The City and Media Diary

Homesick for the 'Mail': Simon Heffer Telegraphs his intentions
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The Independent Online

Can this really be true? Such is the turbulence at Telegraph Towers that columnist Simon Heffer, Cameron-baiter in chief, is getting restless. His anti-Dave views do not chime with those of editor and now editor-in-chief of all he surveys, Will Lewis, who wants to give the Conservative leader a fair crack of the whip (even if he remains personally unconvinced of the politician's worth). So privately, Heffer has told friends that he wonders if the 'Daily Mail' might have him back. 'Mail' boss Paul Dacre is a Heffer fan, and after so many former staff have abandoned Associated for the 'Telegraph', he would doubtless enjoy securing a high-profile 'Telegraph' scalp. But the 'Mail' is not short of right-wing columnists. Do they really need another?

Bowie's the business

For a seventies rock star, David Bowie has surprising business acumen. In 1997, he borrowed $55m secured against future royalties for his songs, in a deal whereby the royalties on his pre-1990 albums were bought as asset-backed securities by the Prudential Assurance Company.

The 287 songs – including tracks from 'Ziggy Stardust', 'Hunky Dory' and 'Aladdin Sane' – also acted as collateral to insure the bond.

Receiving the money upfront allowed Bowie to buy the rights to his songs owned by a former manager. Ten years on, Bowie has now regained full control of all his songs and is believed to have increased his already substantial fortune significantly.

Roger and out: how hard is it to spell 'Urwin'?

Communication is a tricky thing, as Roger Urwin, global head of investment consulting at Watson Wyatt, will testify. Mr Urwin has tremendous difficulty getting his name spelt correctly. Most people automatically put an 'i' not a 'u', which must be exasperating. Well, it all reached a new low for Mr Urwin lasr week, when he found himself booked into an Oxford conference hotel under a double-barrelled name: "Mr Irwin-Withayu".

Bankers line up to put their cards on the table

News reaches us of the first Here is the City Charity Poker night. The online City media company is hosting the event in November and has been "inundated" with requests from bankers and traders desperate to pit their wits against their peers. A month ago, the entry cost of £150 plus VAT would have been pocket change to most City professionals. But following recent market turmoil, it will be interesting to see how many hedge fund managers turn up. Let's hope they are better at cards than they are at buying sub-prime mortgage debt.

Make your mind up...

Professor Roy Greenslade's media column in the 'Evening Standard' was essential reading in the week of turmoil at the Telegraph Group. "Last night's departure of Patience Wheatcroft as editor of the 'Sunday Telegraph' came as little surprise to her staff," he opined. It was a pity he didn't check to see what his erudite colleague writing the "In the air" diary column on the same page thought of the matter. "Surprise among staff at the 'Sunday Telegraph' that editor Patience Wheatcroft has departed..."

Desperate for Dan?

The appointment of a new media editor at 'The Guardian' is due any day now. Among the serious runners is thought to be Gideon Spanier of the 'Evening Standard' and Dan Sabbagh of 'The Times'. There was much talk at Edinburgh of Mr Sabbagh's suitability, but not everyone at 'The Telegraph' would be ecstatic to see him appointed, as it was he who wrote revealing articles on the Barclay brothers, owners of the 'Telegraph', part of which gave rise to an apology in 'The Times'.

Turfed out twice: who'd be a lobby hack?

Spare a thought for the poor, put-upon lobby correspondents. The political hack pack has been cruelly evicted from its comfortable home in the House of Commons while it is being refurbished. But on Friday and Saturday they were also evicted from their less salubrious replacement pad at 4 Millbank, overlooking the Thames, for the building's "annual power shutdown".

A delightful memo from the administrator of the lobby says: "Because the power will be off, there will be no sewage ejection on the lower floors and the cold water supply will also be off. There will, however, be a small amount of water still in the system." Cold comfort, one thinks.

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