The London Paper – 2 Oct 2006
Last week, at a colleague’s leaving drinks of all places, some right James Blunt had the audacity to offer me a line of cocaine. He had cornered me in the bogs with his jaw looking like he was entering some kind of Desperate Dan look-alike competition and made his offer. Now for me, it’s strictly the devil’s urine, and not his dandruff, that floats my boat. I didn’t get where I am today with a runny nose talking gibberish … well maybe just the latter.
Charlie (or marching powder, nose candy, toot, quiver, wallop, gak, beak, bugle, yeyo, Gianluca Vialli, Boutros Boutros etc. etc.) has been around for the last 20 years or so in the City but it used to be the preserve of the select few, usually brokers. I have heard talk of a memo going around a certain investment bank in the late 80’s asking traders that, if they do insist on chasing the white lady, to use the toilets, rather than their desks. But Robin William’s famous quote that ‘Cocaine is God’s way of telling you that you are making too much money’ is no longer valid. These days, because of the steep decline in price, it’s as likely to be the tea boy as it is the head of trading that invites you to powder your nose.
Recent press reports suggest that every broker in town has permanently got a rolled up fifty up his hooter. However, outsiders may be surprised at how straight we’re becoming and this is mainly because stricter rules and random drug tests can prove quite a deterrent when you’re earning a million a year. That said, there is still a die hard of bugle monsters, who seem to manage to make millions and avoid getting their P45 whilst buzzing like Peter Doherty at a Bogata house party. Word on the street is that there’s quite a trade out there in untainted urine just in case those compliance boys come calling.
Still, risking your job aside, hoofing a load of gak is not going to do anyone working in the City too many favours. I can think of few jobs in the world that are less healthy than what I do (apart, perhaps, from being Ron Jeremy’s fluffer). Our lives generally consist of stress, alcohol, sleep deprivation and rich food and on that basis most of us burn out before we’re forty. Add into the mix cocaine and your ego’s writing cheques your body really ain’t going to be able to cash.