Backchat woke with a jump last week when Neil Diamond boomed into a sleepy conference hall.

Michael Bright wanted to make a bold entrance to the Association of Lloyd's Members conference arena by playing the words from one of Diamond's hits: “Looked at life from both sides now...”.

With his usual bullish style, Bright reprimanded the auditorium for clapping too loudly and drowning out the words.

But he was humbled, only slightly, ten minutes later when one post-lunch delegate who was dozing suddenly awoke with a loud snore.

Bright quickly retorted: “Had I known, I would have played the music louder.”