I learn about the trading systems in prison today. My gym buddy is also Ford’s product hub. The ‘Go to Guy’ as it were. It’s interesting to see how it works, I’m more absorbed by prisoners such as this who have no concern if they get shipped out to a Bang-Up. They have sources in those too and many of the ‘smarter’ ones have contingencies already prepared. My pal is one such individual.
The prison estimates it mates millions of poppies each year for the ‘British Legion’; I didn’t believe it until today. I’m amazed by some people’s ability to switch off and perform mind numbingly repetitive tasks. It’s been a contentious issue for George and I, so after a satirical discourse I decide to venture over and put the matter to rest. We ask what the average man’s output is and multiply it by the number of inmates working in this department. We put a final figure at 2.25 million each year.
Spence was released this morning, I have a new cellmate and it’s not for the first time I share a small space with George.
I have my first issue with my partner since we have been separated. I miss her desperately and I know she feels the same. I get a letter that is down in the dumps, unsure of what she shall do on her return to the UK, I panic as I sense the first crack in what I know to be something strong. An email comes with it too, but I can’t bare to read it. I should have done, I pen her a one sided letter, make a decision not to call her and tell her that perhaps she shouldn’t contact me again. I don’t want a Dear John letter and I don’t want to face heartbreak.
This is how it’s left. I’m gutted.
For a few days matters remain the same and then I read the emails. I should have read the emails before I’d written to her. I call her immediately, everything’s rosy again. This is prison for you; communication being what it is here: hard, maintaining any semblance of rationality in what are otherwise minor relationship matters can be very taxing. I hear one prisoner yell down the phone at his wife each day; others whine to their parents, more still plead with ex girlfriends – flying off the handle is as everyday as having breakfast.
A bi-polar day splits into it’s brighter alter ego: Talksport’s Chris Davies visits the prison writing class and partakes in story telling as well as lighthearted encouragement. Cake and coffee on hand, this is a fine way to spend an afternoon in prison. I win a book, ex Spurs’ man and onetime racehorse owner, Alan Brazil has signed it.
Ironically it was the flogging of shares in Alan Brazil Leisure by Will’s and Co Stockbrokers, that heralded the beginnings of my career in Penny Share Broking and my route to destruction that sees me here. The company itself was a spectacular fail of an investment but yielded great sales commission to the brokers that pushed it onto largely mis-sold private investors. The brokers, Wills and Co, formerly of Bristol and Horsham, later of London; headed by Peter Shakeshaft and Robert Holgate was a hive of iniquity, debauchery and deceit.
From investigations by the Serious Fraud Office, adultery, embezzlement, punch-ups, drugs in the toilets to being forced to stand until we had sold some high commission stock that would later collapse.
Shakeshaft himself an ex Police Cadet, though you’d never know if he didn’t discuss it so frequently; would go on to make a killing on establishing and promoting a stock called Silicon Valley PLC.
Remember the tech boom in the late 90s?
You’ve heard of Silicon Valley right? (The broker’s asked their investing clients)
Well this company is called Silicon Valley….. (Frantic Buying Ensues)
The shares rose and rose as investors piled in to get involved in the hype, even those not pitched to by Wills and Co were buying shares. Internet searches on Silicon Valley would yield this company immediately. The stock made people like Peter Shakeshaft fortunes, millions even.
The business started in a bedroom and never really got far beyond that level. Shares being promoted for a £1 say, would be made available to the brokers for much less. It’s legitimate deception and goes on today still.
Back to the ‘Valley’ and allegedly Shakshaft has a boat by now named after this stock…Silicon Valley
The bubble bursts.
People got out as fast as they got in. Silicon Valley PLC was not Silicon Valley. Foolish was he that followed the herd. Those left holding the baby ended with nothing but losses.
And here’s me, sat on a balmy afternoon in prison; holding in my hand a book whose signatory shares a local and possibly much more besides with the men who set me on this merry path.
I, who was sold a lie and sold stories of corporate opportunity.
Many men tell the same tale with nothing but false dawns and twisted morality on a CV that lacks the substance their dreams aspired to. Now, I am moving on and they scrabble for income in a world selling the next pile of steaming crap; land, wine and carbon credits.
Cash Poor, they’re asset poor and they too are heading toward the same type of retirement as those men they bankrupt now. Irony