Wednesday, 19 August 2009


18/8/09, The GVR (Edinburgh Fringe)

An English comedian with a cod German accent and an enthusiastic five-piece oompah band (two trumpets, trombone, horn, tuba) in a sweat box taking us through the credit crunch interspersed with popular melodies arranged for brass band.

Only in Edinburgh, you thought. And you would be right. But it was very jolly, unbelievably sweaty (pity the musicians) and surprisingly funny.

Our man had fun at the expense of bankers, quants (that's quantitative analysts to you), collateralised debt obligations, derivatives and all the rest. His description of CDOs, where the flaky trumpets represent sub-prime mortgages, the trombone corporate debt, the tuba sovereign debt etc, all parcelled up together to make wonderful music... until the trumpets go haywire, was inspired. Quantitative easing involved increasing liquidity (the band quaffed their pints).

They finished with an arrangement of Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody in 6/8 time.

Fun, but loud: after an hour in a small room with five brass instruments at full throttle you realise why they have those transparent sound baffles in front of the brass in orchestras. At times my ears hurt.

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