Unapologetic insolence from an aging subversive

Unapologetic insolence from an aging subversive

Saturday, 31 January 2009

Masters of the Universe

Back in the late nineties, when my two sons were still at school, I took them on a road trip south to Sydney. There were a couple of reasons for this. I had taken some long service leave, recently purchased a funny French car (Peugeot 505 wagon) which I wanted to drive. I also hoped to connect, after many decades, with some of my rifle platoon mates.

It was a great trip, and we had many adventures of the fairly humdrum kind. I think the boys enjoyed it, as it still comes up for mention from time to time. I met up with a couple of old mates, and had a drink and told a lie or two.

We spent about a week in Sydney, staying at a basic holiday park and commuting daily into the city. We were fascinated (and generally impressed) by the diversity of the populace. This diversity is not a feature of Toowoomba, although since USQ started aggressively selling its wares overseas, it has begun to change.

One of the areas of Sydney we found interesting was the financial district. We kept going back to gawk at the strange specimens of both genders, on display at some of the swank coffee houses in this area. The most interesting activity was simply listening to the conversations. It was worth paying the exorbitant prices simply to buy a coffee to sit and listen.

I hadn't heard such a vacuous lot of prattle in a long time, nor seen such a collection of up-themselves ponces. My old man would have used the term "mug lairs". (It's a pity it's gone from common usage). If we hadn't seen it, we wouldn't have believed it.

I was reminded of Banjo Paterson's "Man from Ironbark" -

It was the man from Ironbark, who struck the Sydney town,
He wandered over street and park, he wandered up and down.

He loitered here; he loitered there, till he was like to drop,

Until at last in sheer despair he sought a barber's shop.


There were some gilded youths that sat along the barber's wall.
Their eyes were dull, their heads were flat, and they had no brains at all;

We probably fit the description of the loiterers, and those we encountered the gilded youths. They were gilded, but not all youths. The second part of the description of their personal attributes was apt.

We weren't in a barber's shop. They don't have barber's shops in that part of Sydney.

I remember sharing the thought with my sons that if these people had their hands on the financial pulse of the country we were in deep trouble. Given what's gone down in the last twelve months, I was probably right. I guess this holds for Wall Street. They're all the same breed.

Given the kafuffle about Citicorp's planned purchase of a corporate jet using bailout funds, it would seem likely. And these idiots are regarded as "Masters of the Universe"?

I'd like to drag one or two of them to Quilpie or Cunnamulla, give them a cut lunch and a bottle of water, and suggest they walk to Sydney thinking about their net worth to the nation on the way.


Boy on a bike said...

When I saw that picture of a jet, I thought the story was going to be about Bligh. Ah well.

I did a stint last year in a financial company. I was in the back office, so I was spared all that rubbish. However, I'd have breakfast (after riding to work) in the cafe downstairs, and I got to listen in to some of those Masters.

"Masterbators" suits them perfectly.

I also once knew a bloke who was a stock broker for Rene Rivkin (when Rene still did that sort of thing). He was so full of crap, it wasn't funny. He was thick as too short planks, but a wizard at soaking up the daily marketing spiel ("we're pushing sultanas today!") and repeating it to clients in an utterly believable and coherent manner.

"Grendel" said...

Having lived in Cunnamulla but also travelling to Sydney for work I know what you are saying.

Sad but true.

According to my sister- our family's genealogy expert, we are supposed to be descended from the wild man from Ironbark on which the legendary poem is based.

I still can't convince Mrs Grendel that I'd look better with a beard though.

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