Pembroke: A sticky situation on the Victoria Line

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The Independent Online
REGULAR passengers on London Underground's Victoria Line should get used to some strange sights this week. Be-cloaked women bearing baskets of ice cream have been seen swooping on carriages and offering bemused commuters free tubs of the stuff.

The wheeze is part of a promotion by Wall's Ice Cream to push Ranieri, its new upmarket ice cream. It is the first time the Underground has rented out a train for promotional use. Wall's has taken over all advertising space and covered the doors and windows with stickers.

Things have not gone as swimmingly as planned. It gets pretty warm on the Tube and the girls have been rushing off the train desperate to get the melting tubs into the nearest convenient fridge.

TIMING is not Eurotunnel's strong point. Not content with opening the Channel tunnel so late as to miss all the summer traffic, it even contrives to mess up the rare occasions it has some good news.

Yesterday's announcement of the settlement of its dispute with TML (see page 27) unfortunately fell on Eurotunnel's first day in a new office. Freshly installed in St John's Street near the Embankment, Eurotunnel staff were trying to communicate with the outside world with no fax and with telephones still in the process of being rigged up.

IT IS A scenario Mark McCormack might have included in What They Don't Teach You at Harvard Business School: How not to market a magazine overseas. The embarrassment for Boston's elite institution is that the journal in question is the Harvard Business Review.

In the United States the review sells on news stands at dollars 13.50. Not cheap but it is a heavyweight, lavishly produced tome. But in Blighty the Review has sent out a circular offering potential subscribers one free issue if they take out a subscription for a further five. The choker is the price; a rather uncompetitive dollars 145, which works out at dollars 24 an issue.

'It's the cost of the postage,' bleats a Harvard spokesperson. 'We don't want to cut down on quality by using lighter paper because we tried that before and it looked horrible.' Harvard denied it was cheaper to get an American friend to pop a copy in the mail.

EMAP finally gave up a losing battle in financial publishing yesterday when it closed Money Week, its weekly magazine aimed at financial advisers. The closure of the loss-making title marks the end of a seven-year struggle against the big two in the market, Financial Adviser, owned by the Financial Times, and Money Marketing, part of the Centaur group.

But Emap was trying to put a gloss on the closure yesterday, announcing that it would be launching a riveting newsletter called Health Insurance Monitor.

DOWN on the farm there are some interesting crops appearing, most notably cannabis. According to the May issue of Country Living magazine, cannabis is the hip crop of the moment, with British farmers planting up to 1,000 hectares this year to exploit the crop's legal uses.

Cannabis, otherwise known as hemp, is grown under licence from the drug enforcement section of the Home Office. Crops are regularly inspected by the boys in blue, although the industrial strain has a minimal drug component.

This doesn't seem to prevent some thieves out for a quick rural spliff. One farmer who grew 20 acres in Hitchin had a chunk of his crop nicked in the middle of the night. 'I reported it to the police and it looks like the Home Office won't be granting me a licence to grow it this year,' he grumbled.

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DON'T talk to the Plumb Center about hemp. The plumbing and heaters merchant, based in Yorkshire, was very pleased last week when it landed an order from a theatrical scenery company for 25 hanks of hemp. The agency wanted to stick the shaggy material on models of Highland cattle. Unfortunately Plumb Center's announcement of its unusual order came so close to April Fools' day that no one believed it.