Pembroke: Burnside blossoms out

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The Independent Online
David Burnside, the former British Airways PR chief who left the airline in February, is back in action.

Having set up his own consultancy, David Burnside Associates, in March, he is now acting for an outfit called Flying Flowers, which is seeking a stock market listing.

Based in Jersey, Flying Flowers is a kind of airborne Interflora, whose wheeze is to send flowers by post in shrink- wrapped polystyrene cases. The company says this allows a dozen carnations to be sent for a cheap and cheerful pounds 8.99.

Flying Flowers' chairman is Walter Goldsmith, a former director-general of the Institute of Directors, where Mr Burnside used to work in the early 1980s.

With the inevitability of an advancing ice age, Jurassic Park jargon has reached the City. A circular from the broker NatWest Securities recommends that shares in Pentos, the Rymans stationers and Dillons bookshops group, should be sold. 'Pentosaurus', it calls the group, evoking some kind of corporate dinosaur. 'Pentos appears to be clinging to the methods and formats of the 1980s,' it says.

Terry Maher, chairman of Pentos, rejects NatWest's essay in suitably literary terms: 'They have tried to create a story to justify the title and failed.'

Last week animal activists disrupted Boots' annual meeting; at yesterday's Thames Water meeting Sir Christopher Lever, chairman, found an animal being cited as an authoritative judge of his company's product.

One shareholder said the water Thames supplied in Hackney was so unpleasant that when he put down two bowls for his dog, one filled with tap water and the other with rain, the mutt went for the rainwater every time. Sir Christopher could only bite his tongue and sip on Thames's finest.

By the November Budget Kenneth Clarke will have received 15,000 postcards from small retailers and corner shops. Their message: no more tax on fags.

The Tobacco Alliance says high taxes on cigarettes are putting small shops out of business and encouraging smuggling and other dodgy behaviour. 'We've heard about people selling Marlboros in pubs, car boot sales and nightclubs,' says a spokesman.

Mark Homan, of Price Waterhouse, one of the joint administrators of Maxwell Communications Corporation, is fuming about Frank Field's social security committee's criticism of high fees and allegedly poor performance, or more specifically, the media's treatment of it. 'I spoke to six journalists and not one of them used a single word I said,' he complains. 'As far as I'm concerned, the media in this country is as corrupt as Robert Maxwell ever was.'