No trains please, we're keeping to the track
Saturday 23 March 1996
Richard Branson secretly smokes. We can exclusively reveal that a couple of weeks ago the Virgin boss cadged ciggies off journalists at an evening reception to launch Virgin Direct, the personal finance arm of Branson's ever-spreading empire.
Altogether four Silk Cut were "borrowed" off one journalist. The bearded entrepreneur made sure no photos were taken of him puffing, presumably to maintain his spotless image. It will be interesting to see what rates he sets for smokers with his new life assurance product.
"Burgered." Thats the state of the UK beef producing sector according to a note from James Capel yesterday. HSBC suffered a similar outbreak of punitis with "more than a flash in the pan" and "high steaks." Elsewhere in London over 1,300 "pan fried fillets of beef topped with celeriac and served in a red wine sauce" were unceremoniously binned at 2.30 in the afternoon.
Organisers of the Finance & Leasing Association annual dinner at the swish Grosvenor House Hotel replaced them with chicken at the last minute, "because we thought people might be concerned".
Eddie George, Governor of the Bank of Engalnd, stunned the guests by cracking a funny joke: "There are three kinds of economist: those who can count and those who can't." Meanwhile the macho traders at Nikko Europe laughed in the face of death last night by decamping en masse to a burger bar. Where will it all end?
United Newspapers, which owns the Express titles, recently completed an efficiency survey which suggested that the journalists needed a dress code. The slovenly hacks should henceforward be clad in suits for men and pale blouses, dark skirts and tights for women. "Very square," said our in-house expert.
Asda cleaned up on Valentine's Day last year by flogging its own- brand washing up liquid, "Passion Fruit", which bore the charming inscription: "Here's your bottle of bubbly with love". This wheeze stole brand leadership from Fairy liquid for a week in Asda stores, according to the company yesterday, as it revealed distinctly unbubbly interims.
The chain also came up with a Christmas version called "Winter Spice" - which was aimed at wives to buy for their husbands - an idea said to have come from Archie Norman, Asda's chief executive.
Cameron's freebie to apartheid South Africa
Royal Marine Sgt Alexander Blackman jailed for life for the murder of Afghan insurgent
Ja Rule forced to deny leaving wife for prison cell mate
Nelson Mandela: 11 inspirational quotes to live your life by
Crash pilot who threatened Ukip leader Nigel Farage found dead
- 1 Cameron's freebie to apartheid South Africa
- 2 Is this the scariest advert ever? Japanese tyre commercial comes with its own disclaimer and health warning
- 3 Sherlock series 3: Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman provide teasers for the biggest comeback in British television
- 4 A forgotten episode in Russian history leaves links with the Philippines
- 5 People will try to reduce Mandela to a lilting reggae tune about ‘love’. They will fail
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