Pembroke: House music fails to impress the bank

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The Independent Online
SOMEONE in the Bank of England's banking supervision department either has a very good ear, or is particularly fussy when it comes to opera. Pembroke learns that a certain musically refined individual at Threadneedle Street, recently wrote to Jeremy Isaacs, general director of the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, to complain about the tenor's performance in an opera. The tenor, the letter stated waspishly, sang the wrong notes, to the wrong rhythm and could not cope with Italian.

Not to be outdone, Mr Isaacs responded in kind, claiming that even the Bank of England supervision department has lapses of standards. Could he have been referring to the BCCI?

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THE GAY LIFESTYLES exhibition, which took place in London's Olympia over the weekend, attracted an interesting range of exhibitors, including the Metropolitan Police, Amnesty International and Northern & Shell, the publisher whose titles include Penthouse and Mountain Biker.

There were not many big name companies on show, although the organisers said things were not quite the way they appeared. Apparently, a number of larger organisations did take stands, but under different names.

The organisers held 'educational' seminars for large companies during the exhibition to show that the gay market was potentially lucrative and not something to be embarrassed about.

COOPERS & LYBRAND and Touche Ross seem to have won the accountants' battle for Budget day guest speakers. Touche Ross has secured the services of the former Chancellor, Lord Lawson, for an undisclosed fee. He will give an after- dinner speech at the Great Hall in Lincoln's Inn on Tuesday evening. Meanwhile, Coopers & Lybrand has signed up Michael Portillo on a free transfer to regale an audience of 100 chairmen and chief executives over breakfast at the Savoy on Wedesday morning. 'We think we've got someone who's a bit more in touch with what is going on at the Treasury,' said a Coopers spokesman.

IS LONDON UNDERGOUND about to offer first-class travel on its trains? It is, according to the annual season ticket renewal form sent to one commuter who buys her ticket at the British Rail branch of Ealing Broadway in West London.

The form gives two prices for the zones 1,2 and 3 travelcard, pounds 980 for a first- class ticket and pounds 652 for standard class. As the tube traveller put it: 'It's definitely worth an extra pounds 358 to have my own personal first- class compartment whenever I travel on the underground.'

London Underground was less impressed. 'The first- class price just covers British Rail,' came the grumpy reply.

WE ARE GRATEFUL for the reader who claims to have discovered the reason for Grand Metrolitan's disappointing share price: Sir Allen Shepherd's moustache. 'I long ago decided it was not a good idea to hold many shares in Grand Met because anyone with a moustache like that must be open to questions on matters of judgement and good taste.'

This seems a bit harsh, but it will be interesting to see if the disgruntled shareholder suggests a new corporate moustache strategy at the company's next annual meeting.

MEMBERS of Britain's well-heeled yachting community have been celebrating a particularly enjoyable victory over the French. Not in a boat race, but over the knotty question of seafaring in the Single European Market. The French authorities have operated some very silly rules in the past, apparently devised with the sole intent of protecting their own boat makers and charterers. Under the old system, any British resident taking a vessel to France could only lend it to members of the same family or a co-owner named on the registration document. Anyone else borrowing it was liable to pay tax as if they were importing a new boat.

Now the usually pro- Europe French have been dragged into line with the rest of Europe. 'This is very good news for British yachtsmen who often wish to swap crews in France,' said Robin Sjoberg, cruising secretary at the Royal Yachting Association.

COLETTE BOWE, who leaves the Securities and Investments Board at the end of the year to become chief executive of the Personal Investment Authority, was embarrassed by Pembroke's item about her exponential rise last week. She does not, as we suggested, have an economics double first. 'I didn't go to the kind of university that gives double firsts,' she says. 'I didn't even get a single first.' Admirable honesty, this. Most people would be more than happy to have their academic credentials thus confused.

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