The Maccabees sing Pelican

Saturday, 29 December, 2012 0 Comments

Orlando Weeks, Hugo White, Felix White, Rupert Jarvis and Sam Doyle combine to comprise The Maccabees, an indie rock band from South London. On 9 January this year, they released their latest album, Given to the Wild. The first single released was Pelican and it was one of the best pop songs of the year.

To have it all and still want more
One things for sure we’re all getting older
So we take a lover waiting in the corner
Before you know it, pushing up the daisies

Kimberly Anne within the iframe

Saturday, 1 December, 2012 0 Comments

Without getting too technical here, it has to be said that the WordPress blogging platform which powers Rainy Day is a thing of wonder for it combines computer code with that most redeeming human trait: sharing. This is manifested in the proliferation of “plugins”, those nifty community-created software components that enhance the whole. A case in point is iframe, an elegant plugin that makes embedding clips from Vimeo such a snap. That said, let’s now enjoy “Bury It There” by the South London singer-songwriter Kimberly Anne.

[iframe src=”″ width=”100%” height=”480″]

The non-review review of NW

Wednesday, 29 August, 2012

In the Sunday Telegraph, a person named Gaby Wood, “the head of Telegraph books”, purported to review the “long awaited NW“, the latest novel by Zadie Smith, in a truly obsequious, vapid piece titled “The return of Zadie Smith“. One of the commentators on the piece summed it up perfectly: “Please don’t include biographical facts […]

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Prodding a man-shaped Assange bag with a pitchfork

Thursday, 23 August, 2012

After nearly three decades in the UK’s Diplomatic Service, Charles Crawford retired from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office at the end of 2007. So, when it comes to matters consular and tactful, he knows the score. In his blog post, “Diplomatic Bags (Assange)“, Crawford points out that, “… if a man-shaped diplomatic bag is seen […]

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The Freedom Games

Monday, 13 August, 2012

As George Michael sang Freedom during the closing ceremony of the London Olympics last night, the stadium lighting system flashed the world “Freedom” across the crowded arena. It was a wonderful moment because these really were the Freedom Games. And the proof was provided by the medal table, where the tally of the United States, […]

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The UI, UX and DQ of #London2012

Monday, 30 July, 2012

A great event demands great respect and that’s what the great Dane, Jakob Nielsen, brought to the table before writing his latest column, “Official Olympic Website: UI Silver — but UX DQ“. The godfather of website usability applies his trained eye to the official site for the 2012 London games and gives Lord Coe & […]

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More than money

Saturday, 28 July, 2012

The 2012 Olympic Games are upon us and there’s no better way to wake up to the first day of competition in London than with an English song by and English singer: Seth Lakeman. More than Money is the opening track on his sixth solo album, Tales from the Barrel House. Despite many of the […]

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Let the Games begin!

Friday, 27 July, 2012

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle covered the 1908 London Olympics for The Daily Mail. “I do not often do journalistic work, but I was tempted chiefly by the offer of an excellent seat,” he recalled in his autobiography. Upon seeing the fatigued Italian marathon runner, Dorando Pietri, entering the stadium at White City, Doyle wrote: “It […]

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The Social Games

Friday, 20 July, 2012

“Postings, blogs and tweets should at all times conform to the Olympic spirit and fundamental principles of Olympism as contained in the Olympic Charter, be dignified and in good taste, and not contain vulgar or obscene words or images.” So it says in the IOC Social Media, Blogging and Internet Guidelines “for participants and other […]

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Gay rich and Rich gay

Monday, 21 May, 2012

What became England’s most popular musical of the 18th century, “The Beggar’s Opera“, was written by John Gay and produced by John Rich. The success of their long-running co-operation was said at the time to have made “Gay rich and Rich gay“. With its nursery-rhyme structure, the “How D’You Do” song from “The Beggar’s Opera” […]

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Those huge French Whales: Kerviel, Tourre and Bruno Iksil

Friday, 11 May, 2012

According to Société Générale, one of its traders, Jérôme Kerviel, engaged in unauthorized transactions in 2007 totaling as much as €49.9 billion, a figure higher than the bank’s total market capitalization. On 5 October 2010, a French court sentenced Kerviel to five years of prison, with two years suspended, full restitution of the $6.7 billion that was lost because of his speculation, and a permanent ban from working in financial services. Afterwards, the bank stated that the restitution was “symbolic”, and that it had no expectation the sum would be paid.

Talking of 2010, fans of high finance will also recall the multi-billion dollar accusations of fraud against Goldman Sachs for selling its clients toxic mortgage-backed securities that it had specifically designed to fail for the sole purpose of betting against them. Who got blamed for this scam? Fabrice Pierre Tourre. The fabulous Frenchman was the only person named when financial regulators charged the US investment bank with fraud.

Now it’s the turn of their compatriot Bruno Iksil to share the (dis)honour. Back on 6 April, The Wall Street Journal reported that Iksil, a trader at J.P. Morgan known in the market as the “London Whale”, had made large bets on credit derivatives. The bank said Iksil’s unit was meant to ‘hedge structural risks’. A week later, Bloomberg ran a story titled “JPMorgan’s London Whale Could Use New Nickname” that noted Iksil “had earned two unforgettable nicknames: (1) The London Whale, and (2) Voldemort, after the Harry Potter villain.” On the very same day, J.P. Morgan reported its first-quarter earnings and CFO Doug Braunstein said that the bank was “very comfortable” with the unit’s positions. Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon called media coverage on the matter a “tempest in the teapot“. That’s a “tempête dans un verre d’eau“, by the way.

Yesterday, J.P. Morgan said it had taken $2 billion in losses so far in the second quarter related to the London Whale’s trading. Dimon called the strategy “flawed, complex, poorly reviewed, poorly executed and poorly monitored.”
WSJ bottom line: “Asked what, in hindsight, he should have paid more attention to, Mr. Dimon deadpanned: ‘newspapers.'”