Saturday, 8 November 2008

Masters of the Universe

One of the most striking aspects of what has been variously called the "financial crisis", the "credit crunch" or the "heap big money frick-up" of the past 12 months has been its affect on the little people. Those quiet, unassuming types who've now been brought into the forefront.

Yes. That's right. The stockmarket traders.

Barely a news item goes by without a shot of an anonymous man (and it is, for reasons unknown, usually a man) with (a) his head in his hands (b) wearing a multi-coloured blazer (c) shouting with a whole bunch of other men, or (d) glancing anxiously at a line on a graph heading south quicker than a swallow in autumn.

But who are these people, and what of their stories?

Robert and Trevor are almost unique in the financial world. The only Siamese twins to actively trade on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, they've been a familiar sight to all since 1983. Being joined at the pelvis hasn't stopped them from enjoying a 25-year career. The fact that Robert is a bear while Trevor is a bull does give cause for some fireworks, though. Shortly after this photo was taken, they went and had 'Sell' and 'Buy' tattooed on their respective foreheads.

David had begun to regret his choice of wallpaper design.

Norman's rendition of "here's the church, and here's the steeple" never failed to raise everyones' spirits at Morgan Stanley.

When Vanessa found out who'd put superglue on her telephone handset, a whole catering pack of whup-ass was going to get well and truly opened.

Wise, avuncular old Bernard had been a feature of the trading floor for as long as anyone could remember. In fact, he'd walked in off the street looking for Danish pastries back in '77. The fact that he would still perform "Mr Bojangles" for spare change hadn't stopped him from becoming Director of Equities for a global investment bank.

The dying firefly struck Maurice a glancing blow to the back of the head.

The superglue phantom had struck again. For George, the nightmare was just beginning.

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