“From the Trader’s Desk”:
Bobby Axelrod – a Man and his Music

There are many things that Bobby Axelrod and I have in common: New York born and bred; working class backgrounds; very non-traditional road to Wall Street; our love of gambling lead us to our career paths. However, the one thing that has always been my favorite commonality is our love for heavy metal bands and their music. Heavy Metal is not the most well known genre of music, so let’s explore Bobby Axelrod and his music, and what it says about him.

In each season of Billions, at least one episode has featured a song and a t-shirt of a metal band that must be Axe’s favorites. The writers of Billions don’t do anything just to do it, so we know that these choices are there to tell a story, shine light on who the character is, and to set a tone.

Metal is very misunderstood: devil worship, drugs, biting the heads of bats, or just screeching guitars may come to mind if you say the words “heavy metal”. But, it is so much more than that! Last season, I used Black Sabbath lyrics to open (and in some cases close) my “From the Trader’s Desk” recaps. In most cases, if I hadn’t referenced it to Sabbath, you’d have wondered what philosopher or poet I was quoting. Metal lyrics are some of the best I have ever heard; they tell stories of pain, loss, confusion, success, etc. – lyrics that would certainly resonate with a young man from Yonkers who’s Dad has up and left, and whose home life is full of conflict. Continue reading ““From the Trader’s Desk”: Bobby Axelrod – a Man and his Music”

Desert Island Discs with Lady Trader

Music is something that has always been special to me. It has been there for me in tough times, helped me celebrate joyous occasions, and spoke to me when I thought no one else could hear me. Yes, I am a metal chick at heart, but shuffle my iPhone, and you’re as likely to get RuPaul or Culture Club as you are Black Sabbath or Iron Maiden. I’ve performed music (trumpet for 6 years) in school concerts and saw the power it has to move people. I never trust someone who says they don’t enjoy music!

It was extremely difficult to choose just 8 songs that remind me of Damian Lewis or a character he has played, since I have thousands of songs in my head and heart. I hope I did both the actor and the characters he has brought to life justice. Continue reading “Desert Island Discs with Lady Trader”

From The Trader’s Desk: Where Does Your Loyalty Lie? Recapping S3 Ep12 “Elmsley Count”

Is this it? Can this really be the last “From the Trader’s Desk” for this season? Sadly, the answer is yes. I have enjoyed writing about Billions from the “Wall Street” side of things, and hope you’ve enjoyed my posts as well. I also hope I helped with the “fin-speak” and in understanding the world of finance. On a personal note: I didn’t know if I would be able to contribute to FanFun when Billions started in March, after being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma last summer. But, not only did I contribute almost every week, I feel I have done some of my best writing. Thank you Damianista, and everyone who reads our blog for helping me get back to normal!

Instead of a basic recap, I’ll look at the two relationships that were the backbone (from the financial side anyway) of this episode: Axe-Taylor and Taylor-Wendy. I know there was a flurry of “fin-speak” at the Spartan-Ives Capital Introduction Event at CitiField (my second home on many Saturdays!), but I won’t go into details about it. I don’t think they were relevant to the overall episode (as opposed to other times when it was the meat of the story). I have updated the Billions:Glossary with all the definitions, and as always, if there is something you’d like me to explain or give examples of, please let me know. Continue reading “From The Trader’s Desk: Where Does Your Loyalty Lie? Recapping S3 Ep12 “Elmsley Count””

From the Trader’s Desk: Is Axe Ares the God of War? Recapping S3 Ep11 “Kompenso”

Rivals all across the land
He kills them with his knife in hand
He’s the meanest guy around his town
One look and he will cut you down
Johnny Blade – Black Sabbath

Hello and welcome to the second to last week of Billions from the Trader’s Desk. This week I’ll be breaking down “Kompenso” in 3 Acts: Comp Day, The God of War, and Revenge of the Quants.

Before I get into my analysis, I’d just like to say that I love the casting of Patti D’Arbanville as Momma Axelrod. She’s a born and bred NYC girl, and that comes across in her accent and mannerisms playing Axe’s mom. Perfect casting Mr. Koppleman and Mr. Levien! Continue reading “From the Trader’s Desk: Is Axe Ares the God of War? Recapping S3 Ep11 “Kompenso””

From the Trader’s Desk: Betrayal and Surprises S3 Ep10 “Redemption”

Don’t you think I know what I’m doing
Don’t tell me that it’s doing me wrong
You’re the one that’s really the loser
This is where I feel I belong
Snowblind – Black Sabbath

Hello, and happy Friday from the Trader’s Desk! This week, we see Axe looking for “Redemption”, and it’s twofold: the $1.5 Billion Andolov is redeeming from his investment in Axe Capital, and Axe trying to find his own salvation, after almost selling something worth more to him than his soul – a piece of his firm!

After last week’s episode, Axe thinks he’s all good. He’s got his “Icebreaker” in Grigor Andolov and his $3 Billion investment. He’s so relaxed he can take time out from his cap raise to play tennis with Maria Sharapova. However, Andolov gives it, and he takes it away. Continue reading “From the Trader’s Desk: Betrayal and Surprises S3 Ep10 “Redemption””