l Rotgut futures are through the roof
The perfect bar for City traders who think about work even when they are at play is to open in March. The Market plans to alter the prices of drinks depending on how many are being ordered: the more popular the drink, the cheaper it becomes. Dom Perignon at rock-bottom prices, then?
l Death wish not granted
Life has a funny way of turning full circle. There was a time when Michael Winner was the person nobody from the industry wanted anything to do with. Now, it seems, his rehabilitation is complete. Winner is to be the guest speaker at the Savoy Lecture on4 February, organised by Arena. For tickets call 01753 663305. Hope he won't need a bodyguard.
l And they want more funding for research
The New Year award for stating the obvious goes to the European Union scientists who concluded that force-feeding ducks and geese to enlarge their livers for foie gras was "detrimental to the welfare of birds". They might have added that roasting is not good for the health of lambs and filleting a cod is likely to mean it will never swim again.
l Audi, pardner
If you thought that your New Year's Eve package offered the ultimate celebration then you might take a look at the Westin Tabor Center in Denver, USA, which was charging $98,000 for the night. Mind you, this did include an Audi A8 to drive away, and an $18,000 donation to charity, along with the more predictable delights of a big band, dinner and luxury Champagne. Can't wait to see what the package will be for Millennium Eve, but presumably it will cost $99,000.
l Character specialists need not apply
Themed restaurants in the USA are losing popularity, but this hasn't stopped David Hasselhoff from launching a chain based on Baywatch. Fans may be disappointed to learn that the staff will not be wearing the famous orange swimsuits - they will wear shorts and T-shirts instead - but prospective employees should note that part of the deal is a chance to audition for the show. Out-of-work actors are no strangers to serving tables, but they don't usually get an automatic audition as a result.
l Lament of the Francophone Anglophile
l Send the cash to my Hicksville bank
First dry-cleaning scams, then bogus restaurant guides, now it's the turn of hotels to be targeted by a con man trying to blag a free stay. One recipient was Channings hotel in Edinburgh, which gave short shrift to a letter alleging noisy neighbours, missing towels and room-service staff prone to "barging in". Suspicions were aroused by the poor grammar and the fact that an identical claim was received by sister hotel, the Howard. The complainant, "RL Smith III", also purported to be a high-flying businessman from the USA, yet gave his address as 29 Claydon Gardens, Warrington, Cheshire. Bit of a giveaway, that.