Thursday, 1 December 2011

The Queen of Canary Wharf.

As a second chapter to my previous post,Canary Wharf Ant Farm , which talked about the workers in the big banks of Canary Wharf, this post is about the Queen of the Ant Farm.

In order not to offend anybody I have invented a fictitious Queen called Victoria Bling. Victoria Bling is a superstar banker; she is in a way more a celebrity than a professional, good looking, charismatic and eccentric, parachuted into the job to “affect change”. She might previously have been running a profitable division, where it is hard to lose money, before taking on the top job. She is obsessed with detail and will in particular be enraged if any room she is likely to visit isn’t prepared to welcome her, with her favourite brands of beverages. She is a figurehead in the truest sense; don’t particularly know much about what goes on in many departments, but know how to take briefs from the various “heads-of” and represent them well, as her own, after all that’s the skill that elevated her to stardom in the first place . She rules with a spreadsheet and a pink slip, simplifying any issue to a profit and loss figure, her mission is to be loved by all, shareholders first, the public second, the staff third.  Not an easy task in the long term.

The sad truth is that most queens end their rule in disgrace, not so much because of anything they have done, but rather what they couldn’t do, they are in charge on an Ant Farm, an ecosystem so large that it is almost impossible for one person to change it.  The problem for Mrs Bling is that she has been working the PR machine so effectively that she has become a subscriber to her own spin, and now, at the edge, she can’t possibly accept the prospect of her failings, and thus follows another period of denial, then addiction and finally, like so many superstars before her, breakdown and rehab. Should you feel sorry for her? I don’t really know, I truly don’t know. Some people would point towards the millions of pounds that she has accrued along the way and say, hey, for that money she should be able to hack it. Having looked at countless interviews with sports- and pop-stars that have gone through the same lifecycle, I am ambivalent.  It is certainly evident that, as a society, we like to build them up and then axe them.

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