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From the desk of Rupert Wright: The irrational exuberance of dance

Focus: Investors keep their feet on lockdown, unwilling to risk even a moment's irrational exuberance.

One of the most curious events in this most peculiar of years was the story of the dancing men, who seemingly performed a jig to celebrate the fact that Dominique Strauss-Kahn had fallen into their trap.

Two of Sofitel's security men were caught dancing on videotape - proving irrevocably that when you dance somebody is always watching - but also perhaps that they had a part in any stitch-up of the IMF chief. The hotel of course denies any such involvement. What should be more shaming for them is that their security men were dancing. As we all know from Norman Mailer's book, Tough Guys Don't Dance.

There was no better example of this than a private party given by a member of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (Adia) this week.

As you would expect, there were also a good number of his colleagues present. But did any of them throw some shapes on the dance floor, even to the excellent Nina Simone track Sinnerman? I am pleased to report that not one stirred a leg. Nor did any of their wives.

So highly trained and focused are these types on the financial markets that they do not want to risk a moment's irrational exuberance.

Eventually though, one of their number, a Swiss lady, cracked and started to dance. However, she moved so well that she scared everybody else off, until a couple of the security people joined in.

***

The other day I went shopping.

Some people go fishing when they want fish. I thought it would be easier and quicker to drop into the mall. I went to Mushrif Mall because I wanted to see how it turned out.

It's bigger than I expected, and rather less charming, but the shops are large and there are lots of stuff in them. The Lulu is cavernous.

I walked around for hours - it was like crossing the Empty Quarter only there were fewer camels - and eventually came to the fish counter. I never know which fish to buy as they all look alike, but the one local fish I know is hamour. It's a nice fish, so I thought I'd buy some. The shop thought otherwise. On the label next to the price of Dh53.90 (US$14.65) a kilo, was a warning: "Think again! (Overfished)."

While I appreciate the sentiment, I'm not sure I fully understand the concept of trying to dissuade people from buying a dead fish. How will not buying it help the hamour go forth and multiply? Either there should be no fish there or they should let us eat it without guilt.

I walked around to contemplate this moral dilemma in the manner suggested by Socrates, the philosopher not the recently deceased footballer.

Then I saw some lamb chops and bought them instead. For all I know the hamour is still there, but I would advise against buying it.

rwright@thenational.ae

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