Here it is, the moment you have all been waiting for, List Of The Week #2. Just me and a keyboard listings stuff for shits and giggles. Make sure you write your own list below. I’m nosey like that.
Last year I got into trading stocks and shares, a world that I never imagined for myself, and one I did not really understand. Nearly a year later, I know a lot more and certain films have taken on a new level of enjoyment. “The Big Short”, “The Wolf Of Wall Street”, “Wall Street” have all had a second viewing since I dived into trading. Following that trend (that is a trading joke, for those that don’t) I watched “Betting On Zero”, a documentary about an investment manager who shorted the stock of Herbalife to the tune of $1billion. A year ago, I would not have understood what that meant. Assuming there is a fair chance you might not know what that means, to short a stock is to essentially bet against it. You make a profit if the stock tanks, likewise, lose money if it rises. Beyond the craziness of someone having access to that amount of cash to risk it, the documentary also explored Herbalife as a company. Essentially, it is a pyramid scheme, something Herbalife deny. The guy willing to risk all that dough was doing so on this basis as, if he could prove it was a pyramid scheme, it would cause the stock to fall. I thought it would be interesting to anyone, not necessarily those that trade, but I made Vikki watch it and she didn’t like it so much, so I guess I am wrong. But if you are interested in trading or economics or business, it could be one to watch.
As it was my birthday, I bought several DVDs to watch whilst my parents were visiting. “Passengers”, “Hacksaw Ridge” and “Silence”. I thoroughly enjoyed “Passengers” and thought “Silence” was overly long. The best of the bunch, quite easily, was “Hacksaw Ridge”. Mel Gibson is one helluva director, as he has proven many times in the past. His ability to tell stories is strong and he works toward achieving the most realistic and visceral battle scenes imaginable. There was one guy who got shot in the head twice. Instead of the usual Hollywood version of this event, Mel had the actor look briefly shocked and surprised before succumbing to death a second or two later. It had the same sort of impact as the opening of “Saving Private Ryan” did when that film first re-wrote the battle scene rules. The film is a biopic about a guy who was deeply religious and a conscientious objector yet signed up as a medic during the second world war. After barely surviving basic training and a court marshall, he willingly went into a bloody battle against the Japanese, refusing to carry a weapon or kill. Unbelievably, he survived. Incredibly, one night after a brutal day, he would traverse the battle field collecting the injured, returning them to base camp. He saved something like 75 people. If this was a standard screenplay, it would seem totally unrealistic and stupid. The fact that he actually did it makes it almost miraculous. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. 9/10, only a slow beginning letting it down.
“The Naked Trader’s Guide To Spread Betting” by Robbie Burns. I mentioned above shorting stocks. Well, in the UK, one way that you can do that is through spread betting. As the name of this particular activity may give away, spread betting is actually considered gambling by the government so is therefore exempt from tax. As it can also be leveraged (ie you could bet £1 a point but actually play with £10 a point) means that it can be a way to make a lot of money very fast. The reverse of this is that you can actually lose money very fast, as over 90% of those who spread bet do. You can bet long (ie for the price to go up) or short (the price going down) and you make money if you are correct. You can bet on the FTSE, Forex, Oil, Gold and regular stocks. My first experience with this form of trading was the eve of the US Presidential election where I rode the US dollar vs Japanese yen like some kind of crazy bucking bronco. Hours later, I was up about £450 so naturally thought I was a fucking genius. Within two days, I had lost that, plus another £350 so, before getting in too deep, I quit spread betting until I learnt a hell of a lot more about it. Having read Robbie’s other books on trading, his style makes complex information easy to digest. I have not yet tried spread betting again, but now have a much better idea of how to do it to ultimately make money. I will let you know how I get on…!
Theresa May’s pathetic speech after not-winning the General Election. Shameless trumpet blowing despite having fucked up. Why can’t politians just admit when they screwed up?
A bunch of vintage rock t-shirts, mostly from the 1990s.
I have had this goddamn item since April 2015. I had given up hope of ever selling it and had found a place for it at home, presuming it would live there. I have heard of some antique dealers that have held items 40 years before selling them, so I guess everything will sell. Eventually.
My mum and dad came up to visit over my Birthday. I only get to see them a few times a year now, so it was a real treat. Went to Grizedale forest (art sculptures in the trees), the Lake District, Alnwick castle (fucking awesome!) and Lancercost priory. Despite the weather doing it’s best to be a cock, we had a great time.
My ‘rents going home, of course! I tempered the situation by holding back on my Birthday presents a couple of days, just to give me something to look forward to.