City Diary

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The Independent Online
POOR DIGBY JONES. The director-general elect of the Confederation of British Industry underwent a baptism of fire at the hands of the press after his appointment last week. Not over his political affiliations, or his views on Europe and the trades unions, nor even that scourge of Centre Point, government red tape.

No, the most hostile questioning concerned his weight. Mr Jones, no Slim Jim it must be said, volunteered the information that he had lost four stones cycling from John 'O Groats to Land's End last year for charity, since when he had put a stone back on. So what do you weigh now?, came the chorus of questioning. Er... 16 stones, replied an honest, if bashful, Mr Jones. A quick mathematical calculation would suggest, therefore, that before he went off cycling around Britain Mr Jones was a hefty 19 stone. A heavyweight contender indeed. Watch out Lennox Lewis.

GET YOUR gunboats off my lawn. Chris Cundy, finance director of the Southampton-based warshipbuilder Vosper Thornycroft, was a busy man last Tuesday but not quite as busy as he might have been considering it was the day of the group's interim results. Because of a gremlin in the system, the Stock Exchange announcement of the figures contained the wrong mobile phone number for Mr Cundy. Analysts and journalists calling him to chat about the figures were greeted by a faintly bemused female voice belonging to one Tacita Dayman, manager of Flight, a Gatwick-based Internet airline reservations system. Ms Dayman took it in good heart, even though most of the calls seemingly came while she was in the bath, only switching her mobile off after the 30th wrong call. Sadly, Mr Cundy's mobile was not the only one that rang the wrong number with the City. Despite an 8 per cent rise in profits, Vosper shares ended the day down 30p at 945p.

STUNG BY the unexpected news-worthiness of a recent worthy working paper on the single currency, the pointy-heads at the Bank of England are pondering what to do with their research on this sensitive topic. After all, if every academic exercise ends up generating more heat than light in the headlines, the Bank will find itself becoming far too exciting and controversial.

The favoured option at the moment is to stop publishing any EMU research.

After all, if the sober Financial Times - for that was the culprit - could portray an assessment of the costs of one detailed aspect of the euro as "Bank says single currency will cost Britain pounds 9bn", what might become of genuinely controversial research? But the catch is that anything that does emerge under a no-publication regime will automatically be billed as "secret" or "suppressed".

So an alternative is gaining ground - do a lot more work on the euro and publish everything so that we all get thoroughly fed up with it.

AND THIS week's prize for most enterprising (and persistent) PR company goes to Redman Jones and Partners in Manchester.

After weeks of knock-backs in their efforts to publicise a Blackpool nightclub, the company came up with a sure fire winner. Last Friday, an unmarked video landed on my desk with an accompanying note: "If after watching this, you'd like further information or the press release again, please give me a call." The nightclub (sorry, Redman) shall remain nameless. But let's just say, the next time you see a bare bottom with a tattoo on each cheek and a man with half a moustache known as Johnny AKA the Demon, you'll know you're in the right place.