Back on the endless social round again. This time it was the National Grocers' Benevolent Fund annual ball last Friday night at London's Grosvenor House Hotel. With 2001: A Space Odyssey as the theme, it was a smashing occasion for the golden oldies among grocery's great and good, and raised £165,000 for the charity. The highlight of the cabaret was 70s rockers Showaddywaddy. That could explain why I saw so many of the young guns of grocery heading for the bar muttering darkly: "It's a pity they didn't book Boyzone." (And that's despite a David Bowie lookalike also gracing the bill). But it gave the luminaries of this fine industry a chance to show they could still bop with the rest of them and the dance floor was packed. Mind you, I know of at least one CEO forced to cancel his golf match on Saturday due to a bad back, while another well known senior figure from a desk not unadjacent to my own was seen limping into Gatwick Airport for a trip to Amsterdam! Perhaps the NGBF should offer a masseur service next year? Still, at least the event provided plenty of ammo for grocery gossips. I would love to know what was discussed when Safeway chief executive Carlos Criado-Perez was deep in conversation with his predecessor Colin Smith. It was surprising they could hear themselves speak. Last week, at the same Park Lane venue, it was the problem of over-talkative diners disrupting the acoustics at the PTF annual dinner. This time it was a noise something akin to a jumbo jet taking off and a deep fat fryer whirring noisily during chairman Tony Pearce's speech. {{COUNTERPOINT }}