THE market has roundly welcomed ex-Asda boss and former Tory MP Archie Norman’s appointment to the chairman’s seat at ITV, but has anyone considered the most pressing question it throws up for the broadcaster?<br /><br />Allow me to explain. Back in Norman’s retail days, perhaps the most exciting new initiative at Asda was the introduction of its popular singles nights – where the supermarket, for those with short memories, attempted to hook up its loyal customers with each other by introducing a dash of romance to the stores.<br /><br />Dressed-up Cupids, Romeos and Juliets cruised the stores helping out those who were a tad shy, while the supermarkets also decked out designated “love spots” (frozen food, the wine section, the delicatessen) with balloons and pink hearts. And willing victims were asked to carry around pink carnations as they filled their trollies.<br /><br />All very heart-warming, and an initiative Norman was fully behind as head of the retail chain.<br /><br />Which, I’m sure you’ll agree, begs an important question. Will he finally be the one to bring national treasure Cilla Black back to our screens on Blind Date?<br />ringing success<br /><br />If any Square Mile readers opened their windows yesterday evening at 6pm, they might have caught the sound of something that hasn’t been heard in the City for over a century.<br /><br />The bells of St Katherine Cree church escaped the Great Fire of London in 1666 through a lucky change of wind and managed to remain unscathed by bombs in both world wars, and also feature in the nursery rhyme “Oranges and Lemons”, where the bells sing out about “maids in white aprons” who worked in the nearby Leadenhall market.<br /><br />They were rung yesterday after the culmination of a successful appeal to restore the rotten housing to its former glory – including the biggest and noisiest of the bells, the tenor bell, which has been retuned and dedicated to Ian Agnew, the former deputy chairman of the Lloyd’s of London insurance market who died aged 64 in March.<br /><br /><strong>BEHAVING BADLY</strong><br />What is it with City spread-betters and their cheeky misbehaviour?<br /><br />The industry’s biggest players were out in force at the Shares magazine awards on Tuesday evening, including IG Index, CMC Markets, Spreadex, Capital Spreads and City Index – which was busy celebrating its CFD provider of the year gong for the sixth year running.<br /><br />And many rowdy hours into the event, a senior member of one particular firm passed out on the dancefloor after sinking one too many – a dangerous action indeed, particularly as several colleagues were still present and gunning to take advantage of his catatonic state.<br /><br />The Capitalist wonders if the poor chap in question managed to scrub off all the traces of the vulgar statement scrawled across his forehead before slouching into work yesterday?<br /><br /><strong>LAP OF LUXURY</strong><br />The MPC members at the Bank of England must have had a tough time of it over this past month, with a three-way division between the members revealed yesterday in the minutes of the committee’s November meeting.<br /><br />Still, if one insider account is anything to go by, at least they’re being looked after amid all that stress.<br /><br />Sixteen-year-old Usman Ali, the member of the Youth Parliament for Calderdale, hopped over to the Bank last week for meetings with senior decision-makers, as part of a project led by the Children’s Commissioner. <br /><br />And Ali says that along with the force of the boggling brain power inside the 230-year-old institution, the one thing that struck him hard was the luxury of working there.<br /><br />“Spencer Dale’s office was unbelievably grand – like a mini version of the Oval Office,” he tells me, earnestly. “And while I was there we were waited on hand and foot by butlers serving us tea from silver teapots…” Can’t be bad.<br /><br /><strong>GOLD LABEL</strong><br />Some official figures might still claim we’re in recession, but the bleak data doesn’t seem to have dampened cheer in all quarters. Auctioneers Bonhams held a whisky sale yesterday up in Edinburgh, raising a total of £211,518, which was actually the best performance on record for the 583 whiskies on offer.<br /><br />Among the treasures snapped up by eager buyers were a Black Bowmore 1964, a Macallan 56 year old 1946, and a unique Dalmore Oculus, assembled from some of the most exceptional whiskies of the past 140 years, which went under the hammer for an eye-popping £27,600.<br /><br />“The atmosphere in the room was electric with much excitement and frenzied bidding,” says Bonhams’ resident whisky expert Martin Green. The recovery, it seems, is well underway.