Column Eight: Excellent bleeping advice

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Verbal vitriol is often poured upon mobile telephone users in restaurants and at concerts, and on 'mobile strollers' who, deep in conversation, stride down the road oblivious to collisions.

The Federation of Communication Services, representative body of the mobile telephone industry, has just published an Etiquette Code to address 'examples of unsociable behaviour'. 'A bleeping phone going off during a vital moment in the theatre or concert can seriously endanger your safety,' it warns.

Most of its practical advice can be boiled down to one directive: switch the darned things off.

The federation's next publication should be restaurant reviews similar to those found in a Hong Kong magazine, where one telephone symbol means you'd be unlucky to encounter fellow-diners intent on making transatlantic calls. Five little symbols, and you should assume that the clientele won't have read the Etiquette Code and avoid the place altogether.

Meanwhile, one caller to Cellnet this week heard champagne corks popping in the background but decided she was wrong. What could they possibly be celebrating?

After all, its arch-rival Vodafone has just launched a low-cost service to compete head-on with Cellnet's own system. Touchingly, however, Cellnet - which has always lagged behind the zappier Vodafone in terms of customers and image - was cock-a- hoop that its rival felt the need to follow its lead.

Once a black mark is scored against your name down at Foreign & Colonial Investment Trust, it could be there for good. Witness the treatment of the late Robert Maxwell who was blackballed by the company following the sale of Pergamon to Leasco in 1969. F&C has made a point of having no dealings with Maxwell companies since.

Eric Elstob, an F&C director, is studiedly oblique. (He had first-hand dealings with Maxwell when he served on the institutional committee that did the Pergamon deal post mortem.)

'If somebody cheats on their Latin grammar test when they are 11, I think they'll probably cheat on the balance sheet when they are 50,' he says crisply.

Mind you, Michael Hart, the investment trust's manager, admits shamefacedly to underwriting last year's Mirror Group flotation. Mr Elstob was on holiday at the time . . .

Finally, we understand there is absolutely no truth in the rumour that Bimec, whose shares collapsed yesterday from 19p to 3p, is changing its name to Sellmec.