Business Diary: Pacino moves into hedge fund world

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The Independent Online

Let's say this for the credit crisis: it has at least given Hollywood executives some new inspiration for movies. There have already been a string of films prompted by the crisis – not least the long-awaited follow-up to Wall Street – and now Al Pacino wants in on the act. Variety reports he's been lined up to play a dodgy hedge fund manager in Arbitrage, which will begin shooting next year. We're looking forward to it already.

The oldest rappers in town

Speaking of movies, you must scour YouTube for the clip of two rapping economists taking each other on at the Buttonwood Conference in New York last month. The two gents, billed as Friedrich Hayek and John Maynard Keynes, do battle for four minutes on their respective theories about how to combat recession. In particular, look out for the cut-away shot to Mervyn King, the Governor of the Bank of England, in the audience, and his facial expression – if you had to draw bemusement this would be it.

Something to suit you at Asda

Forgotten your dinner jacket for the big function this evening? There's no need to start thumbing through Yellow Pages in a panic-stricken search for the local hire shop. You'll be better off heading to Asda, which is offering the Washington Tuxedo suit for an astonishing price of £12.50. It might not pass muster with James Bond, but for that sort of money you can always throw it away in the morning. Just remember to snip out the label, in case fellow party-goers check out where it came from.

The retailers do protest too much

Some retailers feared that the opening of the giant Westfield centre in west London last year might damage trade in the West End of the capital, traditionally a mecca for shoppers. In fact, new research suggests that, while the West End has seen a small decline in sales this year, it's been less serious than in the rest of the country, suggesting economic factors are to blame rather than competition for shoppers from Westfield. The survey is only marginally undermined by the fact that it was produced by the New West End Company, which represents the retailers in question. Not exactly dispassionate then.