Can Durex stand up down under?

BUNHILL

DUREX is going worldwide. At the moment, if an Italian wants a condom made by London International Group, he will ask his barber for a Hatu. A German will demand a London (though I did once notice another German brand called Baby Stop), and an American will request a Sheik or a Ramses.

Now LIG is trying to push the brand we Brits know and, possibly, love. Henceforth, it will be a Durex Sheik, a Durex Hatu and so on. And eventually, mark my words, the Italians will lose their Hatus entirely.

But what of the poor old Australians - or at least those who live in the south? To them durex (small 'd') is what we call Sellotape (big 's'). An LIG spokeslady tells me it actually owns the Durex brand in Australia, and is determined to spread it right across the country. I predict confusion, or worse.

SIR Richard Rogers, the architect, has commissioned a virtual reality film to convince doubters that his design for Terminal Five at Heathrow will be wizard. My mole has seen it and tells me viewers are whisked along the M4, on which they see two whole cars, before turning off into Heathrow. There, peace reigns - no aircraft noise at all. Heavy on the virtual, hold the reality.

Cheats do prosper

I HAVE never been much of a one for competitions - I am one of three people who never enter the National Lottery. But when a fax landed on my desk giving all the answers to a competition, I decided it might be worth a go.

The idea of the competition is to buy a bottle of Smirnoff vodka, ring a number, take a stab at three questions (most of which involve studying the outside of the bottle), and see if you have won tickets to see Mr Bond in his latest film, Goldeneye.

But if like me you have received a helpful fax, you ring the number, read out the answers and get your tickets, without even having to buy any vodka. This is what we in the trade call cheating, but the man from IDV/ Smirnoff was philosophical. "It happens," he says. "All we can do is change the questions."

My fax had 10 questions and answers on it and I found it distressingly easy to win my tickets (which I am of course giving away). Call me old- fashioned (please!), but I can't understand people who like cheating at competitions. They may get the film tickets, but where's the fun?

IT'S Advent, and Bunhill is inclined to dole out champagne. All you have to do is come up with a carol revamped with a business bent . . . Once in Harvey-Jones's City, that sort of thing.

This one comes from Bunhill Pa. It has nothing to do with business, but then again he's not going to win the fizz either:

Fulminate fulminate,

Orb vivific.

How I ponder your nature

specific.

Loftily poised

In the ether capacious,

Strongly resembling

A gem carbonacious.

Voice of the week

THE editor of The Week, a new news digest, is Jeremy O'Grady. He was on Radio Four's Midweek programme 10 days ago, since when his office's phones have been jammed by people demanding subscriptions. Was this because of his slicing analysis of world events? Nope, it was because ladies of a certain age thought his voice was yummy. Now that's the way to sell papers.

A LETTER lands on my doormat from Thames Water. Pay a pounds 40 sprinkler bill, it says, and we will give you a pounds 10 Sainsbury voucher and a specially designed gardeners' calendar. I ring Thames Water for an explanation. It seems we are supposed to pay the pounds 40 if we have a sprinkler, but we don't because we're dishonest. Hence this wheeze - you give us pounds 40 and we give you a tenner and a calendar.

This leads to two thoughts. First, whoever invents a sprink- ler detection van (with blotting paper sticking out of the roof?) will make a fortune. Second, I announce another Bunhill competition: you send me pounds 40 and I will send you pounds 10 and two calendars signed by my cat. Top that if you dare, Thames.

Mission implausible

WE RECENTLY published a buzz phrase generator. Pick a word from each of three columns of business-speak, and you had your own snappy phrase for use at pretentious occasions. Since then I have been keeping an eye open for real life phrases, and I am delighted to offer three for starters. They are Business Excellence Team, Vendor Integrated Programme and my favourite - Mission Critical Faxing. They are all for real, honest.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
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

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

Ashdown Group: IT Manager / Development Manager - NW London - £58k + 15% bonus

£50000 - £667000 per annum + excellent benefits : Ashdown Group: IT Manager / ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant / Telemarketer - OTE £20,000

£13000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Scotland's leading life insuran...

Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manager - City, London

£40000 - £45000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manag...

Day In a Page

Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...