BEADY-eyed Apprentice followers may have noticed a bevy of City boys getting behind the camera last night for a cameo on the final episode of the show.<br /><br />Pelham PR’s Gavin Davis, Alisdair Haythornthwaite and Alex Walters appeared on screen, with Funsho Allu from insurer AIG and freelance hack Jack Dyson, to advise winner Yasmina on her chocolate pitch.<br /><br />“We were with Yasmina for about an hour and all strongly pooh-poohed her original idea about having a product purely for men,” Davis tells me. “But they didn’t show everything and we came up with a heap of ideas about how to make the chocolates a bit more interesting and different.”<br /><br />Sounds like Sir Alan’s latest Apprentice has a lot to be grateful for, though I hear the boys came up with at least one savvy proposal that she decided not to use.<br /><br />“We thought that since it is so commonplace to match your food to your wine, why not match the flavours of your chocolate to different wines?” Davis adds, excitedly. “That would have gone down a treat.”<br /><br />Speaking as an avid fan of both vices, The Capitalist is rather inclined to agree. <br /><br /><strong>TALK OF THE TOON</strong><br />Mike Ashley, the beleaguered owner of Newcastle United Football Club, got yet another drubbing yesterday for his decision to post a statement on the club’s website confirming the club is for sale at the price of £100m and giving an email address for interested parties to get in touch.<br /><br />Although giving out a generic email address instead of pointing people towards advisers Seymour Pierce might seem rather clumsy, there may be method in the portly businessman’s madness.<br /><br />The Capitalist hears rumours that the email address was set up purely to manage the flurry of enquiries from enraged fans and hopeful local loonies who decided to try and get in touch with Ashley last week about the sale. Apparently, he isn’t holding out much hope of finding potential buyers in amongst all the replies, though only time will tell.<br /><br /><strong>HEAVYWEIGHT BOUT</strong><br />Time ticks by and still no out-of-court settlement has been thrashed out in the High Court libel battle between media tycoon Richard Desmond and biographer Tom Bower, which is set to commence on 6 July.<br /><br />Desmond, the owner of the Express newspapers, claims he was libelled by Bower in his recent book about disgraced media baron Conrad Black – and both sides are adamant they ain’t budging.<br /><br />“Desmond is looking for an apology but that’s not going to happen,” says a spokesman for Bower, who is said to have already written an unpublished tome about Desmond himself. “Tom’s not going to agree that what he wrote was wrong.”<br /><br />Bower has already engaged heavyweight libel silk Ron Thwaites to act for him, while the man Desmond has picked is none other than Schillings’ Simon Smith, who is renowned for having represented celebrities such as Cameron Diaz, Nicolas Cage, Keira Knightley, Daniel Craig, footballer Cristiano Ronaldo, Formula One racing boss Bernie Ecclestone and various Tory MPs. Looks like it’s shaping up to be a pretty gritty fight.<br /><br /><strong>TIMES A’CHANGING</strong><br />To the Dorchester hotel on Friday lunchtime for a raucous celebration of the achievements of the ladies in the City, at the Women In Banking and Finance awards 2009.<br /><br />Congratulations to young professional of the year Alexandra Sinton, from the Royal Bank of Canada; this year’s champion for women, Goldman Sachs’ Jessica Jones; and Lloyds Banking Group’s Audrey Connolly, who won the achievement award.<br /><br />Baroness Kingsmill, a non-executive at British Airways, adviser to Coutts and member of the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee, was also on hand to share some experience with the ladies at lunch.<br /><br />Advising her audience that doing it one’s own way is sometimes best, Kingsmill spoke of how she established her own firm of female lawyers as a two-fingers to a male boss who told her: “We’ve never had a woman partner and you won’t be the first.”<br /><br />How times have changed.<br /><br /><strong>LIPSTICK INDEX</strong><br />“Boots is definitely benefiting from the ‘lipstick effect’,” Stefano Passina, the executive chairman of the nation’s biggest pharmacy chain, told City A.M. yesterday in an interview.<br /><br />So it’s bizarre that on the same day, a piece of puffery lands in The Capitalist’s inbox claiming that this time around, it’s all about foundation, not lipstick.<br /><br />The so-called ‘lipstick index’ was developed by Estée Lauder chairman Leonard Lauder back in the 2001 recession, after sales of lipstick rose by 11 per cent in 2001 and cosmetics enjoyed a 25 per cent hike in revenue during the Great Depression.<br /><br />But the latest survey, from information provider Datamonitor, shows lipstick is less popular in the UK than last year, falling five per cent, while it’s foundation which is the little luxury that is enjoying a boost during the recession.<br /><br />Perhaps, heaven forbid, it’s all that stress bringing on bouts of teen-esque acne.