Silly season stories

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A press release revealed that Simon Holmes, managing director of internet and antiques specialists antiques.co.uk, was slightly surprised when he was asked to authenticate a slice of fruit cake recently. The vendors, based inIreland, told Holmes that it was cut from Charles and Diana’s wedding cake, and was given to a Royal British Legion pensioner as part of the marriage celebrations.

“Unfortunately, cake is a little tricky to authenticate – particularly as we specialise in art and antique furniture,” said Holmes. It is stretching it a little to say that a 19-year-old cake is an antique, but it’s worth noting that the top tier of the Duke of Windsor’s cake was sold for £16,250 in 1998.”

Dot.com bosses, says KPMG, are more likely to have gone to private schools than others. They are twice as likely to be left-handed or ambidextrous as those running old fashioned businesses – and they love Audis and airoplanes. But what happened to the child prodigies? Research shows that the average age is 38, as opposed to 46 in the other world. (See this week’s story: ‘iXL brings back the grey-beards as profits drop’)

BT’s credit rating has fallen from AA+ to merely an A, due mostly to debts of £30bn, which may accelerate its plans to sell off some of its businesses. This in the week that Oftel, the telecoms regulator, criticized BT for charging too much for lines leased to businesses, and threatened to control prices to give the competition a chance.

ICL, on the other hand, has been pursuing research which found that 68% of us would rather spend a weekend with the in-laws than not be able to start a computer – and almost 80% of those polled said that trying to get a drink in a busy bar is less trying than starting a PC.

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