Friday, 29 December 2017

Cheap eats in the City.

Q- The City of London is the wealthiest place on earth. It is possible to eat cheaply there?

It my ambition for 2018 to become a full time currency trader on my own account. In order to do so I must learn to live cheaply because there will be days when I lose money rather than make it. Fortunately there are cheap cafes within reach of the dealing rooms. Here are three of them.

This is a breakfast baguette from Temples/Fuzzies Grub (sharing the same premises). Two sausages, two fried eggs and two rashers of bacon. The difference between this and Subway is that this one has authentic flavour and Subway does not. The cost was £3.50 which is cheap for London. Service was quick and everything was clean. The ownership of this cafe is quite unclear as there seem to be two outfits using the same name.
This is KFC which is quite a surprising chain to find in the City. Many of them are hidden in historic areas and carry no sinage. The only way to find them is by scent!

This one had a slightly dissolute and sinister air as it was entirely full of men hunched over mobile phones or muttering quietly among themselves in languages I could not identify. The great majority were couriers of one sort or another waiting for their next job and therefore quite safe.

I chose the three piece original variety meal at £6.50 which is quite filling on its own but in addition to this I was given some free extras provided by the loyalty scheme. This is the best cafe based scheme I am aware of. I would advise you all to download the app and to use the following code when you register it- 234B97. If you do so we will both get bonus chicken.
Finally we have my beloved Crosse Keys where one can get a sit down meal for about the same as KFC but without the loyalty scheme. I hold my Finance Friday breakfasts here each Friday morning at 8.30. All are welcome. Free WiFi.

A- It is possible to have breakfast in the City for as little as £2.

Friday, 29 September 2017

The Knights Templar.

Q- Are the Knights Templar real?

In the City we sometimes hear of the 'six flags theory'. This has become a product to be sold by City folk to rich people on the promise that by adopting it they may become immune to most national obligations. By 'living' in a number of jurisdictions at the same time it is possible to avoid becoming the property of one.

This is usually done by gaining second, third and fourth passports an a number of real life states and hopping between them to avoid tax. I propose a simpler and cheaper approach that will provide some of the benefit for almost no cost.

My first flag is the Knights Templar. Who are the Knights Templar? You may be told (depending on who you ask) that the Knights Templar are the product of overheated imagination, a group of right wing nut jobs, a bunch of old men who enjoy dressing up in medieval garb or dissident academics who preserve ancient knowledge.

All of these are true.

I decided to investigate this by turning up at Knights Templar sites.

There is a great profusion of churches within the City and many (according to some rumors all) of them have secret chambers beneath them.

The actual, historical Knights Templar were a group of religious warriors who were appointed by the Pope for the purpose of spearheading the crusades. Later, once they had become rich and no longer useful they were accused of witchcraft and executed. The supposed secrets of the Templar knights were never discovered and neither was the expected mountain of gold- probably because neither existed.
The two most significant Templar buildings in London are pictured here. At the top of the page we see the Templar church in an area now known as the Temple. This once served as a recruiting office for knights with a sense of adventure. It has now become a focus of establishment networking and unofficial power networks as well as a Church of England church.

Below it we see All Hallows by the Tower which is where the Templar Knights were tried for their supposed crimes. My guess is that they were held in the underground crypt pictured above.

There is nothing that excites the imagination more than a secret society in league with dark forces and so the Knights Templar continued to grow in cultural significance long after its abolition. There are no 'real' Templar knights as the order was abolished but there are more self appointed knights than at any time in history. I know of at least twenty 'Knights Templar' organizations that openly operate in the UK and there are many who operate in secret. It is futile to search for the 'real' knights because there is no unbroken line- and yet each have their truth to tell.

It is a matter of choosing an order useful to yourself.  Look at the variety on offer!

1. Pseudo diplomacy through the United Nations.

2. Pseudo archaeology. The search for Templar related artifacts such as the Spear of Destiny and the Holy Grail- Indiana Jones style.

3. Charitable activities and voluntary work.

4. Drug smuggling.

5. Magical practices.

6. The production of symbolic art designed to awaken a new European identity.

7. The promotion of a conservative agenda within the Catholic church.

8. Nationalist politics.

9. Dressing up in medieval costume and awarding one another titles and honors.

What is the financial benefit to joining a Knights Templar order? It is rather similar to joining the Freemasons. One gets to meet people engaged on the same path in life whether this be good works or cocaine smuggling. Choose carefully!

Membership of a Knights Templar order may also confuse officials who wish to control us. Am I really 'Sir' Richard Ford? Am I part of the establishment or not? Petty officials should be kept in a constant state of confusion and alarm.

If you wish to join an order then you should start with some Internet research- then meet them socially. Many separate orders meet at the Knights Templar pub in the City (possibly unknown to one another) which is a stones throw from the Templar church.

In short membership of a Templar order offers the following advantages.

1. A network of business contacts.

2. An identity that may be used or denied according to need. Many people are 'Templar phobic' and this can be used to our advantage.

3. A Knights Templar order may help us to do a great deal of good in the world.

4. London can be a lonely city. A Templar order provides a network of friends.

A. The Knights Templar are as real or fictitious as you wish them to be.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Starbucks is the work of the Devil.

We may have coffee or we may have Starbucks. We cannot have both. Starbucks is a coffee shop for people who do not like coffee.

Q-Does Starbucks sell coffee?

Starbucks is never the destination. It is too bland for that. It is a way to kill time while waiting for a train. The aim of Starbucks is not to thrill or educate the palate- it is deliberately bland. Deliberately unobjectionable. If political correctness had a flavour it would be Starbucks.

Starbucks is a marketing lead company that only produces coffiee as a kind of accident. The chief product of the Starbucks coffiee is the Starbucks brand which it promotes via product placement in hollywood movies (the worse the movie the morelikely we will see a Starbucks in it. The aim seems to be to make Starbucks the glkamourious alternative and Starbucks promises Hollywood glamour (Starbucks spends a lot on product placement in movies) but anyone comming to the big city and believing this to be so identifyies themselves instantly as an innocent ready to be eaten up. Starbucks promises community, a sort of home from home but it is a souless corporate monster.

Starbucks, with its wobbly tables and identikit corporate identity is the least glamorous place I can think of. Why not fix the tables? Do they think we will buy a second cup of coffee if we spill the first one?

Starbucks promotes the worst kinds of cost free save-the-world do virtue signalling in the corporate universe. They promote fair-trade but treat their staff as serfs. They are prone to fatuous anti racism that reminds us of our prejudices without resolving them.

Starbucks use technology such as apps for their benefit and not the benefit of the customer. We are expected to wave our phones about in front of the till as if we were swatting flies. This is advertised as a time saving measure- and so it is for Starbucks. For the customer it is merely another thing to worry about and a constant stream of Starbucks propaganda.

Starbucks take interest free deposits in the form of prepaid cards. Benefit to the customer- zero. Benefit to Starbucks- a captive customer. Ker-ching!

Starbucks also engage in elaborate tax avoidance measures- importing their coffee from that well known tropical nation of Switzerland. The entire corporation in the UK paid less tax last year than I did!

Starbucks sell a variety of creamy, sweet and foamy cups of nothingness that pack more calories than actual food.

Starbucks has an astonishingly mean and yet complex loyalty scheme. It takes fifteen cups of froth to get one free. Compare this to McDonald's where it takes only five.

A- No.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

A strange medieval revival.

Q- Is the future of retail soulless uniformity.

One unexpected result of the Internet economy is the revival of medieval patterns of trade. This happens because the old ways are more human and more Instagram friendly than the new. Whoever heard of someone taking an Instagram selfie while shopping on Amazon? I like to support this revival when I can. It makes the world more interesting.
Medieval street plans (this one in the St Paul's area) naturally calm traffic and absorb sound better than glass and steel. They make shopping for a sandwich and a cup of coffee into a fascinating exploration of side streets and lanes.

Medieval architecture is also fantastically compact and multi purposed. A single building such as this church in the City may provide a place of worship, beauty, charitable service, community meeting place and a clock tower at a single location.
The medieval world was also more colourful than generally imagined. This Oxford example is a recreation but authentically gaudy. Notice how the public are drawn in off the street to gawp and wonder at it all. Who does this in a modern town hall?

A- No.