Wednesday, 28 January 2015


The telly is profiling the super rich at the moment;  there is a great, angry show on one of the outlets, The SuperRich and Us,  there has been the exposure of the unspeakable and vile TatlerFolk, who should all be summarily executed and PBC 2's carefully restricted view of Richard Branson's Caribbean island, Nekker, Billionaire's Paradise, despite all the inevitable fawning, 

reveals him to be a cheap and not very bright narcissist and a bit of a snorting bully.  

Oh, mr ishmael, he can't be stupid, look at all the money he's made, plus Tubular Bells.  Right, that's me told. Robert Maxwell, Alan Sugar, Rupert Murdoch, you are my sunshine, all of you.

When I was in business, myself, retailing furniture into prosperous houses, I would always pay attention to anything the customer chose to say to me, I was always curious. Some were self-made businessfolk, engineers from the Back Country, fishmongers from the Cotswolds. Many were senior health professionals grown  wealthy in private practice.  I sold a beautiful, extravagant five-mirrored dressing chest,
It was like this but much more grand  and florid.

one time, to a regular customer, an anaesthetist, and in the shop she said to her brat of a 12 year old daughter, for whom she had made the purchase - £1250 - Now, darling, mr ishmael has gone to some trouble to find us this and it just so matches your other bedroom furniture,  you will take good care of it because it's quite a lot of money........Oh, mother, it's only what you make in a morning.  Well, not every morning, darling. 

Another time, a brain surgeon at the Queen Elizabeth, wanting to buy a big fuck off compactum wardrobe went into one of those spiv spiels, Oh, come,we are all men of the world, surely you can lose the VAT. For cash.  We're talking cash here. Pound notes. There weren't any pound notes, then, but never mind, I assumed he knew his neural pathways better than he knew his currency-argot.

 I happened to have a couple of grand in my back pocket. Cash, I said, showing it to him, I have enough cash for today, thank you, and anyway, cash sales have to go through the books, too, whaddayathink I am, a fucking crook, like you, and where do you suppose your NHS salary comes from, if it's not from VAT, eh? I fired a round of fucks into him and off he went, a sadder and a wiser man; he came back though, muted, and bought the wardrobe, 'sany number of brain surgeons around, but this wardrobe - it had been a bishop's - was the only one in the world.

Another time, I bought  another compactum wardrobe - I restored and sold  loads of them - at auction, one night, bought it for a song, don't know why, nobody wanted it; it was what the trade calls Edwardian, that fabulous inlaid mahogany, unshowy, with a flat pediment, simple but high quality brassware, masculine, with beautiful grains and colours. 

Anyway, I had this, one like this,  in the shop for ages, at £450 and I couldn't sell it but I liked it so much that I took it home. And for about a year, I used to wake up and look at this thing, in awe. I had sold hundreds of flashy Victorian wardrobes but these turn-of-the-century pieces were and still are, in terms of materials, design and cabinet-makers skills, a special case;  the Italians used to love this stuff, shipping it out by the tonne.   Time came, anyway,  that I was moving house, myself;  I'll just drop this back in the shop, I thought, until we're settled-in at the new place.  The piece still had it's £450 price ticket on and when I put it in the shop I just thought, maybe it's too cheap and so I squeezeed a 1 in front of the 450 and fuck me, it sold within ten minutes. Woman walked into the shop and said, can you deliver that?  Sure can. Right, she said, taking out her cheque book, how much is it?

When we delivered it, to a Victorian millionaire's  mansion in Farquahar Road, Edgbaston, I realised that these people had better things to do than involve me in a tax fiddle, money wasn't their thing, they already had money; fine things, rare, unusual, preferably unique, that was their thing. And sitting in their then two million pounds house, this would have been cheap at twice the price. The barrowboy surgeon, however, he was still on the make, probably always will be, although he will always, also,  think twice about saying Can we lose the tax; by we, he meant me, he meant me going to prison, cheeky cunt.
The are not all like him, forever holding their hands out, scowling;  I dealt with scores of them and some were just like you and I but there were enough of them, like him, to give his game a bad name.
My business life persuaded me that for most of us, despite the efforts of our masters to persuade us otherwise, money isn't actually everything.  

The Branson show, however, the existence and celebrity of a prat like Richard Branson, provides a counterpoint;  depressing, vulgar and trashy the super rich, whilst depriving so many of what they need have nothing that I want.

In addition to running late and overcrowded trains, Beardy also makes a packet from hiring his island home to stupid arseholes who would disgrace Butlins and this show took a look at them and their costly experence in Paradise. Branson always walks and talks flash insouciance, doesn't he? Nobody loves the rich, apart, maybe, from themselves and Beardy's chums seem to be arseholes, like himself, chancers, like Tony and Imelda, who knighted him after a free holiday in his island shithole.  

This is all free, Richard, right?  
I mean everything?
Knighthoods don't come cheap, y'know.
I may be a pretty, straightguy 
but I still have to turn a profit.

And, look, I simply say,
Imelda, she doesn't come cheap.

Beardy has, in pride of place in his beach hut, a letter from Diana Spencer-Battenberg, a knob-sucking-promissory-note, a  paean to his generosity, in letting her, her brats and her team - servants paid for by us - crash-out there, she hadn't met the al Fayeds at that point.  Beardy simpers, in his wet voice, that it was just perfect for Diana, 

took the pressure off, and for the kids, too, took the pressure off princes Gormless and Hooligan, because they were people like him, people like Beardy, in the public eye, what they need and deserve is a ShitIsle in the sun, away from the rest of us, who make their lives a misery. And that's what he's got, palm trees, lizards and a poxy wee beach, which employs a handful of slaves-with-JCBs from a neighbouring island, desperately trying to stop the sands slipping into the sea. 

This portrait of  the mad aviator on his Caribbean home did him  no favours, even relaxed, fending-off no questions about VirginSpace or his shitty train service  and half-pissed, even on his own turf he looks and sounds shifty and unwholesome. 
No, no (giggles wetly), 
it's just a metaphor for me pissing on you.

The white staff,  all youngish, all prettyish, all unfathomably stupid and starstruck, 

live-in on Party Island, within earshot of their  master's wet voice, the better to serve him, 'cos that's wot Richard needs, opined some pimply rentboy, cos he's so busy an' works so hard;  the black folks  are boated-in, daily to make the beds, haul the shit, chop the wood and dig the sand;  Richard allows them a wee party of their own, now and again, a glass of red wine and a jump in  Branson's ocean; they must think they've died and gone to Heaven, jumping in the sea, eh? Caribbeans?
Another Beardy Bimbo,
they all look like her, his Apartheid inner sanctum.

Looking uncomfortably like a pimp, Biggles  insisted that not only should his staff members drink with paying visitors but have what he called relationships with them, boasting, with a snort, that he had sacked, after two days, a manager who had suggested otherwise.  

Branson's accountant, above, relaxes by leting his customers nibble  sushi off her warm body, it's really career-expanding, she pouts, to have soy sauce licked out of my bellybutton. 
Honest, not invent.

Said visitors appeared to consist, on this occasion,  of older, rich women, drooling over the Watersports boy, just think, one of them drooled, today he was teaching me to water-ski, tonight he's pouring my drink, nudge-nudge.  Others would call for drinks to be delivered to them as they sprawled on the dwindling sands, and can he please take his shirt off before he comes. Splashing about in the sea, drinking too much booze, eating too much food and the ogling of young flesh, far from the prying eyes of others,  that seemed to be the Nekker Experience.  Twenty grand a week, or thereabouts

At the whites only staff barby, the boythings and girlthings prepare Richard's favourite for him -  chickens are broiled, stood vertical over the coals on a beer can which is opened and stuffed into their  aperture; the top removed, the beer is supposed to boil, flavouring the flesh.  It was an oddly obscene sight, a dead chicken, cooking  with a beer can thrust up it, and not just for vegetarians. And one can't help but suspect that, never mind his wet grins,  this ghastly fuck-up of a man would like to see us all with a redhot beercan up our arses.

Despite all the conditions he would have imposed, in this startling show  Branson could not help but expose himself, wanking away at the White Man's Burden.

My old friend Gauguin used to fume:   Life being what it is, one dreams of vengeance. A hurricane would do, sweep all this vermin into the sea,


oldrightie said...

Would you, back then, have sold him furniture, Ishmael!?

call me ishmael said...

There was the odd person, one everyfew years, to whom I would show the door, mr oldrightie; funny business, retail, a bit like barkeeping, in that you are kind of at the mercy of whoever walks in the door for the tenor of the day but as long as people observed basic courtesies, yes, I would serve anyone; I think, overall, relatively wealthy people and relatively poor people were the most agreeable: teevee people, grasping doctors and lawyers being the real filth, the occasional judge, too; senior academics were great. Branson, anyway, if that show is anything to go by, probably enjoys sitting on bamboo logs, grinning and dribbling his self deprecating public school dribbly grin.

Doug Shoulders said...

I didn’t see the Branson thing but I’ve seen the type of teevee. Usually done by that peers morgan…sicophanting the arse of some rich cunt in the sun. cheap teevee about essentially cheap people.
The thing I always take from these things…before I switch off an do something useful…they’e fukin’ boring people. If that’s what they’re like with the lights shining on them and a dialogue that’s practically scripted to make the look good…fuck me…how dull is your life really?
I remember a sketch where Alexia Sayle was talking about meeting P McCartney for the first time. While listening to the great musician speak all that was going through Sayle head was..”Give me a million pounds ya borin” bastard.
They only have money…nothing else..Does Branson have friends?

Caratacus said...

My dear sister-in-law used to work for Beardie and idolised him; her sycophancy knew no bounds and became bloody tedious after quite a short while. When she proudly showed me a picture of herself with him, (him grinning inanely into the camera, her staring at him adoringly), I begged for a copy. She was only too pleased to oblige, suspecting nothing. The next time we visited I presented her with a framed copy of the photo to which had been added a speech bubble wherein she was saying, "I don't arf like your pickles". I regret to have to report that there has been a considerable froideur since that day ...

call me ishmael said...

This was absentee presenter style documentary making, just a quite coarse voiceover, no Piers Morgan, no Alan Whicker,not even the repulsive Trevor McDonald, mr doug shoulders, but some canny editing elicited more of the Branson brand backstory than any of those would have managed. It's worth a look.

I only ever took a Branson train once, to London, to see Paul McCartney, it was hot, stinky and delayed for ninety minutes. Only ever travelled by car, since. And air ambulance,

I tell a lie, been, once, on the Highland Chieftain, from Inverness to Edinburgh and return and that was as close as I'll come to the Orient Express, had the added bonus of seeing three MSPs, gorging themselves to near death, at my expense, in the buffet car.

call me ishmael said...

Where ya been, king caratacus, it's almost Spring? Families, they are the very Devil, eh. We have no in-laws, not one between us. And if yours are anything to go by we are much relieved.

Bungalow Bill said...

A hippy entrepreneur was always going to be a prick, affecting to be radical and unconstrained while being an Olympic arsehole. A friend of mine always equates him with Jonathan King, another cultivator of young people's affections. I don't know about these things Mr I, as you are aware, but my friend's main objection (apart from their public school unpleasantness) is that apparently they both had a hand in sponsoring the rock band Genesis. A horrible twat in any event.

call me ishmael said...

The staffers at Virgin who actually discovered and developed Mike Oldfield and his Tubular Bells used to scoff that Branson knew fuck all about music of any sort, his favourite record being Congratulations, by Cliff Richard. Funny, isn't it, the noisy bouyancy of the empty vessel.
I don't know about Genesis, mr bungalow bill, save anyone associated with them should be burned alive.

Anonymous said...

Henry said
Many years ago i worked has
a welder on steel framed buildings including a building owned
by Branson, I was fascinated by his
lift which could carry him and his car to his penthouse flat,I will say
it was in a very shitty area of
London next to a canal formally
used to transport london,s rubbish on, Now i,m retired i dont get such treats!

Mike said...

Sounds just the sort of place for Air Miles; bet he's been there.

Always had my doubts about beardy - both him and his alleged wealth.

call me ishmael said...

You do appreciate, mr mike, that without His Royal Highness representing us UK plc would sell nothing abroad; AirMilesAndy IS the UK economy; the very least we might do is buy him his very own island retreat. Do you realise that if everyone in the country chipped-in fifty pee, we could purchase His Grace a useful little hideaway, seems churlish not to.

Bungalow Bill said...

What if he fancies somewhere remote enough but still a part of these islands? Have a care Mr I.

Mike said...

Mr I: didn't that just happen? His RH & Fergie paid 13M for a pad in Verbier - you don't think that was their money?

I must admit to a little shadenfraude recently when beardy's place burned down.

SG said...

Isn't one of the Orkney Isles for sale just now? Not very luxurious though...

call me ishmael said...

Yes but it gave them an opportunity to build-back, bigger than ever, bolder, wiser.

call me ishmael said...

Too cold for him, here, mr bungalow bill, and anyway, their writ stops at the Pentland Firth.

Lilith said...

When I look at the Necker Island staff I notice that I cuddled one of them as a baby.

mongoose said...

A ghastly display all around. It is also a sad truth that really, really stratospherically successful - the commercial empire-building people - are indeed that way. It is part of the mindset, I think, that builds anything on that scale not to be too worried about anything or anyone. It's almost a game with the collecting of coin just the means of keeping score. They're the psychokillers of Glengarry Glen Ross but writ large. And, yes, I've met a couple or three.

We also disagree about the rules, don't we? But that's OK. That's the difference between a Zen Presbyterian Marxist and a dirt-poor Catholic liberal. There is a new film BTW about the swirling and whirling night of the Irish meltdown. It sheds a deal of melodramatic light on the triangle of bank-government-people. "The Guarantee". Once one realises that it is a carousel that not everybody pays to ride, well, fuck 'em. Why is the only real money, the money that the other two take off the people? And even then, only off some of them.

Greece is about to test whether a country can really be run with only the pretend money and none of their own real stuff. I wonder if they will be allowed to win. It was a wise gamble to be the first to try. The poor Irish have missed that boat and will be paying off their leaders' misjudgment for generations.

call me ishmael said...

Always warned you, ms lilith, about that Earth Mother stuff, suckling vipers; hope you have a minimum age limit, in your new house.

call me ishmael said...

A I hinted,somewhere above, they all seem like filth, to me, Maxwell, Murdoch, The Barclays, Sugar, all of them, Jobs, Gates, the Russians are unfuckingspeakable, and it is now widely appreciated that most commercial leviathans are dangerous psychotics.

Any more thoughts on Greece, mr mongoose?

I have an Irish lullaby for them, further on up the road.

yardarm said...

So Branson runs a place where the guests pay to go then have sexual relations with the staff......isn`t that a brothel ?

Always thought Beardie was just a tedious self publicist but he`s just coughed to being a whoremaster, a beardie madame. Necker Island is no more than a knocking shop with low annual rainfall, the best li`l whorehouse in the West Indies.

Interesting, isn`t it, Beardie was in the balloons and boats but not his rocket ship.

jgm2 said...

Mr I

'Splashing about in the sea, drinking too much booze, eating too much food and the ogling of young flesh, far from the prying eyes of others'

Just spent a week doing pretty much that with a bunch of fifty-something men on a sail boat. I was the youngest - I'm not 50 yet. Didn't cost 5% of that £20K figure mind you. Flights included.

My missus had watched the show and was then streaming the juicy bits to me on her i-crap when we were on some train up to London or something. 'Eh? This (married) woman is supposed to be the fucking accountant or something and she's letting total strangers eat sushi off her body?'

'Eh? These folk live 'relatively modestly' but have found the £20K a week on eight separate occasions to come to Necker Island?'

I like the Caribbean. I like the fact that it's warm and, if you watch where you go, you can get cheap food, booze and accommodation. Since I 'discovered' the Caribbean ten years ago I've probably been back twice a year since. Antigua, St Martin, St Barts, Anguilla ... heaps of 'em. All for at least a week at a time. I've never been to the BVI although I'd like to go. It's just that it's a pain in the arse to get to from the UK. And, as you observe, while we were drooling over 20-something local (and international) totty the Shirley Valentine crowd were enthusiastically bumping and grinding with the local 20-something men.

Basically the entire Caribbean seems to be full of sex tourists. It's just that Branson seems to be charging a fuck of a sight more than the Radisson does for a hotel room.

St Barts is jammed with utterly beautiful 20-something women working in the hotels and bars or just lying topless on the beach. Looking, no doubt, to snag the son of one of the wealthy fuckers who can actually afford to live on the island. Or, failing that, the old fucker himself.

This Necker business is just conspicuous consumerism. Russian oligarch manners. Look at me and all the money I can piss away on a holiday. The cunts would be delighted if it was 40K a week instead of 20K. Make it even more exclusive.

Me? I love the fact that with a bit of planning you can have 99% of the fun for 5% of the outlay. 20K a week? For what? And you have to buy your own airfares on top of that? Oh do fuck off.

And, if I'm honest, you could probably go down to the Greek islands or the Adriatic for a fraction of even my Caribbean outlay and have just as good a time sailing, eating, drinking an staring bug-eyed at women who were out of your league thirty years ago never min today.