Oh!  It’s good to be back.  You would not believe how tedious it is being locked in a floodlight crate with  REO Speedwagon being blasted at you all day and night.


The Concerned Reader: You’re back?


The Definitive Indefinite Article: So it would seem.  You all seem to have done fine without me.  I liked the recycling posts thing.  That was very efficient of you.


The Concerned Reader: So how did you get out?


TDIA: The Department of Untold Conformity went bust.


The Concerned Reader: Oh.  When?


TDIA: Three weeks ago.  I think it was a partly-owned subsidiary of Haverly-Gromax Banco de Argamasilla Group that was just bought by two bar owners Almódovar del Campo for 2,000 pesetas in old currency that isn’t even legal tender any more.  They let me go cos I badmouthed Real Madrid.


The Concerned Reader: What took you so long to get in touch?  We have been worried sick.  You could have been….


TDIA: I had to make some money.  Someone’s got to pay Borja Donosti’s ridiculous fees.


The Concerned Reader: Oh, right.   So what have you been doing?


TDIA: Book-handling.


The Concerned Reader: Crooked accountancy?


TDIA: No.  The bottom just fell out of that gig.  Book-handling: half-doing New York Times Sunday crosswords; manhandling and dogearing The Economist and 100 Years of Solitude in the original; spilling coffee on copies of Proust and making marginal notes in French; taking tatty tickets to the opera and using them as bookmarks in Gibbon’s Fall and Decline of the Roman Empire –  for people who like to have the trappings of reading on display in their homes without all the tedious effort of actual reading.


The Concerned Reader: Is there much money to be made at that?


TDIA: Not as much as you would think.  The real cash is in secret reading. 


The Concerned Reader: What is that?  Reading under the blankets?


TDIA: Reading for pseudo-anti-intellectuals who want to have all the public posturing of Joe Multiple-Beer-Container Contact-Sport-Parent book-burning low-brows but are actually interested in how the world works.


The Concerned Reader: Who are these people?


TDIA: You would be very surprised to know who they are but I have signed confidentiality agreements with them all to guarantee the safety of their know-nothing public personae.  Nevertheless, I can tell you there are a lot of them and they are very prominent.  So be slow to dismiss people who publicly sound like idiots: chances are they are on one of my secret J. K. Galbraith Digest © or Wittgenstein Today! © or Derrida, Lacan and Spandex Bikinis © distribution lists.  You can’t even trust the idiots to be really stupid any more.


The Concerned Reader: And I thought the economy was scary.


TDIA: There!  You see!  It’s all about perspective!  It’s not the economy – it’s the people!  You don’t have to worry about the “market.”  There is no “market.”  It’s just lots of individuals and institutions acting out of self-interest or fear.  When it’s up, they’re wolves buying ruby-encrusted speedboats, when it’s down they’re lemmings.


The Concerned Reader: Uhm.  Yeah.  OK.  Well, anyway.  Welcome back, I suppose.