It’s been five months since I left the UK and I can honestly say that I have not missed it at all. After almost seven years of debauched living in London as a financial hack – first with Money Marketing and then with Dow Jones Newswires and the Wall Street Journal Europe – it is fair to say that I had a good time.
Of all the cities in the world to be a financial journalist, I would bet good money that says London has to be among the best.
This is both due to the excessive generosity of the corporate hospitality that is commonplace and because, as arguably the world’s biggest financial centre, there are a lot of stories out there to uncover.
But, like all good things, my time in London had to come to an end.
Somehow, I knew the charms of the City were wearing thin when I started viewing the party circuit as drudgery and the tedium of living in student-like conditions as a bore.
Now don’t get me wrong, I miss my friends – the assortment of journalists, PRs, freelancers and City workers that I consorted with over several years.
But I do not miss the life which all of us who have worked as financial journalists in London can relate to – the non-stop merry-go-round of corporate parties, and the long lunches over a nice bottle or two of fine Burgundy.
These days, I have a 25-minute walk from our apartment building (which has a pool and a hot tub on the roof) to the office in the morning. We have four clearly defined seasons and people have something else to talk about than whether Man U or Chelsea are going to win the Premiership (or whether Charlton is going to survive).
Those who know me well know that the last thing I am is sympathetic to Americans but I must say it is fairly exhilarating to live and work in DC which, rightly or wrongly, is still the most powerful city in the world.
I am writing about three different government agencies and spending a lot of my time on Capitol Hill covering meetings in Congress. No disrespect intended to the folks on the Treasury select committee but when it is Ted Kennedy or John McCain or John Kerry who is making the news, I admit, it is pretty exciting stuff.
Last autumn, when the Democrats took control of Congress in the mid-term elections, it was like being in the midst of a revolution, albeit an incredibly wellmannered one. With George W. Bush and his band of merry men seemingly taking every opportunity to ensure the Republicans lose the White House in 2008, there is plenty to talk about in the bars after work.
I guess things have changed a bit since the days I started out as a junior reporter at Money Marketing, spending a good chunk of my week trying to avoid writing down-page stories or doing Broker Talkback.
I will always remember fondly the years spent at MM. Hands down, it is the best place to start out as a young reporter. I have no doubt I would not be anywhere today if it were not for what I learned in the four and a half years I spent working at MM”.
Whether it was trying to take the FSA down a peg or two or speculating who would be the next IFA to go bust or try an audacious takeover of a rival, there was no denying we had some good times.
But, as I say, all good things must come to an end. The most positive consequence of the move to the US has been that the lure of the poker table is nowhere near as strong as it was when living in the Smoke.
Saying that, I am off to Las Vegas next month to cover a conference so if anyone gets a collect call from me in the middle of the night, please accept the charges.