A near-death experience and made-up fluff

The author of the definitive biography of Canadian prog-rockers Rush is featured in this post! It doesn't get better than this, you're thinking.

Three weeks without a post! You must have been worried sick. Turns out I wasn’t crawling across the floor, desperately to reach the keyboard to tap out one last post before the horrific injuries inflicted by a deranged stalker finally did for me. I was doing my University exams, thanks for asking, which were arguably less fun.

The curse of antitalknormalism pursued me even in the musty corridors of the University of London. As one of my lecturers warned me: “In macroeconomics the answers aren’t hard. It’s trying to work out what they’ve asked you that’s the problem.” The second bit of that statement, at least, turned out to be true.

I’ve got a couple of posts ready for this week. Meanwhile, there’s time to answer the question asked by analyst and part-time Renaissance man Jon Collins, rock biographer (five stars on Amazon) and managing director of Freeform Dynamics:

No, Jon, I don’t make the graphs up.

The numbers are always real. Whenever there’s data and I haven’t told you where it is from, I found it by searching Factiva.com and sticking it into a spreadsheet.

On a personal level Mr Collins is both my webcast buddy and was voted the world’s second-best analyst (and the best in Europe) by a jury of his peers, so when he questions my rigour it is naturally hurtful. I’m only partially mollified when he tells me Talk Normal is his second favourite blog, because his favourite is the one where someone writes down what her husband says when he’s asleep, and I checked and she doesn’t have a single bar chart. But, being British, I’m keeping all this negative emotion inside so the bitterness can spill out inappropriately when I’m drunk.

Here’s another thing that might appear to have been made up for a joke. It’s a pygmy jerboa: an animal that looks as if the zoo ran out of fluff half way through inventing it.

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