BUNHILL: Even the powerful find it hard to be Ruth-less

TOMORROW night the great and the good of the media world will assemble at the Dorchester Hotel in London to celebrate the relaunch of the European as a magazine. Fittingly, the downsizing of the paper has been accompanied by a downsizing of the staff, with dozens of jobs going in the past few months as part of a cost-cutting exercise.

The revolving-door theory is very big in business these days because of its ability to accommodate the huge number of employees who have to make their exit at the same time. A revolving door, however, is supposed to turn full circle so it was gratifying that it behaved with due propriety for Ruth Grierson, the in-house public relations person at the European who had been closely involved in the preparatory work for the relaunch.

Early last December, Ms Grierson had a meeting scheduled with MacLaurin Communications, the PR firm for the European supremo, Andrew Neil. Then the axe fell and the appointment was cancelled. A couple of days later, however, she received a call from MacLaurin: could she come in for a few days to do some work for the firm? And the assignment was ... the relaunch of the European.

Which just goes to show that you can take the job away from the person, but you can't take the person away from the job.

IT'S A bit late for Christmas now but here's a wonderful gift idea for your loved ones. It's a solid gilt-edged investment, it's tall and rectangular and would fit in well in any retro-style living-room - and once upon a time it was full of horse dung.

I'm talking rubbish, of course, but where there used to be muck there's now brass. The Corporation of London is selling off 800 cast-iron bins which have done sterling service in the City of London for years and, in the days of horse traffic, were filled with equine excrement by specially assigned "crossing boys" - that being the era of enlightened employment practices and flexible working. It couldn't happen now, of course.

So the bins are full of history, and full of something else, but since the early 1990s they have been redundant. At around the same time as the rock band U2 released "Where the streets have no name", the corporation gave us "Where the streets have no bins"; not only were they potential receptacles for terrorist bombs, they could also be transformed into shrapnel if a bomb went off. And they weren't alone in their desolation; the litter baskets in London railway and tube stations have gone to waste for the same reason.

The absence of bins is something of a bugbear for me. Unless you are one of those altruistic souls who think that road sweepers should be gainfully employed, the terrible price of buying take-out food these days is to stagger around London, your jacket and trousers bulging with sandwich wrapping and other assorted detritus: "Is that an empty polystyrene coffee cup in your pocket, or are you just pleased to see me?" Purchase one of the corporation's bins, however, and you'll not only be the proud owner of a genuine collector's item but you'll be able to carry it with you everywhere you go, providing a handy receptacle for the day's debris.

So get on to the Corporation of London now and turn the wilderness into a waste land. At prices ranging from pounds 75 to pounds 200, this is an offer you can't refuse.

Whole new ball game

FIRST it was fantasy football, now it's fantasy finance - the chance to assemble a dream team of stock investments from any economy in the world.

This opportunity comes courtesy of Reuters Moneyview, the "real-time" financial information service which has been signed up by Manchester United as the football club continues to scout the world for exciting new investment talent. United says it wants to "maintain our position as the market leader in the sector" and that Reuters can help by providing up-to-the-minute details on all regions where the club might want to build up its reserves.

So now we know why United's manager, Alex Ferguson, has been racking up the air miles recently. The recent Champions' League tie (sorry, match between market leaders) against Juventus in Turin? The game was just a cover story; Mr Ferguson had heard Italy was on track to meet the Maastricht convergence criteria. And the quarter-final game against Monaco?United get to visit a tax haven.

It should be an all-star line-up, though: bonds and gilts for a safe pair of hands at the back; a sound defence invested in UK equities; a creative midfield tracking smaller companies; and a cavalier forward line that shoots on sight at the "Tiger" econ-omies. "And they've gone for South Korea," as Alan Hansen might say - "they'll be disappointed with that."

If United fans feel they've been sidelined by all this high finance, let me assure them that it's as easy to sing about investment as it is to get behind your team. Altogether now: "It's by far the greatest portfolio the world has ever seen."

THIS story is true ... the names of the characters have been changed to land the innocent right in it.

As the credits rolled last Thursday night on a typically bloodthirsty and far-fetched episode of Taggart, the sinister denouement involving a lovelorn, drug-crazed woman with superhuman strength was slightly diluted by a surreal voiceover. All events and people were entirely fictional, the very nice man assured us, and a ne'er-do-well character called Max Muscle had no connection whatsoever with the real-life firm of Maxi Muscle - a "reputable supplier of training accessories".

So it was back down to earth with a bump, as it was for the ill-fated Max Muscle who was ne'er to do well again. And the moral of this story - other than the usual moral of Taggart which is never, ever, under any circumstances leave your house - is that however unlikely your plot lines and characters, you'll have to apologise to someone unless you do your research.

So beware of casting characters as "Paul Smith", "Joe Allen", "Joe Bloggs", "Diageo", "Billingsgate Fish Market" or "Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company"; these are entirely reputable organisations and not to be confused with mad axemen.

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave long-running series
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
voices
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Sport
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
athletics
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Arts and Entertainment
Gregory Porter learnt about his father’s voice at his funeral
music
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Life and Style
Children at the Leytonstone branch of the Homeless Children's Aid and Adoption Society tuck into their harvest festival gifts, in October 1936
food + drinkThe harvest festival is back, but forget cans of tuna and packets of instant mash
Sport
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Senior BA - Motor and Home Insurance

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT ROLE**...

Market Risk & Control Manager

Up to £100k or £450p/d: Saxton Leigh: My client is a leading commodities tradi...

SQL Developer - Watford/NW London - £320 - £330 p/d - 6 months

£320 - £330 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...

Head of Audit

To £75,000 + Pension + Benefits + Bonus: Saxton Leigh: My client is looking f...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam