People & Business; Living without George Michael at a Capital bash

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The Independent Online
To the opening of Capital Radio's new radio theme restaurant in London's Leicester Square, where despite the non-appearance of the star guest, George Michael, a fab time was had by all.

With Tamara Beckwith, Lionel Ritchie, Chris Rea and David Seaman to rub shoulders with, not to mention my good self, who needs George Michael anyway?

I say all, but Richard Eyre, Capital's Bible-bashing chief executive, was looking decidedly grumpy as the hacks and other assembled free-loaders downed his champagne in copious quantities.

What on earth's the matter? It transpires that he's still feeling mighty peeved at the generally poor press he received last week for his pounds 51m acquisition of the My Kinda Town restaurant chain. "That was a very poor show indeed. Whatever happened to recognition of bold management?" he complained bitterly.

Who knows? Maybe he's right after all and radio will mix well with the restaurant trade. Looks as if he's onto a winner with the Leicester Square site, in any case.

Student protests, once characterised by tear gas and calls for the overthrow of capitalism, aren't what they used to be. Consider this. Peter Rosengard, the life assurance salesman who helped found the Comedy Store in London, has just been interviewed for a television programme about contrasts between the soaraway1980s and insecure 1990s.

In the Carlton show, The Big Story, which goes out this Thursday, Mr Rosengard gives this example of how times have changed.

"I was driving along Oxford Street when I saw a student demo. I slowed down to hear what they were chanting, and it went: "What do we want? Pensions! When do we want them? Now!"

Nothing about LBJ or down with Thatcher. Just a blood-curdling demand for index-linked pensions.

Whatever next? Student demos calling for relaxation of VAT thresholds?

The Eric Cantona Quote of the Week Award goes to Lord Runciman of Doxford, deputy chairman of SIB, who delivered the Securities Institute annual lecture last night.

At one point in his speech on regulation Lord Runciman quoted this Cantona- like German proverb: "What happens when two ogres meet in the forest? Both smile."

Later he went one better and quoted a Greek proverb: "Lame ducks don't open Pandora's boxes." But his Lordship admitted he had made the second one up.

Lord MacClaurin of Knebworth, chairman of Tesco, and Sir Brian Corby, former chairman of the Pru, will exchange honours this Thursday in an academic version of pass the parcel.

Lord MacLaurin will be formally installed as Chancellor of the University of Hertfordshire during a ceremony in the Cathedral and Abbey Church of St Alban. He succeeds Sir Brian, who in keeping with the traditional ceremony will hand over a scroll to the Tesco chief as a symbol of his leadership. Following the handover of leadership, Sir Brian will be awarded an honourary Doctor of Science (DSc) degree.

Elite long-serving members of De la Rue, the maker of bank notes, can join the Delarunarian Club, I hear. The club consists of 81 employees, all of whom have worked at De La Rue for more than 37 years. Next year is its 50th anniversary.

Apparently the company has a high proportion of long-term employees because of the technical expertise involved in making forgery-proof bank notes.

Sources inform me that one of the key topics of conversation during the annual lunch is which members have died since the last one. Sadder still, the Delarunarians was for employees of 40 years' duration, but staff turnover has led to a lowering of the age specification.

Bronwyn Curtis, described by colleagues as "a glamorous, dynamic former ballet dancer", is joining Nomura as chief economist from Deutsche Morgan Grenfell, where she was global head of foreign exchange and fixed income strategy

Mrs Curtis is a graduate in economics and mathematics from La Trobe University in Australia and then completed an MSc at the London School of Economics.