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Everything posted by montesquieu

  1. Am no fan of Balls but there are a few that trump him, in no particular order: Harrier Harman (got to be top of any hate-list of pols) Jeffrey *unt (tops my list of smug-self-satisfied, profoundly irritating Tories) Grant Shapps (born without a proper-length neck - so smarmy he makes me sick) Cleggover (nuff said) Phillip Hammond (third placed Tory after shapps and *unt George Osborne (so squeaky, only his posh vowels stop him from coming across like a David Beckham that learned to count) Warsi (the Prescott of the Tory party, a one-woman disaster zone) Danny Alexander (so over-promoted he makes Bob Ainsworth look like PM material)
  2. Don't worry doesn't X-factor start again soon and you have to bet Channel 4 will have a totally chavtastic replacement for Big Brother come the summer ... oh and small wedding of the wedding of the regal chinnless one with an overly-chinned oink from Berkshire ...
  3. Interesting. I recall from my days as a hack that advertising (newspapers and radio primarily) is a failsafe leading indicator of economic downturn/upturn, typically by about 6 months. Discussed my recollections with someone at WPP recently who concurred. Harbinger of the coming slowdown. Maybe Andrew Sentence is right.
  4. An Audion valve CD player from the mid-90s. Uses an old TEAC transport for which spares are sadly long unavailable. Nice DAC chip, TDA 1541, inside. Nice, but not worth £1000 these days (like I said zero bids at that starting price). I'd be taking quite a risk even at £500. Your problem sounds more like a duff component (perhaps an expired capacitor) or even a loose connection, may well be fixable.
  5. Just off the phone to a guy who is selling a piece of vintage hifi. Was on ebay for 10 days, starting price £1000, 83 views, no bids, so not exactly a highly-desirable item. I had called him last week, and got some info. It's an interesting old piece but on checking it out, there are ZERO parts available if the mechanism goes kaput - it would instantly become a £1000 doorstop. Quite common with old CD players. This one listed at £5000 new 15 years ago and still sounds competitive with the latest modern kit, but if it breaks, that's it - no lasers, no transports available and it's generally not possible to retro-fit one from another machine: most modern CD players use CD-ROM drives which operate on an entirely different principle. (I don't think the bloke paid anything close to £5000 for it originally BTW, but he has at least had 15 years' use out of it). But it is an interesting piece of kit, in a similar way to an old sports car, flawed but fun, and I emailed him asking if he'd take offers. I was prepared to risk £500 on the player lasting for a few years longer, but not £1000. Anyway, he called me this morning. I offered my £500, and he got mortally offended (in fact I'm sure he swore at them in Welsh!). 'I'D RATHER SET FIRE TO IT THAN SELL IT FOR THAT.' What kind of idiot statement is that? Anyway got me thinking about emotional attachment to money and in particular to the idea of what something is 'worth'. I had a sadly all too common experience looking at a house last summer. Bloke, ex army type, wanted £70k more than he paid for the place in Oct 2007. Why? New curtains, some flooring, lick of paint. WTF? Tracked it for a bit but it was eventually withdrawn from sale before Xmas. Perhaps he MEW'd £70k and forgot that most of it went on credit cards or a round the world cruise. The arrogance that HIS HOUSE was worth £XXX,XXX and not a penny less was staggering though. I guess the only thing that will change this is forced sellers, but somehow this time round we seem to have avoided that scenario altogether. :angry:
  6. Anecdotal: Ex-landlady (we moved out in Jan - earlier than she planned - as she was taking the piss, looking for us to put up with endless work prepping for sale in May, without a penny off the rent). She was supposedly looking for a quick sale but didn't price that way ... anyway has dropped £95K so far (on £595k) and still AT LEAST £50k to go I reckon. A decent fall in three months, though . After having it on throughout 2006-2008 at a stupidly high price, she rented to us for two and a bit years 'while the market recovers'. Now she's effectively camping in an empty house waiting on it to sell (to save money as she has since retired, she moved back in but there's just a bed, no furniture - it must be quite painful not having our rent but having to pay council tax and her mortgage off savings). Though serves her right after the aggravation she put us through. I suspect fear for her will set in rather earlier. Unless it shifts quickly at the new price - which I doubt.
  7. The area is expensive, it's on the edge of Wokingham, which is silly expensive on average mainly because of good transport to London and Thames Valley) and lots of nice detached houses set amongst trees out towards Finchampstead. Winnersh village itself though is a dump, there are two motorways (M4 and M239) in constant earshot, the railway is within 50m, it's on the Heathrow flightpath, and you are just a bit too close to Chav City 2 (aka Reading - Chav City 1 is Slough) for comfort. New 4-bed shoeboxes nearby seem to be making close to £400k though.
  8. Bingo! It's now reduced to £500k (£500k houses above and below). So indeed, a way of not owning up to the price fall. Thanks for the tip!
  9. Grossly overpriced house (started at £595k in Dec, gone to £575k then £550k last week) has just gone 'POA'. Similar sized house with bigger garden and a swimming pool 30m away went has gone unsold since the summer at £450k. Only two sales in the area since 2002, both around £600k, both much larger places (granny flats, extra bedrooms, major extensions) though that is not necessarily apparent from the land registry records. Seller is well-known in the area, fascinating mix of greed mingled with desperation and total detachment from reality. (It's been rented out for a while but was up for sale for two years between 2006 and 2008 at around the £600k mark). http://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-32039222.html?premiumA=true I've seen cars labelled POA before but not houses? A way of avoiding publicising a major price drop perhaps?
  10. Martha Cairney did exactly the same with Cleggover when she had him on TWATO. Lazy, Lazy, Lazy.
  11. Rubbish. I got missus pregnant when I was 35, had just got back from the life of Riley for a few years in New Zealand after I bailed out when the Tories won in 1992 ( brought her back with me, 19 she was), was doing casual shifts on newspapers. Her getting preggers was a useful catalyst and by the time the kid was born I had a FT job. Didn't buy a house till our second was almost born in 1998 two years later. Did me no harm at all. To the OP: don't follow anyone's script. If you want to go, get it out of your system, either you'll always regret it or you'll do it later in life at higher risk for all sorts of reasons.
  12. Agree 100% The 'recession' was neatly timed to puncture the - at the time - rapidly growing discourse around sustainability and the future of the planet. That's all gone away, and since then we have the scientifically illiterate (but bible quoting) global warming deniers taking control of the US congress. We need another oil shock badly or this planet has no future whatsoever. Necessity is the mother of invention and maybe $450 oil will be the spur the planet needs to come up with a better alternative.
  13. If you know anything at all about consulting contracts you would know that huge sums were spent in the privatisations of Thatcher and Major. Everything in modern politics - from SPADS to consultants, spin doctors to PFI (called PPP in those days) date from Tory administrations. It's not specifically a Labour problem at all. Having said that Labour accusing anybody of waste is a bit rich ....
  14. The custom in the Tokyo underground - which is equipped in this way - is that people can text and surf till their heart's content, but no talking. There really is no need for voice calls these days. No chance of that here going by the tossers on trains with phones, iPods and the like.
  15. To be fair to Evan Davies he was frequently bearish both on the Today programme and on his other radio shows. Steph though - I don't think so.
  16. We shouldn't flatter ourselves they aren't here to learn anything, they are here to shop and have their picture taken in front of Big Ben. Stuff remains far cheaper here than in the ripoff shopping malls in Chinese cities expressly designed to part those who have got rich in the last 20 years with their money. Those willing to travel know this. The whole property thing will end badly. Nothing is more certain. The problem is the newly rich have so few options as to where to put their money. It's a disaster waiting to happen and is sure to disrupt those straight line graphs of China's 'peaceful rise'. Watch out when it happens and the regime looks for external scapegoats to distract people from internal misery. If I was a corporation heavily invested in China I'd be looking to repatriate knowledge and expertise (and capacity). Sad but true ... I visit at least once a year myself and there's zero awareness of what's to come.
  17. Pretty dumb fixed price ... £10k over the 3% stamp duty threshold.
  18. Happening now. Place i just moved into, 3 rooms extra bed plus a granny flat) and 2 bathrooms bigger than the old place, £100 extra over what I was paying in the old place. Three years ago came on at the same time but I didn't even bother to view it was renting out at £700 more than my old place. That's what I call a rent crash .....
  19. Precisely! That's why I'm looking for links that go into a bit more detail than the one-dimensional stuff on statistics.gov.uk Looks like no-one here knows any decent sources anyway. But thanks for the input.
  20. Steady on chaps. I don't happen to think £40k is all that much (I was earning that by the mid-90s, in my early 30) for someone as qualified as she is or who studied for so many years. And for all those public sector haters out there: the pressure at a top 10 university to teach, do admin and publish (especially to publish) is pretty severe. (I work in the private sector myself - always have - and don't see much difference in the pressure she is under with what I have to do to earn more than double what she does). Plenty of 2am finishes and 7am starts. As for the fact she missed a lot of the UK economic shenanigans - well like a lot of academics she is deeply, deeply focused on her subject, which is in the 'hard' sciences, completely unrelated to economics or current affairs. She's also foreign so not tuned in to the niceties of British politics (in fact she doesn't care a hoot). Back to the topic on hand - the mean vs median info was useful but a link to some graphs would be ideal if anyone knows of any
  21. Thanks, yes I got the statistics.gov.uk link but was hoping for something more graphical with a bit of context. I forgot to add her comment in reply to the number was: 'So the UK is a low-wage country then!' (She's from Taiwan).
  22. Having a discussion with the wife (who has woken up to the whole economics of the UK's current situation with some horror). She didn't believe me when I told her male average earnings was around the £25k mark. I can't find any sensible links that define this ... Ideally I'm looking for something that will tell me mean and median but also show the distribution graphically. She asked me how was it possible then for the average house price to be up close to or even over the £200k mark (depending what index you use). Good question and I guess we could get into all that, as well as long-term trends of income multiples. But first I'd like to convince her of the numbers as she doesn't believe me. Earns just under £40k as a university lecturer and feels underpaid (she does work hard for this money and the pressures are substantial these days).
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