CITY DIARY

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The Independent Online
Our picture shows David Jones, the bright-eyed Brummie who runs the Sharelink share trading business, skilfully manoeuvring a mechanical digger around his back garden. Mr Jones, who was last week photographed wearing a wetsuit and holding a surf board on Tower Bridge, is clearly game for a laugh. After his wrangles with the Stock Exchange over his Internet share- dealing system (hence the "surf the Net" picture), he invited fellow directors to his house in Gloucestershire at the weekend to unwind with some fun and games.

This included "time trials", where board members had to pick up boulders using Jones' machines. The female board members apparently proved the most adept.

The weekend was completed by a gratuitous assault on a box of miniature red phones, as featured in the Direct Line insurance advertising. The jingle so infuriates Jones that he bought 100 of the models and used them as targets in a clay pigeon shoot. Sadly the phones are not as easy to destroy as many might hope. One guest said: "They were virtually indestructible." The models cost pounds 3 each and the money goes to a Cliff Richard charity that teaches inner city children to play tennis.

CISCO, the City lobbying group that assists smaller companies, has appointed a new chairman in Neil Austin. Mr Austin, who is head of new issues at accountants KPMG, has handled more than 20 flotations, including MFI. He also represented the Sultan of Brunei in his purchase of the Dorchester Hotel. The hotel's chef at the time was Anton Mosimann, and Mr Austin, a keen cook himself, must have been impressed. For his 40th birthday his wife's present was a day learning the culinary crafts at Mr Mosimann's London restaurant.

City Index, the spread betting agency that has tempted many a City trader into man an ill- advised punt, is looking to extend its interests to Australia. Jonathan Sparke, the lanky managing director who runs the sho, has left for Sydney, where he will spend three weeks tying up a deal.

Michael Spencer, chairman of Intercapital, the money broker that owns a majority stake in City Index, said: "There has been a steady shift in our business towards sport over the last year. It's now almost equal to the financial side."

Bernard Weatherill, the Savile Row tailor which is part owned by the former speaker of the House of Commons, has pulled off a coup. It has signed up Peter Johnston, a young Scottish designer who caused a rumpus earlier this year over his suits for the next James Bond film. When working for Italian clothes designer Brioni last year, he co-ordinated a range for Pierce Brosnan in GoldenEye, due for release later this year. Tweedy Brits were outraged that 007 should contemplate baggy Italian suits instead of the more traditionally cut Savile Row numbers. Mr Johnstone - whose MA thesis at the Royal College of Art was enigmatically entitled What is a Gentleman? - has now returned to the fold.

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