AFTER all the talk of City types shying away from blowing their cash in lap-dancing clubs in these bleak post-crisis days, it comes as a bit of a surprise to see that one such chain has opened up yet another den of debauchery on the fringe of the Square Mile.<br /><br />Yes, club operator Secrets, which already has five clubs across London, has unveiled a new venue in Covent Garden – in direct defiance of reports that such activity is on the wane.<br /><br />“I wouldn’t say demand has tanked over the recession – we’re seeing more customers through the doors, although they are probably spending less,” Secrets owner Stephen Less tells me. “It’s because people getting the big bonuses are worrying about spending them with the continuing uncertainty in the City.”<br /><br />Less, who says his new club will target the affluent crowd of bankers and lawyers camped just on its doorstep, is also trialling a different business plan – he’s opening the bar earlier in the evening for punters keen to “pop in” for a cocktail hour with a difference, accompanied by a group of lithe pole dancers. Contrary to popular belief, ladies and gentlemen, the era of erotic client entertainment seems far from over.<br /><br /><strong>WACKY BACCY</strong><br /><br />Glad to see that City minister Lord Myners hasn’t lost his sense of humour despite weeks of thrashing out the finer points of the raft of complex bank agreements announced yesterday.<br /><br />Outlining the details at a Treasury press conference yesterday with customarily risqué flair, Myners told the assembled hacks: “If I’d have forecast back in February (which I would not have done) that Lloyds could raise substantial amounts of private capital, most of you would have looked at me as if I’d smoked something Professor Nutt thinks it’s OK to smoke…”<br /><br /><strong>JOINING THE CLUB</strong><br /><br />Spotted lunching yesterday at the swanky Mark’s Club in Mayfair: none other than legendary Guinness Four fraudster Anthony Parnes, known in his City stockbroking heyday as “The Animal”.<br /><br />What’s more, The Capitalist’s spies report having caught sight of Parnes several times in recent months, dining at the equally-exclusive George club – which is, like Mark’s, owned by restaurateur Richard Caring, the London smart set’s unofficial keeper-of-the-keys. Could it be that Parnes, who spent 21 months languishing in jail following his conviction for the Guinness share scandal, has finally achieved complete social rehabilitation?<br /><br /><strong>SHOW BUSINESS</strong><br /><br />As orders go, they don’t come much taller than this: trying to raise a million pounds for charity by tapping one’s City chums.<br /><br />But that’s the challenge Les Ames, the dealing director at stockbroker WH Ireland, has taken upon himself and his partner-in-crime Bob Page, in order to raise vital funds for the NSPCC and Childline.<br /><br />Not that he isn’t in with a darned good chance, mind: in addition to organising various events over the next year and a half, he’s also decided to put his extra-curricular talents to good use by releasing his own Christmas single. <br /><br />Ames, you see, is a bit of a dark horse, having previously enjoyed a career as a West End musical star before joining the ranks of the City – and Page, his partner-in-crime, used to be his manager. <br /><br />The songster, pictured below signing his very first record deal, is currently torn between the idea of recording a cover of a well-known pop tune or a big ballad, so watch this space.