Nothing bad happens when its sunny, right?
Last night I was at the UK premier of Parkland as one of the films in competition at the BFI London Film Festival. It is the story of the JFK assassination, which happened nearly 50 years ago on 22nd November 1953. Those over the age of 50 will almost certainly remember where they were when the heard the news of his death. This film is not about JFK himself, neither is it one for the conspiracy theorists. It is the story from the perspectives of locals who were there, in particular the medical staff at the Parkland hospital in Dallas, who attempted to save his life.
It’s an interesting film, and reveals some rather strange conversations between Lee Harvey Oswald, his mother and brother, however it does not really reveal anything new about a conspiracy theory. The director, Peter Landesman introduced the film. He made some interesting observations about “iconic moments in history” that get revisited, often in the hope that the ending will somehow alter. He also observed that many “bad things” happen out of the blue… indeed on a bright blue sky day, a day when surely nothing could go wrong. It was a reminder that of course, “bad” things happen all the time – the time, place and weather are largely an irrelevance. However looking to the sky for signs that things are going to be good (or bad) in life is little more than a rather primitive approach – unless of course you are simply attempting to predict the weather for the day.
What signs should investors look for?
Investors would do well to take heed of the warning not to read too much into “the signs” about stockmarkets or indeed anything that impacts our economies. I reckon that I have now heard most theories in relation to investor euphoria or depression, ranging from the price of corn to the number of coffee shops, goals scored or skirt length as “indicating signs”. The reality, is that life is full of risk, full of the unknown, frankly that is what makes it life and “fun”. Knowing the future is really more of a curse if you stop to think about it. So please beware of those holding themselves out to be foreseers of economic doom/oblivion/meteoric rise, they are simply guessing. There are ways to have a successful investment experience that do not involve guessing or living in fear of what may (or may not) happen. Yes, unforeseen “major events” do occur, but in reality a long-term perspective encompasses these. The real conspiracy is that few understand that they don’t need to play the fear and greed game.
Parkland will soon be available at UK cinemas, with the expected release date to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the assassination on 22 November.
Red Carpet Experience
The demands of a voracious media upon celebrities are significant. Attending the BFI London Film Festival is one of my now annual indulgences – being able to see some great new movies and enjoy the experience of the razzmatazz. It is interesting to observe the stars, the media and the public who all play their parts in the red carpet experience. The moment is fleeting and slightly surreal. I wonder how celebrities put up with the constant attention and deal with the inevitable experience at some point of not being the centre of attention. I have to say that all those that I bumped into (some literally) along the red carpet appeared to be comfortable with the attention and I was struck by how calm their demeanour – no small feat when hundreds of people are shouting and demanding your gaze.
Last night I saw yet another good Kate Winslet film. This time “Labor Day” (yes American). It is a moving story about a escaped convict that seeks shelter in the depressed home of divorcee Adele (Kate Winslet) who lives with her son Henry who does his best to help her struggle through the day. Both lack confidence and need a shot of inspiration which arrives in the unexpected form of Frank Chambers (Josh Brolin). I won’t divulge the story any further, but it is a reminder that in life there are often people that lift us and inspire us. I think that for me this is often the role that art, in its many forms often plays in my own life. That is not to say that inspiration always comes from a perfect or purist place, but rather, true inspiration is invariably grounded in the difficulty of real life.
A Passionate and Connected Life
For all the gloss of financial services, the reality is that great financial planning is grounded in real life, in your hopes and experiences. It is not a wish-making factory, though I can certainly see how this can appear to be the case. I work hard with clients to help them verbalise the life that they want. We might call this a lifestyle, which can sound like a glamorous term, in practice it invariably means a life where thought has been placed into how personal values are outworked. I cannot think of a single client for whom relationships, connection to others is not one of their driving motivations. It isn’t really about the toys, but a sense of being known. Money merely provides choices, it’s a resource, my clients reflect on how they wish to use it in order to reflect their own values. This is easier said than done in a world that honours and basks in the glitz, which can be a lot of fun, but can be a lonely place, where being oneself is increasingly difficult. What I find clients are really bothered by, is a very real, passionate and connected life, themes touched on in the film – hence the blog.
The BFI Film Festival continues until Sunday 20th October.
Dominic Thomas: Solomons IFA