“Lying apart now, each in a separate bed,
He with a book, keeping the light on late,
She like a girl dreaming of childhood,
All men elsewhere – it is as if they wait
Some new event: the book he holds unread,
Her eyes fixed on the shadows overhead.
Tossed up like flotsam from a former passion,
How cool they lie. They hardly ever touch,
Or if they do it is like a confession
Of having little feeling – or too much.
Chastity faces them, a destination
For which their whole lives were a preparation.
Strangely apart, yet strangely close together,
Silence between them like a thread to hold
And not wind in. And time itself’s a feather
Touching them gently. Do they know they’re old,
These two who are my father and mother
Whose fire from which I came, has now grown cold?”
Elizabeth Jennings – poet – 1830-1894
Anyone who knew Komla Dumor, the Ghanaian BBC broadcaster will be crestfallen to hear of his death from a heart attack at the tender age of 41. He was a brilliant broadcaster as well as being a colossus of a presenter and inquisitor. You could travel the earth for 100 years and you would never find a more delightful, charming and entertaining person. My heart goes out to his wife, family and friends. He was tall, imposing, challenging and never ever stopped smiling – what a tragic loss!
Many will be very sad to hear of the death of Lord Alistair McAlpine, aged only 71 – champagne cheer leader and party chairman for Baroness Thatcher. Some may not have agreed with his politics, but surely he did not deserve the damage inflicted on him by false and damaging allegations of paedophilia, which many say took a huge toll on his life, from which he probably never recovered! I greatly admired the dignified manner he attempted to obtain retribution without excessive litigation or publicity over these false and unsavoury accusations.
So sad, also, to hear of the death of Sir Christopher Chataway – wonderfully successful athlete, broadcaster and politician, at the age of 82. Sir Christopher has always been associated with helping Sir Roger Bannister break the 4 minute mile. He also helped Chris Brasher CBE win his Olympic gold medal for the steeplechase in Melbourne in 1956. He used to trudge up and down Highgate West Hill/Hillway for months on end selflessly in his quest to help his fellow friend and athlete achieve his goal. Chris Brasher was, of course, the pioneer of the London Marathon.
The quaffing of Cristal and Dom Perpignan, a pastime, which many of the 2000 representatives of the good and the great which congregates in Davos annually, enjoy, starts on Wednesday of this week. It is seen as a great opportunity for Presidents, Prime Ministers, finance minister and the captains of industry and commerce to ‘press the flesh’ and ‘shoot the breeze’ over world issues. I am sure some good has come out of these pointless exercises; however it certainly is not obvious. Klaus Schwab, the founder of the WEF has enjoyed the support of delegates since 1971. It would be really great of something meaningful could manifest itself from these glittering parties. With the world in turmoil, it does not look good to be seen partying without a care in the world. It says little for optics and credibility. How about dealing with inequality? Trade imbalances – US’s deficit and China’s/Germany’s surplus could be a place to start.
To start the week there is a compendium of financial nuggets for dealers and analysts to get their teeth in to. Saga, which has 2.7 million mature customers, is considering a £3 billion IPO. Acromas the holding company and CEO Andrew Goodsell suggest that 155k members may be prepared to apply for shares totalling £777,000.
Metro Bank has raised another £400 million capital from the likes of Moore Capital and Fidelity.
The Stelios inspired ‘Just-Eat’ is considering an IPO. Anheuser Busch/InBev intend to buy the Korean company Oriental Brewery for $5.8 billion. China’s growth fell to 7.7%, but came in just above expectations of 7.6%.
This morning it came as no surprise that Deutsche Bank posted a loss of E1.2 billion for the last quarter – though the size of the loss, much of it down to a 31% drop in trading profits in FX and bonds – was greater than expected. There are also substantial litigation claims with the SEC to agree on, not forgetting allegations of FX rigging to come. Restructuring charges are also incomplete. It may be 2015 before Deutsche Bank is out of the woods.
These are David Buik’s personal views
Twitter – @truemagic68
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