City Diary: NatWest feels the risks of bricks and mortar

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The Independent Online
Problems for NatWest after some scaffolding fell off one of its buildings in central London yesterday, causing some astonishment though no injury to passers-by. The office block in question is in St James Square and used to house a NatWest branch. It is now being refurbished and developed into new office buildings which the bank hopes to let out. The work took a setback yesterday when three tiers of scaffolding collapsed into the road bringing with it a large quantity of rubble.

One of the construction team was taken to hospital (cut hand) and a passing vehicle was damaged (wing mirror). "We are just relieved it was nothing more serious," a NatWest spokesman said.

Laurence Isaacson, the frustrated thespian who runs the Chez Gerard restaurant group, will be in his element tonight at the company's 10th anniversary celebrations. The RADA reject is staging a production of Dames at Sea, a spoof of a 1930s tap dance musical, at the Ambassador's Theatre. Stars of the show will be Peter Duncan, the former Blue Peter presenter, and Sarah Crow, the blonde one in the Philadelphia cheese advert. Both can sing, Mr Isaacson says. After that it's all back to the Opera Terrace bar and restaurant in Covent Garden for champagne and canapes. "Having failed to get into RADA the next best thing is trying to put on a show," Mr Isaacson reckons.

The Co-Operative Retail Society, the reliably old-fashioned provider of funeral arrangements and supermarkets, has caught the design bug and got itself a new logo, pictured below. Quite an expensive one too, if its chosen designer is anything to go by. It is none other than Wolff Olins, the outfit that has dreamt up whizzy new identities for BT and Orange, among others. CRS chief executive Harry Moore seems so taken by the image that he has tilted headlong into designspeak. "The real value of the new identity is centred on the transformation of the word 'co-operative' from a passive noun to an active adjective." What is he on about?

Andrew Fowler, the food retail analyst at UBS who crocked his knee playing footie several weeks ago, is struggling to regain his fitness in time for Euro '96. The boy Fowler (no relation to Robbie) has been hobbling around on crutches after a tricky post-Tesco-results fixture in April. The UBS five-a-side team has had to draft in a replacement goalkeeper though Fowler's cat-like reflexes are sorely missed. "He's left a big hole at the back," a teammate says.

The Solihull farmer who turned his cows into mobile advertising hoardings after the BSE scare made them impossible to sell has enjoyed a welcome boost to revenue streams. One of the cows delivered a calf last night almost as soon as the prying eyes of the cameras had departed. The proud mother was sponsored by Ben & Jerry's, the ice cream maker. The men from Ben & Jerry's missed the happy event, having de-camped to a nearby hostelry after several hours trying to pin their adverts to the bovine billboards. The company has not yet decided if it will advertise on the calf. It's too small, apparently.

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