Diary

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When justice caught up with a speculator

CURRENCY speculators are getting rich. This week it's the franc's turn to be humiliated by those who realise that a central bank bent on propping up a currency is no more than a self-service milk-cow. But are they bad? Here, from the Times law reports of 1926, is the judgment of Lord Justice Scrutton upon one Mrs Aminta Dyne, who ran up debts of pounds 30,000 through gambling on the foreign exchanges: 'Reckless speculators, absolutely indifferent to the damage that they were doing to the country in the currency of which they were dealing, began operations. People bought and sold foreign currency, with the most disastrous results to the countries concerned. That was particularly the case with regard to sales and purchases of French currency, which went near to bringing that country to ruin. People who indulged in these speculations were beneath contempt and ought to be condemned. They were utterly selfish, and had no regard at all to the enormous injury which they were inflicting on the legitimate trade of the country in whose exchange they were speculating.' Mrs Dyne was ordered to repay the lot.

WHY, you ask, was supermodel and outgoing Mrs Jagger Jerry Hall opening the Royal College of Art's fair in London yesterday? In her own words: 'Well, like art, I'm supposed to hang around looking good.'

Murdoch love bites

THERE can be little reason to buy the William Shawcross biography of Rupert Murdoch - already so well aired it's looking flyblown. Here's a last best bit, just in case. Shawcross quotes from Anna Murdoch's novel, In Her Own Image: 'He bit her left breast with his teeth and they were bucking and rolling with each other, his arms no longer wandering over her but holding her firmly on each side of her hips, until he was pounding into her, and she could not shake him loose and she cried out, 'Harry, Harry. At last, at last.' ' She showed the book to Rupert, writes Shawcross. 'Who's Harry?' he asked. 'It's you, darling,' answered Mrs Murdoch.

OLD AGE news. A colleague was pondering an invitation to appear with the designer Jean Paul Gaultier on Dance Energy, one of Janet Street-Porter's programmes for young people, when the researcher asked what her age might be. 'What's that got to do with it?' 'Er, we're not allowed to have anyone on over 35'. 'But Gaultier's 40,' said our appalled informant (30). 'Oh. Right. How old's John Galliano?' asked the researcher. Janet Street-Porter is 46.

Spirited dialogue

WE ASKED for a dialogue between Hamlet and the ghost of his newspaper tycoon father (Ian Maxwell, you remember, was spotted admiring Alan Rickman's Hamlet in London last week). Dean Loughran composed the following:

Hamlet: Angels and Ministers of

Trade, defend us]

King Bob: Hark, hark]

Whilst I did sit so heavy on my

Bower,

Joe Haines didst, in the portals

of mine ear,

Pour liberally such sweet and

sickly stuff

As soothed my soul and

smothered those faults

That should not be hid from

one's Private Eye -

Such vanity it bred that I

methought

I could float upon the Southern

Seas

Like some Leviathan. Full

fathom five

Thy father lies, by kindness

killed.

Hamlet: Wrong play.

King: Avenge me yet, assuage

thy poverty,

Protect your dam, pay back my

pensioners

By playing out this story on the

stage:

'Moonlight Tax-Mess' or

'Fats' - a musical.

Something to do between your

signing days.

Ian: Sorry, dad. No pay, no play.

MORE about Harrods' habit, in these troubled times, of getting staff to swell the crowds when celebrities arrive. We hear that when Melvyn Bragg turned up at the Waterstone's branch in Harrods this summer, staff not only had to pose as screaming Bragg fans, they were also made to queue up to get their copies of his novel Crystal Rooms signed. Just one problem . . . they had to ask Bragg not to inscribe any personal messages on the flyleaves - the books had to go straight back on sale.

A DAY LIKE THIS

24 September 1968 Barbara Castle describes a Cabinet meeting during which the Falklands were discussed at inordinate length: 'It is typical of British policy that the fate of 2,500 people should occupy us for no less than one-and-a-half hours. Michael Stewart has worked out the terms of a joint memo with the Argentine Government which recognises our willingness to surrender sovereignty when we are satisfied that the interests of the Falklanders will be preserved. This was to be accompanied by a unilateral statement by us saying that we thought this meant we should only give up sovereignty when the Falklanders agreed we should. Dick (Crossman) and Fred Peart promptly said there would be an absolute howl of anger in parliament. Really, the problem of winding up the last outposts of empire is almost ludicrously difficult.'

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