MEAT pie at midnight?
No, not you, madam. I'm talking to some of the nation's leading bankers.
That's what they were ordered to eat by Fred Goodwin, the former Royal Bank of Scotland chief who brought Britain to its knees.
Arguably, I've over-egged both the pudding and the pies there. The top banking executives were offered the pies by Fred the Shred, but only a fool would have risked his wrath by refusing.
I'm grateful to financial journalist Ian Fraser for the pie detail, as I would be to anyone offering me jaw-dropping anecdotes about the nation's favourite repast. But there's a lot more than ambrosial bakery products in Mr Fraser's book, Shredded, which shines new light on the financial prince of darkness. Some of it is horrifying - oh, the singing! - some merely disturbing.
No-one is wholly rotten, of course, unless you count top dictator expert Alistair Darling (Kim Jong-Al to his friends), so let's examine the balance sheet here. In the credit column, stretching eight millimetres down one side of the ledger, is the revelation that, while head of RBS, he tried pulling out of the disastrous deal to buy ABN Amro.
With incredible financial astuteness, he noticed ABN had sold its lucrative American arm. But he was overruled by his takeover partner, Santander, which is Spanish for cock-up.
On the debit side of the sheet, still unravelling at my feet here, we start at the top where it says Fred, er, exaggerated an entry on his metaphorical CV to get his first top job in banking.
Many of you are blushing. Lied on a CV, eh? I myself am blameless but I'm told everyone else lies on job applications, converting that time you took an old lady over the road into "extensive experience of voluntary social work".
Fred for his part allegedly exaggerated his part in the liquidation of the Bank of Credit and Commerce International. One imagines him adjusting his baseball cap at the interview and saying: "Oh aye, I liquified that a' right, ken? If ye need anything liquifying, I'm your man. Right, is it a song ye'se are waantin'?"
They should have spotted something wrong right there, they being the Clydesdale Bank that interviews me for six hours before letting me spend £3 at Gregg's. Even bigger money was bandied about at RBS, whose canny financial experts were persuaded to buy a £20 million executive jet, which Fred used frequently for important business ("Just nipping out for a stainless steel scourer and some Laura Ashley wallpaper.")
Yup, Fred had an obsession with interior decor and tidiness. One day, the book reveals, he "forced a group of senior managers on to their hands and knees to pluck weeds from the car park". Hey, now I'm warming to him.
Indeed, normally I sympathise with the witch in witch-hunts, but the following details had me hightailing it to Lidl for an LED-effect burning brand.
Get this: at RBS, every quarter, top executives were forced to attend convivial "mess dinners" where each in turn had to perform a karaoke song. Cruelty beyond reason! Goodwin himself loved to yodel Don McLean's American Pie, a horrible Seventies hit that every freedom-loving democracy should ban, along with all songs that rhyme levy with Chevy.
I'm not just saying that because I don't know what a levy is, at least in the American sense. Perhaps Fred the Shrill meant it as in bank charge. Perhaps he'd themed the evening, because after he'd committed GBH of the earhole with his caterwauling, the midnight Scotch — in the absence of American — pies arrived. Good organiser, d'you see? It was on his CV (just under "extensive charity work with the hungry", ie once gave half a white pudding to a tramp).
We're nearly at the bottom of the page and I've barely done justice to the man's badness. The word "psychopath" even enters the debate (CV entry: "And I am definitely not a psychopath").
Poor man. Perhaps he's suffered enough. No? You hear Aldi are doing coal-effect stakes for £4.99? Yay! Then we're off to Homebase - we've paused our investments in B&Q - for a packet of zinc-plated thumbscrews.
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