Wednesday, July 02, 2008

What a banker!

A long time ago, in a galaxy far away, a group of Guardian readers wondered if people yoked to the furnace of the capitalist machine were as odious as they thought. Their problem was how to find out.

Fortunately, Cityboy braved the bull and bear pit so they don't have to, and has penned a 'heavily trailed in The London Paper' yarn about it.

"Cityboy: Beer and Loathing in the Square Mile"
is a morality tale charting how a socially astute, popular, fun-loving hippy is briefly (10 years) led astray by the lure of lucre. We know how right-on he was and is, because he takes every opportunity to remind us.

If you’re looking for incisive social commentary about the City in the late 1990s, go elsewhere, because Jane Austen it ain’t. The Digested Read explains it better than I could, but I can summarise the entire book in the following paragraph, to save the trouble of buying it:
All bankers are fat, smelly, spotty saddos who try to use their money to buy the sex and company they couldn’t get while they were the socially inept school mathmo dork. Except if they’re excessively posh, gauntly ghoulish and smug. All bankers’ wives are gold-digging dragons who live in Surrey and who their husbands constantly cheat on by sniffing coke off the naked buttocks of Brazilian lap dancers. Although I act like an immature pratt constantly through the book, I am actually a hippy artist. Sorry, did I forget to mention, I'm a hippy artist who loves the oppressed, but was turned into an ugly, bloated and yellowing, morality-free wreak by my competitive streak, before being redeemed in a long and badly written last chapter.
Yep. It really is that insightful. It heaps cliché after cliché onto an overload of swearing and debauchery. After the 10th coked-up lap dancer who overuses the word ‘f**k’ while inserting a cucumber into her rectum, I started craving a nice spreadsheet. Although none of the characters are particularly sympathetic (except for the protagonist’s colleague, Michael, who I’m probably supposed to think is a sad dork but actually sounds a really sweet guy), the main character exhibits such smug, lefty contempt for everyone and everything that no number of paralytically drunken client dinners and affairs could make him less likeable. His colleagues may be greedy and debauched, but at least they don't maintain pretentions to moral superiority.

I almost yelled at the book “If you hate your colleagues that much and think they are all saddos with poor personal hygiene and more money than social skills, why don’t you just f**k off and work for the public sector, you miserable ass… Oh, I forgot… The money…”

In summary: Cityboy or ‘the best hatchet job on hippies ever. Period.'


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