on proof being found of God’s existence to just 4-1. Since opening its book just two months ago, punters hoping to have their faith rewarded have placed £5,000 with Paddy Power. It began taking bets on the question that has […]


The Economist plays air plastic guitar: AS THE music industry searches for a new model in the age of digital distribution and internet piracy, it is getting a helping hand from an unexpected quarter: video games such as “Guitar Hero” and “Rock Band”, which let people play along to songs on simplified imitation instruments. “These […]

How I Became A Blogger

My getting into this game had nothing to do with some kind of 9/11 epiphany. No, it was the insanity of the property bubble that started me writing spoofs and screeds on the Web, originally at the excellent, skeptical, principled, and free Motley Fool UK site. I retired from posting on its “Property: Markets and […]

If Only They Could Both Lose

I have been known to have fun at the expense of Chelsea and Manchester United on this site, but following their meeting yesterday, it’s time for me to invite my reader to extend some sympathy to the latter at least. Watchers of Premiership football who value the contribution to the league of Manchester United’s modest […]


This afternoon, I walked through my door and picked up this week’s local free newspaper, The Brighton and Hove Leader. Amongst the insert spam included today was a glossy advert for Forbes TV rentals, inviting me to hire a flatscreen TV in time for the Beijing Olympics 2008 and a brochure inviting me to come […]

Question Time

I’ve just had an email from Yvette Cooper. My first thought was: “Bloody hell, after all these years!” Then I remembered that, since leaving college, I have become a washed-up nobody and she has become a member of the Cabinet with two houses—both of which I am paying for. Not that I’m bitter. Coincidentally, property […]

John The Savage and Bela Emerson

This week, I saw John The Savage and Bela Emerson at Komedia. John The Savage is an experimental post-something-or-other band featuring my friend Richard Brincklow on piano. Don’t be put off by my arty-sounding and vague description. They have tunes and they can play. They groove and they rawk. But they’re also very unusual indeed. […]

Do It For Money

While I’m on subject of recommendations I thought my parents had made to me but they hadn’t, this year I watched The Conversation for the first time. I thought mum and dad had been telling me for years that I should check it out, but, when I was round theirs a few weeks back and […]

Bag Lady Collects Spare Change

It’s not just in the real world that inflation is a problem for those responsible for monetary policy. Right now, the virtual world of World of Warcraft needs to deal with an acute growth in money supply. Its administrators have decided to do so by conjuring many imaginary objects of enormous utility from nothing, giving […]

The Book ‘Em Prize

In an effort to push through an extension to the number of days the police can detain you without charge (if you are suspected of being a terrorist), the government—sorry: “Gordon Brown”, because all current and future legislation is the work of a single overbusy Scotsman—is suggesting that it will compensate innocent suspects held under […]

“A new, important, effective way of grieving”

Perhaps you remember this story that I read in a “true life confessions” mag in a waiting room?: MY SISTER’S BRUTAL KILLING INSPIRED MY BUSINESS PLAN It seems that, a couple of years on, a US entrepreneur has had the same idea and the result is a similarly Onion-esque report in Wired. Under the headline: […]

Gum Shoe

Mick Hartley links to a Times report of a “serious” novelist suing the proprietors of a neighbouring factory because the fumes it produced so affected her concentration that she was reduced to writing genre fiction. It’s not just a funny hook for a news story; it’s a delicious illustration of how class and status in […]

Transports Of Detroit

This video not only contains a collection of excellent car-buying advice (which is almost as useful in the UK as in the USA), but a fine lesson in how to use presentation software to support a talk and in how to give a talk that’s no longer than it needs to be. Like this:Like Loading…

The Temptations

Tom Hamilton complains about being spammed by Naomi Klein’s people, looking for publicity for her latest volume of designer politics. (Exactly as I didn’t with Peter Cook’s book back here, I am going to divine without reading it that Klein’s book will be rubbish.) From Tom’s comments, it seems, they also pestered Tim Worstall, Mr Eugenides, and […]

Lesson One

When I tore open the plastic envelope containing my latest copy of The Economist there was a flyer inside advertising Felix Dennis‘s How To Get Rich: The Distilled Wisdom Of One Of Britain’s Wealthiest Self-Made Entrepreneurs. If you phone the number printed on it then he’ll send you a copy of the new paperback edition […]

Unbudgeable Turkeys

Further to my post about remaindered books, Claire reminds me of Clive James’s poem on the subject. Like this:Like Loading…

And Sometimes “At The End Of The Day” Means Five O’Clock

I’ve just been on the phone with The Tax Man and we had a discussion in which we used the phrase “the bottom line” to mean “the bottom line“. Self-employment is weird. Like this:Like Loading…

Bitches From Hell

I’ve observed before that there are good reasons to criticise Cherie Blair, but it’s revealing that those aren’t the reasons why most people in the media criticise her. It’s worse than that: they hate her—and for the oldest human reason of all: she’s “not one of us”. Cherie Booth was a poor north-of-England Catholic girl […]

Passenger Ships

Also at that party the other day, one of the Young People told me that Passenger, featuring Richard Brincklow on keyboards, are high up on BBC Radio 2’s playlist. The next day, one of my spies inside the Passenger camp also passed on to me a delicious factoid. Whenever Richard and I write or perform any music […]

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