Whilst working in the city Geraint Anderson was the anonymous author of the Cityboy newspaper column. In 2008 he published his first book “Cityboy”: Beer and Loathing in the Square Mile.
1. How would you describe what you currently do for a living?
I’m a writer / free lance journalist as well as travelling surfer wannabe. After 12 long, hard years in the City I’m now essentially doing exactly what I want to do with my life… what I’ve always wanted to do.
2. Because of the recession I only have enough money to buy one of your two books. Which one should I get and why?
Oh, without the slightest doubt ‘Cityboy – Beer and Loathing in the Square Mile‘. It’s rammed full of decent gags, insights into the loony bin I used to work in and, what’s more, it’s a true story about how greed and egotism (and biblical amounts of ‘rage powder’) can turn an almost decent human being (i.e. me) into a world-class, copper-bottomed tosspot. I may be completely disillusional but when historians come to study the recent crisis I hope that as well as all the sensible accounts by Hank Paulson etc, they read my book to understand what really made the Square Mile tick.
3. Is there going to be a third book? If so what will it be about?
Yep, just finishing it now in my fiancé’s caravan in Kerry, Ireland between surfs. In fact, this interview is f*&king stopping me working / surfing! The next book is a novel about a bloke who writes an anonymous column for a London-based newspaper. He’s doing too much gak and gets paranoid about being discovered (I don’t know where I get my inspiration from!) His fears make him break into his boss’s computer where he discovers a major crime. It’s a thriller with some romance and lots of humour. God-willing it will be in bookshops within 5 months.
4. You were a utilities analyst for many years. If you had to go back to a life of working in the city, what job would you choose?
Oh, hedge fund manager without a doubt. Join up, take some ludicrously huge gambles that if they come good will earn you millions within a year and then bugger off back to some tropical beach (having given half my ‘winnings’ to a charity of course).
5. Ironically the credit crunch seems to have increased people’s interest in living a ‘cityboy’ lifestyle. Lots of people are having a go at day trading. Do you think most of them are just wasting their money?
The ironic tragedy of my first book (that was partly a warning about the pointlessness/destructiveness of a City lifestyle) is that most of the emails I receive from readers ask me about how to get a job as a merchant banker! Perhaps that has something to do with the protagonist (me) earning 1/2 a bar after 7 years in his job, having vast amounts of food/booze/strippers paid for my expense account and having nubile, Eastern European gold diggers throw themselves at me (as if!). Most day traders are wasting their time because they lack an informational advantage over the insiders.
6. Do you do any trading in shares, forex or other financial instruments?
I did buy £30K’s worth of FTSE 100 blue chips in late October 2008. I looked like a right dingbat for 5 months but now things have come good.
7. What advice could you give our readers to help them become richer, (and avoid losing it all in the next crash!)?
Don’t have kids and stay off the marching powder.
8. What could be done to prevent another crash?
All the usual crap I’ve been spouting off about for the last 2 years – tighter regulation, tougher scrutiny, changes to bonus culture, splitting casino activities and normal lending etc.
9. If you were chancellor what would you do to reduce our massive deficit?
Christ – you obviously haven’t read my book! I succeeded through partying hard and ruthless office politics. I haven’t got a clue about economics and all that crap (I did history at uni). Whilst I’d be well able to provide some clichéd bulls**t answer after about 3 minutes on Google, I don’t want to insult your readers’ intelligence by doing so.
10. And finally is Hugo Bentley a real person? Will you ever reveal who it is?
All the characters in the book are based on real people (though a couple are amalgams). I have to be very careful what I say re: Hugo as he’s richer than me and could drag my bony arse through court for defamation if he so desired (if he were a real person that is).
You can keep up to date with what Geraint is doing at his www.cityboy.biz website.