CITY DIARY

Definitely not sexy. A Volvo, that is. Normally associated with 2.4 kids and a dog in the back, it is not necessarily the first choice for those who are more sportif than en famille.

So when the Harley-Davidson-riding president of Volvo, Per-erie Mohiln, wants to ease a few sportifs behind the wheel, the car maker decides to do a spot of research to see if there are any real people out there who have what Volvo call 'action hobbies' and who want to drive a Volvo. Sure enough, Volvo can actually produce evidence of sportifs who have neither 2.4 kids nor a dog, but do sail, row, play squash and sail, as well as drive a Volvo.

The research also indicates that those with an action hobby are more likely to get a job. The car can be customised to accommodate your sport. The job, however, is not guaranteed.

The demise of the UK arm of loss adjusters Toplis & Harding will be a surprise to most, even with the cut-throat competition strangling the market at the moment. The decision by reinsurer London & Edinburgh to remove a chunk of its business - around 3,500 cases - did not help. But the nail in the coffin came from the departure of one of its key people - Colin Bowes, regional director of the North West, has resigned to go to arch-rival loss adjuster McLarens.

Taking your clothes off is an extreme way to promote a new bank account. But this is exactly what Abbey National has persuaded some to do this Sunday to raise money for NCH Action for Children. The appropriately entitled 'fabric-free' fashion show will see volunteer models sporting little else but a bunch of fantastic plastic in designs charting the history of money through the ages, from Stonehenge to space age. Designed by students, the collection is made up entirely from Abbey's Multifunction Card - a card which acts as debit card, cheque guarantee card and cash. The bank says the event furthers its current campaign - "Wake up to fresher banking". Haute cardure of a different kind.

Remember the aggressive knocking copy tactics of Saatchi & Saatchi's "Labour isn't working" poster for the Conservative Party 1979 election campaign? The sad-faced, long-snaking queue of the obviously unemployed had a huge impact as it dissolved the boundaries traditionally drawn between politics, advertising, PR and showbiz. Those sad faces belonged not to dole queue regulars but to volunteers from the Hendon Young Conservatives.

Ostrich meat means big money these days, encouraging more people to go into the lucrative market of farming the bird as well as joining ostrich syndicates - where you can be an investor in bird-farming.

Unsurprisingly, the industry is not yet regulated by the Securities and Investment Board, but the SIB says it has received four or five requests to investigate possible wrongdoing in the industry. SIB has pulled its head out of the sand and says it is now investigating the big-bird market. Lloyd's of London has also cottoned on to the bird-boom snapping up a tasty slice of business. It has just written a $3m slip for coverage of an ostrich farm in Israel.

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