Jagger, Football and the Futures floor

The thrill is gone

It’s gone away from me

The thrill is gone baby

The thrill is gone away from me

Although, I’ll still live on

B.B.King

By Richard Matthews June 3rdI’ve been thinking a lot about the Rolling Stones this week and have even tried to understand You Tube in an attempt to watch them as I get increasingly excited about going to see them for probably the last time. I am genuinely excited about this and my mind started drifted to what has driven them on for so long. Let’s be honest they haven’t made a great record since the early 1970s yet 40 years later they are still selling out stadiums and getting old guys like me excited. Surely it can’t just be the huge sums of money that they make it must be the buzz from performing that drives them.

As some of you know a few of my relations are in the performing arts as are a couple of my friends. I have never asked any of them the question whether it’s the fame or the fortune that drives them. I did however ask my old school chum Nick Feldman, of Wang Chung fame, how he could go up on stage in front of thousands of fans and his reply was illuminating when he said “Well you did too, when you were on the floor”. Now, I am certainly not claiming I had thousands of fans on the floor, that was for some of my better looking colleagues like Bunker or Prentice, but I did get a great surge of adrenalin on occasions.

The scoring of THAT goal by Marco Tardelli and his reaction or the roars for an encore for Mick Jagger are easy to identify with as ultimate moments of excitement but the selling of a big clip in the market ? Surely not! Well perhaps there are similarities. They are moments of high excitement which lift you and more particularly the actors up from the drudgery of the day to day. Markets are the same and indeed when it comes down to it 99% of the time they are bloody boring and to me that is where the stress came in. Like the drum solo or Arsenal’s long periods of sideways passing, markets can become becalmed in the doldrums. Impossible to explain but that’s the market.

This is not to say that any of us sat idly by doing the Daily Telegraph crossword or playing par to 100, no the quiet markets were in a way when the stress came out. Stress was and is got out oftentimes through humour. A quiet morning in the money markets was the same as a quiet day on the futures floor. I wrote a little about Batsey last week and his love of attempting the wall of death in the pit. Now Batsey is a lovely guy and still a little eccentric but out of all the people I’ve worked with there was one truly bonkers personality, Adrian Scott-Jones. I worked with Scotty, who was more often than not just called Loopy, at R P Martin in the mid 1970s and stayed friends with for many years after. I’ve already tried to write a story about some of our joint luncheon exploits but my editor ( well Debbie my wife, my official PC barometer) told me I couldn’t recount the story so it was cut . Let us just say that when God created Adrian he emptied the draw called eccentric and placed the contents into Loopy’s personality, then rubbed his hands together sat back and grinned. In excess of six Foot, immaculately dressed always with a starched collar and highly polished Brogues Adrian looked every bit the Stockbroker. But he wasn’t he was a money broker or as a stockbroker would look down his nose and say “a shag broker”.

In the 1970s R. P. Martin was one of the top Money Brokers in London and this is where Adrian practised his special brand of madness. RPM were situated on the corner of Gresham Street and Coleman Street just by Guildhall and with The City Circle conveniently located within 100 yards and a back door straight into Shorts Bar. Just to really fill in the picture we had a messenger , Charlie, who used to wheel a tea urn around in the morning to re-fill your mugs but he also always carried a bottle of Vodka for those in need. Wood Street police station was also nearby where at the time the Police stabled their horses and when it was quiet you could hear the horses trotting by. On hearing them Loopy would get his hunting horn out ( just what every broker kept in his bottom draw) , open the window, start playingand then scream“ away the Foxes , away the Foxes”. I can still see him running down the street doing the same dressed in a full Thawb (Google it – I had to!) that he had brought back from an early trip to Bahrain and also the occasions that the Police would pay us a visit. Adrian like all of us lived for the trade. Sadly the last I heard of Adrian he had taken it all a bit too far and was languishing in a Federal Prison for one trade too many- boy that will be a challenge for his cell mate- Loopy if you read this I still love you shagger!

Hitting a spoof bid in the overnight market and watching it collapse or lifting a large offer just before an interest rate move  came out was rewarding . Fun , profitable and made you feel good but nothing compared to the thrill of open outcry . The buzz of the pit and floor watching for a hand signal from you and the noise that came back when you had read the market right and had the market on the run were , or should I say are , unbeatable. To quietly talk to a client, explain that the market was long, thin of bids and being spoofed and for them  to believe you was half the battle but to hear those words “ your amount is my amount “ or more prosaically “ sell the fucking lot” was only half the fun. To actually nod the order in and watch the market collapse, hear the noise and see the panic for me was as good a thrill and rush as any performance in a concert could have been. And do you know what the really good news was? I never had to sing.

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