THE fallout continues over tickets from the late Michael Jackson’s planned London tour – and this time, it has hit the City.
Standard Chartered, those with elephant-like memories may recall, offered runners in their Great City Race next week the chance to see the King of Pop at the O2 Arena on 6 August, as a prize to reward the team which raises the most funds for the event. The bank had planned to offer the winners the use of its corporate box at the stadium on Jackson’s This Is It tour, which sold out of tickets minutes after they went on sale last month. I call the press office, eager to know what goodies Standard Chartered has in store for its charity runners instead, but am met with a brick wall.
“There is going to be a prize to replace the Michael Jackson box, but unfortunately we can’t reveal what it is,” spins a flunkey, sounding quite as bemused as the rest of us as to the reason behind the secret non-incentive.
From the King of Pop to the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Elvis Presley, who was the hot topic of conversation yesterday over a slap-up lobster lunch at City favourite Boisdale of Bishopsgate.
The restaurant’s ebullient founder Ranald Macdonald is rather fond of recounting tales of the ancestry of his Scottish clan, as many a City boy will know, but his latest claim to fame really does take the biscuit. Apparently, he’s distantly related to Presley himself, and can trace the King’s own tartan right back to its origins.
I hear some cheeky friends have had a hunting cap specially made up in the tartan, and are looking forward to presenting it to Macdonald at the bar sometime in the near future. Can we look forward to an off-the-cuff rendition of Hound Dog at the same time?
Are the ladies at PricewaterhouseCoopers the luckiest in the City?
The Capitalist reported recently that rugby legend Josh Lewsey had been getting hearts all a-flutter when he joined the firm in his new role as a performance improvement consultant. And now, there’s a second sporting hero down at Embankment Place in the form of the delectable Iain
Mackay, who is in his first year working in assurance and made his debut on the England hockey field last week as he scored his first goal for the side in a test match against Pakistan.
Is there something in the water?
It’s probably a long while since Virgin tycoon Sir Richard Branson got a real dressing-down, but Formula One racing driver Jenson Button has come pretty close in an interview in the latest edition of GQ magazine, which hits the newsstand later this week.
Much was made earlier this year of a particular incident at a party to celebrate Branson’s sponsorship of Button’s team Brawn GP – namely, when the chiselled driver had to step in after his elder got a little too cosy with his girlfriend, model Jessica Michibata.
“Don’t worry, he won’t be doing it again,” Button told interviewer Piers Morgan. “I’m not going to say what he actually did. I was the gentleman at the table, let’s just leave it there.”
Stern words indeed.
A reader emails in to suggest an alternative to The Capitalist’s own City Fine Dining Index of economic prosperity, as revealed in yesterday’s column.
He proposes market-watchers keep an eye on a barometer he’s calling the “Jubilee Place Underground Index” instead – namely, the number of parking spaces available each day at the car park in Canary Wharf’s shopping centre.
“This is just a bit of geekery for you, but last year, after Lehman went bust, the digital display used to show at least 350-400 spaces were free every day, out of around 550 altogether,” he explains. “These days, it’s edged down to around 200 to 250 – and since everyone knows it’s generally the more important businesspeople who drive into work instead of getting the Tube, surely that shows things are looking up?” Who could argue with such flawless logic?
CRY FOR HELP
Interesting to note the furore surrounding British Airways’ proposed cost-cutting drive, as unions re-enter talks with the airline today to try and thrash out a deal.
The Capitalist was chatting to Willie Walsh at a party recently, at which the BA boss was adamant that the cost cutting idea was actually the brainchild of staff in the first place.
“I was inundated with requests from employees wanting to help out and sort out a deal to help out BA,” he said. “So that’s when we got talking and these plans came about.”
If only it were that easy, eh?
A puff piece arrives from extra-marital dating site IllicitEncounters, which has been active over the past months in promoting its services to give people a boost, shall we say, during the recession.
But wait, what’s this? Apparently, cheaters spend around £3,500 a year on sustaining an affair through hotel bookings, phone calls, gifts and flowers – which works out at around £291 a month, or nearly four times what people put into their pension on average.
Then again, we should perhaps be sceptical about trusting those figures, when an illiterate comment from the site reads as follows: “An affair is a notoriously expensive thing. We have a unique insight into the spending habbits (sic) of cheaters. Most own two seperate (sic) mobile phones, and buy gifts more regularly…”