CITY DIARY : Sir Rocco finds fortitude under London skies

This hostile takeover business really is most tiresome. Not only has the Granda bid for Forte played havoc with Sir Rocco's pheasant shooting. It has also done for the family Christmas holiday. Unlike last year (when the caterer learned of his ennoblement on a Caribbean island) Sir Rocco will be eschewing la dolce vita in favour of his London desk.

Not that he is complaining. No, Sir Rocco is now of the view that eight- eighths cloud cover is good for the constitution. And, he claims, he has not had so much fun in years. He is, to coin a phrase, a new man. Who wants to go to the West Indies when you can slug it out with Gerry Robinson over the fate of your inheritance?

The key to Sir Rocco's determination can probably be traced back to the day the pounds 3.3bn bid was launched. The hotelier confesses to being deeply concerned about being caught on a pheasant shoot in Yorkshire when Gerry Robinson, the Granada marksman, let loose with both barrels. A Christmas break at Forte's pounds 1,000-a-night Sandy Beach Hotel in Barbados is no way to convince waivering shareholders.

Still, if Sir Rocco is looking for a Caribbean flavour to his Christmas he can always pop over to Mr Robinson's abode in Notting Hill Gate, home of the famous London carnival.

Iceland Frozen Foods is the unlikely vehicle chosen by Rupert Murdoch to reward his loyal minions. Staff at the Times have been told that their Christmas bonus has come in the form of a free turkey voucher. This has not gone down fantastically well with staff who have spent a fortune to qualify for the Tesco free Christmas turkey.

News filters through from the front in the never-ending war against musical piracy. That spineless organisation, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, concedes that it has ordered a tactical withdrawal from its Canton office in China on the grounds that staff had been threatened with instant loss of life.

"The situation there became untenable when we heard from reliable sources that hitmen had been contracted on behalf of certain CD factories to halt our operation," bleats the IFPI. "This is not a shutdown. The IFPI will continue to provide support for the Chinese government's initiatives against piracy."

Suggestions that the IFPI has had about as much efffect as the United Nations in Bosnia have not been appreciated. "The fight against piracy is always a dangerous one," insists Nic Garnett, director general of IFPI. "This is not the first time that we have had to halt operations in Asia. In the past threats to staff in Taiwan and Thailand led to offices being closed."

Today's lesson is read by the bruiser Ken Harvey, chairman of Norweb. The combative executive is one of the captains of industry who have been persuaded to dispense pearls of wisdom to18-year-old school-leavers.

Borrowing from Mark Twain, Mr Harvey writes: "When I was 18 my parents were so ignorant I could hardly bear to have them around. But when I got to be 25 I was astonished to learn how much they had learned in seven years."

Yes yes. But what of the hurly-burly of corporate culture? "Be nice to people you pass on the way up," reflects Mr Harvey (whose company is now under the control of North West Water). "You might meet them again on the way down."

The November trade figures prove an early Christmas present for Ian Lang, President of the Board of Trade, who delights in the export effort. Apart from baguettes to France (Diary passim), we cleaned up by selling flower bulbs to the Netherlands (Anglo Flora), aquarium sand to Oman (Pet Products) and indoor ski slopes to Taiwan (Acer Snowmec).

Suggested Topics
Newcastle players celebrate, Mario Balotelli scores, Alan Pardew and Brendan Rodgers
footballNewcastle vs Liverpool , Arsenal vs Burnley, Chelsea vs QPR and Everton vs Swansea
i100Amazing Amazon review bomb
Arts and Entertainment
The Spice Girls' feminism consisted of shouting 'girl power' and doing peace signs in latex catsuits
musicWhat is it? You know what you want it to be...
Life and Style
food + drinkFrom Mediterranean Tomato Tart to Raw Caramel Peanut Pie
Moss and Grimshaw arrive at the party
peopleKate Moss, Claudia Schiffer and Nick Grimshaw at Jonathan Ross's Halloween party
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Armstrong, left, and Bain's writing credits include Peep Show, Fresh Meat, and The Old Guys
TVThe pair have presented their view of 21st-century foibles in shows such as Peep Show and Fresh Meat
Boys to men: there’s nothing wrong with traditional ‘manly’ things, until masculinity is used to exclude people
indybest13 best grooming essentials
travelPurrrfect jet comes to Europe
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch attends the London premiere of his new film The Imitation Game
people He's not as smart as his characters
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

The benefits of Recruitment at SThree...

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Comission: SThree: SThree, International Recruitme...

Trainee Recruitment Consultants

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

Finance Assistant - Part time - 9 month FTC

£20000 - £23250 Per Annum pro rata: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Pro rata ...

Marketing Manager

£40 - 48k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Manager to join...

Day In a Page

Bryan Adams' heartstopping images of wounded British soldiers to go on show at Somerset House

Bryan Adams' images of wounded soldiers

Taken over the course of four years, Adams' portraits are an astonishing document of the aftermath of war
The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities