The history of the Kaddiska Mu Stellar club part 3

It was the Catweazle Club’s 19th anniversary recently so here is the next episode in my continuing saga, The history of the Kaddiska Mu-Stellar Club (see also The history of the Kaddiska Mu-Stellar Club: Part 2).

In the last few years it has become something of a tradition (albeit a tradition invented and observed by me alone) to recount excerpts from the history of the Kaddiska Mu Stellar Club, an open mic on the planet Oxford in the Sopdet binary star system.

Two years ago I told the story of the Pulsar Piano, the largest musical instrument ever invented, and last year I described how doctrinal conflict over the number of songs each performer should be allowed to play degenerated into one of the most destructive and interminable wars in human history.

The end of that war ushered in a golden era of artistic enlightenment and today the Kaddiska Mu Stellar Club is 19 thousand years old. It is thought by many to be the longest-running open mic in the galaxy but in these straightened times it is less often noted that during the last millennium it became the highest valued economic entity by market capitalisation in the known history of the universe.

The peace that followed the monotarian–flexafarian war led to a long period of uninterrupted economic growth. But no upturn lasts forever and one of the symptoms of an impending downturn is the emergence of financial instability driven by asset bubbles.

First there was the fleeting expressions boom, then the haiku mania, followed closely by the decoupage crisis. After the big decoupage investors were bailed out by the Galactic Reserve the economy was left with excess liquidity that soon found a home in the open mic derivatives exchange – the OMDEX.
The rising value of the OMDEX was initially underpinned by the popularity of the Kaddiska Mu Stellar club.

Kaddiska Mu Stellar shares enjoyed hyperbolic growth and spawned thousands of imitators. Soon everyone wanted piece of the action. Forlorn open mics that had never been attended by more than two old men and a tone-deaf dog were floated for millions of credits. Price to earnings ratios in the dive venue sector rose to six figures. People who barely knew what an open mic was would meet their financial adviser at the Half Moon – an orbiting bar that was actually half of a small moon – to discuss options in the Queue Agent Forward Morbidity Swaps market.

This was a very promising area that had arisen from the need to hedge risks in the queuing system at the Kaddiska Mu Stellar club. The queue to perform had tended to start five minutes earlier each week ever since the comparatively humble days that preceded the Pulsar Piano. Three thousand years later it now took almost two years to reach the end.

In those decadent times no one who was anyone would actually wait in person so a thriving industry of queuing agents sprang up. This worked happily for all concerned except for the small but significant chance that a performer’s queuing agent might die before signing up. The performer would then forfeit the not inconsiderable salary, expenses and in some cases mobile hospital bills spent on the queuing agent. Thus queuing agent insurance products emerged, which in a short time became marketised and were traded, first privately and then on the OMDEX.

It is not known exactly what triggered the crash. Some say it happened after the chairman of the Galactic Reserve took it upon himself to visit an open mic for the first time, and after sitting through several interminable Oasis covers made some inadvisable remarks to the press. But whatever the ultimate cause, the resulting correction was cataclysmic.

Just prior to what has become known as Black Pentaday it has been calculated that the OMDEX was worth approximately 700,000 per cent of the yearly economic output of the observable universe. The Queue Agent Forward Morbidity Swaps market alone was estimated at two and half trillion exacredits, which in inflation-normalised terms is around 3 solar masses worth of Big Macs.

Within minutes, the value of the OMDEX plummeted to near zero. The real economy soon followed. Unemployment skyrocketed to 47 million per cent. It should be noted that the jobless figure includes sentient robotic devices while the population count only includes humans, or quasi-humans.

One such quasi-human was Galbraith Vesuvian who was now creeping up to the edge of a platform atop the Evenlode megascraper, 90 kilometres above the surface of planet Oxford. Yesterday his assets had been worth many gigacredits. His investments, like everyone else’s, had defied gravity. He had been flying. Today he was ruined. The outstanding margin calls on his securities were enough to place him and his descendents, if he ever had any, in debt bondage for millennia.

So he resolved to jump. And if, in the process he could physically fly, perhaps even beating the universal record for fastest human in unaided non-warp flight, then at least he had achieved something real. Incidentally that record is still held by the Earthling Felix Baumgartner.

Galbraith Vesuvian looked down. He couldn’t see much beneath the clouds but he could just make out a long snake coiling around Bullingdon City directly below. Intrigued, he got out his pocket phased array radar telescope and was able to discern that the snake was made up of living beings queuing outside a dilapidated former school. At the door was a garishly coloured poster with distinctly unfashionable writing saying ‘Kaddiska Mu Stellar club’.

A familiar name. Vesuvian remembered both bitterly and fondly an 18 decaday session at the Half Moon where his broker had suggested he invest in Kaddiska Mu Stellar equity. By that time it was considered a safe bet, a nest egg even and he had diversified his portfolio with some short positions in the oxygen futures market.

Of course, Kaddiska Mu Stellar shares had been among the first to tank. Except, here was the club, still with a healthy if slightly-diminished queue. And he had, if he recalled correctly, bought rather a lot of that stock. In fact, quickly checking on his implantoputer, he was now the majority shareholder.

It took a little longer for his brain to process the disconnect between the club’s paper worth and the enormous queue around Bullingdon city. But there it was in stark concrete societal and geographic relief: the contradiction between use value and exchange value.

Galbraith Vesuvian, as the nominal owner, realised it was his responsibility to help steer the Kaddiska Mu Stellar club through the crisis and secure its future for the next thousand years.

But that is another story.

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