Tuesday, 5 April 2011


We are sad to report the death of Slackbelly, who according to conflicting reports has been variously stabbed to death by a jealous lover, been persuaded by friends to check in at Dignitas or has become a victim of gastric band surgery gone-wrong. Either way, he's definitely dead.
Not to worry. Slackbelly started as a joke and hopefully remained one. The Independent on Sunday was kind enough to ask him to file a column, which was awfully nice of them.
Folk sometimes asked what the point of it was. Slack's answer: to irritate a great many people. In this he was a qualified failure. He is now moving on to other ventures where he expects to perform similarly.
Many thanks to everyone who read it, contributed or liked it.
Both of you.

Friday, 11 March 2011

A complete Bor?

Why is this dry clip of Susan Bor of RBS suddenly being emailed around the City?

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Bryant and his Straw sucking

Chris Bryant might be right when he says that Prince Andrew is now a "national embarrassment", but is he really the man to make the point?
The former Minister for Europe famously once sent a photo of himself wearing only Y-fronts to a gay dating website while he is no stranger to unquestioningly obeying instructions from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
On a trip to the House of Commons gym during 2004, the biddable MP spotted Jack Straw attending one of his spinning classes. Chris immediately commandeered the machine in front of the then foreign secretary and began an ostentatiously energetic workout. Noting the display, Jack called over: "Give me 20, Chris!" And quick as a flash, the irksome lackey hit the floor and proceeded to thrash out 20 press-ups. "Ten more," ordered Straw. Did Chris comply? Of course he did.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Exclusive: Spot the difference

Exclusive: Diamond Gets £6.5m Barclays Bonus

March 07, 2011 9:34 AM - Written by Mark Kleinman

Bob Diamond, the new chief executive of Barclays, will be paid a bonus of £6.5m for last year after agreeing with boardroom colleagues that his payout should reflect continuing pressure on bankers' pay, I can exclusively reveal.

The surprise cut to Diamond’s bonus for 2010, which will be confirmed by Barclays later today and which includes no up-front cash…

Exclusive: Barclays' Diamond In Line For £9m-Plus Bonus

Mark Kleinman February 04, 2011 5:48 PM

I have learned that directors at Barclays are preparing to award Bob Diamond, the bank’s new chief executive, an annual bonus for last year of more than £9m.

NB: it seems that the original "exclusive" will forever remain exclusive, although it's amazing how many fellow Slackers have grassed Kleinman up by emailing this in. Who'd have thought it?

Sindy Column...

For this week's small contribution to the kicking of Sir Howard Davies, click here.

Monday, 28 February 2011

Sindy Column...

For this week's effort, click here.

Friday, 25 February 2011

All Mail

Alex Brummer, the Daily Mail's respected City commentator, tackles Lord Davies' "Women on Boards" report in this morning's paper. He welcomes bringing the "issue to centre stage", identifies excellent female bosses already running public companies and adds: "More the pity, then, that small-minded male board chieftains are so clubby and conservative in their thinking on women directors".
And who are these "clubby and conservative" chieftans? Surely not Brummer's masters at DMGT,
the Daily Mail's owner which has no female board representation?

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Curse of the award...

Who is the reigning African Leader of the Year? You've guessed it, Muammar Gaddafi. The gong is apparently "a concept designed to promote good governance, transparency in government, popular acceptance and leadership in Africa" while the award organiser reckons: "government should be people-focused and welfare driven". Can the colonel retain his title, I wonder?

Wicked Whisper

Which smooth apologist for a controversial oligarch has just been thrown out of the family home for shagging his wife's mate?

Monday, 21 February 2011

Sindy Column...

For this week's effort, click here.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Jacket required

An entertaining exchange at the Baftas, between film journalist Matt Mueller and the eccentric artist and wannabe tax avoider, Tracey Emin. Mueller was on duty, feverishly making notes and at one stage took off his dinner jacket and draped it over the back of his chair. From the corner of his eye, he noticed Emin and her male escort gesticulating vigorously at him from a few seats away. Thinking she was objecting to his note-taking during the ceremony, he pretended to ignore her. But during a lull in proceedings, the artist’s boyfriend approached Mueller and asked if Emin could borrow the dinner jacket. Despite intense heat in the auditorium, Emin was feeling rather cold. When Mueller next looked over, no doubt to check his clothing was being properly treated, he saw that Emin had fallen fast asleep and she stayed that way for the rest of the evening. Where’s an unmade bed when you need one?


Terrible numbers again at Ladbrokes - where the once lucrative high-roller business seems to have tumbled over a fence. Presumably this means that the Sultan of Brunei (and family) really have closed their account.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Sindy Column...

A disappointing start for Terry Smith's FundSmith. For this week's column, click here.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Inside the insider's inbox

A footnote to the case of Christian Littlewood, the former Shore Capital and Dresdner Kleinwort investment banker who has just been sentenced to three years for insider dealing. “The picture of Christian Littlewood that emerged in court is not quite the full one,” says my man with full access to the prosecution files. “There was some very interesting material on his computer that he wouldn’t want his mother to see.”

Intriguingly, what may shock Littlewood’s mother and fellow insider dealing wife, Angie, barely registers with hardened investigators. “It is not unusual,” says one white collar crime expert. “In fact, it is more unusual not to find something embarrassing when you search a suspect’s hard drive.”

Monday, 7 February 2011

Sindy Column...

For this week's contribution, click here.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

George n Bennett

I see that JJB Sports is mulling a bid for rival JD Sports - which should provoke some interesting discussion between the two former Sunday Telegraph City editors now spinning for the former's PR company Maitland.
Neil Bennett is the hack-turned-mouthpiece with the task of explaining the possible deal to the City, but will he be tempted to canvass the views a Fleet Street successor and his current Maitland colleague, George "Treffers" Trefgarne?
As a journalist, Treffers once described JJB as the "outfitter of choice for couch-potatoes and others who like wearing cheap sportsgear for an athletic afternoon in the shopping mall" - before implying JD specialised in selling its stock to drug dealers. Possibly one for Bennett to handle alone, then.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

A small question...

Should Martin Arnold, the FT's private equity correspondent, be writing quite so frequently on Carlyle?

Monday, 31 January 2011

Sindy Column...

For this week's effort, click here.

Monday, 24 January 2011

Sindy Column...

For this week's effort, click here.

Friday, 21 January 2011

Another (breathtaking) Kleinman inclusive...

"Exclusive: Barclay Brothers Swoop On Claridge's... The owners of The Daily Telegraph are poised to swoop on the company which owns Claridge's and two other top London hotels, I have learned". Mark Kleinman, Sky News, January 21, 2011 3:30 PM.

"The Barclay brothers are understood to be seeking to persuade the Irish owners of Claridge’s to sell. The twins, who own the Ritz as well as the Telegraph Group, are believed to have held talks with Derek Quinlan about a deal". The Times, January 21 2011 12:50 AM.

Balls up

Congratulations to my old friend, Ed Balls, the new shadow chancellor. Apart from his attachment to maintaining the deficit (one can become sentimental about one's own babies of course) I'm also expecting his tenure to signal some innovative revenue raising ideas.
After all, as I never tire of pointing out, when Balls and fellow minister Yvette Cooper hosted their wedding reception at the Cavendish Hotel, Eastbourne, in 1998, they secretly arranged with the venue for an extra £9 to be put on guests' overnight hotel bills to save the happy couple £2,520 on the cost of the reception.
Gordon Brown and then girlfriend Sarah Macauley were star guests at the bash which also included several senior ministers such as Chief Whip Nick Brown, multi -millionaire Paymaster General Geoffrey Robinson, Treasury minister Dawn Primarolo and more than a dozen Labour MPs. A touching moment.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

No FT, no bonus comment

I hear that Financial Times hacks have been warned to tone down their coverage of the bonus season by the paper's editor, Lionel Barber. Another bonus for bankers, then.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Dear Reggie...

This email is making its way around the City:

"At the height of World War II on April 6th, 1943, British Ambassador to Moscow, Sir Archibald Clark Kerr, wrote the following letter to Foreign Office minister Lord Reginald Pembroke in an effort to brighten up his day".

Monday, 17 January 2011

Slack is back...

No need to send out a search party. I merely got too fat over Christmas to extract myself from my armchair. Still, save a few bedsores, no harm done. For this week's Sindy column, click here.