Pembroke: Numbers crisis for the Bank

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The Independent Online
The Bank of England's 300th anniversary celebrations continue to test the stamina of even the most willing party- goer. Wednesday evening saw the Barbican stuffed to bursting as more than 2,000 of the great and good of British industry descended on the concert hall. A rugby scrum was one way to describe the experience as guests from the International Monetary Conference, including Norman Lamont and Alan Greenspan, were jostled while attempting to lay their hands on the Bank's elusive bubbly.

A wilting buffet was left largely untouched as large chunks of the crowd left after the concert to seek sustenance elewhere. 'I've never seen anything like it,' moaned one taxi driver, manoeuvring his way through the glinting ranks of chauffeur-driven cars. 'Normally the City of London police are very good at keeping this sort of riff-raff off the road.'

GOOD to see that some guests are treating the Old Lady's tercentenary with due respect. Andrea Mitchell, the glamorous companion of Alan Greenspan, chairman of the US Federal Reserve, has flown in specially for the celebrations. The pair form one of Washington's power couples. Ms Mitchell is well known in the US for her Capitol Hill coverage for NBC. It is also rumoured that the character with the huge walk-in wardrobe in the movie Broadcast News was based loosely on her as a snappy dresser. She is thought to house a similar living room-sized closet in her Washington apartment.

Ms Mitchell's dedication to the bankerly cause is all the more admirable as she did not even get to have dinner with her beau last night. While the Fed chief was at the Bank of England for a dinner hosted by Eddie George, she was at Hampton Court with the rest of the bankers' spouses for a separate meal hosted by the Governor's wife.

BARELY disguisedtitters at the Saatchi and Saatchi annual meeting yesterday when a shareholder requested that directors sort out their differences behind closed doors. Referring to the very public bust-up earlier this year between chairman Maurice Saatchi and chief executive Charles Scott, he asked: 'May I request that you settle this in the privacy of your bedroom. Sorry, I mean the boardroom.'

THE ANNUAL report is like a lagging economic indicator. And in recent recessionary times most corporates have been paring down their documents to skimpy, functional things to show how careful they are with shareholders' money. But no one seems to have told GE Capital Services, an American financial services group owned by General Electric. Its 1993 report is a budget- bursting, plastic-covered, triangular number that would not look out of place as a stage prop on Star Trek.

'Our report this year comes in the shape of a triangle,' it begins helpfully.