Thursday, February 19, 2015


Cliff was a competitor back in the good old days.  He was also a great friend...still is.  He would steal your shirt off your back and leave you laughing about the loss.  He's still out there no doubt causing mischief to all concerned and producing smiles all about.

Anyway, what's important about Cliff is that his time has finally come.  He was the representative of a major bank at a number of the restructuring during the late 1970ies and the eighties...a major bank.  He was one tough S.O.B.  His job was to get his employer's money back, full stop.  He didn't like excuses, grand-standing and particularly anything less than candor and truthfulness.  All of those attributes could be attributed to the Yugoslavs c. 1983.

So it came to pass, one day in one of the Guild Halls in London which played host to the God-knows what numbered meeting of the Yugo restructure committee that surpassed all of their previous performances.  We threw them out of the meeting and Cliff lost it.  Knowing we were great friends, some of our colleagues asked me to have a word to get things back on track so to speak.  What resulted was Cliff quietly presenting his position to the committee in somewhat the following manner.

"I don't want negotiations.  I don't want compromise.  I don't want hammering out reasonable positions.  I want the Yugoslavs in front of me ON THEIR KNEES, begging me to help!!"

I believe we broke for lunch at that point.

Cliff was fluent in German as well as a few other languages.  So I was wondering today if he had got on to Angela because that seems to be the German position as to the latest Greek proposal.  Having gone further that even an optimist like me would have thought, there came an immediate "NIEN" from the Teutonic corner before anybody had a chance to say they usual, "Well, that's helpful."  It's pretty damn clear at this stage that Angies boys really don't want to deal with the Greeks and if the Volk have to take a bit of a hit, so be it, we'll make it up to them some how.  Then again, the next time we see out friend Varoufakis he may be on bended knee and in the background a spectral wisp of an old banker smiling and laughing his head off.  So here's to you Cliff, ol' son.  It may be your day tomorrow.

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