The Money Shot - Mexican stand-offs

Three distinctly unscary-looking men in suits engaged in a pistol-toting stand-off
Negotiations over who gets the curtains were poised at a pivotal stage
"This little-known scene was written by Sergio Leone back in the early '60s when he was working as a mortgage adviser in Dagenham"
  • | by Sean Davies

With his wary, world-worn eyes never leaving the other two men, the agent edges across the dead space, the three figures facing off, each taking the point of an imaginary triangle.

While the Spanish guitar strums quietly his cragged, weary face speaks of a thousand shattered dreams.

As he carefully places the briefcase on the floor the strum turns to a wail: "Ay-Ei-Ay-E-Eee-AY-AY-Ay Ay-Ei-Ay-E-Eee …"

"You'll note the built-in speakers and the beautiful acoustics in the room," says the still-hopeful estate agent, quickly closing the curtains, hiding the gravestones on Boot Hill. "Very quiet neighbours," he adds, eyeing the cautious house-hunter and over-eager seller.

This little-known scene was written by Sergio Leone back in the early '60s when he was working as a mortgage adviser in Dagenham, but it had to be given a Spaghetti Western twist when the housing market set off on its soaring climb to the heights of 2007.

Now seems the appropriate time to revive the piece in its former glory, with all parties in the UK housing market currently locked in a classic 'Mexican' stand-off (the true phrase should be a Dagenham stand-off, as any film aficionado will tell you).

Property prices have fallen in most areas since 2007, while the Government has kept mortgage rates low and encouraged a variety of schemes to help house hunters and to get financial institutions lending.

Still we seem trapped between over-optimistic homeowners - keen to hold out for the price they thought their property had risen to - and prospective purchasers who either will not, or cannot, pay a seller's price in a buyer's market.

Sensible observers have suggested that the huge property price rises of the last 30-odd years still need at least a degree of further correction and that homeowners could see the value of their primary asset fall further.

Other experts feel that a fresh upsurge in prices is just around the corner.

The Money Shot believes that the issue could be more decisively resolved by Clint Eastwood, a musical pocket watch and a Colt 1851 Navy.

NEWS IN BRIEF

Ryanair says it will not form any part of a consortium bid for Stansted Airport. Rumours that their lack of interest followed a surcharge on the weight of briefcases brought to meetings and a credit charge levy added to the purchase price at the last minute are entirely unfounded. The Money Shot considered contacting Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary for a comment, but decided that it would probably be unprintable.

The multi-billion pound merger deal between BAE Systems and EADS suffered a high-profile collapse this week. This prompted the Money Shot to ask whether this was the first time conflict involving the defence interests of the UK, France, Germany and the US had ever broken out? Answers on the back of a postcard to the usual address.

Football finance was in the news this week, with Rangers hoping that floating its shares on the Alternative Investment Market would help return the Glasgow side to former glories. More controversial was Newcastle United's shirt sponsorship deal with short-term, high-interest, 'payday' loan company Wonga. Should the Magpies make a late £150m swoop for Lionel Messi, the Toon Army would be well advised to check the APR.

Shameless plug time: With the shock news that a woman in south-west France has received a telephone bill for 12 quadrillion euros , Gocompare.com feels compelled to ask - has your home phone bill got out of hand?

An elderly couple in Bedford were called to account after unwittingly growing the biggest cannabis plant that their local police had ever seen. The Money Shot cannot think of anything that would make it so lethargic as to let the garden get that out of hand.

ON COVERED MAG THIS WEEK

Ever fancied hitting the pub with one of history's greats? Michelangelo, maybe? Don't bother. Wouldn't put his hand in his pocket, spent the entire night hoovering up the empties, then finally bought a round of slops for everyone (10p a pint in Llareggub Rugby Club). Don't believe me? Check out Rachel England's exposé of miserly Mike, one of history's 10 biggest tightwads.

What are your thoughts on doggy style? Dave Jenkins reveals the intimate secrets of canines and their coats.

Daniel Bevis has been singing the praises of the much-loved 4x4. He makes a good case, but the Money Shot is not convinced. In true Spinal Tap fashion, it wants one that goes up to five.

Felicity Hannah told us what George Osborne should do to mend the economy. Cut, spend, save, tax and expand. Easy.

AND FINALLY

In this age of austerity, people are looking for money-saving tips in all aspects of their lives, and diet is no exception.

But the Money Shot whole-heartedly urges loyal readers to stay away from culinary approaches that are likely to lead to Darwin Award nominations. Ben Siegel Reptile Store's cockroach-eating competition is the sort of thing that springs readily to mind.

The Swansea restaurant that served whisky to Sonny Rees on his second birthday would also seem to have one or two questions to answer, and it left the Money Shot musing. In its own home valleys metropolis of Merthyr Tydfil, there was no way you'd get served until you were at least 13.