Posted by Tania Kindersley.
Really can't type very much now as my brain is about to explode. I took a naughty half day and went to Aberdeen with the brother-in-law to see a documentary about the financial crash. It is called Inside Job. It is a small film, and it is not on general release, and there were only two showings, so we had to take our chance while we had it. It is one of my special subjects (regular readers will know how I love to go on about Glass-Steagall).
First thing: it is quite brilliant. It is gloriously shot, excellently edited, and is quite beautifully voiced by the utterly wonderful Matt Damon, who now may have to go into my pantheon of Actors Who Should Read Everything, along with Sam West and Peter Firth.
But the second thing is more surprising. I know this story. I read the Gillian Tett book and the Matt Taibi book and the Michael Lewis book and even some mad dense thing called The Quants which went right into the weeds on the hedge fund guys. I am such a geek that I even watched the CEOs give testimony to Congress. It's not like I don't know the facts. I can give you the numbers, in all their gory billion-dollar tawdriness. But somehow, watching it all unfold on the big screen, I was still shocked.
The poor brother-in-law had to sit politely while I had visceral reactions all over the shop. 'Ha,' I went, out loud. 'Huh,' I said. 'Oh no,' I went. 'Yeah right,' I said.
I sighed and clucked and tsskked and sucked my teeth. Some moments were so startlingly shocking that I laughed out loud in ironical despair. I crossed and recrossed my legs and shifted in my chair and once even actually slapped my forehead in cartoonish disbelief.
The few guilty men who agreed to be interviewed went: 'Um, er, um, can't comment on that, don't have that information, and what is your point, and you have three minutes of this interview left.' One actually feigned outrage: he had been polite enough to grant the interview and he was still being asked impertinent questions.
I felt sad, and impotent, and outraged. I felt everyone should be made to see this film, by statute. Go and see it. Make all your friends go and see it. Write to your MP and get her to go and see it. Tell your doctor, your lawyer, your candlestick-maker to go and see it. Bore everyone you know with it, until they surrender.
I do not know anything about Charles Ferguson, the man who made the film, but I want to send him cake and flowers. He does not grandstand or pull stunts in the distracting way of Michael Moore. We never see his face. He just calmly and politely asks the forensic questions that any good citizen would want to ask, as the world crumbles about their ears. It turns out, as the guilty men um and ah and wiggle and squiggle, that some of those questions are, literally, unanswerable.
Pictures of the day now, to put the mind on happier things.
Like daffodil shoots:
And sticky horse chestnut buds:
And lines of young beeches:
And trees the colour of verdigris:
And the light on the burn:
And the viburnum with the blue hills blurred in the background:
And ladyships of beauty and grace:
The sun, as you can see, was out, but by the time I got back to my front door the clouds had rolled in like a freight train and obscured the dear old hill completely in their foggy embrace:
You know I do not like to tell people what to do, but GO AND SEE INSIDE JOB. And someone, somewhere, should send heavenly Charles Ferguson some cake.