Louis-Ferdinand Céline

And between whiles you boast of having managed to be rid of your unhappiness, but everyone knows, don't they, that you've not done any such thing but are just as miserable as you well can be. As you grow uglier and uglier and more repulsive, playing this game as you grow old, you can't even conceal your unhappiness any longer, your failure; and in the end your face has become only an ugly expression which takes twenty, thirty or more years to come up from your stomach onto your face. That is what a man will achieve, that and that alone, -- an ugly expression which he has spent a lifetime making and often even then hasn't managed to finish off properly, because of how difficult and complicated an expression it would have to be to reflect his real soul without missing anything out
Louis-Ferdinand Celine

George Soros and the pain of taking risk and Thomas Hardy

In the ill-judged execution of the well-judged plan of things the call seldom produces the comer, the man to love rarely coincides with the hour for loving. Nature does not often say “See!” to her poor creature at a time when seeing can lead to a happy doing; or reply “Here” to a body’s cry of “Where?” till the hide-and-seek has become an irksome, outworn game. We may wonder whether at the acme and summit of human progress, these anachronisms will be corrected by a finer intuition, a closer interaction of the social machinery than that which jolts us round and along; but such completeness is not to be prophesised, or even conceived as possible.
“Justice” was done, and the President of the Immortals (in the Aeschylean phrase) had ended his sport with Tess. And the d’Urberville knights and dames slept on in their tombs unknowing.

Thomas Hardy- Tess of the Durbervilles








George Soros

Investing Structure


We position the fund to take advantage of larger trends – we call this marco-investing – and then, within those larger trends we also pick stocks and stock groups

Let’s say we use our money to buy stocks. We pay 50 percent in cash and we borrow the other 50%. Against bonds we borrow a lot more. For $1,000 we can buy at least $50,000 worth of long-term bonds. We may also sell stocks or bonds short in the hope of buying them back later cheaper. Or we take positions – long or short – in currencies or index futures. The various positions reinforce each other to create this three-dimensional structure of risks and profit opportunities. Usually two days – one up day, and one down day – are sufficient to tell us how the fund is positioned.
Buying Options

When you buy options, you’re paying the professionals a hefty premium for providing you with a leverage that we can create cheaper ourselves by borrowing against our securities.
Investment Theory

They’re generally constructed on the assumption of efficient market theory. That theory is in conflict with my theory of imperfect understanding and reflexivity. I think that those methods work 99% of the time, but they break down 1% of the time. I am more concerned with that 1%.

We are willing to invest our capital along three axes: we have stock exposure, we have interest-rate exposure and we have currency exposure.

Occasionally, there is a fourth axis because we do from time to time take positions in commodities.

Our understanding of the world in which we live is imperfect. The situations we need to understand in order to reach our decisions are usually affected by those decisions. There is an innate divergence between the expectations of the people taking part in the events and the actual outcome of the events. Sometimes the divergence is so small that it can be disregarded, but at other times it is so large that it becomes an important factor in determining the course of events. This is not an easy idea to communicate.

“Imperfect understanding”

Classic economic theory assumes that market participants act on the basis of perfect knowledge. That assumption is false. The participants perceptions influence the market in which they participate, but the market action also influences the participant’s perceptions.
Using Leverage

Managers of bond funds, if they have a positive view on interest rates, can lengthen the maturity of their portfolio to at most, 15 years. When they have a negative view, they can keep the average maturity short. We have a much greater freedom to manoeuvre. When we are bearish, we sell short; when we are bullish, we don’t have to buy long maturities; we can buy short maturities and use a lot of leverage.

Thinking is part of the reality that people have to think about.

The belief that financial markets tend towards equilibrium and it is only government interference that prevents them from assuring a best allocation of resources……is both false and misleading.

The Concept of Reflexivity

The concept of reflexivity is very simple. In situations that have thinking participants, there is a two-way interaction between the participant’s thinking and the situation in which they participate.

Reflexivity renders participants understanding imperfect and ensures their actions will have unintended consequences.

Reflexivity and Economic Theory

The efficient market hypothesis claims that market prices fully reflect all the extant information. The closely related rational expectations theory holds that, in the absence of exogenous shocks, financial markets tend towards an equilibrium that accurately reflects the participants’ expectations. Together, these theories support the belief that financial markets, left to their own devices, assure the optimal allocation of resources.

The Human Uncertainty Principle

If perfect understanding were possible, there would be no room for human creativity.
Market Forces

I look for conditions of disequilibrium.

To others, being wrong is a source of shame; to me, recognising my mistakes is a source of pride. Once we realise that imperfect understanding is the human condition, there is no shame in being wrong, only in failing to correct our mistakes.

It hurts me to lose money and it gives me pleasure to win.

Trend is your friend most of the way; tend followers only get hurt at inflection points, where the trend changes. Most of the time I am a trend follower, but all of the time I am aware that I am a member of a herd and I am on the look out for inflection points.

There is nothing more self-destructive than denying your feelings. Once you are aware of your feelings you may not feel the need to show them. But sometimes, especially when you are under great strain, the need to hide it may make the strain intolerable. I remember an occasion, early in my career when I was practically wiped out in my personal account, yet I had to carry on in my job as if there was nothing wrong. The strain was unbearable. I could hardly bring myself to go back to the office after lunch. That is why I encourage my associates to share their problems.

Risk Taking

Risk taking is painful. Either you are willing to bear the pain yourself or you try to pass it on to others. Anyone who is in a risk taking business but cannot face the consequences is no good.

Going to the brink is something else – it serves a purpose. There is nothing like danger to focus the mind, and I do need the excitement connected with taking risks in order to think clearly. It is an essential part of my thinking ability. Risk taking is, to me, an essential ingredient in thinking clearly.

When you are a serious risk taker, you need to be disciplined. The discipline that I used was a profound sense of insecurity, which helped to alert me to problems before they got out of hand.

Once you take your success for granted, you let down your guard.

I refuse to remain the slave of my business.

George Soros 


Sublime
Tanqueray10+Fentimans+Lime = most likely my favourite drink on earth...
Sipsmith+Fentimans+Lemon = near to perfection, last drink kind of stuff...
Beefeater24+Fentimans+Lime = an upbeat note onto the classic G&T. 
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Martin Miller Westbourne+Fever-Tree+Lime = smooth and curvaceous, divine not sublime
The Botanist+Fentimans+Lime = admirable, noisy, youthful arrogance...
Plymouth Navy Strength+Fever-Tree+Lime = sombre, perhaps dark mood
The Botanist+Fever-Tree+Lime = near perfect G & T. 
Sipsmith+Fentimans+Lime = ding, dong, the brain is dead...is dead!
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Hayman's Old Tom+Fever-Tree+Lime: parting is such sweet sorrow...
Hendrick's+Fever-Tree+Lebanese Cucumber = fresh summer breeze 
Sipsmith+Fever-Tree+Lime = spicy heaven or cool hell...
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Hendrick's+Fentimans+Lebanese Cucumber = nearly there, cool breeze in winter
Gin Mare+Fever-Tree+Rosemary = mediterranean spice travel, a little mountainous
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Martin Miller's+Fever-Tree + Lime 
London No. 3 + Fever-Tree
Melbourne Gin Co. + Fentimans
Gin Mare + [nothing can save this gin]
Four Pillars + Fentimans
Hendrick's + Capi or Fever-Tree
Bombay Sapphire + Fever-Tree
The Cutlass + Cascade 
Sipsmith + Fentimans
Half-Moon Orchard neat... = delicious spicy heat 

Sonnet No. 1


From fairest creatures we desire increase,
That thereby beauty's rose might never die,
But as the riper should by time decease,
His tender heir might bear his memory:
But thou, contracted to thine own bright eyes, Feed'st thy light's flame with self-substantial fuel, Making a famine where abundance lies,
Thyself thy foe, to thy sweet self too cruel. Thou that art now the world's fresh ornament And only herald to the gaudy spring,
Within thine own bud buriest thy content
And, tender churl, makest waste in niggarding.
Pity the world, or else this glutton be,
To eat the world's due, by the grave and thee.

- Shakespeare, Sonnet No. 1

Thomas Hobbes

Thomas Hobbes, the 17th Century English philosopher who lived through the chaos of the English civil war and the Thirty Years War, built his political philosophy on a conception of security that has become dominant in modern society. In his 1651 masterpiece, Leviathan, Hobbes argued that humans unconstrained by laws would, through competition for wealth and pre-eminence, create a persistent state of insecurity that would ultimately prevent them from attaining either:

In such condition, there is no place for industry; because the fruit thereof is uncertain: and consequently no culture of earth; no navigation, for use of the commodities that may be imported by sea; no commodious building; no instruments of moving, and removing such things that require much force; no knowledge of the face of the earth; no account of time; no arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short’
Hobbes’s conception established a total and binary opposition between peace, a state of physical and material security, allowing the pursuit of higher goals, and war, a pervasive, debilitating sense of foreboding of “every man, against every man”.

For war, consisteth not in battle only, or the act of fighting; but in a tract of time, wherein the will to contend by battle is sufficiently known for as the nature of foul weather, lieth not in a shower or two of rain; but in an inclination thereto of many days together: so the nature of war, consisteth not in actual fighting; but in the known disposition thereto, during all time there is assurance to the contrary."

In this conception, Hobbes was being faithful to the etymology of the word “war”, which derives from the old French “guerre”, meaning “confusion”, “discord” and “strife”. According to a long Western tradition, then, insecurity and security are mutually exclusive physical and material conditions that fundamentally determine the quality of human life. In Hobbes’s theory, “man is a creature civilised by the fear of death”. Hobbes’s entire system of civil society and the state are built form a single “purging emotion” – the fear of death. The Hobbesian conception of security builds an intimate dynamic between physical and material security, in which unconstrained acquisitiveness and competition lead to physical insecurity, and in which physical security is the essential precondition to humans’ bounded pursuit of physical and other achievements. This conception ahs informed our understanding of the human condition, and the widespread popularity of Abraham Maslow’s argument that only physiological necessities precede security in the hierarchy of human needs demonstrates that most people find this conception to be intuitively correct. The priority of physical and material security has informed domestic and international natural and positive law, providing a widely recognised basic right of self-defence that trumps most other rules, norms and considerations. According to this conception, war is only justified when it is required to re-establish conditions of physical and material security or forestall physical and material insecurity.

Michael Wesley – “The search for moral security” : Australian Financial Review, 28th January, 2005.

Otter and Budd Street:  27_April_2012_8pm






















Fentimans :       95.0
Fever-Tree :      94.0
Fever-Tree Medi : 93.5
Quina Fina :      92.6
Tiro :            92.0
San Pelligrino :  91.5
Capi :            90.9
Schweppes :       90.7
Cascade :         93.3
Q-Tonic :         90.0



There is another, more fundamental danger, namely man's restriction of himself and constriction of his horizons to include only his work to which, so the Book says, he has been sentenced to after his expulsion from paradise. If he accepts work as his only obligation, and 'what works' as his only criterion of worthwhileness, he may become the conformist and thoughtless slave of his technology and of those who are in a position to exploit it - Eric Erikson, Childhood and Society, 1950

Up people do not go down

11 November 2013 - 10am


Then Wear the Gold Hat - Thomas Parke D'Invilliers (F. Scott Fitzgerald)

Then wear the gold hat, if that will move her;
If you can bounce high, bounce for her too,
Till she cry "Lover, gold-hatted, high-bouncing lover,
I must have you!"

Mountbank

On the night of my illuminating dream I had a very restless sleep. I woke several times having heard strange noises. Each time I investigated the sounds I found nothing and returned to bed. It must have been in the hours after midnight that I awoke and saw a figure in my room. It was menacing, moving about the window. Was the figure holding a knife? I could see an elbow or a foot. I picked up a plank of wood that lay near my bedside table from our recent renovations and swung it at the figure. I believe I may have wounded it and as it picked itself up I thought I saw that it had a gun, however, before I had time to become frightened the figure escaped from the room slamming the door behind it. The remainder of the night was very difficult. I had spent an hour stirring in bed when I got up searched through my wife’s cabinet to find an old packet of Valium she had once been prescribed and quickly swallowed two tablets. It took a few hours before I settled and drifted off to sleep, feeling certain that I had seriously harmed someone with the plank of wood earlier in the night. I checked the piece of wood several times for blood stains and found none, went back to bed and then quickly got up again to scour the floor again looking for any signs of blood stain. What could his motive be to come into my home? He must have mental problems. All the while I kept in my mind the details of my most remarkable dream to produce these peptides. Indeed I myself would take them if they were available and would not even question whether they had been “clinically proven” for the idea contained in them would be enough to satisfy me.

Medhurst : 11 November 2012

I would blend herbs with fish oils and neuroactive Chinese medicines to create a chemical cocktail for the mind that would send a bolt of electrical energy through it and call it into action. The consumer would suddenly become smarter, more confident and supremely organised. The idea was to make something that even though it were most likely inert, we would market it so well that people would believe in it and this belief would be enough to propel it forward into greatness.

Smeasy Corner



Have mercy on this small black boy down here; preserve him from all men that have no bowels to feel fear – Herman Melville, Moby Dick;

PBS 106.5 FM

This juncture is known to me, for it is this very matter of life that I fear most - abandonment! Could that be possible? I cannot live my life, or ready myself for death until I have grasped this small precious molecule and known it unmistakably for what it is and from where it has come forth. 

Seizures of anxiety that are riddled with thoughts of death come upon me when I am separated from the person that I love, adore and cherish, my beloved, now Sarah. To believe there is a solution, an intellectual one, to that root of anxiety, may be ambitious or even devious, however, this is no tricky discourse to draw out and then find the right instruments with which to destroy anxiety. Far from it, for it is anxiety that has been providing me with the moral warnings and teachings I have been in most need of, most resistant to, suffocating the flow of every thought, idea and action. And for this I shall not dismantle it for that would subvert my own journey, nor should I punish it when I have found it for that same reason. On the contrary, I must know what it is that it is and through this know the fear that has quivered immemorially within me. I must know the fear - Mifune 

Gin

Vladimir Nabokov's writing is like a great gin - unlike wine it does not require time produce its greatest effects. They apparent immediately. 

Vladimir Nabokov, Author of 'Lolita' and 'Ada,' Is Dead


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...our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness - Nabokov...Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins...

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Journey into the Heart of Darkness

Our black cat roamed about the new house, having spent a few anxious days adjusting to the move and finding its sense of space, smell and new physical location. It was Sarah’s cat first up, and then after I had moved in with, after a period of a few months, I grew fond of the delicate and timid creature and consequently regarded him as my own. With my fingers I would play with his cheeks and mouth, a game he found tantalising and which I subsequently had trouble terminating with him. He kept returning and gesturing for more, to recommence the small joyous interaction, before he would accept it had finished and retire to the old flower patterned couch in the living room on which he would perch himself for several hours, rest, unless an unexpected visitor or barrage of bodies into the room would force him to leave, at which point he would climb the wooden stairs and sleep inside the upstairs cupboard, inside the children’s bedroom. Opposite this room was the room that Sarah and I would sleep in and should the appropriate occasion arise, he would enter through the connecting wooden door, uniquely carved with the words ‘Featherhead’, and place himself on the laundry basket for a short snooze until things quietened and he could return to those spots about the house that he preferred - Mifune.

Greek Easter

Greek Easter at Otter Street

My sexual preoccupations feel separate from me. It is as though I have absolutely no control over the content of their imagination. I calculate how I can exclude them from my general thinking but fail. And so I have all but capitulated to their presence. They have run over my mind like wild buffalo through a field producing noise and fear - Mifune



ὤδινεν ὄρος καὶ ἔτεκε μῦν : A mountain has labour pains and a mouse is born - Aesop







Reason and Empiricism

Healthy children will not fear life if their elders have integrity enough not to fear death.

Childhood and Society (1950), p. 269

And yet he would have liked to live on until the time came when he no longer loved her, when she would have no reason to lie to him and he could at last learn from her if, on the day when he had gone to see her in the afternoon, she was or was not in bed with Forcheville. 

Swann's Way (1913)

Circus Oz - Perry Street

Claustrophobia

Claustrophobia, the traumatic absence of space. For many the world is full of witches and wizards. But it is so wasteful of missing pieces of space. Missing space, how can that be? Space for my legs in the leg compartment of the Jaguar? Space beneath the sheets. There is an elevator. People get in and there is less space - more absence, less space.

Mifune

Alexandra Parade 



To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow

To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

Macbeth : Act 5, Scene 5. William Shakespeare (~1603).



Cogito, ergo sum

To know what people really think, pay attention to what they do, rather than what they say...René Descartes.


Perry Street - Je pense, donc je suis - I think, therefore I am