When the spoon-bender met the soap star

PEOPLE & BUSINESS

Uri Geller, the well-known spoon-bender, has just signed up with William "Coronation Street" Roache's company Mambi, in order to market a board game which Uri claims will improve your psychic powers.

This is the first signing by Mr Roache, who plays Ken Barlow in the long- running northern soap. Mambi is seeking to raise pounds 705,000 on the Ofex market at the end of the month, to fund the development of more celebrity-related board games.

Uri tells me: "I've been roaming the world for the last 30 years demonstrating my [paranormal] powers on stage and in laboratories. I've always been interested in psychic games, but never thought about producing one until I met William Roache a year ago."

The two bumped into each other at a computer exhibition - Uri has his own web site.

"I don't watch soap operas, but I asked someone who he was," Uri said. The spoon-bender was much keener to join a small "family" company than a large impersonal corporation.

Uri added he couldn't decide whether to call the game "Psychic" or "Paranormalist" or something else again. "The game will enhance people's ESP. I believe everyone has paranormal powers, they just don't realise it."

So when will the game be launched? Strangely for a man of such psychic powers, Uri did not know: "That's a technical question. You better ask the people at Mambi that." Hang on a minute, I'll just consult my crystal ball ....

If you hear pounding rock music emanating from the offices of the normally staid City law firm Travers Smith Braithwaite, it will be because one of its finance lawyers, Neil Murray, has just released a second album.

Mr Murray is a rock musician in his spare time, and has teamed up with Mark Millin of Slaughter & May (drums) and Kevin Duncan, recently of advertising agency Lowe Howard Spink (bass), who are collectively called The Hamptons.

The group has just released an intriguing CD titled Ba Ba Ba Ba Ba. Appropriately enough it has a picture of two sheep on the cover. Sadly, I haven't had time to listen to it, although one of my colleagues described Mr Murray's last recording, Return to Malibu, as sounding like "David Bowie imitating the Beatles".

Here's a selection of lyrics from the title song of the new album: "Ba ba ba ba ba / I'm not getting / Fa fa fa fa fa/ We should be singing / La la la la la / But all I get is / Ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba hey!"

Remember, you heard it here first.

Roger Lewis, a former head of music at BBC Radio 1, has just been poached from EMI Records UK to become president of Decca Records, the London-based music company. Perhaps Mr Lewis can be persuaded to sign up Mr Neil?

Mr Lewis will report to Chris Roberts, president of PolyGram Classics and Jazz. He succeeds Roland Kommerell, who retired from Decca at the end of last year after 10 years as president.

Mr Lewis himself says: "I have watched with admiration how the Decca team have positioned the Decca/London, L'Oiseau-Lyre and Argo labels at the forefront of artistic, technical and marketing excellence and innovation."

After three years at Radio One Mr Lewis joined EMI in 1990 as director of its classical division. While at EMI he helped in the marketing of such popular collections as Canto Gregoriano, The Best Classical Album ... Ever and Classical Moods. In an echo of his Radio One career, Mr Lewis was also responsible for the Trainspotting soundtrack, EMI's best-selling new release last year.

One thing he won't want to dwell on. It was Decca, of course, that turned down the Beatles in 1962, leaving the way clear for the Fab Four to make staggering amounts of money for EMI, Mr Lewis's old company.

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