4 AUGUST 1984, Page 16

Capital for Marx

T et Jaguar roar off. Don't hang on for L./Telecom. The jolliest prospectus now going round the City is designed to float a new club - The Groucho Club London PLC. Guidehouse, the issuing house, is offering 1,622,645 shares at 29p each, and the money is rolling like ducks coming home to breakfast. Investors have seized upon the winning idea that journalists, in the course of their work, tend to develop thirsts, or even that the thirst and the work go together. Much the same (the prospec- tus suggests) may be said of writers, publishers, agents, producers, designers, and people who make films. For all of them, The Groucho will cater - handily and symbolically placed in Dean Street, Soho, not far from the Garrick but closer to the Coach and Horses. Massed pub- lishers, as directors or consultants, march through the prospectus - the chairman of Faber & Faber, the chairman of Jonathan Cape, the chairwoman of Virago Press . . . In the parade, John Armit catches investors' eyes. City people have rather similar occupational habits to those of journalists, and often treat them at the Coates wine bars of Corney & Barrow, where Mr Armit was managing director, and remains a consultant. The cost of investing can be offset against tax at the top marginal rate, since The Groucho qualifies under the Business Expansion Scheme. Is it quite the technocratic small business that Sir Geoffrey Howe meant the scheme to stimulate? Never mind. Just admire the elegance of the name. It was Groucho Marx who resigned from the Friary Club in New York, explaining that he did not care to belong to a club which would accept people like him as members.