the state of things
Turmoil At Long Midnight as Shackleton Walks
by Quentin Zimbalist - 12:03 on 03 May 2011
Confusion hangs over the offices of Long Midnight Publishing today as the international behemoth's freefall into oblivion continues at a pace that staggers even stock market veterans. Long standing Marketing Director, and the man credited with turning LMP into the third largest publishing company in the world, Elvis Shackleton, has acrimoniously parted company with the firm after a series of heated arguments with the rest of the executive board.
While the move is seen as disastrous for LMP and for the publishing industry in general, some analysts are far from surprised. Dick Furlong, who has worked on Wall Street for nearly seventy years, is one of those who saw Shackleton's departure as something of an inevitability.
'For a start, you've got the cosmic law of events coming in threes,' he said today from the forty-fourth floor of his Manhattan office. 'In the past few days, you've had the Royal wedding and the news about bin Laden, so there was bound to be something else pretty major. And it doesn't get any bigger than the senior marketing executive at a company like LMP walking out. We've known for several months that Shackleton wasn't happy with the direction they were taking. He wanted to buy out Amazon.com, open up a chain of oil refineries and launch a hostile takeover of NewsCorp. The board of LMP, backed by author Douglas Lindsay, seemed content to continue flogging the Barney Thomson series, and then embark on this preposterous mission to Mars. The end was, you could say, written in the stars.'
Tensions are believed to have increased over the past few weeks after disagreements over the future of Barney Thomson. Late last week the Bloody Cling Film Head was installed as the new face of the crime series amid much publicity and corporate excess. However, press criticism was immediate, and within twenty-four hours rumours were already circulating of the possibility that the Bloody Cling Film Head could be replaced by a woman. Although not directly involved in the discussions, Shackleton is known to have been appalled by the complete lack of direction, the petty bickering and the unseemly empire building within the corridors of the publishing megacorp.
Sources close to the principle players in the drama say that Shackleton stormed out of a meeting this morning at the company's HQ in Bandar Sera Begawan, although they deny that he physically assaulted Lindsay on the way. Nevertheless, Shackleton is known to be highly trained in several marital arts, and has in the past dealt with difficult business problems by, in one insider's view, 'kicking the shit out of people.'
At time of writing, Elvis Shackleton's whereabouts are currently unknown, and the price of a single Long Midnight Publishing share on the FTSE has dropped from a season high of £17.56 in late December last year, to one quarter of a pence. It would seem that, at least in one corner of this colourful and exuberant world, paradise has indeed been lost.
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