Sparky numbers give taste buds cheap thrill

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 28 October, 1995, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 28 October, 1995, 12:00am

LAST week, Lai See got so enthusiastic over the Plonk of the Century Search that we took a dive into the shallow end of a swimming pool and damaged said facility to its severe detriment, as it will no doubt say on the missive we expect to get any day from M'Learned Friends representing the Yacht Club.

It didn't do the old head much good either, but it's not as if it's a vital organ, or even one we use frequently, so on with the show.

Our selections this week come courtesy of Marks & Spencers and both fit neatly below the $50-a-throw threshold.

Our first comment is that these wines have funny plastic corks which puts us right on guard.

But the white chosen for us, a Vin De Pay du Gers was light and clean. It didn't have lots of depth but with our strictures on cost, it would be unfair to demand a taste-bud marathon from this wine of Southwest France. Lai See would give an even better review if we could sip in the right place - a small pension right beside the vineyard (sound of hint crashing to floor).

We certainly recommend it over the unpleasant Chilean number we found in a supermarket in Admiralty - our detailed notes on exactly what it was called and where we got it are smudged, and you can make of that what you will.

The red M&S, a Domaine St Pierre, was scooped up from the delightful Languedoc region of France where hot summer days melt gradually in to gibbous-mooned harvest evenings. Okay, so it's not a wine for dad's retirement dinner, and it doesn't seduce so much as it solicits but it works fine for us.

Out in Sai Kung they know a thing or two about cheap wine. And we are directed towards a number available only in a seedy wine shop in Melbourne that the Sai Kung Intelligence Service knows of. Chateau Incognito, an Appellation Uncontrolee costs $25 a shot and 'whilst not in the Louis Roederer champagne class it has a certain charisma that would charm the average gweipor spinster to lay back and think of England', our spy reports.

'The grapes may grow a little close to the tramlines, but it has a bouquet better than that well-known Melbourne Blue and is definitely a wine for drinking rather than laying down and looking at.' Keep the reviews and suggestions coming, and remember - mind your heads.

Hopes dashed DELIGHTFUL news reaches us that a Hong Kong company is polling brokerages to find the names and addresses of as many shareholders as possible. At last, we thought, a serious effort to get to know the minorities.

Alas, the company in question is East Asiatic Company, which is going through a privatisation and the move is linked to this.

As managing director Bjarne Nielsen put it: 'The shareholders will need lots of factual information.' One broker on the receiving end of the letter didn't quite see it that way.

We suggested to Mr Nielsen that even if the privatisation didn't go through (priced as it is well below the flotation price but well above the company's recent trading range) then it will still be good news for the company. Maybe share trading will pick up, we said.

Mr Nielsen wasn't too optimistic.

'When I look at the Exchange returns and see that any shares have traded at all it is a surprise,' he said.

Star struck FINANCIAL astrologists are generally pretty easy to wind up. You just use the same line that always works on chartists: How come you aren't rich? And off they go.

The standard reply is that financial luminaries like J.P. Morgan consulted astrologers.

Unfortunately the list of people who have lost the lot following tips from the heavens don't tend to get published.

When most of these people make public predictions they tend to be very vague. Not so with Rebecca Nolan who plies her trade in Central. She makes some highly specific predictions.

Highlights of her first issue, published in March, include: Hang Seng to rise between March 1 and 14, Wall Street to start to slide on May 26 with major falls on June 6 and 13.

In a later issue she claimed a 71 per cent success rate and further predicted major index falls on July 13 and July 20.

'Hong Kong is a dying market,' she said.

The Dow Jones rose in May and June. She was wrong about the Hang Seng in March - it started shooting up after the 14th.

As for the death of the market, the performance of the Hang Seng has so far failed to back that claim.

We don't expect any of this to convince anyone who does happen to believe in either astrology or Ms Nolan in general. The major character trait of the true believer in anything - be it chartism, fundamental analysis or fairies at the bottom of the garden - is that the negative is ignored and forgotten and the positive remembered and polished to a fine lustre.

Odd job GREAT news for job hunters in a certain English-language newspaper. It has Master Chu, renowned Fung Shui expert, dishing out job-hunting advice in its classified section.

Those with a 'metal' birth year were told that yesterday was a day of 'excellent luck for money. If you've got a day off work tomorrow, why not visit Macau and try your luck'.

The same bunch are told to avoid job hunting in the South on November 2: 'You'll only be obstructed by the elderlies,' Master Chu warns.

Just shove 'em out the way, that's our suggestion.

Now we understand why the paper has two Es in its banner.

Staggering idea THE Mass Transit Railway Corp is trying to market the idea of staggered working hours to ease rush-hour congestion.

One cigar-puffing executive calls us up to explain the concept: 'We've had it here for years - stagger home when the pubs close, stagger in to work when we wake up.'