Edinburgh Festival previews

I am going to the Edinburgh Festival this August – for the first time since 2003. Here’s the low down.

I’m taking two shows.

The first, Let’s Talk About Tax, has me wearing my financial hat (there’re jokes too). It’s at 4pm at the Gilded Balloon.

In the second, at 9pm in the Voodoo rooms, I’m reviving my first ever act, the Upper-Class Rapper, though with a completely new material.

The festival runs from August 1st to 28th. If you’re passing through, please stop by. You can book tickets for Let’s Talk About Tax here. The Upper-Class Rapper is part of the free fringe, so all you need to do is turn up.

Between now and August I’m also doing a number of previews in London and in Yorkshire. If you can’t make Edinburgh, I’d be delighted to see you at one of these:

Let’s Talk About Tax

Tuesday June 28, Downstairs At The Kings Head, Crouch End. Tickets here or turn up on the night.

Tuesday July 5. The Albany, Great Portland St. W1. Tickets on the door. £5 for two shows (me and Will Duggan)

Friday July 8, The Wheatsheaf , 25 Rathbone Place, W1T. FREE entry, no need to book, just show up – more info here

Wednesday July 13, Backyard Comedy Club, Bethnal Green, E2 0EL. Tickets and more info here –

Friday July 15, Gillygate Shed, 48 Gillygate, York. Tickets and more info here

Saturday July 15 Gillygate Shed, 48 Gillygate, York. Tickets and more info here

Upper-Class RapperSunday July 17, Piccadilly Comedy Club, 7 Oxenden St, SW1Y 4EE. Tickets here

Friday July 29th, Port Eliot Festival, Idler Academy.

The Upper-Class Rapper

Just the one preview

Wednesday July 14, Clapham Comedy Club, Bread and Roses, Clapham Manor Street, SW4 (with Shazia Mirza). Tickets and info here

Why you will never own a home … New app explains

YouTube Preview Image

Here’s the script:

Hello in this tutorial we’re going to look at setting up a 21st century functioning economy.

So let’s get started. Open the app. And you get the basic template, which is some old houses, built a while ago.

Now you can buy these for not much more than it costs to build them, so the first thing we need to do to push up prices is to get some debt into this market, so click on invent mortgage. (NB: mortgages only really came into being in the 1930s and 1950s)

And then we need to get this market rigged, so let’s get some planning laws installed. This is the UK version and that will automatically update.

So we’ve created a situation in which hardly anything can get built except by a few large institutions and that means we’ve restricted supply  to what’s already there and a few crappy newbuilds.

Next we need to flood this market with money, so let’s have a fiddle with the money system.

So we’ve got house prices nicely going up which means interest rates will have to go up as well, so if you’re a central banker monitoring inflation,  click on ignore.

We’ve got a bubble now that is going to pop and when it does I want you to click on bail out banks, slash interest rates and Quantitative Easing – and that will prop prices.
If people start complaining, install help to buy and that should mute them. And it’ll be a nice little earner for the housebuilding companies as well.

And you’re going have situation now in which even though a house is cheap to build, pretty much anyone under the age of about 35 isn’t going to be able to afford one. Just to buy or rent even the tiniest place, they’re going to have to work like slaves, pool their wealth , get subsidised by their parents, put off starting a family and take on loads of debt.

And there we have it a functioning 21st century economy.


To recap the key ingredients here are our money system,  planning laws, our subsidise home owners at all costs mentality in the policy setting classes.

I’ll be posting more of these tutorials, so yeah please subscribe to my YouTube channel.

33 Indicators That Bitcoin Growth Isn’t Slowing Down in 2016

Georgi Georgiev has asked me to post his infographic on my blog, so here it is:


Here’s G’s accompanying text:


The Bitcoin Train Is Just Leaving The Station


Despite naysayers writing Bitcoin off as a fad, bubble, scam or something only computer geeks would ever use. The simple truth is that the cryptocurrency has had a major impact on society and if the indicators in Bargain Fox’s new infographic are anything to go by, the train is only just leaving the station.


The decentralised unit of exchange was created by somebody who calls themself Satoshi Nakamoto in January 2009. Although professor of Finance at UCLA, Bhagwan Chowdry recently said he would be nominating Nakamoto for the Nobel Prize in Economics, the mysterious figure has kept their identity hidden from the public, preferring instead for the technology itself to get the spotlight. Nobody owns bitcoin and it operates on a peer to peer basis across the internet.


The legend of Nakamoto and the “Genesis Block”  the first block in the blockchain, which referenced the global financial crisis, has given bitcoin a revolutionary quality. And with growing mainstream acceptance perhaps that revolution will be won.


Indeed, there are now over 100,000 merchants (online and offline) that accept bitcoin as a payment method. An increase on last year’s 65,000 number. This isn’t just down to customer demand either. Retailers can begin using the BitPay payment processor free of charge and even when they progress to the premium version they are only charged 1% of the transaction, much lower than Visa and Mastercard. Another benefit is that they do not have to deal with fraudulent chargebacks because there is no inbuilt authority or mechanism to force a refund like there is when a customer calls their credit card company. In August 2015 BitPay reached a record number of transactions, totalling 70,000 in one month. Everyone from Microsoft to small niche online stores are on board, so the uptake is only going to increase.


In terms of bitcoin’s total daily transaction value $289 million is roughly being moved around, which is more than Xoom ($15 million), Western Union ($216m), and hot on the heels of PayPal ($397m). The trading volume and growth at the exchanges is also on the rise, with Singapore based OK Coin growing a staggering 847% from this time last year. BitStamp which is used more by western traders also grew by 160%.


Everything just seems to be converging together. Thanks to $469 million in venture capital (way up from $2 million in 2012), user friendly technology for bitcoin is on a steep rise. Everything from backend exchange software, to payment processors, to bitcoin wallets, is becoming so much more accessible.


Perhaps the only hurdle remaining that prevents it becoming a true day to day currency is the volatility of its price. Unless they are profiting off the trades, people don’t want something that can buy them 5 large pizzas one day and then only a side of fries the next.


Fortunately all such markets that are small in size will exhibit harsh peaks and valleys in the beginning. The overall trend as BTC matures and becomes much larger, is that volatility is reduced.


Its value has been rising steadily since the start of the year, jumping by over $100 in the last two months alone. Experts predict that this steady growth will continue in to 2016.


While it certainly hasn’t been an easy ride for the cryptocurrency, what with the Silk Road drug market scandal, people losing thousands in the collapse of the Mt. Gox exchange, and national governments clearly not wanting it to exist in the first place. It has managed to gain broad appeal because it does what it promised.
As we approach its 7th  birthday BargainFox.co.uk has released an infographic revealing 33 indicators that suggest that bitcoin is going to continue its growth in all areas.

Infographic was done by BargainFox and SavvyBeaver . Source: https://www.bargainfox.co.uk/blog/infographic/33-indicators-that-bitcoin-growth-isnt-slowing-down-in-2016-infographic