CITY DIARY

Jonathan Sparke, the tall, chirpy fellow who runs City Index, the spread-betting company, loves a gamble even more than he enjoys a good lunch. This, after all, is the man who once accepted Britain's largest fixed-odds bet, a £120,000 punt on Boris Becker to retain his Wimbledon title in 1987 (Becker was knocked out early and Mr Sparke pocketed the cheque).

His passion is taking him into new fields. He is in a party due to attend a performance of the Strauss opera Salome at Covent Garden tomorrow, and Mr Sparke is making a market with friends that the performance will finish between 10.35 and 10.42pm. "The loser buys me dinner," he says confidently.

A high-powered triumvirate from Rank Organisation nearly choked on their pints of John Smith's the other night when they were caught red-handed during a reconnaissance mission behind enemy lines. Rank's managing director, David Vaughan, operations director, Tony Marshall, and marketing director, Nick Basing, were huddled in a corner, busily taking notes at Heroes, the themed sports bar newly opened by First Leisure. Suddenly, John Conlon, First Leisure's chief executive, strode in. "Nice to see you gentlemen," he beamed knowingly. "Er, we were just passing on our way to Peterborough," blustered Mr Vaughan. A limp excuse, given that the bar is three miles off the motorway.

Whitbread's marketing team has scraped the bottom of the barrel with its promotional literature for Scarlet Lady, a fruit beer that is the first of its new ales for 1995. Scarlet Lady, we are unashamedly informed, is "a tart, refreshing ale with a taste that lingers sensuously on the tongue". What next? Leggy Blonde?

A minor hurricane is about to disrupt the clubby atmosphere at the fund manager Henderson Administration in the form of its new chief executive, Dugald Eadie. The tough-talking Glaswegian gave a no-nonsense address to staff yesterday. The cane would be flexed on time-wasting, long lunches and general indolence. Pale-faced workers should be left in no doubt that Mr Eadie means what he says. His father was a headmaster in Glasgow.

Investors in Baronsmead Investment Trust, a recently floated group that specialises in small unquoted companies, should be concerned about spiralling administrative costs within the organisation. The company yesterday faxed this newspaper with no fewer than 21 copies of its annual results statement. Sadly, Bill Brown, Baronsmead's chairman who was listed as the contact for the day, was unable to shed any light on the paper bombardment. "He's gone out for the day,'' a spokesman said.

Brrnnng. My financial astrologer rings in to warn of dire things happening in the stock market next week. Mars goes direct from tomorrow apparently, meaning that the market could be in for a bit of a wobble. But all is not lost - predictions from the crystal ball and star sign set suggest the market will romp to 3,550 by the end of August.

Kevin Greene, a partner in the London law firm Brecher & Co, takes the mickey out of his own profession in a questionnaire in The Lawyer magazine this week. The legal eagle, who stares out of the page showing a particulary cheesy grin, says his inspirational figures are John Major and Barbara Cartland, and that if he hadn't become a lawyer his chosen career would have been as a tax inspector. Most telling is his wardrobe, which includes five grey pinstripe suits, a blue blazer and grey stay-pressed slacks. In his picture, Mr Greene looks like he is wearing just that.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
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

Ashdown Group: Graduate Application Support Analyst

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Reach Volunteering: External Finance Trustee Needed!

Voluntary post, reasonable expenses reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Would you ...

Christine McCleave: FP&A Analyst

£36,000 - £40,000: Christine McCleave: Are you looking for a new opportunity a...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £40,000

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn