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FORMER MERRILL LYNCH STAFFERS HERALD A TRIUMPHANT BULL RUN

BANK of America&rsquo;s integration with fellow banking scion Merrill Lynch might have been fraught with difficulty over the course of the past year, but it seems the powers that be are finally learning the art of tactful compromise.<br /><br />After Merrill&rsquo;s beloved bovine logo appeared to have been dropped by BoA in favour of a new, sleeker merged insignia earlier in the year, bankers at the group are now rejoicing at the official return of the bull to their business cards.<br /><br />&ldquo;We&rsquo;re all desperately happy to see it survive,&rdquo; croons one delighted banker. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s an iconic symbol that represents a very positive tradition&hellip;&rdquo;<br /><br />What they are all keen to know, however, is whether the reappearance of the bull on the company&rsquo;s business cards will indicate its return in the form of other Merrill memorabilia as well. Apparently, pencils, notepads and coveted mini &ldquo;stress bulls&rdquo; &ndash; rubbery miniatures of the animal &ndash; were eagerly squirrelled away before the axe fell at the bank by employees keen to make a quick buck on eBay in the future.<br /><br />But it looks like that effort will be in vain, as an amused spokeswoman confirms there&rsquo;s a strong chance that more of the various bric-a-brac will be coming off the production line in the future. Phew.<br /><br /><strong>TOO BIG TO FAIL</strong><br />Feast your eyes, if you will, on the bravery represented by the picture below &ndash; which, although you may believe is a joke, is actually a numberplate cruising the streets of NYC as we speak.<br /><br />According to Andrew Ross Sorkin, the author of the latest hot book on the financial crisis, Too Big To Fail, the plate is attached to a gas-guzzling Porsche Cayenne Turbo and belongs to one vice-chairman at Morgan Stanley, Rob Kindler.<br /><br />The champagne-spraying banking days of old may not quite have made their comeback yet, but on this evidence, it doesn&rsquo;t look like they&rsquo;re far away.<br /><br /><strong>GLORIOUS FOOD</strong><br />Staff at Linklaters are more used to dealing with troubling litigation on behalf of their clients than lobbying for better facilities at their swanky HQ, but it appears their new Silks canteen is having less than the desired effect on morale.<br /><br />Law blog RollOnFriday has published a long email from members of staff to their head of catering, complaining about the refurbishment of the cafeteria.<br /><br />Pages and pages of documentation follow (well, we all know lawyers like to be thorough, don&rsquo;t we?), containing grumbles about everything from the fact made-to-order sarnies are no longer available, to the extortionate mark-up on a large bowl of soup (up 62 per cent to a horrifying &pound;1.10, apparently), the unnecessary numbers of black-shirted staffers standing around like lemons, and the inconvenient positioning of side-dishes of broccoli and other greens.<br />All, of course, rendered in perfectly argued solicitors&rsquo; English.<br /><br />Positively a work of art...<br /><br /><strong>BAGGAGE HANDLERS</strong><br />To a rather heated debate on Friday evening, courtesy of a packed train bound for Luton airport. My spies tell me that despite the crush of passengers crammed into the aisles and spaces between the carriages, four nonchalant flight attendants in full orange easyJet regalia were happy to take up two seats apiece, reserving one for their large items of baggage.<br /><br />Needless to say, despite the airline&rsquo;s no-frills policy, the etiquette oversight didn&rsquo;t go down too well with fellow travellers, who didn&rsquo;t shy away from threatening them with full-blown fisticuffs if they didn&rsquo;t show some manners. Tut, tut.<br /><br /><strong>FISHY BUSINESS</strong><br />Those who thought tensions were running high between private equity mogul Jon Moulton and his former colleagues at Alchemy, which he sensationally quit earlier this year and called for investors to wind it up, may have to think again.<br /><br />I hear former Alchemy finance director John Bostock has landed a new job at a private company in which Moulton is the main shareholder &ndash; The Cool Blue Box Company, which provides environmentally-friendly boxes for transporting fresh fish. Not quite so glamorous as the high-powered world of finance, perhaps, but at least they can reminisce about the good old days over a guilt-free gourmet fish supper.<br /><br /><strong>BELLES OF THE BALL</strong><br />Finally, a mention for the Sparks Charity Ball, taking place this Thursday in aid of the children&rsquo;s medical research charity and sponsored by big-hearted Frank Timis, the executive chairman of miner African Minerals. Satirist and impressionist Rory Bremner has been lined up already as the night&rsquo;s entertainment, so visit the charity&rsquo;s website for more details&hellip;