The Big Short

I have always loved going to the movies.

Anyone who knows me will attest that I could probably recite the entire script of The Godfather without the aid of the net.

However, I can’t remember the last time I saw the same movie at the cinema twice in one week.

The plan was the Big Fella, Number One Daughter, and their oul dad would go and see The Big Short.

Bad planning saw us drive over the mountain only to find that it was sold out on opening night.


The Big Fella had to go on a trip for a couple of days, so it was only two of the original trio who sat down to watch this great movie.

When himself returned to Dún na nGall I knew he would love this  film, and he did.

I was under strict instructions from his sister to have no repeat performance at the second sitting.

Number One Daughter cannot abide a whispered aside about what is going on in the move.

I can’t fekkin help it, but she hates it!

The Big Fella told her to chill as when he is in the cinema with me we have a murmured convo about how the movie is progressing.

At that point, Number One Daughter shook her head disapprovingly

As I watched the movie the second time, I could relax into examining whether or not Adam McKay’s offering was faithful to the book by Michael Lewis.

The screenplay by McKay and Charles Randolph pretty much nails it.

Of course, by the nature of the medium, there is so much more in ‘The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine’ by the author of ‘Moneyball’.

However, for a movie of 130 minutes (longish for standard multiplex fare these days) they get a complex narrative across in an engrossing and funny way.

In one part of the movie, two of the minor protagonists take the scoop to an ex-college buddy who is working on the Wall Street Journal.

He schooled them in the rules of corporate succulent lamb and informed them that he has a young family, and he has to play by the rules.

They are told that he can’t write a piece entitled “we’re all fucked!”

So the mainstream media sold a good news narrative that all was well.

It wasn’t.

There was time bomb called Collateralized Debt Obligation (CDO) and one day it would go off.

It took outsiders, in every sense of the word, to realise that the subprime securitization boom on Wall Street was a massive bubble that would burst and trigger a global financial meltdown.

Michael Burry, played in the movie by Christian Bale, is the quintessential maverick.

Dressed in cargo shorts, shoeless and playing loud music in his office while smashing drumsticks on the desk.

Not a typical Hedge Fund manager…

The banks thought that they were too big to fail, but they did.

The central theme of the movie is that it was outsiders who saw things accurately.

As we were driving home, the Big Fella observed “…just like you and the Rangers story dad…”, as ever himself is usually the smartest person in the conversation.

He was, of course, correct.

In 2009 on here I said that the game was up for the Murray business Empire.

MIH was burdened with close of £1bn in debt and the credit well had run dry.

As I started to look into what this would mean for his vanity project on Edmiston Drive, I became increasingly convinced that Rangers could go bust.

It was no coincidence that I dubbed the old club “FC Lehman Brothers” in the finance section of Downfall.

By the time I had heard of ‘Employee Benefit Trusts’ in early 2010 it was then that I decided to take a Short position on Rangers.

In short they were fucked.

I knew they were finished and that it was just a question of timing.

Of course, this was the view of an outsider.

This was remember, the era of Off the Radar exclusives from award-winning stenographers.

However, their ‘journalism’ had about as much solidity as a Synthetic CDO.

I know, I know… you just asked yourself a question:

“What the fuck is a synthetic CDO?”

Well go to the movie and find out!

In the end, the banks and Rangers were not too big to fail.

It was self-destruction, but the US government stepped in and bailed out the banks.

When the subprime bubble burst these buccaneering capitalists knocked on the door of big government and asked for corporate welfare.

It was the Five Way Agreement for Wall Street.

Thankfully on Planet Fitba there was an uprising of the customers that stopped Sevco being dropped into the SPL.

The Big Short makes the persuasive case that the truth was out there, but no one wanted to hear it.

Even when Sheriff Officers were going over the threshold at Ibrox in August 2011 The People, soothed by the obedient stenographers, were scoffing that anything might be amiss.

Then it all came crashing down, and the dignified debenture holders were wiped out.

Of course, after that, The People seethed that no one had told them.

Actually, that was not true.

They had been told, but they could not bring themselves to believe a chap in Donegal.

Sadly, the appalling vista was too much to take in.

This was as true of the Wall Street story as it was of the Ibrox implosion.

From Bear Stearns to stern Bears…

The same bubble belief remains extant among The People today, and they look for any ‘evidence’ to reinforce their pre-conceived beliefs.

Consequently, the signing of Michael O’Halloran from St Johnstone is spun as a harbinger that all is financially well.

Perhaps they should be asking if the £300k down payment to the Perth club had originally been earmarked for some other purpose.

However, we know that they don’t want to ask because they only want to hear good news.

We also know that the stenographers will follow orders and write ripping yarns about Zulus.

On Wall Street, the people who were entrusted with making sure that everything was Fit and Proper were looking the other way.

Mr. David Cunningham King approached the ratings agency at Hampden, and they approved him Triple-A.

At the end of the movie we are told on screen that the CDO is back on Wall Street under a new name.

The guys in The Big Short worked out what was happening by simply looking while everyone else was partying towards the financial abyss.

Rangers under Craig Whyte was a loss making business without a credit line from a bank.

The new club is in exactly the same situation.

Of course, only outsiders will be able to see that clearly until it is too late.

Sevco is subprime.

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