Nobody does the downturn better.




Unless you're Guy and Madonna, the secret of success in these tough economic times is to find yourself a partner to help carry the weight. A problem shared is a problem halved kind of thinking.

It started in the weird world of finance with Lloyds' take-over of HBOS, moved into politics where Barak Obama found an opponent twice his age, so he looks like the young cop with new ideas alongside the combative, though secretly admiring, Chief, and switched quickly to entertainment, where down at Battersea Power Station last week, they brought live music and winter sports together for Freeze, an oddly happy marriage of convenience. I even knocked my kitchen and dining room into one.

There's a way further to go in the recession yet and here history can be our guide to merger-mania. Back in the 1930s tough guy actor James Cagny moved into musicals; in the 1980s, all sorts of disparate musicians were hoiked together for Live Aid and in Japan's 1990s stagnation, they morphed monsters and previously unsung clothing accessories called pockets to create Pokemon.

Sounds unthinkable right now, but you never know, before the markets turn, James Bond might start to merge into Jason Bourne.

- David Clee