The City and Media Diary

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Widow adds a merry glow to wet Friday afternoon

Facebook devotees of 'brand icon' Scottish Widow – yes, the group we reported on last year is incredibly still going – will no doubt be salivating at the prospect of getting their hands on copies of the latest calendar showing model Hayley Hunt in various almost life-size poses, which was sent out to clients and journalists last week.

The tastefully shot widow appears in a calendar from Paul Plews and is only being sent out to 500 choice individuals and certainly brightened up our Friday afternoon.

PS. We were granted permission to use the aforementioned photos on the agreement we were nice to Hayley.

The hottest ticket in town

Recession? What recession? Henry Pugh, publisher of the glossy interior design mag 'Mix Interiors', is believed to be splashing out £40,000 to bag DJ of the moment Mark Ronson (pictured) for his already sold-out ball at Old Billingsgate this summer. Ronson has yet to snap up the publisher's generous offer. Pugh's parties are such an event in the design world that people booked for this summer's ball just weeks after last year's. 'Mix' devotes pages to the slick interiors of the likes of the Bank of Montreal and law firms that still spend on iconic chairs such as the Aeron. So far, 1,200 people have each paid £180 for tickets, yielding £216,000 for Pugh. I'd up your price if I were you, Mark.

Banks face the music over account charges

As the charges test case between the Office of Fair Trading and several banks kicks off, there's another blow for the bankers. Dan James, a penniless Oxford graduate, has released a song called "I fought the Lloyds and the Lloyds lost", celebrating recouping £530. "The single has already achieved 15,000 pre-sales," says James. Roughly £2.6bn in charges has been reclaimed by three million customers since a law student looked up the 1999 Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Act and successfully sued his bank. Power to the people.

Mail reporters finally dragged into the web

'Daily Mail' editor Paul Dacre has long mocked the 'Telegraph' and other papers for concentrating precious resources on their internet editions. But has Dacre – or, perhaps, his proprietor Lord Rothermere – seen the e-light? Mail hacks were last week told that, in future, they will be expected to file stories not only to the newspaper but also to the website. At the 'Telegraph', meanwhile, widespread relief has met the announcement that hacks will no longer be required to do podcasts for the internet edition. Demand was far from furious, it seems.

Baldwin loses buddy

Ben Preston's sideways move at 'the times' from deputy editor to running the international editions could be bad news for Washington hack Tom Baldwin. The unpredictable Baldwin was formerly based at Westminster where he was unofficial New Labour correspondent and Alastair Campbell's best mate. Preston was a big supporter but new editor James Harding, with his 'FT' background, may not be quite as indulgent.

Caesar's BBC reign ends

The BBC business team largely missed the swingeing cuts. But not all. Sources tell us the fabulously monikered Julia Caesar, News 24 presenter, has been thrown to the lions and will now only appear from "time to time". The pub landlady caused much consternation a few years back when soft-focus photos appeared on her webpage Shame the market news on the site is about three years out of date.

It's a steel: punter set to score with bet on QPR

Transport journalist Christian Wolmar, a keen fan of Championship football club Queens Park Rangers, placed a spread bet ahead of this season based on the west London club achieving at least 53 points, winning or losing £200 for every point above or below that magical figure. They are currently only halfway there. Until recently Wolmar was set to lose big, but now that steel billionaire Lakshmi Mittal has bought a share in the club and is set to pour in the cash, he is in line for a handsome payout. A friend had offered £1,000 to take the bet off his hands, but Wolmar is holding on to what could be a spectacular punt.

Memorial service: A service of thanksgiving for the life of former 'Sunday Telegraph', 'Guardian', 'Sunday Correspondent' and 'Times' journalist Eve-Ann Prentice will be held at St Bride's Church, Fleet St, London EC4, on Thursday 7 February at 11.30am.

Email your best diary stories to for a chance to win a bottle of 12-year-old single malt from Bruichladdich – the progressive Hebridean Distillers.