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News: September 2021 Commodity Musings

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I've always been a fan of the concept of alternative realities, parallel universes and, time travel since an early age. This was probably fed by my reading diet of Superman, Batman and X-Men comics in the 1960's. They tended to send my imagination and dreams into overload, an early indicator of the sleepless nights that would be coming to me over the next 40 years. The first time I saw The Wizard of Oz I didn't understand the surrealism of it, but in later years the vividness of the colours alone were enough to send my head spinning.

I'm sure many people have heard of the alleged synchronisation of that film with the Pink Floyd album Dark Side of the Moon, (worth a look if you ever get bored reading documentation on a Sunday evening). I liked the escapism of these worlds, which made anything possible, with no real limits on what could be done, and the joy of Earth Prime, Earth X, and Earth Y. The way timelines just fluctuate to suit the narrative as written, and the way strong characters could take a leading role and make things happen.

Can you imagine an alternative commodity world where:

  1. Enron didn't fall apart (btw, I remember seeing the Enron play in the West End around 2009 which was superb-no idea if that's available in full anywhere these days?)
  2. Oil letter of indemnities (LOl's) didn't exist
  3. Electronic documentation was fully adopted 30 years ago
  4. Greensill was still financing "invoices"
  5. Bitcoin was the commodity currency of the world

That's got to be a fun game one late evening if you can't sleep. I'm sure you can think of many "what if" examples, where lots of current issues just wouldn't exist. However, I've no doubt they would just be replaced by different problems.

Like many people these days I've cut back on my exposure to "news". The proliferation of news sites today means we are exposed to, and more aware of, the many injustices in our world than ever. This contributes to the information overload we receive, which is invariably overweighted to the bad news end of the spectrum.

In my opinion, this isn't good for anybody's mental health. Information is good, but what's the optimum amount of information an individual can process?

It reminds me of the traders with 6 + screens surrounding their desk, all with different prices/information on them and thinking, "you must have really good peripheral vision to manage that number of screens", and "doesn't your head hurt at the end of the day?".

After what has happened in Afghanistan over the last month, I'm amazed we haven't seen any headlines in the commodity press regarding a potential 5-year Afghanistan pre-export finance (PXF) trade. Surely someone must be thinking about it? Every crisis traditionally creates a commodity opportunity. And I understand there's some Lithium in those hills ...

Went to my first gig in 18 months last week, not a big one, but so nice just to get out and tread on a sticky beer-stained floor and talk to random people and sing along. The simple pleasures are the best.

On that note, and to go full circle with my earlier comments, I'll leave you with the thoughts of Fish era Marillion from 1984 in Fugazi.

"Where are the Prophets? Where are the Visionaries? Where are the poets? To breach the dawn of the sentimental mercenary. ... "

Alan Gordon alan-gorden-commodity-musings-image-1