Monday, 31 May 2010

Review of The Pajama Men, London 2010

These two comedy actors from Chicago have just finished a week of performing at the Soho Theatre. A few years ago they were nomuinated for the Perrier Award whilst performing at the Edinburgh Fringe. They have been widely and, almost universally, proclaimed as brilliant. So I think that it is time for my balancing, counter-view to be published. Maybe it's just me and my family who don't get it, because many other members of the audience on the last night were clearly ready to fall off their seats with uncontrollable merriment. Meanwhile I was consoling myself with the knowledge that it really had to end sometime, and eventually it did. I simply could not see what was funny most of the time. The jokes were laboured, involved a lot of 'funny faces' and 'funny voices' and went on for an interminable time. One, with sound effects, of someone shuffling cards (you get the idea...brrrrrrring noises as the invisible cards were bent and released and flew through the air) must have gone on for five minutes. They do tend to signpost jokes so you knew that when it seemed about to end that it was bound to pause and then start again...which it duly did...and again...and again. Being generous, it ceased to be funny after about thirty seconds, which made the next four and a half minutes a nightmare of tedium. Before anyone goes to a future show I urge you to check them out on Youtube because if this is not your kind of humour then you will learn all about the relativity of time, as in how a minute can feel like a ten year sentence.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Brussels bank levy framework

I must rename my blog 'Mr Angry' because there is so much out there to make one hopping mad. The latest thing to get my goat is the EU's 'let's get the bankers' tendency. So they announce today details of their plan to introduce a bank levy to ensure that national governments will not have to bail out failed banks in future. What is so wrong with that? Three things;

  • The UK's bailout cost hundreds of billions of pounds: will the proposed fund really have that much in it? I doubt it - I think this is just political posturing.
  • If a massive fund is established which has to be parked in government bonds then this will reduce average returns and hit their profits, which will reduce the value of those banks, many of which we now own through direct government stakes and all of which we own through our pension schemes.(so it is a tax on all of us)
  • The fund will also reduce funds available for lending at a time when governments are demanding increased lending (slightly contradictory policies here?)

So, in summary, it is a proposed policy that will not noticeably protect anyone, is an effective tax on everyone and acts counter to other EU and national government policies. Smart huh?