CITY SET TO APPOINT ITS LATEST LORD MAYOR

IT’S ALL change for the City in the traditional sense this week, with the annual election of the Lord Mayor taking place later on today.

As is the way with these things, the result of the “election” is almost a foregone conclusion before it’s even begun, since the City of London’s senatorial group, the Court of Aldermen, has already published its favoured candidate – this year, Alderman Michael Bear.

Bear, currently working as a regeneration director at property group Hammerson, is up against David Wootton and Roger Gifford in the election, which, as you’d expect, takes the form of a drawn-out ceremonial process. The candidates are required to parade before the gathered liverymen, who then vote on them via the time-honoured tradition of calling out.

Yesterday, the future hopefuls for the position also got their stint in the limelight after Alderman Fiona Woolf and Richard Sermon took over as the two new Sheriffs of London. In that role, they’re tasked with supporting the Lord Mayor in promoting the Square Mile and wider UK financial services sector – a role either might take up in earnest in the future, since only those who have previously served as a sheriff can become Lord Mayor.

Woolf, a high-flying lawyer at CMS Cameron McKenna, would be in scant company if she does eventually manage that feat – there has only ever been one woman Lord Mayor, Dame Mary Donaldson, elected in 1983.

SLIPPERY SUCKERS
Oysters may be delicious, but as anyone who’s ever tried will know, the slippery little blighters are a devil to open up.

That’s why Green’s restaurant on Cornhill is challenging City workers to get stuck in at its first ever amateur Oyster Opening Championships this evening – with a bottle of champagne and £200 dinner voucher as the star prize.

Tickets to the event – where competitors need to open and present 12 oysters as fast as possible, having been given “training” beforehand – cost £14.50, including a glass of wine or beer, canapés and three oysters. May the best man – or woman – win.

SUGAR PUFF
Speaking of competitions, there was a scramble to take a peek yesterday as the candidates for the latest series of the BBC’s Apprentice were revealed. The hopefuls, who are out to impress Alan, Lord Sugar, long-time adviser Nick Hewer and West Ham vice-chairman Karren Brady in the sixth series of the show, are a diverse bunch.

They include a former Royal Marine, Christopher Farrell; the youngest ever candidate, 21-year-old entrepreneur Stuart Baggs; a former PR executive, Alex Epstein; and three past and present investment bankers, including ex-JP Morgan staffer Chris Bates.

HOOK, LINE AND SINKER
The financial world’s providing a lucrative spell for Hollywood at the moment, what with Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps and the upcoming Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer, coming to screens in November.

The former New York governor’s fall from grace is documented in all its lurid glory, from his war on Wall Street to the sudden revelation of his dalliances with high-class hookers. (“When you’re sending a girl for $30,000 a night, it doesn’t feel like prostitution,” says one representative of the agency Spitzer used, in the trailer which has just been released on the internet.) Book your cinema date, pronto...

BLOOD BATTLE
A gruesome-looking photograph lands on The Capitalist’s desk, showing a man with his shirt covered in blood, sporting an impressive bruise across his left eye. I hear the poor chap wasn’t the victim of a ruthless street gang, though, but a cricket ball – Alastair Clayton, a director of gold company Ortac Resources, had been playing for Hanson Capital chief investment officer Edward Collins’ team in a tournament in the South of France when a rogue delivery hit him in the face.

Fortunately, our man wasn’t seriously harmed – and went on to hit a four off the last ball of the semi-final to win the game for the team. What a trooper.