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Holbein, Hotels, Hannibal And Harems

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In Holbein's Lais from Corinth, a fragment of the picture shows a beauteous blond gold-braided girl in low-cut vermillion dress with golden sleeves, hand-outstretched, with a dozen gold coins on the table adjacent to her hand. There's a lot of gold flying about but what is she doing ? Is she an up-market blip-blip checkout girl ? A hooker demanding more ? A money-changer ? A beggar ? A poker-player ?

In Venice two weeks ago looking at hotels. Saw two smallish hotels at 8m and 7m euros each. The usual palaver. Two sets of books. One for the tax man and one for the buyers. (Smart people keep three sets of books - one for tax, one for punter, one for themselves.) As far as I could work out they were making 300-400k euro net or under 5%. It simply doesn't make sense. The arbitrage between investing (passive income) and working (activity based income) is so small as to be not worth the candle. With such small arbitrage the incentive to "hold" or to acquire must be predicated on the assumption of permanent inflation or future rises in asset prices.

The hotel game is slightly different to the residential. Marginal improvements magnify gains (the same is true of restaurants) which they don't really do in residential.

I also see that the shop I was offered at 7k a year in Coventry Street, London W1 in 1996 (and turned down) is now back on the market at 63k p.a.

I thought at the time a flagship for my little hotel group in London at running costs of about 20k was bordering on vanity; on costs of 100k it's bonkers.

Despite my losses on gold over the last two weeks, I'm sticking with the girl from Corinth. As Wordsworth says, the poet is like Hannibal crossing the Alps. You should either tell Venetians to stuff their hotels or capture them in battle.

In an internet cafe last week in London. Sitting next to me was a BTL girl and her mortgage 'consultant' who were attempting to lift a restriction in the terms and conditions of the mortgage. It was pitiful. There's a guy earning no more than 20k pa advising a girl earning no more than 20k how to buy an asset valued at 200k. To even think that such people can compete with Capital is folly. The only equalisation against the inequalities of capital is brains or graft.

My works manager informs me that Brazilian harems in Spain are 50 quid an hour. So if my Venetian hotelier gets his 8m, invests at 5% he's on 300k sterling pa or 5000 plus per week. That's 100 beautiful Brazilians per week for the rest of your life. Sod Big Brother, I've outdone Jacop Casanova, says inn-owner. Such are the wonders of arbitrage.

What is the point of work when pleasure is so cheap ?

Was also in Tin Pan Alley (Denmark Street W1) and saw that most unskilled jobs were 5-6 quid an hour. Memento mori.

What is the point of life when it's frittered away on drudgery ?

Edited by Euphorion
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  • 439 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?

      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%

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