Column One: Ferry man flies in

David Dixon, managing director of the Isle of Man Steam Packet company, looked a little sheepish as he admitted that he had flown to London with Manx Airlines on Friday for the ferry operator's results briefing. 'We just didn't have a suitable service to get us here in time,' he admitted. But he recovered quickly: 'We often have the pleasure of entertaining the chief executive of Manx Airlines on our boats.'

The latest glossy brochures promoting the opening of the Channel tunnel reach us - the only problem is they cannot agree on quite when that will be. Eurotunnel's 'Travelling on Le Shuttle' promises that services will begin 'in the autumn of 1993'. However, its 'Europe with Le Shuttle? The easy way to go]' is not so optimistic, saying services will not start until this winter. Never mind, at least both agree on one thing - with a journey time of one hour from British motorway to French autoroute, Le Shuttle will be a lot quicker than either the ferry or the hovercraft. Provided, that is, you don't turn up a season too early . . .

Sir Peter Gibbings, chairman of Anglia TV, asked if any of the Anglia executive directors were paid as companies (a la Birt):

'No, we never thought of it. I don't think I'd look very good in an Armani suit.'

The humble baked bean is Britain's most popular canned food - 93 per cent of shoppers regularly buy the product, according to a survey by the market analyst Mintel. The survey also showed a widespread belief that canned food is not as good as fresh. Sales of canned food topped pounds 2bn last year, that's pounds 40 for every man, woman and child, but this is down 12 per cent on 1987. Food for thought.

The Institute of Public Relations' City and Financial Group periodically organises visits to organisations so that its members, Perrier-guzzling spin doctors and the like, can find out more effectively how to win friends and influence people. Sadly last week's visit to the London Stock Exchange had to be cancelled 'for understandable reasons', said the institute. But surely the abandonment of Taurus, with up to half a billion pounds in City cash down the pan, would have been just the right opportunity to observe 'crisis PR' in action . . .

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