Tuesday, April 28, 2009


So far this year I have been to Romania three times. I have been to Luxembourg twice (including excursions to Germany and Belgium). Next weekend I'm going to Paris and I will be back in Luxembourg again before the end of the month.

Isn't it nice to have someone in your life. Killer on the cash flow situation though.

This is Bran in Romania.

And this is me looking quite relaxed in a photo for the first time in years.

And this is Luxembourg city.....yes, the middle of the city does look like this.


There's something uniquely insensitive about a government that decides to deliberately fly a very large passenger jet at low level around the New York skyline for half an hour.

It becomes increasingly hard to understand the individual who came up with this idea thought it would also be a good idea to have the jet tailed by a fighter plane.

Let's add stupidity to insensitivity by mentioning that they failed to tell anyone (not even the Mayor of New York) that they planned to do this.

I've yet to decide if Barack Obama will be the saviour of the western world, but if he has people beneath him who come up with ideas like this then that's going to make his job a helluva lot more difficult.

Apparently they thought it would be a nice idea to get pictures of Air Force One flying past the Statue of Liberty.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Putting on a Show

Here in London we have the G20 Summit going on. Whilst the mob in the street bays for the blood of bankers and politicians, inside the champagne is quaffed and behind closed doors, the dirty deals are done. Queenie has been wheeled out to gladhand the politicians and Prince Phillip will be kept at arm's length so he doesn't commit any of his usual gaffes. Gordon will trot out a selection of hoary old speeches, riddled with meaningless cliches carefully designed to express nothing and hopefully give the impression he likes everyone. Not true of course; Gordon hates everyone because they fail to recognise his genius, but that's another story.

London is determined to put on a show. We like to think we can do this sort of thing. But amidst the royalty and the pageantry there's one thing that is particularly in evidence as I watch the news tonight - the ultimate expression of extravagance and opulence. You see it everywhere, it will be at every reception, every meeting and at every photo-op and the people who organise these sort of things would consider themselves lesser mortals, perhaps even failures, if it were not included, for it is height of decadence. No top-dollar event is complete without it yet I've always thought it faintly risible.

Yes, it the The Red Carpet. If you really want to impress someone and show them how much effort you've gone to, nothing works better than carpeting a bit of the street. This lets people know you have serious cash to flash. TV reporters will always point it out when they report on these occasions. "The red carpet has been rolled out...." they mutter ominously in order to signify the great import of the event being played out. An appropriately dressed maid will be seen earlier in the day diligently vacuuming aforementioned length of cheap nylon carpet that has been laid carefully to lead from the doorway to the kerb. Forget about the millions you've wasted on fancy venues, menus, flunkies and all the other paraphernalia. What's really important is that visiting nobs will be able to step from their car and not sully their footwear by inadvertently having to, God forbid, tread on an uncovered piece of street.

Putting on this event will have cost millions but people will consider it incomplete without a $50 swatch of cheap red rug in the street.