CITY DIARY

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The Independent Online
Customers angry with the service they receive at the bank could take a leaf from the notebook of David Langdale, a linen merchant from Kirkcaldy. He was irritated when his Bank of Scotland manager publicly queried his credit so he called him to the fields of Carden Barns, pulled out a pair of duelling pistols and, in the resulting exchange of fire, killed the slanderous banker.

The killing, 169 years ago, was the last recorded duel in Scotland. According to the historian Alan Cameron, whose history of the Bank of Scotland is about to be published by Edinburgh's Mainstream Publishing, the Perth assizes called the killing justifiable homicide and let the merchant off.

The bank, however, suffered badly and failed to secure any business among the rich cotton traders of Kirkcaldy for years. "The damage lasted more than a generation," said the author.

Tie Rack's chairman, Roy Bishko, has luckily timed the official opening of a shop in his home-country of South Africa for the Rugby World Cup. "Any suggestions that this was deliberately organised are unfounded malicious rumours," said the ebullient, Bloemfontein-born entrepreneur.

When Hollywood moguls Jeffrey Katzenberg, Steven Spielberg and David Geffen teamed up to form Dreamworks, an independent production studio, the showbusiness world held its breath. Now it appears that the radical new studio, which has plans to combine films with interactive games, CD- Rom titles and other multi-media products, has won $500m financial backing from Paul Allen, the 42-year old entrepreneur who made a billion out of businesses run with his schoolfriend, Bill Gates.

The fledgling company has a nest-egg of $2.7bn, which represents one of the biggest gambles on the coming of the multi-media explosion to date.

Higgs & Hill, the Surrey construction company, could not have picked a better lecturer to speak at its seminar on financing business deals than Sir Alistair Morton. After all, since joining Eurotunnel he's probably spent more time with bankers than with his wife.

With Woolworths now known as the biggest sweetshops in Britain, Kingfisher is depending more on profits from Darty, its French subsidiary. But there are signs that the French management, who were rumoured to be unhappy with the British association, are now chafing at the bit.

Philippe Frances, general manager of the French consumer goods subsidiaries, told Le Figaro in a bullish interview yesterday that Continental expansion was on the cards. "We want to become the European leader in electronic retail and be present in every important country on the Continent," said the ambitious Frenchman.Sources at the American investment bank Goldman Sachs are fuming at stories of Jon S Corzine, their senior partner, supposedly flying around the Middle East "trying to sell off another slug of the firm to pay off the partners who have left in the last year." The suggestion caused chuckling among rival American bankers resident in London. Mr Corzine is indeed touring the Middle East, a Goldman source said, but he is simply cultivating potential clients. Another idea, that Goldman - partly owned by the Hawaiian royal family - is planning to go public in order to solve its supposed capital needs, was also roundly ridiculed by the Goldman source.

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