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In the Days Before Health and Safety Ruled….

This isn’t one of those famous New York photos from the 1920s. This is two workmen on the Red Road flats in North Glasgow in the 1960s.

I’m feeling dizzy.

(Thanks Jamie O’Rourke)


The Champions League Final

It was a bit Messi wasn’t it?

Gil Scott Heron R.I.P.

I had a couple of blog free days over the weekend so this is the first opportunity I’ve had to mark the passing of Gil Scott Heron who combined blues,hip hop, rap, soul and poetry in a forty year plus career.

The Scottish papers over the weekend played up Heron’s connection to Scotland via his father, Gilbert Heron or ‘The Black Arrow’ who played for Celtic and Third Lanark in the early 1950’s

I loved Gil Scott Heron’s 2010 album ‘I’m New Here’ and from that comes this track.

Heron’s personal demons were addictions which he battled with to the end.

One of my favourite Heron songs was Blue Collar, which had a very powerful yet simple lyric.

The version may be a bit polished but I liked the Blues Band’s cover with a fantastic harmonica solo by Paul Jones.

The Spotify http link to that is here and the direct spotify url is here

The Financial Rapture?

There’s an economist in America called Martin Armstrong. It is fair to say that Armstrong has had an interesting career path, one which saw him being fêted in 1990 as the USA’s top economist, to his arrest in 1999 on (massive) fraud charges. Despite never having had a criminal trial, Armstrong was only released from custody in March this year.

He remains under house arrest.

Armstrong has an interesting theory based on numbers. He believes that financial markets experience intense turning points every 51.6 years, and within that, investor confidence churns on an 8.6 year cycle. When I tell you that this is calculated by the fact that 8.6 years is 3141 days and therefore pi multiplied by a thousand, you may think that we are getting into crank territory.

It all sounds redolent of the calculations used by Harold Camping doesn’t it?

Yes it does, so let’s just dismiss Armstrong’s ramblings.


His predictions have proved uncannily correct over time.

For example, the theory fits the 1929 and 1987 Wall Street crashes, the 1989 Nikkei top, the 1994 S&P bottom, the 1998 Russian market top, the 2002 S&P market bottom and the 2008 stock market bottom.

There have also been 8.6-year cycle days when nothing has happened, so it is not a perfect indicator. However, the record is impressive and hence widely followed by technical chartists who may not subscribe to some of Armstrong’s wilder essays of analysis.

June the 13th is day number 3141. Could there be a global financial collapse on that date?

I don’t claim to be an expert at all on global finances, indeed once you read a few paragraphs on the subject then it’s not difficult to become confused.

I’m struck though by the latest news from Greece. The ‘bailout’ hasn’t worked and Greece stands on the precipice of financial collapse – default. The cause of Greece’s problems cannot just be laid at the door of the euro and the EU, but their magnitude?

In the days of separate currencies in Europe, exchange rates acted as a kind of safety valve. If an economy was weak, then so was the currency, thus providing governments and the private sector with checks and balances. With the euro, these checks and balances went happily off into the sunset as Greece, Portugal Ireland and Spain went on a spending spree on the credit card.

When the bills arrived and they couldn’t pay, there were hastily arranged rescue loans arranged by the European Central Bank, loans which do not have the remotest hope of ever being paid off.

We should not be surprised at this typical Euro solution. The arrogance of the political elite in Brussels knows no bounds. It is founded on the philosophy that if something isn’t working you move it on to the next stage. The same arrogance which ignored the results of national referendums on the EU and pressed on regardless, is now driving the out of control financial train which looks as if it is about to hit the buffers in Athens.

However with the Euro in crisis, it is still in a fairly healthy position against the pound and actually gained against the dollar last week.

June 13th is two weeks from today.