Sunday, 31 October 2010

Update on Trading

Back in the summer, I had thought that I had a pretty good outline of what it was that the trading would consist of. But what has surprised me is that we have been able to develop entire research programmes out of the basic model, and some of these are now ready to roll out into our trading. Dozens of these research programmes are currently in the works

A book I have been glancing at recently is a biography of Casanova. For traders, he is famous for his use of so-called "Martingale" betting systems - the familiar "double your bet if you lose, till next you win" strategy for 50/50 gambles. These fail as they require huge capital resources to make the next bet whenever there is a long losing sequence. And Casanova lost the fortune of the nun he was hoping to break out of the convent using just these methods. Such is life - haven't we all been in this situation. You seduce a nun, gamble away her fortune in an attempt to raise the money to buy her out of her convent, move on . . . .

I rather enjoyed the recent Heath Ledger movie

But one idea that does fall out from this is the idea of increasing a position if you have more reason to suppose that a favourable event can come out (something the original Martingale doesn't do). For instance, a counter-trend trader might open a position using a particular system and then, if the trade's open losses reach a particular level, a new position is opened, adding to the initial. This is not just doubling up a losing bet. It is more like a planned staggered entry into a trade, where the loss on the first trade is itself supposed to indicate that the probability of success with the second is now greater.

One area in which this sort of thing can become apparent is when you try to assess stop levels. Often it turns out that a trading system has no effective stops. For every stop that effectively avoids a large loss, there are trades that are losing at some point, but then rebound into profit and which are caught by the stop. Counter-trend systems are particularly prone to this sort of trade pattern - initial loss followed by rebound (while trend following often produces initial profit followed by give back). Indeed some potential stop points actually do worse than not doing anything, and these are the elusive new trade points.

We have been studying this issue in detail and are now splitting our trades into several pieces with the aim of adding the additional trades after the first has made losses. In honour of Casanova, we are calling these trades "Martingales", but actually they aren't really - there are just a form of progressive trade entry

Another new type of trade are our so-called "Taleb trades" (named in honour of Nassim Taleb, whose books I have been re-reading). We have decided that a very small part of what we do will be trades anticipating possible "Black Swan" events - huge moves well beyond our view of what is likely. So we have been buying massively out of the money crude oil calls and DAX puts. These have been set to cost us 2-3 pts a day. But if Israel bombs Iran and the Arab nations decide to withhold oil from the West, then the DAX could drop 20% and oil could rise $40. In this scenario, we would make around 200% in a day!

And well worth it at 2-3 pts a day when our daily gains continue to average around 40 pts a day.

Friday, 29 October 2010

Neu at the Barbican

Reviews have appeared in the papers of a show at the Barbican by a band calling itself "Hallogallo". This name is, of course, a track off the first album by Neu!, stupendously great krautrock band from the 1970s. It turns out that this new band is the guitarist from Neu! together with Steve Shelley of Sonic Youth and someone else on bass, and they are playing a set of old Neu! tracks. As the reviews say, this could have turned out really badly, but actually, Steve Shelley may be the perfect "motorrik" drummer.

A bit of searching finds me a recording of the show, which turns out to be truly wonderful. I have played it through at least 6 times today and it gets better and better. I especially like track 3, which I am currently unable to put a title on. No doubt it will come to me.

Is this great or what?

"Hallogallo" live in concert

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Three days in Wales

To follow Emma's leaving home, we have decided to have a few days in Wales, visiting, for the first time in 7 or 8 years, the Hotel Maes-y-Nauedd near Harlech in the North-West. This time last year, we had our week in France, with much gourmet food consumed. This aspect of the trip will be the same this year, with the hotel offering 8 or 9 course meals (though 4 of these are the mini desserts they serve)

We are away at the civilised hour of 10:00 as the Grand Prix is delayed and neither of us feel in a rush anyway. Up the M40 and M6, then across passed Telford, Shrewsbury and Welshpool, then the final cross country leg. The weather is actually really good, more or less clear skies, and we are tempted to stop near a town on the coast called Barmouth, which neither of us has ever heard of before. We spend an hour wandering around on the beach - precisely the fresh air and walking that Linda wants to spend the trip doing. I, meanwhile, am endeavouring to take some nice photos

The river estuary above Barmouth

Rocks on the beach at Barmouth - with some rearrangement, it occurs to me that this could be made like Robert Smithson's Spiral Jetty which I admire so much

This looks very Smithsonian

More abstract views of sand, water and sun

The railway bridge at Barmouth. A steam engine crossing that would look excellent in my view
We arrived at the hotel late afternoon ready for the cream tea that is part of our package. Then an hour or so spent reading and getting ourselves ready for the first of our three dinners. This is our third or fourth time here, and the food remains at a brilliant standard. Champagne in the bar, the chef's tiny taster starter followed by the proper starter, a fish course, a main, then the four desserts, all washed down with an Argentinian Merlot. An excellent first night
After a full Welsh breakfast to provide the fuel for the day, we are off to a nature reserve on the coast at Harlech. Oddly enough, there has been a heavy frost overnight, which gives the air a freshing bite. Our target is the Morfa Harlech Nature Reserve which is unusual in that it is a huge area of sand dunes. Our plan is to walk down the beach to where it turns inland and forms the estuary on which the oddly styled town of Portmeirion (where the 1960s series, The Prisoner, was shot). The skies are clear, the sun is out and the wind is blowing (but not too much) - ideal for a few hours walking we feel

Linda in bird-watching gear

Linda viewing Pied Wagtails

The dunes marking the edge of the nature reserve

Linda examines a jelly fish - we assumed it was dead, but someone told us later that it might just have been waiting for the tide to come back in

A very contented flock of seagulls

After our walk of several hours, we travelled back down to Barmouth where I had three drinks in the cafe, and where we tried to find out if any of the boats were still doing seal or dolphin watching trips - they weren't. So instead we did a 30 minute river trip up the estuary - not quite the same as viewing wildlife on the high seas, but the best we could do.
From there we visited Shell Island, a rather odd campsite compex set in the dunes just down from Harlech. Someone had crossed out the "S" on the road signs leading up to it, which is slightly unfair. But it was the last week of the season and the campsite's central facilities had that end-of-season feel. More sand dunes to walk around.

Linda at Shell Island
A leaflet in the cafe notes that a sight-seeing boat runs long trips out from just up the coast and if the weather is good tomorrow, that is what we will try to do.
Tonight's meal is another mammoth blow-out. We had resolved to maybe skip the fish course but didn't, though tonight we did avoid having every portion we could have had from the "Grand Finale" dessert.
The weather has changed on us. Heavy rains overnight and a forecast of this continuing throughout the day. So our birdwatching boat trip seems off. Instead we drive up to Portmadog, which looks rather drab in the rain, then up to Caernarfon, on the off chance that it has some shops for Linda to wander round (esp an M&S). Sadly it doesn't, but at least the rain stops for a while and we can have a wander round. Linda says there were waste bins for drug addict needles in the public toilets and we did see one or two people in town who could easily have been drug addicts!
We travelled back cross country, close to the Welsh Highland railway which was running steam engine trips this week for half-term. The rivers we passed were in full flood and looks great possible venues for white-water rafting.
Back to the hotel mid afternoon for some quiet time before the onset of our third and final gourmet banquet. I reach bursting point during this meal!
We could perhaps have tried to have a final full day in Wales, but the weather remains a bit bleak and with a long, unbroken car journey, we could get back home in time for Linda to see her mum and dad who have been house sitting for us.
Not a bad trip overall. But not quite last year's French excursion either
And I have to admit that I was keen to catch up with Jerome and find out how the trading was going this week. I have tried to avoid logging on while away, though I have also read Taleb's Fooled by Randomness, so it is not as if I have been completely avoiding everything to do with markets.

Emma leaves home . . .

After much effort, the Land Rover is full to bursting point and we are off to London. No room for anything else, despite not having any of Emma's academic stuff (as we would have had on the corresponding trip to Cambridge)

Some confusion about where Emma is going to get the keys from, but this is partly solved by the house being open as a builder does some work. So Emma can go off and get the key off a friend and I can start unpacking. The house is a sort of 1970s, modernist council block, not very nice from the outside, but actually very good inside. It has been completely refurbished and should be fine for them. While unpacking, I meet some of the neighbours, who all seem ok. Emma is soon getting organise. She is a little stressed about some aspects of it all, but she still has two weeks before work to get herself completely sorted out and the various house things done (utility bills, internet, tv, phone, etc)

One of her flat mates - Katherine - arrived early afternoon, then someone else (a friend visiting). We go for a walk and attempt to find a street with a few restaurants on it that Emma had passed when she was down last week. Tate Modern is less than 10 minutes walk away, not that Emma is very interested in art - but it does show that they are in a really nice location. We have a late lunch in a Greek restaurant, then go in search of the nearest supermarket - the local Costcutter - and finally back to the house. Another flat mate arrives soon after, at which point Linda and I make our exit.

We have our fingers crossed that it will all work out ok. Emma has only shared accommodation once before and some aspects of this might still be difficult for her.

So our daughter has left home, probably for good. Linda is going to see her next week for some clothes shopping and I might go down the following week, if Emma wants me to. Otherwise, it might be some time before I see her.

I can't help feeling gut-wrenchingly sad - another small step in which our contact gradually slips away

Thursday, 21 October 2010

A last day out with Emma before she leaves home

Emma moves to London on Saturday and today we had our last "father-daughter" day out together before this momentous event. It is all part of the paradox of parenthood. On the one hand you want your children to grow up to be confident and able to make your way in the world. On the other hand, this results in them leaving and contact diminishing dramatically

One thing that I have been thinking about a lot at the moment is a period when I was in my late 20s and early 30s and Dad would often ask me if I fancied having a few days away in the Lake District, just the two of us. Generally I was too busy and only managed to do this once or twice in a period of around 10 years. Yet I think back to when I was younger and used to go to the speedway or football with Dad. I once found a list Dad had made of all the speedway meetings we went to - over 300 in all. Now I realise it must have been very sad for him to not share that with me as I grew older, and for me to be totally wrapped up in other events to think of him. And now, of course, its too late . . . .

Its also like that song from the 1970s when a son is asking his father if he'll be home from work much and they can do stuff together and the father never can. Then it is reversed and the son is too busy to do things with the dad. I can't remember the song's title but I do remember the sadness of the constant refrain that when they do get together, "we will have a good time then"

So Emma and I go off this morning and visit Grandma. Emma shows her some photos from Africa while I fix various light bulbs and do other odd jobs. We go for a nice lunch at Hillers, then shopping at Budgen, and back to mum's. She has another NEC fair starting soon and seems happy enough with things.

Then Emma and I travel back via Oxford. We have pancakes together in the Covered Market, buy toiletries in Boots, bath bombs in Lush, and a large hot chocolate in Cafe Nero. On the way back, I mention that we might not be doing a day like this again for some while. Much to my surprise, Emma says that she has been thinking about eventual parenthood and hopes that she will be a parent just like me. I am deeply moved by this comment - perhaps the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me. Back home we watch several episodes of ER together!

So really quite a normal day for the two of us. The sort of day we have had many times before - perhaps hundreds of times. Yet today is the last one of this type. If things go well for her, Emma will never live at home again. The end of an era . . .

All this only really occurs to me as I am lying in bed later. I got up and wandered down to see Emma and perhaps tell her what I was thinking, but she was busy with something and didn't want to be disturbed, so I left her to it and didn't tell her what I was thinking. A very sad end to the day and one that has left me feeling really bad that I didn't see more of my Dad when I still could have. It would have meant a great deal to him if I had "found the time". That I didn't is now a cause of much distress for me. And, as usual, a distress that I haven't shared with anyone else - just keep it inside myself

Monday, 18 October 2010

The Flaming Lips

A few weeks back while looking for something in the DVD cupboard I came across the Flaming Lips film "The Fearless Freaks", a long documentary about their very long history - much longer than most people would think going back to about 1983. I remember hearing tracks by them years ago - the oddly named "Jesus shooting heroin" being one that sticks in my mind. They were a psychedelic band something like Loop at the time.

This has led me to some recent live shows including the Bonarroo set when they played their version of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon. And then to some amateur live DVDs filmed at some shows over this summer. Briefly, about 7 or 8 years ago, it looked like they were going to become quite mainstream, but instead they have managed to carry an audience with them back to their psychedelic roots. The current live show is really good

Finally to the cd from last year, Embryonic. I have been listening to this for much of the last two or three weeks and am really thrilled by it. The highlight for me is the track Powerless, with its looping bass line and wild Beefheartian guitar solo.

On discussing this with Jerome, he mentioned that most of the Embryonic album has official band videos on Youtube. These are all quite low budget affairs, which just shows how little needs to be spent to produce highly interesting stuff. All feature the same girl in various scenes, from tied to a chair in a field for Powerless, to leaping around pretending to be various animals for I can be a frog, to the quite disturbing video for The Sparrow looks up at the Machine. Excellent stuff

I can be a frog


And two video links from youtube

Saturday, 16 October 2010

More pictures of St Jerome in his study

The appeal of St Jerome to me is clearly the archetypal image of the scholar. There is much to be said for the view that I would probably be quite happy to spend most of my life in my study. I was surprised reading more about the Marquis de Sade's time in the Bastille that he actually lived quite luxuriously - he had his library, his servants, his own furniture - doesn't sound too bad really.

I could do with a peacock for my study

Wierd looking lion from a very early woodcut

One of my least favourites - this is in the National Gallery in London

I don't wear anything like this when I am working in my study!

More Music - Namlook & Schulze, Bjork, Lou Reed

Recent listening has been dominated by the slow working through of the Pete Namlook and Klaus Schulze multi-cd project, Dark Side of the Moog. I was surprised to discover that I have over 50 recordings of both of these musicians! Highlights have included Careful with the AKS, Peter - Part VI with one of the great keyboard solos, and current favourite, Psychedelic Brunch Part III, a short piece of droning keyboards and which I current have on repeat on my PC as I write this, and am hearing for the twenty-something time today

Pete Namlook and Klaus Schulze
The Dark Side of the Moog project

I have also been watching a number of shows recorded from the Sky Arts Channel over the last few weeks. One highlight has been a live show by Bjork from the Volta tour. I am amazed how she has been able to drag her audience with her on her musical journey, to places I'm sure they would otherwise not have gone
Bjork in Paris

Following on from my Warhol reading and documentary watching, I have moved on to Victor Bokris's biography of Lou Reed - an ex-Oxfordshire library copy that I acquired for £2. I had expected this to be a rather fawning book, but quite the opposite. Reed comes across as a deeply unpleasant person throughout.

Reed at a recent Metal Machine Trio show

Still Reed has been responsible for some of the greatest music of the last 50 years, so so what if he is not a particularly nice person? The other week I heard, for the first time in ages, Beth Gibbon's cover version of Candy says. I remember Linda once putting her head round the door to say how nice this sounded - but I suspect she hadn't really heard the words, or indeed know anything at all about Candy Darling.

Candy Darling - late 1960s

Friday, 15 October 2010

Julian Cope and St Jerome in his study

A recent download has been a recent recording of Julian Cope in Stockton-on-Tees. I remain a great admirer of the singular path that he has pursued. A brief article in the paper earlier this week suggested that a film might be being made of his autobiography, Head. This is one of the great rock'n'roll biographies. The last major article I read about Cope was in Wire magazine. I remain very keen on hearing some of his death metal band, Black Sheep. Cope is now over 50!

On a totally different theme, I was reading an article on one of the many versions of the painting, St Jerome in his study. I have been collecting various versions of this picture and am surprised by the many variations on the theme.

Jerome looking perplexed

Jerome surrounded by the many impliments of the medieval scholar

Caravaggio's version (I think)

Cool lion

The classic old man Jungian archetype

Thursday, 14 October 2010

On this day in 1993 and 1994


A day dominated by preparations for the evening's concert. Quietish day again as cold continues to get worse. Lack of coordination - spilt my coke all other my morning muffin. Ethne later spilt her coffee all over the desk - it is obviously catching. Linda called - she wanted to go out with Wanita tonight and so had arranged her parents to call round. I will get Emma. But what if their car breaks down? - I will miss my show. I was not amused by this change of plan

But everything goes ok. I get away by 7:15 and drive down to Kentish Town. A bit of merchandising - I buy two posters with tour dates on which I will have framed for my study. Decide to stand near the front. No support band. At 8:20 there is a warning from a roadie that no smoking is allowed during the show else the band won't stay on - never heard that before at a rock concert! Band on just after 8:30' Lisa looks stunning as usual - still a pre-raphaelite style. But Brendan looks really older, v drawn facial features and a full beard. Odd assortment of other players. The first track is from the new album - disturbed by the sound of glasses being put away. Then a run of new songs, the same pattern as last time. Maybe half the songs were new, just two tracks from the new lp. 3 older tracks - none that you'd call greatest hits - "Cantara" and one of the very old yang tin tracks. One Lisa track with a keyboard cello backing was exceptional. Will there be a tape of the show in Camden market this weekend?

I am struck by how real this music is. And how unusual it remains to come out and play concerts with so little previously recorded material (a bit like King Crimson in 1973/74). Yet the interplay of songs is so good, an lp that just matched the live show would be exceptional. Can hardly wait to acquire a recording and live through it all again. Four encores, one of Lisa's was terrible! As always I'm left feeling sorry they didn't play one or two more of my favourites yet reflecting that this is also the reason I like them so much

Disappointed on getting home to find that Linda had only just got back in and that her parents were still round. I would have preferred to find a quiet house and would have liked to have stayed up listening to a few selected tracks. As it was, I avoided too much contact and went straight to bed.

The most satisfying evening of the year so far - and possibly since their last show!

Addendum 2010 - The band is, of course, Dead Can Dance, who I have seen over 40 times. The most sublime live band and whose music has been (indeed remains) a defining part of my life. Nothing more to say


A CSFP day out quite near home today so I do';t need to be up too early. Also I can take Emma to school for the first time. She is very excited about this and gets up straight away. She wanted to show me round her classroom and is obviously very content - as were most of the other children arriving.

I got to Silverstone at 9:30, arriving in thick fog. I immediately met Les Winnister who I'd spent a lot of time with at the Soc Gen Rugby Options market day out at Paris last year. Our first event was cast in doubt by the fog, but this cleared and we were soon out in formula ford cars. The pace car for our group was brilliant and we were definitely the fastest group and lapped all the others. So now I've driven round Silverstone at a top speed of 125 mph. Second up was skid pan driving. Unfortunately I was on first which is always a disadvantage in these events, but I came 4th out of 12. Lunch was beef stew and accompanied by lots of negative comments about Damon Hill. Afterwards I repeatedly crash going too fast at reverse steer cart driving and only did ok at Cateram car driving. My team won the pits stop event and I received the prize for the worst cart driving

Home at 5:45, hours earlier than normal and convinced everyone to go to the woods with me and collect kindling. Emma was not keen but was eventually persuaded it would be like playing.

Addendum 2010 - the joys of bank day's out for Treasurers. Does Credit Suisse Financial Products still exist as an independent entity? Driving days were always my favourite day out. This occurs the year after we have moved to Oxfordshire, so Emma is at the local primary school.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

On this day in 1984 and 1991


An incredible amount of work to do today. Loads of post to send off - time sheets to E&W, Mark's tapes, and my keys to Capel Road to Quadrant. An aerial has to be removed for which Granada wish to charge me £25 but which they eventually agreed to do for £4.

Then off to the West End for a couple of hours. Two books acquired at The Economist Bookshop at LSE. Also 3 records - more Iggy Pop, the new This Mortal Coil LP. Home via Stratford to restock the freezer.

Jem had said he'd be in sometime in the evening and I twice phoned, speaking to Lynne each time. In the end I went round to see her (and Jem failed to appear). So Lynne and I sat and chatted for a couple of hours which was nice. She provided some food and we had a couple of drinks. Lynne continues to be teased about her "I'm not a prude" quote which seems to have served to cast her as a prude. I think she is really nice and I had a very nice evening with her. She has a cold at the moment and may have been pleased I didn't stay longer

Addendum 2010 - this is about the time of the move from Capel Rd in Leytonstone to another property just down the road. "Lynne" is Lynne Teasdale, a friend from Ernst and Whinney. She shared a flat with Jeremy Owens (though they were friends rather than a couple). She was a very tall brunette from Liverpool who I rather liked. No idea what happened to her post E&W


While Linda and Emma were off to the hairdressers in East Ham, I have a day on my own planned. First off, a quick trip to Camden. The Electric Ballroom had a record fair on which I had been really keen to go to, and where I hoped to acquire some new bootleg tapes. But it seems bootleggers have moved onto CDs as there were hundreds of these available, but mostly heavy rock rather than the indie stuff I like. Still I could have easily spent loads of money - but did resist.

Back home there was an hour and a half of loft-tidying and then the bathroom to work on which is the next decorating task. On the way to collect Linda and Emma later I discovered a book fair at East Ham library, where I bought 7 books for £2. Back home and Linda is annoyed that more progress hasn't been made - despite her having had a day out and not contributing anything. I don't think she was feeling well either, but by the evening she is really cross and has an early night while I stay up on my own

Addendum 2010 - I was relatively late switching to CDs. Hard to believe given the 3 or 4 thousand that I now have. Last week I threw out two boxes of cassettes - mostly bootleg recordings of one sort or another. How times change

Monday, 11 October 2010

On this day in 1992 and 1995


Off to Kenilworth this morning by a new route - the new M40 all the way to Warwick. This also gave us a chance to see how easy it will be to get to Oxford when, eventually, we move there.

It was Stratford Mop today and we promised Emma she'd be able to go to a fair. She asked us if we were near the fair every five miles all the way there. We had lunch at McDonalds and then set off around the town to see the fair, but Emma didn't want to go on any of the more exciting rides which I thought was a shame. But she went on lots of roundabouts and we went in the hall of mirrors which she enjoyed. Linda meanwhile had gone to Laura Ashley and had somehow managed to get lost between there and Waterstones.

With Emma tucked up in bed with Grandad and Grandma to look after her, Linda and I could go off for a meal in Stratford at The Opposition restaurant in Sheep St. I am still not fully fit and found the evening quite exhausting, but Linda was full of beans and, as often happens after a nice meal with wine, really horny

Addendum 2010 - we eventually moved to Oxford in 2004. I hadn't realised we had been planning it so long before. Emma was 3 1/2 at the time and perhaps too little for the fairground rides. The Opposition is still there.


Late morning we have the idea of going to Millets to get Sooty a lead so we can take him outside for a treat. Emma and I went and got one as well as more bulbs for the garden. Sooty doesn't like the collar of course but was pleased to go outside. But then there is a shriek from Emma as the knot slips open and Sooty is free. Emma is frantic with worry that Sooty is lost but he had run into Emma's garden where Linda picked him up. Emma was terribly upset and was trembling with fear that he might have disappeared. She has become very fond of him though she still disturbs him when he is trying to sleep. Emma doesn't want him to go outside again, but we re-do the knots and it is fine next time.

Around 4:30 I departed for an evening's fishing at Ducklington. Conditions seem to have deteriorated following the recent cold snap but there did seem to be some good fish about. In the top deep hole there were six barbel, with the biggest being perhaps 7 or 8 lbs, the biggest I've seen on the Windrush. I baited up the various swims from well upstream and didn't seem to disturb the barbel I could see and by about 5:30 was settled in one of the upstream swims. No barbel from this swim but a relatively large Windrush chub at just under 4lbs. Back downstream as the sun is setting and a typical barbel bite on the first cast into the next swim - a smallish fish of about 3lbs. I thought things looked really promising at this point and I was certainly very excited as I settled in the swim where I have seen the big fish earlier. But a small chub comes out first, which is bad news as it disturbed the swim and might also mean that the barbel weren't there any more. A quick re-bait and a move to another swim, but no bites there at all. It all went rather quiet and though I stayed for another two hours moving between the three swims and constantly re-baiting each, I didn't have another bite. Quite a disappointment really - things had looked so promising

Linda was surprised to see me back as early as I was. Tomorrow's plan to fish down at Newbury might also be on hold now. I'm thinking I might have a full day at Ducklington instead.

Addendum 2010 - Sooty was our first cat - a tiny black one we got from the neighbours, and Emma's first pet after her rodent phase. He died in a car accident a few years later.

This diary entry is from the year after we first moved to Oxfordshire when I had a couple of years of fishing virtually all my spare time. My main focus was barbel on the Windrush and I had some really good trips, catching upwards of 200 barbel with a best of over 8lbs. I even had a article published in a fishing magazine about "small river barbel". I did fish for 10 hours the next day, but caught nothing - which I attributed to the cold snap we had just had. I really should go fishing more often - maybe as the trading settles down, I will be able to go more. I am thinking about chub on the Evenlode in the run up to season end in March

Sunday, 10 October 2010

On this day in 1983 and 1989


Hopefully this morning will be my last expensive morning. We are all in a blinding hurry because Smith overslept and only had 10 minutes to get ready. And lo and behold, a vision was on the platform in the shape of Miss Debbie Richards done up in her interview gear in case someone is swayed by her charm and pearl necklace into letting her be articled. This gave me and Smith a chance to take the piss out of her all the way to Holborn

This morning's lecture was suitably amazing. I'm sure all three of us sat there entralled. Clive wasn't there and also didn't turn up for the class that he was supposed to be taking. For my part, I had forgotten to pick up the duplicated article and so didn't know what was going on at all

So I was back mid-afternoon and actually did a bit of work after completing a long list of nwhat I think I would like to do. My main concerns are with getting a basis for History of Modern Philosophy and Political Thought. I can worry about the others in 6 to 7 weeks time

Over the last week or so, Simon has been trying to find a fifth man for our house. It would be nice if he could. Tonight he brought someone round and he has decided to take the place, so me and Andrew's weekly payments fall to less than £5 and that includes the video. The only trouble is he seems a bit of a prat to me.

I watched at least 6 hours of tv tonight, as did Fritz who got in around 7:00.

Addendum 2010 - Ah to be student! This entry is from the start of year three at LSE when I am living in Forest Gate, East London. Smith is Andrew Smith, public school boy and eventual lawyer who I shared with for three or four years in total. Debbie Richards was a law student at LSE who lived near us. I can't remember much about her except that she was friends with Ruth Thompson, the un-requited object of my affection for much of my time at LSE. Clive was Clive Davis, who I would become very close friends with later that year, and in the next two years when we became neighbours in Leytonstone. Can't remember who Simon was. In the third year at Uni I rented our house from a housing charity and over-charged everyone else, so I hardly paid anything. Simon was one of my many "victims", as was Fritz, from South America


Linda's dad and I worked on the toilet and the kitchen today - he did the cistern and I did the light fitting and some painting. We had arranged for a bloke to come round and plumb in our washing machine - a friend of the downstairs neighbours - but he never showed. Surprisingly, Linda was wuite pleased with the room.

Baby returned this afternoon and we played sitting up games together. This is good practice for her and also tires he out so she goes to sleep really easily afterwards

Addendum 2010 - Emma is of course 21 1/2 years old now and is downstairs watching X-factor as I write this. She is quite good at sitting up

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Ric Burn's documentary on Andy Warhol

In the continuing absence of Victor Bockris's superb biography of Andy Warhol (lost, perhaps forever, in the garage somewhere) I have come across Ric Burn's excellent 2006 documentary on him instead. Originally a US PBS programme, this is an amazing 4 hours long - perhaps in order to be like one of Warhol's own films! This is exactly the sort of detailed biography I was hoping for.

One highlight was the discussion with the collector who had bought the Warhol 32 soup can set for $1,000 and sold them the Metropolitan Museum of Art for $15m. Individual cans (additiions to the original 32) sell for $2m+, so the original set might be worth $100m. Amazing. Another was a section on the Jackie Kennedy screen prints following the death of JFK. I hadn't seen these before, but was much impressed.

Just superb in my view