Column Eight: Receivers go (down) under

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IF YOU'RE thinking of going bust in the next few days, think again. Anyone who is anyone in the world of insolvency is jetting off to sunny Melbourne, Australia, for the annual Insolv beano, which lasts until Thursday.

Diversions to keep the receivers away from the sun, sand and stubbies include speeches from Christopher Morris, of Touche Ross, who will (hopefully) explain how the firm has run up over pounds 100m of fees on BCCI; Neil Cooper, of Robson Rhodes, the man placed in charge of the Maxwell pension funds; and Peter Phillips, of Buchler Phillips, a former non-executive director of Tottenham Hotspur.

The theme of the conference is 'Saving Businesses'. Keeping these kind of guys out of town for a few days sounds like a good start.

MUCH JOLLITY in the City on Wednesday night as teams from 40 companies competed in a general knowledge Brain Game, raising more than pounds 80,000 for Marie Curie Cancer Care. The team from BT eventually won.

This was rather galling for the gallant side from the Mercury telephone company, BT's arch-rival, who came in a majestic 38th out of 38.

'They were useless at everything,' comments a fellow participant.

FOOD INDUSTRY chiefs are set to meet the Agriculture Secretary, John Gummer, next Friday to discuss ways of cutting Britain's pounds 4.7bn trade deficit in food and drink.

The Strathclyde Food Project, under the chairmanship of Argyll boss Sir Alistair Grant, has set up sub-committees to examine problem areas.

Our tragically waning appetites for home-grown cabbages and brussels sprouts, for example, is being tackled by the delightfully named Vegetables Working Party.