Category Archives: Cityscape

The Unbearable Obviousness of Being CityBoy

Nobody likes a stock broker. You may think you do, but you’d be wrong. You only like their money, because, as people, they are all selfish, greedy misogynists who’d stab you in the back to sleep with your mother. Its true – I read it in The London Paper.

Everyone’s second favourite London free-sheet used to feature a column every Monday, written by a so-called City Insider with the pseudonym CityBoy. His columns were punchy and smart and, even allowing for the fact that he had a pretty easy target for comedy, they made me chuckle wryly. In CityBoy’s columns I saw so many people that I knew, because, in essence, working in the City does something to you. Something evil…

I used to go to school with a couple of people who now work in the City, and, while some of them were undeniably arseholes the moment they took their first breath, some of them I used to call my friends. Now, though, it is exactly like they have signed over their soul for a ludicrously large packet of money and they just aren’t the same people. Hell, they’re barely people at all.

Last summer I was at a good friend’s birthday party. It was held in a small room in a fairly run down old pub near Baker Street and a lot of us all got together for the first time in ages. It was a great evening and it was great to see so many old faces. At about ten o’clock, though, Dave turned up. At school, Dave was the sort of guy who rarely made his presence felt. He was harmless, and we tolerated him mostly because he was an alright sort of guy. I hadn’t seen him since school, but on the evening of this birthday party, he changed the whole dynamic of the evening within seconds of arriving. He waltzed in wearing a very flash pin-stripe suit, and he kept waving the jacket like a matador, the better to show everyone the ludicrous lime-green silk lining he’d had put inside. He made a big fuss of being late (“Come straight from the office… the markets were all over the place”) and then made an even bigger fuss of not being able to stay long (“I’ve parked the TT on a double yellow… I can pay the ticket, but I couldn’t face them towing the thing”). As if to make up for his lateness, he shouted to the barman to bring two bottles of Cristal “sharpish”. Needless to say, the pub being towards the seedy end of the spectrum, there was no Cristal behind the bar. But, not to be dissuaded, and even though everyone was drinking pints, Dave insisted on ordering a bottle of champagne. He stayed long enough to show everyone his new watch (which cost more than my car) and tell us all about his ludicrous bonus, and then, gratefully, fucked off.

It wouldn’t be fair to tar everyone who works in the city with this same brush, but I’d wager its true of about 98% of the bastards. We all know someone like Dave, and we all hate him thanks to a mixture of jealous insecurity and good, human, common sense. Which is why CityBoy’s columns are reasonably entertaining. They’ve now been collected in to a book, which I suppose would make for some reasonable toilet reading, but I can’t help but feel that the people who are marketing the thing aren’t going down the wrong road. Instead of treating it as a collection of light humour, its being publicised as though its somehow a piece of vital undercover reportage, shedding light on an industry and a group of people who have previously been held up as shining examples of the human spirit. It’s basic argument – that city people are shits – is as obvious as Julian Clary’s sexuality. Writing a book on the subject seems entirely pointless, unless its to add to the library of the obvious, filed next to ‘The Shitting Habits of Bears’ and ‘The Pope: An Insider’s Guide to his Religious Leanings’.

Yet, thanks to the PR-driven world in which we live, CityBoy is currently on a frantic publicity tour, and being touted by everyone (Sky News, The BBC) as some sort of At the moment he’s on a frantic publicity tour for his book positioning himself as some brave libertarian whistleblower – a stance that CityBoy himself seems only too keen to encourage. In his final column, he compares himself to Martin Luther King, and suggests that by revealing his identity (he’s a specky ginger wanker who looks like a city twat) and breaking the “long-established code of silence that governs the Square Mile”, he will almost certainly be targeted by contract killers “sent by the ‘men in grey suits’”. If by this, he means the smug-bastard police, he may well be right.

CityBoy has now stopped writing his columns, but, you’ll all be pleased to hear he isn’t going to stop being a self-aggrandising idiot. “My pen ain’t gonna rest in my hand until I’ve helped foment a revolution that makes the world a fairer, more just place”. Which just goes to show, you can take the boy out of the city, but you can’t take the cuntishness out of CityBoy…

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