Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Ginger, Jack, Eric, "Econjohn" & Doug Kass

When Paul McCartney came up with the riff for "Get Back"--the Beatles' upbeat, second-to-last Number One single--the lyrics he kicked around during rehearsals were actually a harsh commentary on the growing wave of anti-immigration sentiment prevalent in the UK at that time.

"Get back to Pakistan, back where you belong," were the original lyrics, as heard on bootleg recordings of the "Let It Be" rehearsals, from which the song originated.

Polished up for release, however, the lyrics were sanitized to a vague, harmless image of "Jojo," a man who "thought he was a loner, but he knew it wouldn't last," and therefore "left his home in Tuscon, Arizona, for some California grass."

In other words, the kind of lyrics McCartney wrote while Lennon was off with Yoko doing primal scream therapy. ("Okay, Paul, whatever," as my daughter might say.)

If the Beatles were still together, I think Sir Paul might well be writing a new version of "Get Back," with an altogether different inspiration. This time, it is Eastern European immigrants that have sparked a fierce debate, as well as a surprisingly widespread dislike of Tony Blair and his government.

Racism is something nobody likes to acknowledge, and normally people talk about such things only in certain codes, especially to a stranger from America who happens to share a train seat or a cab ride. And I've been amazed at the deep-seated anger about the Blair government's policy towards immigrants who, to hear it from people at both ends of the economic and social scale, are coming in droves from Poland, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Russia and elsewhere--taking benefits, jobs and opportunity away from regular upstanding Brits.

I make this observation not because I care who wins the election here on Thursday--I do not. Nor do I profess any sense of superiority being from America, where we have our own immigration debate.

But learning "something completely different," to cop an old Monty Python line, is always interesting.

And if Tony Blair's party loses its majority on Thursday--which absolutely nobody expects to happen--you can say, perhaps, "I read it here, first."

Jeff Matthews
I Am Not Making This Up

P.S. The Cream concert was sensational. Ginger, Jack and Eric were in very good form--surprisingly good form, given the 30+ years since their last gig at Royal Albert Hall and the fact that they are in their 60's. The best part was they all liked playing together, and it came through in the music.

Both "Econjohn," who posted the correct response, and Doug Kass, my old friend and ace columnist/hedge fund manager/market maven, who emailed the answer, deserved to be included in the title of this post for correctly guessing the reason for my presence in London.

But, no, I am no "BSD," as "The Unknown Broker" would have it. I spent today touring the facilities of one of my largest investments, asking questions, taking notes...and answering a lot of questions about the concert last night.



Mithrophon said...

Which investment were you touring, if I may ask? I certainly enjoy reading your rants on various companies worth shorting, but the occasional long idea would be fun to read as well.

Glad you enjoyed the concert! Kind of sounded impossible NOT to enjoy, actually.

Jeff Matthews said...

Absolutely fair question to ask--unfortunately the company I visited here in the UK is very thinly traded, and I am uncomfortable talking about it.

I'll keep your suggestion to discuss a few favorable investment ideas in mind.

For the record, I have highlighted Google's product development activities very favorably in comparison to Microsoft and Overstock, and Google is a stock I own even though it possess none of the value characteristics of the stocks I normally buy--except that the numbers are going through the roof and I believe people will look back on it years from now, as they did with Microsoft, and say, "Why didn't I see it?"

But I assume Google is not an undiscovered name for most readers (although I do believe it is misunderstood) and, therefore, have not walked through its potential investment merits.

econjohn said...

man, i can only hope this is the beginning of a long string of synchronicity between doug kass and myself...

MD said...


Have you used Picasa? I recently downloaded Google's picture viewing program and was blown away.
It automatically archives all the pictures on your hard drive into one easy to use console. And the editing features were powerful and easy to use. Compare this to Microsoft, which uses Paint as its default editing software.

Another reason, in my opinion, why Google will eventually outgrow Microsoft.

Jeff Matthews said...

Have not used Picasa although I plan to try it on the pictures from this trip to see how it works.

I assume you've used Google Maps, which is terrific--you'll never use Mapquest or Yahoo again for maps; and the Google desktop search is very easy and very slick, but not as useful as Maps, in my experience.

The Unknown Broker said...

I find the Google desktop search to be extremely useful for one application in particular.

I have over 10,000 e-mails stored on my computer (in Outlook.) On occasion I need to find something that I wrote to somebody (or vice-versa) but I can't recall the header of the e-mail.

Doing a keyword search in Outlook itself is very slow. Google desktop search is much faster.