A couple of years ago myself and several others were commissioned to write a piece for Belgian art magazine A Prior. The piece I wrote subsequently appeared as a critical reflection Olivia Plender’s ‘board game’ installation ‘Set Sail for the Levant’. I blogged about this at the time.
What did not appear there was the original version.
The brief myself and other contributors were given, was to imagine the contemporary world through the eyes of Flaubert’s ‘Buvard & Pecuchet’ – two bumbling and frankly venal French bourgeois who ‘try their hand’ at everything in pursuit of being the ‘perfect’ expression of comfortable middle-classdom. I was reminded of this by a tweet earlier today by Neil Cummings (another contributor to the same edition of A Prior). Neil has posted his own contribution on his blog in reaction the ongoing catastrophe that is the contemporary banking industry – suggesting that B&P probably couldn’t have done a much worse job than those actually in charge.
Neil’s reponse is a properly sober, critical and scholarly examination of the lunacies of banking and financial markets and well worth reading. I, by contrast, took the brief much more literally and indulged myself instead by imagining a further section in Flaubert’s (famously unfinished) original whereby B&P themselves become investment bankers. This managed to miss the intentions of the editors almost completely – hence the rewrite. However, I had fun doing it and, re-reading it, it was not so very wide of the mark – Bob Diamond as Bouvard, perhaps….?
So, with no illusions as to quality, with apologies to the by now furiously spinning Flaubert, and just for fun, here’s the paper that never was: