Simon English: These days, traders don't have nine lives anymore

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Outlook "I'm not a stand-up-comedian," protests trader Steve in response to my request for a yarn. But in fact he really is, just not professionally.

What is the difference between the new City and the old? I ask him. "A game called Meow," he says.

In the old days, if you got a bit drunk at lunchtime, and you knew the boss's pet cat had died, you'd be challenged by your trading colleagues to ring him up and say "meow meow".

You'd get sacked, of course, but it didn't matter. Broking jobs were aplenty for people who knew what they were doing, and you could get picked up elsewhere, probably that same afternoon.

No one plays Meow any more. The jobs they have need to be kept. Cheeking off the boss is somewhat unwise these days.

The bosses may prefer this state of affairs. In some ways, it is reassuring to see that City traders are in it with the rest of us.