Sunday, 15 November 2015

Paris and satire

First, let's state the obvious: the terrorists attacks in Paris on 13 November were awful, shocking and unjustifiable. Like (almost) everyone else we of course feel sympathy for the victims and their loved ones, anger at the perpetrators and support for the people of France who now have to get on with their lives in the shadow of these events.

Now, though, a question: how should a satirical cartoonist respond to events like this?

The view we took was to make a statement that expressed how we felt - which is to say, quietly defiant - with absolutely no attempt at humour.

We also decided just to place a simple drawing on the website, without sharing it via any other social network. We feel it is wrong to use events like this to draw attention to ourselves, and find it sad that many people rush to show the world how deeply affected they are.

If the essence of satire is to point out irony and inconsistency, then there is much to be found in the response of the media and others to Friday evening's events, a great deal of which has been crass and self-seeking. But that can wait.

Right, time to get blogging again

I've been quite busy. Apart from the day job and a bunch of other distractions, I've been building, a website where anyone can easily draw and share cartoons.

It's early days. The site broadly works - we describe it as in beta testing, which means it's far enough along for us to put it out there and get feedback, but please forgive the occasional grinding noise or whiff of smoke. There's a bit of content, all created in-house at the moment (but we're looking to recruit some more early contributors soon).

We want to use this blog to document our progress with this tiny tech startup. We're bootstrapping the finances so far, so progress might be interrupted from time to time by the need to earn money doing other things.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Political fall-out

Crikey, a rather striking headline from today's Financial Times:

"Trident upgrade to be used against Tories"

I know there has been some disgruntlement with Coalition life on the government benches of late, but didn't realise the Lib Dems were contemplating the nuclear option...

Monday, 23 May 2011


Ryanair announced increased annual profits this morning in spite of higher oil prices and the recession (particularly in its native Ireland, of course).

Reading through the newly released annual report for a quick article on Closer Analysis, I came across this chilling but rather illuminating statement:

"Higher oil prices [in the] winter...makes it more profitable to tactically ground up to 80 aircraft (40 last winter) rather than suffer losses operating them."

So if, like me, you've ever been stranded at a far-flung airport after a cancellation blamed on bad weather — in spite of the weather being pretty ordinary at both ends of the flight — there's a good chance this is the reason. We've long suspected it, but it's, er, refreshingly honest of Ryanair to put it in writing for us.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Solvency II: An iron fist in a verbose glove

I've been meaning to have a look at the original content of the EU's Solvency II directive, and today I finally got around to downloading it from here. This is an important document: on it apparently rests our best hope of avoiding financial institutions overstretching themselves in ways we don't understand and bringing the rest of the economy down with them. We should all have a grasp of what's in it, certainly those of us in or around the financial sector.

It's going to be a real page-turner, as they say: in fact I'd turned 69 such pages until I finished the table of contents. Good to know the financial crisis is generating employment somewhere.

Friday, 30 July 2010


So let me get this straight: New high street bank Metrobank is targeting people who find it difficult to open bank accounts, have a hungry dog, need access to an indoor loo and have regular requirement to consolidate big volumes of small coins. So they’ve opened their first branch round the corner from the YMCA at Centrepoint.

Well, it’s a segment...

Seriously, it's such a shame that their proposition differentiates itself only on pointless trivia when there are real opportunities here. Hopes now rest on Walton & Co.

Monday, 14 June 2010

A frenzy of DIY investment

There was an interesting piece in the Financial Times on Friday entitled Investors opt for DIY over advisers, citing various recent surveys showing a significant rise in execution-only investing. Given many people's poor experience of IFAs - dating back well before the market crash - this is not particularly surprising and hearteningly rational.

The worrying bit is the observation that online investors are ‘making 3x as many share trades as 18 months ago’: maybe the FT’s headline should say “Now retail investors churn their own portfolios so IFAs don’t have to.” Let's hope we've all learned to buy at the bottom and sell at the top.