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Christmas is coming

Christmas is coming, and I don’t know about the goose, but I’m already fat. I don’t usually make New Year resolutions, but this time I’m going to pledge to lose weight. How, I’ve no idea.  Exercise is the answer, I’m told, but there’s nothing I dislike more than pounding the pavements in dismal weather or sweating up a storm in a gym that smells of armpits, surrounded by terribly keen and deeply irritating keep-fitters, half of whom look as if they can pass for Adonis and half look as flabby and miserable as I do.

It hasn’t been a bad year.  At my age, 68, that is partly due to the fact that hardly anyone I know kicked the bucket. One of the annual year-end rituals for people my age is to count the losses. The highlights of 2010, to adopt a more positive tone, were my daughter Sara’s graduation from University College London (with a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology; yes, I’ve heard all the jokes), my wife Martha’s successful hip-replacement operation, and several trips, home and abroad, with good friends. More of the latter, I hope, next year, even if travel these days broadens the waistline rather than the mind.

This website marks my debut as a regular contributor to the Internet. I quite enjoy reading about other people on the web, at least most of the people most of the time. What
I’m not sure about is how I’m consistently supposed to entertain people reading
about me. To be honest, I’d rather be a back-room boy than a front-office performer, but I’m supposed to be flogging my book and this – or so I’m assured by those who profess to know such things – is one of the best ways to do it.

I won’t attempt to promote the book in this column – that’s been done elsewhere on the site – other than to say that it’s called Tales From The South Pier and is available on Amazon at a reasonable price. However, I would like to draw the attention of those who’ve been generous enough to read it, that I’ve included elsewhere on this site, an Afterword, largely comprising comments from readers. Some of these critics have pointed out errors of fact. Others have mentioned that in places I’ve misplaced emphasis, or omitted to mention people whom they believe deserved credit (or blame) for some of the incidents. I’ll be happy to receive further
opinions and, when appropriate, to publish them.

With regard to the book, I’ve been told to beat my own drum. Self-absorbed percussion has frankly never been my style, but I’ll be berated by my advisers if I don’t
mention that I received an award this year for being a significant player in the market information business. The leading trade publication, Inside Market Data, on the occasion of its 25th Anniversary, selected the 25 most influential people in the last 25 years for its Hall of Fame. Why I’m on the list, I’m at a loss to
understand. For having a good time, I suppose, since the newsletter’s blurb on achievements starts by mentioning that I always seemed to have a cigar in one hand and a pint in the other. I couldn’t make the presentations in New York, but I’m told the occasion was a jolly affair. Just as well I didn’t go, perhaps, as that would only have confirmed my party-loving reputation. Most of the honorees, in my view, deserved to be on the list, but there are also a few that I think were left off. I’ve offered my views to the
editors of IMD, who responded by pointing out that there will be future inductions.

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