Patents (Hackwell, 9): in the 1670s, “patents” meant to obtain right to land. Its current definition didn’t come into effect until 1822 when it hijacked the 1789 meaning put forward by the Crown of England: “to obtain exclusive right or monopoly.”
Jobber (Stage Directions, 9): one who does old jobs.
Undertaking (2nd Jobber, 9): enterprise.
Shares (Stage Directions, 11): a single unit of ownership in a corporation, mutual fund, or any other organization.
Gilts (Stage Directions, 11): government bonds issued in the United Kingdom.
Paper (Stage Directions, 11): short term credit instrument in which a business promises to pay a bank a specific amount of money at a later date; think IOU.
Klein Merrick (Stage Directions, 12): A fictional bank.
LIFFE (Stage Directions, 12): The London International Financial Futures Exchange.
“Extra poo tonight.” (Grimes, 15): In this case, poo is slang for champagne. The jokes works in that shampoo (poo) and champagne have similar pronunciations in English, therefore champagne is called poo.
Hambro (Sales 2, 17): Hambros Bank was a family owned bank founded in 1839. In 1986, the family running the bank dissolved their holdings, meaning that the bank was taken over by non-Hambro family people. The bandwagon Sales 2 is referring to is the change in management the bank underwent at the time of the play.
“The new BFC for World Bank” (Sales 2, 17): Sales 2 is discussing the Business and Finance Committee of the World Bank.
Bundesbank (Sales 1, 18): central bank of Germany.
“Paris intervention rate/ still at 8%”(Sales 2, 18): Sales 2 is discussing the interest rate in France, which the French government intervened with in the mid 1980s in the face of a recession. Explain more
Frankfurt (Sales 1): a city in Western Germany, a big financial hub.
Lombard (Sales 1, 18): While Lombard is a region in Italy known for its pawn shops and banking history in the Middle Ages, Sales 1 is most likely referring to Lombard Direct, an insurance company in the UK.
“treasury bond dealer” (Sales 1, 19): one who deals with treasury bonds. A treasury bond is a marketable, fixed-interest government security. In other words, a treasury bond is when you lend money to the state, generally in a long term investment, in which you benefit off the interest paid to you by the government.
Mori (Jake, 19): MORI stands for Market & Opinion Research International, and was the largest independent research organization in the UK until 2005, when it merged with the largest survey organization in the world, Ipsos UK.
Tories (Jake, 19): a British political party; traditionalist and conservative; the most famous Tory politician is Margaret Thatcher, who is comparable in many policy decisions to Ronald Reagan.
Arbitrage (Jake, 19): taking advantage of a price difference between markets.
“What’s with the ECU linked deposits for Nomura?” (Sales 1, 20): Nomura references the Nomura Group, a Japanese multinational conglomerate dealing with financial services, financial management consulting, and related businesses. The ECU (European Currency Unite) was the precursor to the Euro.
Zurich (Dealer, 20): The largest city in Switzerland, another important financial center.
“Jake’s the only public schoolboy what can really deal.” (Grimes, 22): Grimes is making a reference to the UK’s private universities (called public) which turns out a lot of educated people whom know little of the corrupt trading world. Jake attended a private university, but he is still able to be successful in the financial realm, something apparently unusual.
SAS (Scilla, 22): Special Air Service, special forces unit of the British Army. It is pronounced letter by letter.
“Nomura’s recruiting a whole lot of Sloanes.” (Grimes, 23): “Sloane” is slang for the stereotypical young, upper-class men and women, a reference to the wealthy Sloane Square in Chelsea, London. Grimes is stating that the Japanese company Nomura is recruiting a lot of well-to-do, young, British professionals.
Oiks (Scilla, 23): an unpopular, disliked fellow school-boy.
“I got a transfer fee like a footballer.” (Grimes, 24): European Soccer Leagues can trade players among each other, which often includes a large transfer of money between leagues and to the players.
CSE (Grimes, 24): a certificate of secondary education, awarded in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland from 1965 to 1987.
Leveraged buyouts (Merrison, 25): an acquisition where the purchase price is financed through both equity and debt and in which the cash flows or assets of the target are used to secure and repay the debt.
Krafft (Merrison, 25): while this could be a reference to Kraft food industry, there is no information about Kraft Foods buying Hoffman Clocks. Look into, if not fictional?
Hoffman Clocks (Merrison, 25): I couldn’t find any proof that this company ever existed.
Acquisitions (Merrison, 25): taking over a company.
Patrician (Merrison, 28): the title for a social class (like “bourgeois”), Patrician in ancient Rome referred to the original aristocratic families. Post Rome, Patrician because the title for the governing elites of cities in Europe. Merrison is claiming that he was no Patrician, that his position was earned, not passed on through his father.
“stick too much whitener up their nose” (Zac, 29): Zac is making a reference to cocaine use.
“golden handshakes” (Zac, 29): a clause in an executive employment contract that provides a significant severance package in the case of job loss through firing, restructuring, or retirement. The idea behind the golden handshake is to protect high ranking executives since they are more likely to lose their jobs. The golden handshake is awarded regardless of job performance.
Spivs (Zac, 29): black market, petty criminals.
“The British Empire was a cartel.” (Zac, 29): a “cartel” is a formal agreement among competing firms (which has negative connotations in the 2000s due to Drug Cartels). What Zac is saying is that British Imperialism and colonizing was carried out with the sole purpose of financial gain.
“like a cartoon cat off a cliff” (Zac, 29): a reference to cartoons when animals or characters would run off a cliff and stay in mid-air, still running, until they realized there was no ground underneath them, only to fall. What Zac is complaining about is that the London Financial world is still running as if nothing has happened, unaware that the ground beneath them is no longer there.
“The meet of a hunt.” (Stage Directions, 30): British term for the moment of gathering and planning right before a hunt.
Fetlocks (Lady Vere, 30): the fetlock is the metacarpophalangeal joint on the foot of a horse. While not anatomically correct, the best way to describe a this joint is as the horses ankle (anatomically, it more closely resembles a human knuckle).
“Hunt saboteurs” (Lady Vere, 31): Fox hunting is a controversial issue in the UK, more so in the 80s and 90s (the rise of the animal rights movement). Hunt saboteurs would go through the forests on the day of hunts and make a lot of noise, scaring away foxes and other game, so that the hunt would be unsuccessful.
Snaffle (Mrs. Carruthers, 31): a common type of bit used while riding horses; it’s a mouthpiece with a ring on either side of the horses mouth that the reigns are attached to.
“His mouth’s rather hard” (Mrs. Carruthers, 32): a hard mouth in equestrian terms means that a horse won’t give to the bit, pulls back when you ask for his head or just completely ignores your rein cues.
Yobs (Greville, 32): uncouth, thuggish, working-class.
“But she buys her own horses and takes her own line.”(Greville, 32): Greville is making an equestrian metaphor. He’s saying that his daughter breeds her own horses to make her own, specific lineage. In other words, he’s complaining that his daughter has broken away from family tradition or expectation to do her own thing.
Galway Blazers (Zac, 33): The famous, stereotypical red blazers worn by the British while on hunts.
“The girl’s putting far too much oats in his feed.” (Mrs. Carruthers, 33): By putting too much oats in the feed, the horse has more energy, also making him less manageable by the rider.
“Yanks go home. Yanks are robbers.” (Frosby, 34): At the end of WWII, there was tension between US military stationed in England and U.K. civilians. The popular war time slogan against the American presence was “Over paid, over sexed, and over here.” This tension lead to the rather common saying “Yanks go home, Yanks are robbers.”
“Since Big Bang the floor is bare” (Frosby, 35): In 1986, England continued a long tradition of deregulating the finance industry by abolishing all controls over consumer credit and deregulating housing financing. This allowed banks to make money off of loans in a manner that was unprecedented. Frosby is commenting that since 1986, banks have been able to utilize this deregulation (or Big Bang) to make money off the stock floor and instead through loans, hence the “floor is bare” and “they deal in offices on screens.”
Marketmakers (Frosby, 36): a person/company that quotes both a buy and sell price hoping to make a profit on the bid-offer spread (the gap between what is offered for a commodity and what it is sold at)
“barrow boys” (Frosby, 36): also known as Costermonger, they were very popular in the Victorian era. These young men would sell fruit or vegetables from wheel-barrows, traveling through the city announcing their presence with a loud, sing-song call.
DTI (Frosby, 36): The Department of Trade and Industry, meant to harbor economic development while also regulating the financial world.
“At work they ask for tea in an Aids cup, they mean/ a disposable because of the dishwasher.” (Scilla, 41): Unlike in the US, in the UK, the HIV/AIDS epidemic was more prevalent among drug users until the 1990s, therefore AIDS is being directly linked to needles as opposed to the US’s attitude of linking HIV/AIDS to homosexuality through the 1980s. What Scilla means is that her coworkers call a disposable cup an “Aids cup” as a joke. She gets cut off by Jake in the next line, so her explanation as to why the joke makes sense is cut off.
Insider Dealing (Scilla, 45): At its basis, insider trading is utilizing non-public information to make trading decisions. In reality the laws and definitions for insider trading are hugely complicated and vary from country to country.
“It’s not illegal in America, Switzerland, Japan, it’s only been illegal here the last few years.” (Greville, 45): In 1987, insider dealing was not illegal in American, Japan, and Switzerland. In fact, in 1986, the US Supreme Court had relaxed insider trading laws. In 1997, however, these laws were retightened in the USA. Today, the US, Switzerland, and Japan all have insider dealing laws.
William the Conqueror (Greville, 46): William the Conqueror (circa 1028-1087) lead the Norman invasion of England in 1066 and ruled England until his death. His illegitimate status, rise the throne, and invasion of England have elevated this historical figure to feature in many works of art and literary texts.
Louts (Greville, 48): an uncouth or aggressive men or boys.
News of the World (Scilla, 48): News of the World was at one point the most read English newspaper in the world. In 1984, the newspaper switched to a tabloid. You’ll probably have heard of the phone hacking scandal that has shocked England in the last few years and lead to the closing of News of the World on July 10th, 2011.
“corporate raiders” (Stage Directions, 49): a corporate raid refers to the practice of buying a large amount of stock in a company and then utilizing voting rights to enact a change in the company. Corman, the corporate raider, specializes in secret takeovers of companies in which multiple parties will buy enough stock to give him a majority and therefore change how the company does its business.
Pissed (Corman, 50): English slang for drunk.
Assiduity (Etherington, 52): diligence, hard work.
Financial Times (Duckett, 52): The world’s leading business newspaper, based in London.
Greenmail (Corman, 52): The practice of purchasing enough shares in a firm to threaten a takeover, forcing the company to buy back your shares at a premium in order to stop the takeover.
Greenbacks (Corman, 53): Greenback is the English word for greenmail.
“leveraged management buyout” (Zac, 53): A leveraged management buyout (MBO) occurs when the management team of a firm (who normally has no or close to no shares in the firm) buy large amounts of shares of the same company. This can be done to change the company’s direction or, in the case of Serious Money, could be used by Duckett to keep shares out of Corman’s reach.
T. Boone Pickens (Zac, 53): an American business magnate who built his wealth and influence up in the 1980s by being a corporate raider. You might have heard of him from his involvement in the growth of West Texas’ wind farms.
“A fan club and not a concert party.” (Etherington, 54): A “fan club” is a group of supporters of a previously successful speculator who try to cash in on their success. Basically, a “fan club” is a group of investors who follow a major player with blind faith, not always legally, hoping to make a profit. A “concert party” involves various institutions who will buy large groups of shares on behalf of a “predator,” like Corman. Through a concert party, Corman buys the shares from these companies (giving the companies a profit) and he himself gains control of the original company stealthily and cheaply (once the takeover is announced, the shares will fluctuate in value allowing him to make a profit). Etherington is saying that a “fan club” is an okay way to do business, but a “concert party” isn’t. Therefore, publicly, Corman’s takeover of Albion will be through a legal “fan club,” while the reality is that they’ll be engaging in a “concert party.” The “fan club” and “concert party” discussion is also engaged in the movie Wall Street.
“Five nominee companies registered in the Turks and Caicos Islands, Panama and Sark.” (Corman, 55): Nominee companies are companies engaged in a “concert party,” who buy shares from firm A to directly benefit another group seeking to take over firm A. Turkey, Caicos Islands, Panama and Sark (an island in the Channel Islands near France) are/were all tax havens for British companies in the 1980s.
Junk bonds (Zac, 55): a junk bond (or high-yield bond) is a bond that is rated below investment grade. They have a higher risk of default, but if they’re successful they pay higher yields, hence why people are willing to buy these kinds of bonds.
“the British public’s financial education/ is going in leaps and bounds with privatization.” (Etherington, 55): Etherington is referencing the changing tide in economics in the UK (and the US) with the privatizing of financial worlds. With private companies, less regulation and oversight from the government and other regulatory groups occurs, allowing financial companies to engage in junk bond buying, even though it might not be in the best long term interest of the economy.
“Our ratio of debt to equity is --?” (Corman, 56): Equity is the current amount of money a company holds based on current contracts. Equity is very dependable, but it certainly limits a company’s movements. Debt is the money promised to you in future contracts. Debt builds confidence in your company (you’re in demand) and you want a bit of it, although it’s also riskier. A company wants a balance between the cash on hand the contracts promised in the future.
“By buying and selling large amounts of stock we ensure the market’s liquidity” (Marylou, 60): Marylou is saying that by engaging in such enormous financial transactions (which aren’t always legal), she keeps engaging in the market, causing a lot of people in general to have a lot of money allowing for more trading, more buying, more profit, etc.
Bonhomie (Marylou, 60): cheerful friendliness, geniality.
“But since Boesky was caught out -- ” (TK, 61): TK is referencing Ivan Boesky, a prominent American stock trader who played a prominent role in a Wall Street insider trading scandal in 1987. The Gordon Gekko character in Wall Street is based in part on Boesky, especially his commencement speech at University of California, Berkley, in 1986, about the positive aspects of greed. His speech included: “I think greed is healthy. You can be greedy and still feel good about yourself.”
SEC (Marylou, 62): Securities and Exchange Commission; US federal agency responsible for enforcing federal security laws and regulating the securities industry.
“make some arrangement so the company comes to bits if he gets hold of it?” (Duckett, 62): Duckett is suggesting that he should somehow sabotage the company so that when Corman takes it over, the company is worthless.
Eurobond (Duckett, 62): Eurobond is a bond that is denominated in a currency not native to the country by which it is issued. So, a bond issued in America in Yen (Chinese currency) is also a Eurobond.
Dividend (Duckett, 64): payments made by a corporation to the shareholders; the portion of corporate profits distributed to stock holders.
CBI (Biddulph, 64): Confederation of British Industry, an organization promoting UK businesses and their interests world wide.
Pilkington (Biddulph, 64): Biddulph is most likely referencing Pilkington Group Limited, the largest glass producer in Britain. It was a highly successful company that enjoyed special mention in the 1980s for treatment of workers and economic success at a time where England had many union strikes. It was taken over in 2006 by the Japanese NSG Group.
“cornering the coffee market” (Duckett, 64): cornering a market means gaining enough market share as to be able to control it.
Scunthorpe (Biddulph, 64): a city in North Lincolnshire where, presumably, Duckett owns a factory he plans on shutting down.
“And since Guinness it’s a whole lot scarier/ You can’t play ball if you keep off the grass” (Zac, 66): In 1986, Guinness (the beer company) acquired Distillers Company. During the acquisition, a £5.2 million kickback to one of the directors occurred. The scandal brought the case in front of the House of Lords which declared that the payment had been invalid, and therefore Distillers Company had not been bought by Guinness. Guinness did eventually buy Distillers Company, but the scandal cost them a lot of money.
Kissogram (Scilla, 69): a play on words off of a singing telegram.
Scrambled (Marylou, 70): the term for a way to encode transmissions so that they are unintelligible.
Rumbled (Marylou, 70): slang for found out, discovered.
Fiddles (Scilla, 74): tricks, scams, messing around with numbers.
“Trading options and futures” (Scilla, 76): This is a kind of trading in which one buys future commodities. So, think of a farmer, who promises to sell his crop in 8 months. The buyer must pay up front, although the crops aren’t guaranteed. The trick comes in pricing, where the farmer and the buyer, with proper market knowledge and good luck, can make money off the sale.
Hedging (Scilla, 77): an investment position intended to offset potential losses that may be incurred by a companion investment. Basically, hedging is supposed to minimize the losses of a bad investment.
Speculation (Scilla, 77): the practice of engaging in risky financial transactions in an attempt to profit from fluctuations in the market value of a tradable good.
“Bolivian inflation” (Scilla, 77): Bolivia in the 1980s was hit by various different coup d’etats, causing a tumultuous economy and very high inflation. If the US had Bolivia’s inflation rate in conjunction to their new inflation trading laws, traders could make a lot of money based on it.
“they line up to watch you walk” (Scilla, 77): the male traders stop and watch the female traders walk around in an act of overt sexual harassment.
“O levels” (Scilla, 77): a subject-based qualification test; part of the British school system. What Scilla is saying is that people who have received O levels (or studied for them) aren’t of much use. It’s the people with “street experience,” in this case Wall Street or other trading locations, which are the best people to talk to.
Runner (Stage Directions, 78): A runner is the link between the costumer/broker and the floor trader. They are responsible for passing on a costumer’s orders to the broker in a timely fashion. As the industry has changed from floor-based trading to electronic platforms, runners have become less and less necessary.
Trader (Stage Directions, 78): Someone who trades financial assets, either for themselves or others. Usually traders engage in short-term trades.
Bash (Joanne, 78): a party or a fight.
Slips (Scilla, 79): the physical proof of a transaction; a receipt.
Chauvinist (Scilla, 79): Chauvinist, in its original meaning, signifies any extreme patriotism and belief in national superiority. However, today it is often thought of as male chauvinism, or male superiority and anti-feminism. The term “chauvinism” comes out of the play La Cocarde Tricolor (The Tricolored Bonnet) by Theodore and Hippolyte Cogniard, in which a character, Nicolas Chauvin, exhibits excessive patriotism and loyalty to the French Emperor Napoleon.
Knackered (Scilla, 79): exhausted; especially used to mean that they’re too tired to perform sexually.
Sterling (Scilla, 81): British pounds.
“Ere come the c’nardlies” (Kathy, 81): Cockney for (when translated literarily) “here comes the testicles”
Git (Brian, 81): An ignorant, childish person with little manners
“I’ll feel better when I get rid of these oysters.” (Brian, 82): Brian could be saying several things. He could be saying that he will feel better once he either passes or purges himself of previously eaten oysters. He could also be making a sexual reference, as the term “oyster” is sometimes used to describe female genitalia. It is also possible that in this context, oysters refers to large sums of money.
Spots (Joanne, 82): acne; scars.
Muff (Brian, 82): British slang for vagina.
“I’d like to be a local.” (Kathy, 82): She means that she’d like to be local in the financial world, i.e. a very rich person.
“The theoretical spread is too large.” (Kathy, 83): Kathy is complaining that someone regarding a bid is giving her a disproportionate bid price and ask price, therefore causing a large spread. A spread is the difference between buying and selling prices.
“the Bill” (Joanne, 83): A British TV Series broadcasted from 1984 to 2010. It focused on the lives and work of one shift of police officers.
Gelt (Futures Song, 88): Yiddish word for money, usually used in the phrase Hanukkah Gelt – the chocolate coins given at Hanukkah.
Ackers (Futures Song, 88): based off the Egyptian word for money. In this case, it seems that the song is referencing different types of money (low level amount of money being gelt, high level amount of money being Egyptian).
Knackers (Futures Song, 88): slang for testicles, although it’s also a popular term in Ireland to refer to Irish Travelers (gypsies).
Backers (Futures Song, 89): those who give you financial security for you to fulfill a project.
“How hard I dredge to earn my wedge” (Futures Song, 89): a complaint that they must work very hard to claim their piece of the pie.
“Chicago’s going rife” (Futures Song, 89): the 1980s saw a huge increase in rave culture and anti-establishment in Chicago. An aspect of this subculture was an anti-establishment, anti-Wall-Street attitude, similar to the contemporary 99% Movement in New York and nationwide.
Bedlam (Futures Song, 89): a scene or state of wild uproar and confusion. The term “bedlam” comes from the Hospital of Saint Mary of Bethlehem, a psychiatric hospital in London established in 1927 and became a fulltime psychiatric place in 1547.
Tootsie (Futures Song, 89): prostitute.
“Botham out nineteen on Reuters screen is the very latest score” (Futures Song, 89): Ian Botham is an English cricketer, Reuters is a news source.
“was bidding straight” (Futures Song, 90): I was engaging in legal bidding.
Caper (Futures Song, 90): slang for a person committing an illegal act pertaining to robbery or burglary.
“When you soil your jeans on soya beans shove some cocoa up your head” (Futures Song, 90): There are two drug euphemisms included in this sentence. “Cocoa” links rather obviously to cocaine. “Soya beans” (soy beans) refers back to amphetamines, specifically prescription drugs such as anti-depressants and ADHD medication.
See attached document for an explanation of Jacinta’s speech on 91-92.
“Bloody Tower and dead queens” (Jacinta, 91): reference to the Tower of London and the numerous Queens who have been executed there, most notably Anne Boleyn.
The International Tin Council (Jacinta, 91): international commission that sets the price of tin in trades.
London Metal Exchange (Jacinta, 91): the physical place in which metals, including tin, are traded.
“the Swiss mountains” (Jacinta, 91): a reference to the Swiss banks that make it easy to hide money.
IMF (Jacinta, 92): International Monetary Fund; its stated goal is to stabilize exchange rates and assist the reconstruction of the world’s international payment system post WWII.
Kerb (Jacinta, 92): informal trading period on the London Metal Exchange; trading that occurs after the market has closed for the day.
“Like the guys opening up blood banks where you pay to store your own blood in case of an accident and so be guaranteed immunity.” (Zac, 93): During the AIDS scare, people would store their own blood in case they needed a transfusion later, guaranteeing that they would not receive tainted blood.
“souk or bazaar” (Zac, 93): market; the terms come from Arabic (souk) and Persian (bazaar).
Green screens (Zac, 93): computer screens that display trading information.
Punters (Zac, 93): British term for gambler; can also mean a trader who hopes to make quick profits.
“He hopes she’ll be able to help support his price.” (Zac, 94): Corman hopes that with Jacinta’s help, he’ll be able to maintain a high market price.
Shout (Zac, 96): gossip, news.
“I have been for a walk/ In your little saint’s park/ Where the pelicans eat the pigeons” (Jacinta, 96): Most likely referencing St. James Park, where pelicans often hang out and have been known to eat pigeons, most notably in 2006, when it was caught on camera and posted to YouTube.
“I benefit from the closures in Surinam because of guerilla activity” (Jacinta, 97): In 1980, a military coup overthrew the democratic government of Surinam and installed a socialist republic. This opened up decades of infighting, leading to the suspension of mining and other valuable industries. Jacinta is making money because each time a mine closes in Surinam, the price of the ore rises, allowing her to make correct investments and profit.
Dagos (Jake, 97): Slur for people of Italian descent in the USA and Australia.
“The most amazing lake full of flamingos” (Jake, 97): Peru has a high wild flamingo population (the Andean Flamingo) that is, in fact, one of the more vulnerable species of flamingo. The lake referred to is Lake Titicaca, in which the Andean flamingo meets yearly to breed.
“His school was at Eton/ Where children are beaten” (Jacinta, 99): Jacinta is referencing that in the mid-1850s, Eton, the very elite private boys school in England, was rocked by a child abuse scandal.
See attached document for context on the IMF.
Austerity (Zac, 100): a policy of deficit-cutting by lowering spending often via a reduction in the amount of benefits and public services provided.
“namby pamby” (Nigel, 100): lacking in character or substance.
Bob Geldof (Jake, 101): an Irish singer well known for his political activism, especially his role in organizing the Live Aid concert in 1985 (which he repeated in 2005).
“the wall game” (Nigel, 103): a game similar to football and rugby that originated and is still played at Eton.
Wolfhound (Nigel, 106): a type of dog that has been bred to hunt wolves and who shares many characteristics with wolves.
Wiltshire (Jake, 106): County in south west England
Jermyn Street (Jacinta, 107): a street in central London, adjacent to Piccadilly; well known for its high-end gentlemen’s clothing.
“Hang for a sheep.” (Zac, 107): the short term of the expression “hanged for a sheep as a lamb,” meaning that one might as well commit a large crime if they’ll be punished the same for a small or large infraction. The saying comes from the Middle Ages, where punishments were similar for both large and small crimes.
Ructions (Corman, 108): a disturbance or quarrel.
“I assure you that the stag is not my role. / I’m talking about long term commitment.” (Nigel, 108): “stag” being slang for a bachelor, Nigel is assuring Corman that he’s willing to enter a serious relationship financially.
Buffer Stock (Zac, 109): a scheme that buys excess commodities on the market, stores them, and sells them once the market is depleted of that commodity. This allowed for a stabilized market price. It was very popular in the UK in the 1980s, mostly used on agricultural goods.
See attached page for context on the cocoa trade and Nigel’s Speech on 109
Caracas (Corman, 110): The capital of Colombia.
See attached page for context on the debt-equity swap in South America as described on page 111.
Return (Nigel, 115): profit
“But the CIA/ Won’t help it through/ Unless we agree to give/ another 10% to the Contras” (Marylou, 116): The CIA was highly involved in the Contra movement of Nicaragua, but could not openly support them. Therefore, the CIA funneled money to the Contra movement through various means, including taxing imports and other trades.
MPs (Biddulph, 118): Members of Parliament
Mail (Biddulph, 119): shortened version of “The Daily Mail,” a UK tabloid.
“you’ll see when we’ve licked him” (Biddulph, 120): You’ll see when we’ve beaten him
Pass the Pigs (Stage Directions, 123): dice game in which one throws two model pigs, each of which has a dot on one side. The player will get or lose points depending on how the pigs land.
“Double leaning jowler” (Grimes, 126): a jowl is a local accumulation of fat on the lower cheek, Grimes is saying that Greville has fat, hanging lower cheeks.
Alsatian (Greville, 128): British term for German Shepherd.
Doberman (Greville, 128): breed of dog used for guard dogs and police dogs.
Rotweiller (Greville, 128): breed of dog used for guard dogs and police dogs.
Solicitor (Grimes, 129): in England, a lawyer who deals primarily with courtroom proceedings (as opposed to barristers who deal primarily with legal documents).
Lorry (Grimes, 130): Truck.
Sic transit Gloria (Frosby, 130): “thus passes the glory”.
“all your lives you’ve been in clover” (Grimes, 131): to live in clover means to live a carefree life of ease, comfort, and prosperity. This expression came about because clover is fattening to cattle.
Numbered Swiss Account (Scilla, 133): funds in Numbered Swiss Accounts are hard to trace back to their owner and access by a government.
Sun (Starr, 139): The Sun, a British newspaper.
“Lear at the national” (Zac, 146): King Lear is playing at the National Theater London.
Interval (Zac, 146): intermission.
“Goneril and Reagan and Ophelia” (Gleason, 150): Gleason mentions the first two Lear daughters (Goneril and Reagan) but replaces Cordelia with Ophelia (from Hamlet). It is possible Gleason is merely making a mistake.
See attached document for Page 151 on taxing and politics.
Tebbit (Gleason, 152): Norman Tebbit was a Torie and Thatcher’s Secretary of State for Trade and Industry and the Chariman of the Conservative Party. In 1986, Tebbit fell out of favor with the Thatcher government for accusing Thatcher of having a TBW problem (That Bloody Woman). In response, Thatcher put responsibility for her conservative policies (shutting down unions and the like) on Tebbit.
“When a oil tanker sank with a hundred men the lads cheered because they’d make a million.” (Greville, 155): the sinking of a oil tanker can bring Greville profit in several ways: by hurting a competitor, increasing demand for oil, or increasing demand for a non-oil substance.
Sadat (Greville, 156): Anwar El Sadat, president of Egypt until his assassination in 1981. The Mubarak of the 1970s.
“When Sadat was shot I was rather chuffed because I was long of gold bullion” (Greville, 156): When Sadat was assassinated I was rather annoyed since I wanted to engage in trading. “Long of gold bullion” is a phrase popular among sailing (and pirating) that means wanting (longing, “long”) to make a profit (gold bullion).
Oxfam (Greville, 156): international confederation of organizations that work to find lasting solutions to poverty and relative injustice around the world.
Their mission statement says: “Working with thousands of local partner organizations, we work with people living in poverty striving to exercise their human rights, assert their dignity as full citizens and take control of their lives.”
“You’ll get stick from your wife again.” (Dave, 156): You’ll be beaten by your wife again.
Crete (Terry, 158): Greek island in the Mediterranean.
Drachs (Terry, 158): Drachma, the Greek currency pre-Euro. “Drach” is also Yiddish for Dragon, so there may be a play on words involved.
Filofax (Vince, 158): an organizer or agenda; Filofax is a British company known for its organizational tools.
Trafalgar Square (Martin, 159): a famous square in London that is owned by the Queen.
“fobbed off” (Scilla, 160): to be disposed of; to be gotten rid of.
Risk Arbitrageur (Marylou, 161): a type of investor who attempts to profit from price inefficiencies in the market by making simultaneous trades that work off of each other.
Context on Jacinta’s speech – page 91-92
The first thing to note about this speech is the comparison between the English financial system and the Peruvian financial system. While Jacinta is highly critical of the economy in Peru (she cannot trade on her mines, she’s always in debt, she is constantly contributing to the country’s wellbeing while seeing nothing in return), she is also rather tongue-in-cheek about the British (and first world) involvement in the situation. For example, she mentions the constant debt Peru (and other poor countries) has to OPEC (a conglomerate of oil rich countries) and western banks – a debt exacerbated by the high interest placed on these loans Peru had no choice but to accept. She also mentions the IMF (International Monetary Fund), which has always lent money to poor countries to dubious results considering the high interest and other caveats that come with the money.
The second thing to note about this speech is Jacinta’s own desire for the English (and western) system. She likes what results from greed: “the Swiss mountains so white from the air like our mountains but the people rich with cattle and clocks and secrets, the American plains yellow with wheat, the green English fields where lords still live in grey stone, all with such safe banks and good bonds and exciting gambles.” She wants the same system that keeps her country poor, because in that system she can experience high profits.
I don’t mean to imply that Jacinta’s speech speaks to pure greed. I see more a jaded cynicism about the economic situation, where she eventually decides to sell out to the British financial system.
Context on IMF speech – page 100 to 101
The concept behind the IMF is that poorer countries can borrow money from a fund that all richer (read more developed) countries contribute to. These poorer countries can then use the loans to improve their infrastructure and industry, which will eventually benefit the richer countries through increased trade and a stronger world economy. However, to keep the IMF growing (and to keep too much of the monetary burden off the richer countries), each loan given out by the IMF has a relatively high interest rate. So, the theory behind the IMF is that a rich country gives a poor country a loan allowing the poor country to improve their economy, eventually allowing them to pay back the loan and accrued interest.
However the IMF has also received widespread condemnation from poorer countries for various reasons. The loans do not allow economic freedom (i.e. the IMF has too much control over where and how the money is used). Often times, these loans are offered to promote industries that are not in direct competition with established industries elsewhere – limiting local economies. The high interest rates and time tables to pay back the IMF are unreasonable. Many countries find the whole interest rate to be problematic, as the IMF loans are generally given out to benefit richer, more developed countries in the first place. As Nigel points out, paying back the interest rates to already rich countries is seen as more important than dealing with food crises. In Jacinta’s earlier speech, she mentions that Peru refuses to pay back the interest rate on their loan (although they do in fact pay their loan), an action that caused many countries receiving IMF aid to complain about the unfairness of interest rates.
Context on Zac’s speech – page 111
The situation Zac discusses on page 111 is a well known business phenomenon in South America that has contributed to a long standing economic turmoil. Long story short, for every 100 million dollars of loans Corman gets out of Peru through equity, he must only invest 70 million due to the currency difference (since the dollar is worth more than the local currency, the dollar goes further). This allows Corman’s investments in Peru to be cheaper for him to carry through than a local (or anyone dealing with less money).
Context on Gleason’s speech – page 151
Gleason is engaging in a discussion on trickle-down economics – the idea that the less you tax the top earners of a country, the more money they will make, and the more of that money will reach their employees. So, Gleason is both in favor of cutting the top rate tax (think today’s discussion on the tax cuts on high income individuals under the Bush tax cuts) and of profit related pay (so bonuses given to executives for high earnings). However, he also faces two major issues: the economy in England has not recovered from the 1980s recession and the public is starting to get annoyed at the lack of regulation. Therefore, Gleason needs to limit the amount of shortterm quick profit that is being earned through nefarious business practices to regain public support that is waning in the face of economic turmoil simultaneously to unprecedented financial gains through the stock market.
(c) Alicia Hernandez Grande, 2012
Sources for Glossary and Further Context:
Online Etymology Dictionary
The American Kennel Club