Just Business’ is about a disillusioned mid-30’s stockbroker who’s doing too much gak and getting paranoid. He’s convinced his boss is going to fire him just before bonus time and so breaks into his computer. He soon uncovers a multi-million pound scam and, after being framed for murder, is forced to go on the run around the world with his feisty on-off girlfriend.
The book is about greed and explores how the line between bankers and gangsters became blurred over the last decade. But more than that, it’s a no-holds-barred page-turner with enough humour, sex, drugs and rock and roll to keep most people happy.
‘Well, you only get one shot at the title, and she blew it’ I lied through a coked-up rictus grimace. The banging house music made decent conversation almost impossible but my clients and I were way too wired to dance properly and so had little choice. Anyway, it didn’t really matter much because conversation with these clowns was always going to be macho horseshit and tiresome one-upmanship at the best of times. We huddled together on the luxurious cushioned seat just feet away from the dance floor, our eyes darting around checking out the fit young East European gold diggers. On the low table in front of us were two bottles of Grey Goose vodka, a huge bucket of ice and a shed-load of different mixers. All this would set me, or rather my bank, back £500. Seeing as we’d already just blown well over a grand on cocktails at Fifty St James and a meal at the Wolseley this night of debauchery was certainly going to take some explaining to the expenses department. Still, a couple of these hedge fund boys were bound to give me some man-sized orders the next day so I’d almost certainly get away with it, again.
‘Well, I’m bored of talking about me … so how about you guys talk about me for a while?’ I joked, trying to steer the conversation away from the fact that I had recently been binned by an amazing girlfriend I was still utterly besotted by. I knew I’d fucked up really appallingly and I was suffering like never before. I was in the grips of an ever-growing realisation that I’d possibly just lost the love of my life for an office fling that didn't even get past first base. But the last thing that I should mention to these cocksuckers is something ‘vulnerable’ that would detract from the image of God-like invincibility that everyone around the table sought to project. Anyway, the lads were focusing their saucer eyes on some particularly slinky mover, who must have been all of about nineteen. She looked like your standard, slender, barely legal Lithuanian hooker. We all stared at her for a bit and then proceeded to follow the predictable routine of commenting on her attributes in a way that would confirm to each other our rampant heterosexuality as well as our boundless virility.
We all stared at her for a bit and then proceeded to follow the predictable routine of commenting on her attributes in a way that would confirm to each other our rampant heterosexuality.
‘Fuck me, check out the buns on that slapper! You could break FUCKING coconuts on her arse!’ exclaimed Richard, the richest and evidently the most erudite of the clients I had the dubious pleasure of entertaining that night. ‘And there’s only one thing wrong with her face … it ain’t covered in my muck’ he added with a disgusting leer. Richard was the sort of self-satisfied, loathsome tosspot who didn’t just think the world owed him a living, he damn well knew it did. I had spent four long years buttering up this particularly offensive deviate and it was paying off – for eighteen months he’d been chucking some serious commission my way.
‘Hell’s bells! She’s got a set of Bristols on her that just ain’t quittin’’ shouted Brad, virtually foaming at the mouth such was his manufactured excitement. He was another foul, depraved human being and was most certainly not the sharpest tool in the box. In fact, we three others often joked that he’d find it difficult to chew gum and walk at the same time.
‘Mate, he who hesitates masturbates … why don’t you go and have a boogie with her? Show her some of your moves? Otherwise you’re just gonna spend another night cranking yourself to sleep’ laughed Dimitri, a diminutive, pox-ridden, sleazy whoremonger whose dilated pupils betrayed the fact that he was buzzing his nuts off.
‘Yeah, come on Richard, stop giving it the Terry Big Spuds and strap a pair on, you fucking Wendy’ laughed Brad.
‘Yeah, in your own time, Richard, while we’re still young … this side of Christmas would be nice’ said I, joining in with the general ribaldry.
‘Christ alive! I’m getting advice on picking up girls from ‘the thumb-it-in-soft posse’? Fucking hell, I might as well get anger management lessons from Russell Crowe! Shit, I’m gonna call up Leslie Ash right now to ask for her advice on cosmetic surgery! Chaps, I don’t wanna be rude or anything but the only reason you sick onanists ever get laid is because you never leave home without a stash of Rohipnol and a shed-load of Viagra so please don’t give it large.’
He was another foul, depraved human being and was most certainly not the sharpest tool in the box. In fact, we three others often joked that he’d find it difficult to chew gum and walk at the same time.
Ahh…we were slipping into the old familiar routine. Good, the evening was going as planned. Although Richard’s little speech sounded angry, which as the hosting stockbroker meant I initially felt a little concerned, a quick glance in his direction assured me that he was merely playing a role, and very happy to do so. Richard rarely talked, he just held forth and today was no exception. Of course, I wanted everything to go smoothly tonight but in this context ‘going smoothly’ meant non-stop childish banter that only to the uninformed observer was aggressively hostile. I sat back happy in the knowledge that this false bonhomie would soon translate into some serious commission.
We had spent the earlier part of the evening talking shop over an overpriced dinner at the Wolseley and Richard had even been kind of enough to share some inside information with us about a transport company that was going to be acquired on Monday at a 25% premium. All of us had virtually promised him that we'd be getting our long lost aunts, great uncles and anyone else who weren't directly connected to us to invest shed loads in said company at the break of dawn. I planned to punt my usual unit size of £100K via a cabal of five old school friends and was looking forward to the twenty grand winnings that my three day 'investment' would garner after my pals had each taken their usual one grand costs.
Funnily enough, now that “the business” was over, I was almost having fun. This was a pleasant surprise considering the company I was keeping and the fact that the Eurotrash losers at Chinawhite that night were generally at least ten years younger than me - making me once again feel like the worst paedo in the paddling pool. Anyway, by late 2007 I’d been partying with obnoxious clients for over a decade and faking sincerity had become second nature. Shit, these smug, charmless idiots probably thought I actually liked them.
'Just Business' is available to buy here
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