CITY DIARY

Shandwick's Julian Bosdet had a touch of deja vu last week when he heard that secret video pictures were to be employed to catch kerb- crawlers. Bosdet tells me that a midnight search for early editions of the national newspapers once led him to City Road, the last home of the Independent. Several journeys around the block were necessary but so slowly was he driving that on his fourth "sweep" he was removed from his car by the Met on suspicion of kerb-crawling. The defence of "looking for tomorrow's papers today" baffled the officers, who thought newspapers arrived with the milk. Fortunately, Mr Bosdet was allowed to retrieve his car and early edition of the Independent.

The dust has yet to settle at Scottish Amicable, which last week abruptly parted company with Graeme Knox, long-standing MD of the its investment arm. While Mr Knox insists it was always his intention to bow out at 50, word from insiders is that he did not fit with ScotAm's desire to look good for a potential investor. One alleged marriage would have involved the abandonment by ScotAm of its mutual status. The reshuffling of more executives just days after Mr Knox's departure is seen by the insurer as a way of making itself more attractive to a bid.

A great deal of money was spent at last week's Aviation ball at Grosvenor House. The event made pounds 120,000 for National Children's Home Action for Children. The auction proved popular with catering company Compass, which bid for almost everything, according to one partygoer. Despite Compass's acquisition of French company Eurest International earlier this year, chief executive Francis Mackay found pounds 6,400 to spare to bid for two Concorde return tickets to New York. Mr Mackay was about to hop on a non-Concorde flight when I spoke to him. He said the company will use the tickets for anyone who needs to go to New York in a hurry. Anyone intent on doing business with Compass should take note.

Roger Holland of embattled Cray Electronics has finally appointed a new non-executive deputy chairman: Alec Daly, former deputy director general at the CBI. Profit warnings that followed the discovery of a large revenue hole in its communications subsidiaryhave dogged effort to stick the group back together. No doubt Mr Daly's stint with Ford Europe, and GKN, where he was MD of its defence products, will stand him in good stead.

Even the Maxwell trial has to give way to our archaic legal ceremonies. Yesterday marked the start of the legal year, which meant Mr Justice Phillips was not in court but wigged up in full rig for a ceremony at the beginning of Michaelmas term. The event, the roots of which are lost in the mists of time, requires all judges and QCs to dress up for a service at Westminster Abbey, during which participants must fast. The Lord Chancellor then invites the 600 or so participants back to the House of Commons for a light buffet to ease their hunger pangs. Let's hope Mr Justice Phillips' rumbling stomach is stilled in time for today's proceedings, the 73rd day of the Maxwell trial.

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