Column Eight: Maserati makes a proud exit

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Life in the fast lane is not all glamour. Maserati, the Italian sports car maker, has pulled out of this October's Birmingham International Motor Show in protest at being shoved in with the vans and accessories. Skoda, meanwhile, gets a prime slot alongside Jaguar, Ferrari and Porsche. 'Senior executives decided it was not acceptable,' said a Maserati spokesman sniffily. A spokesman for the show's organisers explained that the National Exhibition Centre specifically requested that exotic marques be mixed with more mundane exhibits. 'Otherwise it causes quite dangerous crowding,' he added.

AViking-style raid sees James Capel's Scandinavian research team wiped out. Its only two Nordic analysts have been plundered by Kleinwort Benson Securities. Joining the Kleinwort long boat are Peter Lawrence and Christian Diebitsch.

Richard Hannah, the other P&D analyst upon whom Terry Smith leaned heavily when compiling his controversial tome, has kept a low profile as the writs fly. Close examination of Accounting for Growth, however, throws up a couple of honourable mentions for Eurotunnel. This will come as scant surprise at its Victoria Plaza HQ, where Mr Hannah has long since acquired notoriety for his less than flattering notes about the channel tunnellers.

Murder most foul (of the English language) down at Lime Street where a Lloyd's insurance broker is advertising for a personal assistant. Apart from the usual shorthand, audio and word processor skills, the successful applicant must also be 'numerical'. But not, presumably, literal.

Stanley Kalms, chairman of the electrical goods chain Dixons, magnanimously waived his entitlement to an extra pounds 45,000 in performance-linked pay last year. And his resulting salary? A paltry pounds 563,000.

Wary of rave? Less than ecstatic about New Age Travellers? Then drop in at the Heineken Music Big Top in Brighton this August Bank Holiday weekend. The brewers are promoting their free live music festival as a refreshing antidote to the spontaneous and less salubrious variety favoured by some. Indeed, the PR blurb promises a 'picnic in the park atmosphere aimed at family audiences from toddlers to grannies'. Mind you, with acts such as the Gutter Brothers scheduled to appear, one can never be too sure.