CITY DIARY

Hot on the heels of a politically incorrect Virgin Vodka drinkathon, where party-goers were urged to drink up in the aid of "morning-after" research, comes the launch of Energy. The non-alcoholic drink is chasing a large measure of the energy drink market. It contains caffeine for a kick and ginseng, a quoted aphrodisiac. Virgin claim Energy will keep you up all night and plans to use the biggest interactive advertisement to promote it- a 30ft mobile bed.

Tennis fanatic and asset manager Richard Lehman, previously investment director of Threadneedle Investment Managers, is happy to be back in a more specialist market as he takes up the job of associate director of Royal Insurance Asset Management. Lehman will be responsible for the management of the pounds 4.5bn UK Equity assets at Royal. With over 25 years in the business, Lehman is well qualified to handle his other job - treasurer for his local tennis club in Billericay.

Michael Heseltine, President of the Board of Trade, likes to keep things to himself until the very last moment. He is known as a stickler for keeping tabs on any information emanating from the portals of the Department of Trade and Industry until such time as he presents it to the House.

Any journalist attending individual briefings for yesterday's White Paper on competitiveness: Forging Ahead had to make do with firing questions on a paper they had not been allowed to read, while the president took delight in waving it around as he gave his answers. Not so much of a briefing as a one way street.

Drop your trousers. This is something that Sketchley, the dry cleaning to SupaSnaps chain, would like you to do.

The new slogan, aimed at encouraging more people to use the dry cleaners is part of the group's spring clean. The new broom on the board, chief executive John Jackson, is on a mission to remove all trace of the "grudge purchase" in the dry cleaning experience.

Strong on innovation, Jackson, the fizz behind the launch of Virgin Cola, would rather that you view your dry cleaning shop as a walk-in wardrobe.

To improve the chances of such a strategy becoming reality the odour of grapefruit and grass is set to replace the chemical cocktail of the cleaning process. A collection and delivery service is also being introduced - suitably called Fetchley and Sketchley. All this and background music. Don't all rush at once.

The final Firkin. After an amazing response to find some suitable F- adjuncts for new pubs in the Firkin chain it is time to draw a line under Firkin f-adjuncts. All entries have been dispatched to pub owners, Allied Domecq.

A late, but nevertheless voluminous entry, came from the Government Office for the East Midlands, which suggests that GO-EM, as it is known, is not exactly all go at the moment. Their suggestions include Fuselage & Firkin, for that airport ale house, and Formica and Firkin, for any pub decorated with retro 1960s kitsch.

Other late entries include the Fingerprint & Firkin for Baker Street. Firkin successes will be announced by the end of the week.

Merger mania may have struck the world of the building societies but there are those with other things on their mind.

The Norwich & Peterborough Building Society, which sponsors Norwich City football club, is not taking the teams' demotion to Division One lying down.

A spokesman for the society viewed the demotion in quite another light, viz: "Norwich City FC is planning a very short, one season sojourn in the Endsleigh League Division one, before bouncing back up to its rightful position in the Premier League."

Very loyal of the Norwich & Peterborough to take this line. Good job they feel optimistic, after all they still have another year of sponsorship of the team to run.

"In the past they have been very successful," said the spokesman, "but they seem to be going through a bit of a hiccup."

Nice to hear that Graham Hearne, chairman of Enterprise Oil, who was once quoted as saying that oil was a big boys' game, is back on form after the mauling he received at the hands of Lasmo. During recent beauty parades with investment bankers keen to offer their services, he has opened the interview with the remark, "You do realise, don't you, that we managed to destroy the last merchant bank who acted for us". Hearne is of course referring to SG Warburg, whose apparently incompetent handling of Enterprise's bid for Lasmo was identified by many as the first clear sign of the rot.

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