Independently minded publishing

– Gary Mead, Financial Times, 4th July 1994

‘ “I couldn’t see the point of suffering in the City of London if the sums I earned were only mildly revolting as opposed to completely obscene.” It’s the kind of opening that hints at plenty of juice to come; Parton delivers on the promise. There’s always the fear with this kind of book – self-confessed hopeless stockbroker bares soul and puts boot into former employers – that embarrassment or failure to amuse lurks over the very next page. Relax. Parton avoids those sins. He has written a very funny book, required reading for all the forlorn City saps who are still playing the game. Parton kicks off with him married to a Japanese television workaholic, five years into a City broking life, employed by UBS Phillips and Drew. His facility with the Japanese language and a modicum of chutzpah has persuaded successive ignorant City firms that he will one day land them a tidal wave of Japanese cash, as eager Tokyo investors suddenly discover European equities. What goes up – Parton freely admits he was never good enough to go very far up – must come down. He nosedives into unemployment and, yes, does discover an alternate life, playing the piano, writing, enjoying himself without loads of dosh. That might sound twee. But buckets of black humour, ready side-swipes at City taboos – including this newspaper – suffocate sentimentality on sight. It’s just too funny, even when things turn sombre; for instance, when Parton’s wife dumps him and walks off with their child. Everyone deservedly gets a going-over: broking firms; headhunters – Parton calls them all “Donald” since they are individually indistinguishable; even the ‘colleague’ who told Parton that he would not speak to him if he wore a checked shirt to the office. So, for the price of an upmarket City sandwich you can buy an afternoon’s wonderful hilarity, far funnier and less pompous than Liar’s Poker.’