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DOOMSAYING ECONOMIST ENJOYS HIS NEWFOUND CELEBRITY STATUS

MY, HOW the world has changed. While most of us have been going around assuming that brainy economists are dismissed by the popular, hedonistic masses as nothing more than dreary nerds, it appears the best of them have been snagging invites to the most glamorous parties in town.

Actually, town doesn’t begin to cover it – we’re talking the exclusive Caribbean island of St Barts, where none other than Chelsea FC tycoon Roman Abramovich was hosting his New Year’s Eve party last week.

And who should be invited to this elite bash, but notorious bear economist Nouriel Roubini (otherwise known as Dr Doom in the States for his gloomy economic forecasts).

After partying with the likes of Gwen Stefani, Beyoncé, actor Jason Statham and a bevy of unnamed beauties, Roubini recently uploaded to his Facebook page a haul of photos from the night, which subsequently found their way onto the Gawker US blog site. (“Do any of these young and attractive women actually know who Roubini is?” questions one reader incredulously.)

But before The Capitalist hails a shift in the world order, a quick check on the experience of Roubini’s fellow nerds – and who better to ask than his fellow über-bear, SocGen’s Albert Edwards?
“I don’t tend to mix in those circles, I’m just a humble footsoldier,” says Edwards, a smile twitching at the corner of his lips. “I lead a quiet life – my New Year’s Eve was staying in with my wife in front of the telly.”

No need to rewrite the history books just yet, then.

WINTER WONDER
It was probably only to be expected, but who else was spotted flying into work by bicycle yesterday despite the snow, but our own London Mayor Boris Johnson.

Johnson, who was virtually unrecognisable to many, having tucked his flaxen locks into a woolly grey ski cap underneath his helmet, didn’t seem at all put off by the lack of grit on the roads.

“Ah, cycling’s the only way,” he shouted, happily. “The roads are clear, the weather’s, er, fine…”

Noone ever did do spin quite like the politicians.

GOOD WIDDANCE
Yesterday saw the end of an era as love-him-or-hate-him presenter Jonathan Ross quit his monstrous £18m-a-year contract at the BBC.

Ross may have spent 13 years bantering out of our screens during his time at Auntie, but it’s unlikely he’ll be missed too sorely, given the recent uproar over that banker-esque salary and the Sachsgate affair.

As one Daily Mail reader so succinctly said yesterday of the paper’s favourite bête noire: “Good widdance to bad wubbish.”

APRES SKI
You’d have thought the Stock Exchange Ski Club would have been delighted to use the recent snowfalls as an excuse to get out onto the hillocks of Southern England and practise for the upcoming Interbourse ski trip, wouldn’t you? But no, I hear London’s team are far too laid back to practise for the event, one of the biggest organised winter sporting dates in the financial services calendar.

“Too many of the Swiss and German teams take it far too seriously these days,” the club’s secretary tells me. “We’re far more relaxed about it – our teams are usually made up of the last people left standing in the bar at the end of the night before…”

They certainly do seem to have grasped the importance of the most essential ingredient of any skiing trip, at the very least.

OPTIMIST FERVOUR
ITV’s new chairman Archie Norman is certainly doing his level best to ingratiate himself with the broadcaster’s beleaguered employees.

Just a few days into the job, Norman sent a mass email to his new minions to “say ‘hello’” and outline his strategy to turn around the ailing company.

Apparently, the new boss will do his level best to be approachable, having ensconced himself in an open plan office on the 17th floor of ITV HQ.

“I am keen to get to know you all better and to hear your thoughts on how we are doing and what we can do better,” the infectious optimist writes. “I look forward to hearing from you! Happy New Year!”

Talk about starting the new year with a bang.

CALL A BLUFF
Still on the subject of wintry precipitation, and it appears most snowed-in workers are busy whiling away their time playing online poker, of all things.

Gambling firm Betfair reports that this week has seen volumes up by anything between 20 per cent and 73 per cent on its various gaming sites – presumably driven by City traders itching to get back for a bit of action on the wheeler-dealing front.