What happened to fun?
“The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane” Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor
“A good decision is based on knowledge and not on numbers” Plato, Greek Philosopher
“The Grim Reaper never rests. Media revenues would die if he did” Mike Williams
“It’s easier to fool people than it is to convince them that they have been fooled” Mark Twain
“Embrace that the short run is a continuous chain of setbacks and disappointments, problems and embarrassments, breakages, recessions, depressions, bear markets, pandemics and errors. But none of these prevent the long run from being able to compound into something glorious” Morgan Housel
I promised my commanding officer I would ‘keep it light’ seeing as we’re close to Christmas and given the increasing attempts by our obsessive politicians and their innumerate bunch of boffin chums to scare us from having any fun ever again.
So my planned Letter on why you shouldn’t be sucked into believing all the nonsensical arbitrary factors or complicated jargon chucked out by the media and their favourite miserable ‘experts’ will have to wait until January. If you would like to know why GDP is 1 of many nonsense ‘indicators’, instead of facing in one direction singing Carols, do read my December Daily Business piece, now on our website under ‘Insights’.
Meantime boffin madness continues. New ‘guidance’ from the medical pessimists re etiquette on Christmas Day include having your granny at the end of a table nearest a window (which sounds like an instruction for looking after your Poinsettia), social distancing while playing charades, having drinks outside by a fire pit under a gazebo and all facing the same way while social distancing and singing Christmas Carols. Oh, and they recommend that you be seated at two tables two metres apart and wash your hands before wrapping up Christmas presents. These guys know how to party, eh?
You are aware that the difference between an extrovert boffin and an introvert boffin is that the extrovert looks at your shoes while he’s speaking to you. For those of us ‘sin-granny’ there’s no guidance as to who should take their place nearest the window. Or any suggestions where ordinary folk can secure a second dining table at short notice for only a couple of days, and with insufficient space. Does Amazon deliver gazebos? Did I hear somebody say something about SAGE not living in the real world? Argghh.
When I was very young, roughly when the Dead Sea was just running a temperature, if I was lucky I could only manage to visit my grannies on Christmas Day after my Dad came home from the fireclay brickworks where he worked a seven-day week and only if buses were available. Our only mode of transport was his bicycle he travelled the 3 miles to and from his work. Christmas Day back then wasn’t a holiday in Scotland. But as it was treated like a Sunday he’d be home about 3.30pm, just in time to miss the Queen’s Speech. My Dad wasn’t a fan of the Royal Family or politicians and scientists for some reason. “They’re only in it for what they can get out of it” he’d say. Seems he wasn’t far wrong. I wonder what he’d have made of this fiasco?
My grannie McKay, despite being sh*t poor and living in two tiny rooms, no central heating or double glazing and a freezing cold scullery, outside shared toilet and washroom was a big fan of the Royal Family. She kept a large framed photo of them above her gas fire, and in a corner of the photo she placed a photo of me aged 3 on my tricycle. Until I was 14 I thought I was fifth in line for the Throne. And on the odd winter’s day when the Sun peeped out, with all the wet washing hanging up on her pulley, there would be a rainbow in the lobby. Simple pleasures yet great memories!
But I digress. The special meal waiting for us once Dad changed out of his overalls would be steak pie or if we were really lucky, chicken. I don’t think turkeys had been invented then. This was the early 1960s. I was reminiscing recently with my young members of staff about what it was like being a young teenager back in ‘the old days’.
They were gobsmacked that we didn’t have a telly until I was fourteen and no telephone or fridge until I was seventeen. We didn’t need a fridge. The milk was kept in my bedroom where it was so cold that in the winter of 1962/3 I recall catching glimpses of brass monkeys on the lookout for welders. As to Christmas presents I said that we were lucky on Christmas morning to find an Apple or Orange in our stockings. “What!” one cried out- “you had mobile phones way back then?” Och I give in.
Given that I’m under instructions to cheer you up I managed to find some inspiration from Edinburgh based comedian Bill Barclay’s version of ’The Twelve Days of Christmas’ which is still on YouTube, and much better than this attempt, but here goes-
On the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me--
12 Alka Seltzers
11 Bottles of Corona
10 Crèmes de Menthe
9 Cuba Libres
8 LinGins and Tonic
6 Warm Scotch Eggs
5 Toilet Rolls
4 Stephens Pies
3 Hand Sanitizers
2 Pfizer Vaccines
And an Air Bridge in a Tier Three.
Being serious, if a year ago I was to tell you that in 2020 at one point a loo roll would be worth more than a barrel of oil you would expect your portfolios to be much lower right now. So it must come as a pleasant surprise to see what’s happened with US markets at record highs and our ‘football team’ approach working well in a hugely difficult year. Finally, do please look out for our new brochure celebrating 45 years in business and thank you all for being such wonderful clients and friends.
Merry Christmas everybody.