Friday, December 30, 2005

Eastern Promises

Been a while, that's for sure, and when people with roughly equivalent tech savvy to me can put together megamixes while cooped up with relatives, I really should be hanging my head in shame. Being a short-lived flickr celebrity probably went to my head a moment there.

So what was the story of the last few weeks? Saturnalia in Newburyport, MA, a town that time forgot until mass transit rediscovered it. Very nice it was too. Got to listen to the warm, fuzzy Congregationals singing Christmas carols to the wrong tunes. And saw the movie version of the musical of the Mel Brooks film The Producers - in Boston. Which was like the perfectly acceptable original version only with added show tunes. Bobbins it was.

But Syriana, caught at BAM the other night, was splendid. Some of the more dimwitted of my professional acquaintances were wont to call The World Is Not Enough, hardly 007's finest outing, the last word in international infrastructure intrigue. They, however, would naturally prefer their dark arts to be so trivialised.

Syriana is a sharp, well-paced, mostly thoughtful look at how finance and politics intersect. It does have a touch of the Tom Clancy about it, a probably unavoidable slant given the creators' need to make the film fast-paced and relevant to the American public. Moreover, it is hard to think of an Emirate as a suitable candidate for the fictional despotism featured in the film – except for Saudi Arabia.

Moreover, the screenwriters were apt to switch between LNG and crude oil as interchangeable commodities, even though the market dynamics behind their trade are hugely different. The reality of securing these energy supplies is not down to the interplay of politics so much as how these conspire to produce very cheap loans to the countries in question. And these loans do make a difference.

China, despite what the film suggests, is not quite in the Middle East game yet, although it is very close to being a player, and is presently behaving much as its fictional emissaries are in Indonesia.

Still, the mysterious “financial advisers”? All present and correct, although much more likely to be ensconced at a large US or European investment bank than a Geneva-based derivatives house, as Mr. Damon is. The shady US lawyers/lobbyists also exist, although it would be difficult for them to gain such an obvious pecuniary stake in an oil venture. Confessions Of An Economic Hit Man, a book I've been threatening to read for some time, would probably serve as an interesting companion piece.

And what happens when an LNG tanker gets hit by explosives? NO ONE KNOWS. Some say a nuclear explosion type thing, some say, a feeble farting sound. Me, I think that someone with $200 million and absolutely no marbles needs to find out. That way, we'll avoid any more pitiful Syriana-esque cop outs.

What will happen tomorrow night, no-one can tell. I may rock Cobble Hill, but then again I may stay in a while and watch my DVDs of the first season of the A-Team, the one with the pilot featuring the IMPOSTOR FACE.

Finally, the moderately creepy-looking Vincent Schiavelli is no more. His NYT obit is nowhere near extensive enough, but he will live on in our nightmares. RIP.

Gluecifer - "Bossheaded"
Buy the Sleazy Listening comp here, or the Soaring With Eagles at Night (To Rise With Pigs In The Morning) album here. Actually, do both. Gluecifer just split up, and Norwegian skag costs money.


Post a Comment

<< Home