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INVISIBLE LEH-MAN TO HIT BACK AT CRITICS

NIGH on a year after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, and the tales are really starting to come out of the woodwork.<br /><br />I hear that &ldquo;The Gorilla&rdquo; wasn&rsquo;t the only nickname the bank&rsquo;s former boss Dick Fuld earned for himself during his tenure at the top &ndash; employees on the trading floor also called him &ldquo;The Invisible Man&rdquo; on the sly, after H. G. Wells&rsquo;s famous sci-fi novella.<br /><br />That&rsquo;s according to Larry McDonald, the former Lehman vice president who&rsquo;s authored the newest book on the bank&rsquo;s spectacular demise, &ldquo;A Colossal Failure of Common Sense&rdquo;, which is due to be published in the UK on Thursday.<br /><br />&ldquo;The real dark side to Lehman Brothers was that it was never rotten at the core, it was rotten at the head,&rdquo; McDonald tells me. &ldquo;Dick Fuld had the pedal to the medal and drove 150mph into an iceberg.<br /><br />&ldquo;I never ever saw him come down to the trading floor in four years of working there &ndash; the man wouldn&rsquo;t know me from Adam. He had a private entrance to the building in the back and a private elevator to take him up to the top floor, and there was just eight feet of space where he was exposed to the rest of us. We called him &lsquo;The Invisible Man&rsquo;&hellip;&rdquo;<br /><br />Strong words indeed, though Fuld may soon get his chance to counter-attack.<br /><br />The hot goss among ex-Lehmanites, you see, is that a few loyalists are currently putting the finishing touches to their own tome about the bank&rsquo;s collapse &ndash; and Fuld himself has his fingers firmly stuck in the pie. Will he be brave enough to put his name to it, I ask?<br /><br /><strong>CITY SHAKER</strong><br />Keeping with the literary theme, it&rsquo;s over to a fellow financier-turned-novelist, Clem Chambers.<br /><br />Chambers, the boss of stocks and shares website ADVFN, has recently been enjoying quite a flush from his first novel, The Armageddon Trade, about a projected collapse of the financial markets.<br /><br />The book recently hit number two on Amazon&rsquo;s Movers and Shakers list &ndash; the index which charts the biggest gainers in terms of book sales &ndash; and also reached number eight in the mystery books chart and number 12 in the crime, thrillers and mysteries category. Time for a sequel, perhaps?<br /><br /><strong>IN THE DRINK</strong><br />The Capitalist couldn&rsquo;t resist publishing the following amusing little anecdote currently doing the rounds among fun-loving City folk, about a new disease spreading like wildfire among the population.<br /><br />Sufferers are those who return at night from a dinner party rather well oiled, and wake up in the morning with what could be described as flu-like symptoms, including headache, nausea, chills, sore eyes and so on.<br /><br />&ldquo;From the results of some initial testing, many have tested positive for what experts are calling Wine Flu,&rdquo; reads the warning email. &ldquo;A cup of tea and a bit of a lie down is recommended; however, should your condition worsen, you should immediately hire a DVD and take some Nurofen. Others are reporting a McDonald&rsquo;s Happy Meal can also help in some cases, and if not, then further application of the original liquid in similar quantities to the original dose has been shown to do the trick.&rdquo;<br /><br /><strong>LOST SOULS</strong><br />What is it about a refreshing touch of innocent naivety that will bring a snigger to the lips of even the most jaded cynic? The City of London corporation has been sorting through the weird and wonderful questions which tourists have put to staff at its information centre next to St Paul&rsquo;s Cathedral so far this year &ndash; and apparently, along with the usual enquiries as to tube routes and tourist attraction opening times, there have been some real gems.<br /><br />One person, for example, wanted to know how to arrange tea with the Queen, while another wished to find out when the clowns come on at Piccadilly Circus. One was wondering which side of the river London Bridge is on, one (for whom geography was evidently never a strong point) asked where he could find the Eiffel Tower, and yet another asked what time &ldquo;evil-song&rdquo; begins at St Paul&rsquo;s Cathedral.<br /><br />One wonders if those behind the desk are trained in keeping a straight face.<br /><br /><strong>CHILD&rsquo;S PLAY</strong><br />There are plenty of people in the City willing to put their wallets behind a good cause, but not so many, I fear, who are ready to get their hands dirty.<br /><br />Step forward Ronan Kearney, the managing director of Allium Capital, who recently decided to officially back &ldquo;The Learning Store&rdquo;, an initiative set up to improve children&rsquo;s literacy skills and help drive down poverty, as the firm&rsquo;s chosen charity. The Queens Park-based charity is keen on training up people from all walks of life to be teachers in just one hour using a phonics system, however dubious that might sound.<br /><br />And Kearney himself, having already completed that oh-so-laborious training, is currently preparing to face his first class of children. Something tells The Capitalist that years and years of working with hard-nosed City types might prove to be a doddle in comparison with the trials and tribulations of the classroom.