fredag 10. juni 2016

Liquid Gold in Black Bottles

- The Prepper Diaries
In the field with Robert Wood.
I never imagined that Mr. Shu-Shine was a stingy man, but when the waiter came with dry biscuits I feared the worst.

It was the last Friday of the month, and I would meet Mr. Shu-Shine in one of Oslo’s most venerable restaurants. A table was reserved in my name and the waiter treated me like the princess consort. He even cleaned the already clean table with a dirty cloth.
– So, you are here to meet Mr. Shu-Shine, the great wine connoisseur, he said leeringly.
I almost saw dollar signs over his head as he trust a dog-eared, burgundy-red wine list into my hands. There were no signs of the Chinese rice wine or Bulgarian wood alcohol you find in too many of the other overpriced restaurants in Oslo. I reasoned that since this was a cool, rainy summer afternoon an exquisite red wine would do nicely. A Chateau Lafite-Rothschild 1976 to a favor price of 6143 kroner would do. Mr. Shu-Shine had said he would take the bill. After all, he was a stock market millionaire.

The Galaxy emitted a lingering sound and the message read:
 - Enjoy the wine, but save a glass for me!
I had barely time to read the words over the edge of the wine glass before Mr. Shu-Shine made his entrance. He came dressed in a fashionable Burberry jacket with Tweed dress from Dundee. The shoes were raw quality of Lloyds and the tie in fancy Paisley Pattern was obviously bought in Bond Street. Money speaks its own language.

The waiter came trotting with a worn silver plated tray. He lifted the lid of a small bowl with 10 -15 dry canapes with nothing but toothpicks on top and then put it smoothly down on the tabletop. I could literally see him in the lead role as Igor in Frankenstein movies.
- Why this gimmick with dry biscuits? I asked with a crocked smile, while quickly refilling our glasses with the God given French. Time to finish it off with a flourish in case Mr. Shu-Shine should send it out with the waiter. I never knew where I had the wine lover, but he had become my door opener into the semi-secret brotherhood of economic expatriates. Moreover, he was a connoisseur who loved flaunting his wine knowledge. I got the best of both worlds, and as long he paid for the fancy wines, I did not mind his ramblings. I even learned something.
- A palate cleanser between wines, Mr. Shu-Shine replied as he sat down opposite me.

Economic prepping
Norwegian preppers have their own association with the common motto: How to survive the collapse of the known society. The extreme preppers fear Armageddon in the form of meteor impacts, climate crises or super volcanoes. Others are more moderate as they believe times will be worse in terms of uncontrollable inflation, total relocation of Norwegian industry, unemployment and a Norwegian krone as valueless as a Zimbabwe dollar. They are trying to secure their future finances in times of crisis. Mr. Shu-Shine belongs to the latter group: He is prepping, not only in silver and gold, but also in other goods he knows will retain value after what he calls “The fall”. As a day-trader he has become holy convinced that the next stock market collapse will be much worse than the world experienced in 2008 or the Great Depression of 1929
- The trick is to diversify, i.e. expand your prepping with key commodities you know will become difficult to get hold of when trade is slowing to a near standstill. Also focus on a few specialties you know will keep their value over time no matter how bad the economic collapse is going to be,
- Are you quite sure we will experience a financial collapse, I mumbled with my nose deep in the wineglass. It was hard to concentrate on Mr. Shu-Shine’s words of doom.

The Great Bank Robbery
The scent of premium red was intoxicating distracting.
- Let me ask you a question, said Mr. Shu-Shine and felinely sipped the last of his Rothschild. – What is the interest on the money in your bank account? 
– About 0.1 %, in what once was a bank with a slight social conscience, I answered sorrowfully
 – Exactly, came the quick riposte. And, how much tax do you pay on the paltry interest rates? 
- There is 28 % income tax on bank interests, I replied even sadder. Sad because both our glasses were empty as the Greek government's coffers. 
- And where is the inflation rate in Norway right now? Mr. Shu-Shine followed up with a nasty smile. - It probably hits 3 % towards Christmas, I guess.
- You see, replied Mr. Shu-Shine. You get ripped off by the State, The Central Bank and DNB. You get whipped like a Wimp for not having debt. You can’t win! It is actually more profitable to have money in the mattress or in a grade 3 safe. You can only avoid taxation by getting a loan you do not need. Did you know that 79 % of the Finance Committee members do not pay wealth tax? 
– Yes, I said in a hoarse voice and nodded towards the empty glasses. Yes, unfortunatly I know that.

Dry biscuits for deep throats
- Have a quick look at the dry biscuits the waiter brought us. There lies one of the keys to economic prepping. If you have money to spare, you should invest in things you love.
- Dry biscuits? I could not resist the smug reply, but Mr. Shu-Shine continued on in-breath without losing his cool. 
- Not biscuits. Wine! The price of good wine will rise more than the interest rate and wage increases combined. Since there is no point in having money in the bank, you should spend your money on commodities you know you will buy in years to come. Invest in crates of good wine. 
-  Crates of good wine? Not that I am a drunk, but a bottle or two Medoc were easy to drink during the week.

Mr. Shu-Shine must have seen the calculator working in my head and signaled Igor.
 –Well, you have a point, I admitted thoughtfully. If I drink 70 bottles a year, it will cost me at least ten thousand kroner. If I buy a year’s supply late December, before the mandatory price increase in January, I would save at least twelve hundred kroner. And, if I think big and buy French, Spanish and Italian wine for the next 10 years, I will gain an extra premium. Older wines are even more expensive. Premium wines stored well increase in value 
– Exactly, Mr. Shu-Shine shone. Wine is getting more expensive and your money is worth less! Even better…. You have good wine in your cellar when the Oil Fund collapse. Buy today! Live to drink tomorrow!

Three seductive women
Igor has appeared with a bottle of port beside Mr. Shu-Shine. 
- I've been looking forward to introduce you to three seductive women, he says pointing at the bottle. As you know, some old-fashioned wine lovers compare wine with women. This Kopke Bridge is a ruby. She can be compared to a French can-can girl. Fresh and full of promises she lifts her skirts and kicks towards the public. You will love her if you drink her as she is.

I tasted, and Mr. Shu-Shine was right. The taste was fresh and a little raw as he said it would be. Mr. Shu-Shine performed the ritual that lovers of wine always seem to perform. His nose disappeared in the depths of the glass while he inhaled the scents. As a Valentino he fondled the deep red liquid in his mouth, smacking his lips, rolled the fluid around so that all his senses partook in the experience. He closed his eyes and opened them again rapt staring at the ceiling. It was more sensual than the best I had seen of Japanese Silk-sex.
- Do you recommend that I bet on Ruby Port as an investment? I managed to say between small sips. - No, not as an investment, but it does not hurt to have a crate in the cellar. Ruby port is not a storage wine. Mr. Shu-Shine corked the bottle and signaled Igor. 
– One glass of ruby is enough for comparisons. The best is yet to come
We drained the glass as Igor came with a glacier green bottle with white lettering. 
- Ah, exclaimed Mr. Shu-Shine. A Tawny port from the cellars Quinta do Noval, produced in 1941 and bottled in 1981. This wine is stored and aged in barrels. She is different. A mature tawny is comparable with thirty - forty year-old women. She has lived a while, absorbed the experience of time without losing the freshness of youth. She still has some sharp edges but are resilient without being superficial.
- And Tawny port is a good investment? I asked encouraged by the mellow, fruity drink. For this was the kind of wine my palate would enjoy more of. 
– Certainly! Right now, there is only a small price difference between Ruby and Tawny ports. That means we will see a sharp rise in prices within a few years. A price rise is probably just around the corner. Better with steel-shelves full of Tawny than money in brittle banks, he? 
- But you cannot live of the port during an economic crisis, I commented as I moved the bottle closer to my glass. No boot licking waiter would get the chance to remove this bottle before it was empty.
- No, ordinary wage-earners can’t afford this bottle which Igor excavated in the restaurant's deepest cellar for us. However, Tawny-port is a good investment for the future. It does not improve in the bottle, but on the other hand a good tawny will store well for many years. The price will doubled many times, in the government wine monopoly shops, before a tawny goes bad.

Liquid Gold in Black Bottles
I gave the rest of Noval a short rest in my mouth and I stared wistfully at Mr. Shu-Shine. I knew he had yet another ace up his sleeve. His wine-lore were worth listening too. As if Igor the waiter also had been listning, he came gliding towards our table with a crystal decanter and a wicker basket.
- See, said Mr. Shu-Shine reverently.  Liquid Gold in a black bottle. 
– That dusty, black bottle? I said and smiled like an intoxicated hyena. Mr. Shu-Shine pretended he did not hear me and continued smoothly. 
– Cellar dust on wine bottles are the dreams of the gods, he said. This is Mother Earth in a liquid state. This is fragrant gender and the fruits of the earth. This is the key to the night's golden dreams. Mr. Shu-Shine was lyrical as a wood faun. This is Vintage Port! She wears the traditional name of Taylor and this one was bottled in 1945. One of the two best vintages of the last century. Vintage Port matures in the bottle and can be stored for 100 years or more. The price of Vintage Port will rise steeply with age. Vintage port is financial prepping for lovers of port. Just one bottle Vintage costs between 400 and 500 kroner. However, if you invest in the 2009 vintage you must not drink it before 2021. If you invest in Quinta do Noval Nacional 2004 it will set you back 5,000 kroner a bottle, Almost the same as half an ounce of pure 999 gold or one kilo of pure silver. He decanted the wine lovingly into the crystal decanter.

It was easy to admit it, but Mr. Shu-Shine was true to his words. We put our noses into the glasses, tasted and Aaa-a-ed as one. Igor’s eyes glowed with envy as he stood watching. Mr. Shu-Shine’s eyes glazed. Clearly the investor was no longer in this world. His brain was for a few short moments disconnected from worries about the dollar, oil, gold and economic collapse. 
Mr. Shu-Shine was happy.

Hard facts – Best and Worst

Pseudonym: Mr. Shu-Shine
Profession: Stock Market Analyst
Age: 47 years
Education: Master of Finance
Favorite prepper scenario
Collapse of the Eurozone

Favorite prepper tool
Friends in The Right Places

Worst prepper trap
Investing in too many fields

The worst being a prepper
Something happens which you have not prepared for

Would really have liked to have
A hidden safehouse

Favorite prepper item
A Blue Mix; A combination of smart tools for multiple economic breakdowns

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