Businessmen

I think I might have to become an overnight expert on engine oil. It appears very likely I’ll be needing to ad-lib fluently about it on front of hundreds of people on Tuesday in Milan. Not that I’m concerned. I absorb knowledge as quickly as a well lubricated piston absorbs all the friction, making for a smoother driving experience and an extended lifespan for the vehicle you love.

Today though, I’ve got more immediate concerns. Business. I need to absorb information about business.

“We connect businesses dealing in high value assets to buyers.” I just asked Tom for a one sentence description of what he does. I would’ve told you he makes high end websites. He’s staying in the living room a few nights. He’s a young entrepreneur who is also somehow a pleasure to be around. I just wanted to see how he phrased it. There’s an art to the deal, as someone once pretended the President wrote. And it’s interesting the language of business. Often there are little pockets of dialect, where small groups of people have complicity subscribed to a word use that, outside of the bubble in which it is accepted, sounds like highblown rubbish.

I’m auditioning for the role of a venture capitalist tomorrow, you see, for a short job that would essentially allow me to BE a venture capitalist. Well no that’s a huge exaggeration. But still, enough for me to fix that goddamn boiler. It’s getting colder now and I’m going to start to notice it. It’s a lack of the sort of mathematical thinking that makes good business that leaves me clinging to a hot water bottle with a cat on top of me for warmth as night falls.

Besides talking to Tom I’ve been able to observe lots of budding entrepreneurs today. I’ve been watching them all take their exams at Business School. One of my many very part time jobs is invigilating them.

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Maths and Statistics Foundations for Analytics was today’s joy. “Create a function that calculates the derivative of sin(x) + 9x squared for integer values of x from 0 to 10.” I just made sure they weren’t cheating and sorted out any problems with IT. Mostly I was just calm and friendly, while watching their body language and debating how to present myself tomorrow.

Then, after a brief evening rehearsal for something else, I crashed home in time to watch The Apprentice. It’s still going. It’s still astonishing. These hateful cretins in suits and dresses who insist at every possible instance that they are infallible, despite all evidence to the contrary. This festering culture of front above all, blind shallow vessels of humans who’ve locked their truth into horcruxes and are shambling around trying to prove to themselves, each other, and the camera that they are fundamentally better humans than those around them. Lord Sugar sits in the UK where Trump sat in the USA. The focal point. The aspiration point. He appears to have more humanity than his American counterpart. I can watch him without feeling slightly sick. And there is something magnificent in these early weeks about the sheer space between how these people describe themselves and how they present. Sure, they’re stitched up in the edit. But nevertheless, they have responded to the prompts off camera with the material they deliver to it.

Is it comforting to see that people who can make more money in a month than I do in a year can be so toxic and incompetent? Or is it galvanising?

I’m going with galvanising. I’ll start by booking this job playing one of them. Then when I’m toasty warm in my flat over winter I’ll use the rest of the money to plan the piece of work that will roll in the Kindness Revolution…

Right now I need my ugly sleep.

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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