How To Make A Small Fortune
06 March 2021
Start with a large fortune.
Facts are few and far between. At least those available to me, so, drawing on my years of corporate life, I've pieced together this scenario which may, or more likely, may not, have been what happened.
Picture this. Three or four smartly, nay, expensively dressed executives in their Hugo Boss suits, with their slim aluminium briefcases containing an unused yellow legal pad, a well thumbed paperback and a sandwich, coiffed and shoes shining like a Scots Guard outside Buckingham Palace; their architect in his round, tortoise shell glasses and tweed jacket, with slightly worn leather patches on the elbows, and his young assistant, armed with his degree in Media Studies and the PowerPoint controls, are all sat at the end of a very long, highly polished table in the mahogany alley that is the bank's top floor boardroom awaiting an audience with their prospective backers.
Two hours and two hundred slides later, everyone's ecstatic, the plan eagerly accepted, the deal's been done and a big, and I mean a really big cheque is soon to wing its way to the resort development team's coffers, when, upon receipt, the first thing on the project is to order two new Mercedes. Media studies boy probably got fired having served his purpose and the architect was in a panic wondering how to make this project, flung together over a boozy weekend, a reality. I mean, who in their right mind would conceive a project requiring tons of concrete, the felling of acres of prime hardwoods, miles of electric cables and wires, all needing to be shipped to and assembled on a remote atoll in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Not to mention finding a workforce keen to re-enact the movie Papillon, many, many miles from, well, anything. An atol that many say will be under water in the not to distant future.
Nonetheless, work started and for a few years everything was going swimmingly. Bangladesh had been robbed of its finest artisans, wood and cabling shipped in by the ton and concrete formed into ingenious shapes, that until now I'd thought only the French could do, oddly, closely resembling a "Project" (think Chicago Projects and you'll get the idea). All was going swimmingly. Right up to the point the money ran out.
This "kit project", a kind of IKEA on stilts cum "fixer-upper" is now yours, or would have been if you'd bid a tad over fifty million a year or two back.
Now, it's all pretty much like my guitar playing. A bit of a train wreck. One good blow and it will all appear on an atol beach somewhere downwind leaving just the concrete piles and ribs like a desiccated giant who lay too long on the beach, testament to the luxury of spending other people's money.
Note: this, like most of my writing , is a pleasing, one hopes, mix of fact and fiction. It is also the work of someone with too much time on his hands, not to mention a fevered imagination. Any similarity to persons, events or timing is entirely, a) fortuitous and b) unlikely.