A black day for white tie at Lord Mayor's banquet

City Diary

The Lord Mayor's dinner at the Banqueting House for the Chancellor and the City's great and good will never be the same again. The organisers have dropped the traditional requirement for white tie from next week's function, and henceforward guests will dress in the much less fancy, but more convenient, black tie.

Sources say there was a mini-rebellion by City big-wigs, sick and tired of the time taken to hire the white tie outfits, and then to put the outfits on, shirt studs and all. Whatever next - chicken in the basket washed down with pints of Boddingtons? It is certainly bad news for Moss Bros, which rents the gear out. It claims the slack will be taken up by guests hiring black tie.

But surely many own their own black tie gear? A Moss Bros spokesman said: "We find that quite a lot of business people don't own black tie suits - like politicians, their waist sizes expand and contract at a rate of knots, so they prefer to hire a suit each time." Ken Clarke's waistline to contract? Perish the thought.

Business people should have at least "a swift half" at lunchtime. Forget that fizzy mineral water. Changes in drinking habits have hit the brewing and pub trade hard in recent years, says John Young, chairman of the South London brewer Young's. "We have had a good year in difficult trading circumstances but it would have been better had it not been all work and no play for an increasing number of people."

Mr Young is positively lyrical about the benefits of a lunchtime tipple in tackling stress and recharging the batteries after a hard morning's work. Driving a dray horse and brewer's cart through most businesses' policies on drinking, he concludes: "Companies would do better to combat stress in the workplace by educating their staff in sensible drinking rather than stopping drinking altogether, especially as it is now recognised that a drop of beer does you good."

Speaking as a journalist, I couldn't possibly comment.

Sir Ernest Harrison, chairman of Racal Electronics, clearly agrees with Mr Young. In fact yesterday the electronics boss went one step better. After announcing Racal's results, Mr Harrison ordered a glass of white wine - at 11.30 in the morning. Bottoms up!

Enterprise Oil is teaching Shell International and Amerada Hess how to run an oil business. Enterprise has invented a fab new computer game for oil industry high-flyers, which will teach them how best to succeed in the industry. Each team starts with pounds 100m and must maximise profits, assets and share price to win. Two other oil companies have shown commendable humility by buying the "Oil Game" from Enterprise - Shell and Amerada Hess, the giant American company.

ING Barings has sent us a news release on a forthcoming seminar in London and Edinburgh to discuss investment opportunities - in Singapore. The meetings will be organised by the Singapore Stock Exchange. I was trying to think of a suitable slogan for the seminar. How about: "Your investment can go down by pounds 860m as well as up." Considering Barings' former investment in Nick Leeson's activities in Singapore, this must be the ultimate triumph of optimism over experience.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Selby Jennings: Oil Operations

Highly Competitive: Selby Jennings: Our client, a leading European Oil trading...

The Jenrick Group: Night Shift Operations Manager

£43500 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Night Shift Operatio...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - LONDON

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000 + Car + Pension: SThree: SThree are a ...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35K: SThree: We consistently strive to be the...

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there