Pembroke: Buzby comes back to haunt BT

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The Independent Online
When BT chose the design agency Tutssel St John Lambie-Nairn to work on its 'Get Together' campaign it certainly got the right team. BT may not have known it, but the agency's creative director, David Adams, has inside knowledge of one of the company's best- known campaigns.

Remember Buzby, the annoying yellow birdie that use to hop around on the telephone wires in British Telecom commercials of the early 1980s? Well, David Adams was Buzby. Then 19, he used to prance around in a bright yellow suit, complete with red legs and oversized feet.

'I was desperate for the money at the time,' he recalls. 'I was one of about 20 Buzbys and we had to dance around rather manically at garden fetes.'

Now a very mature member of London's creative community, he seems unabashed about dressing up as a bird in his youth. He is particularly proud of a photograph taken by a nun at a village function and sent to his mother. He maintains BT knew nothing of his Buzby past when they gave his agency the contract.

Standard Chartered is not the only British bank trying to buy back its old headquarters on the Bund, Shanghai's famous pre-war riverside financial district.

Hongkong and Shanghai Bank is also deep in negotiations to regain its even grander offices nearby, though I hear the talks are somewhat tortuous.

The Shanghai municipality would like to restore the Bund, much of which was boarded up during the cultural revolution, as the Wall Street of China, according to Tony Nicolle, head of Standard Chartered in Hong Kong and China.

It's tough being a student in these recessionary times, so you have to admire Seamus Kelly's idea for paying off his overdraft.

Mr Kelly, a 34-year-old former postgraduate law student at City University in London, has chucked in his course to set himself up in the tourist business. His scheme - lifted from America, he admits - is selling chunks of Britain.

His company, Micro Estates International, has bought a tiny corner of a field in Buckinghamshire and is selling little chunks of it, 12 inches square to be precise, for pounds 12 a time. For that the purchaser becomes a landowner with proper title deed.

'Nineteen million tourists come to Britain every year, so I estimate I should be able to sell 20,000,' says Mr Kelly.

He is on the lookout for distribution outlets overseas after hearing that a US company recently sold 100,000 American deeds in China.

Sir John Banham's new book The Anatomy of Change is clearly one to be filed in the 'worthy' section before, no doubt, beating a hasty path to the bargain bins. It has its moments - when the 'controversial' former CBI man proposes to abolish the Treasury and pay maths teachers more than police sergeants.

But it was some of the odd references in the index that caught Pembroke's eye. Sir John lists Florence Nightingale, Gardener's Question Time and underneath Young, Hugo, we find Young, Jimmy, a result of a single sentence reference to conversations on the great man's radio show.

But Sir John seems to be having fun on his promotional tour. He was at ECI Ventures, the venture capital group he chairs, signing copies the other night.

Last week he jetted out to Dubai, where he gave a talk at the Dubai '94 show, wowing them with a talk called 'The art of managing a successful business'.

But Sir John did not top the bill. That honour went to the former Heritage Secretary, David Mellor.

Anyone stuck in a traffic jam on the M3 this morning might wonder why the same National Express coach keeps going up and down with a film crew on board. It is not a Jeremy Beadle wind- up but part of the Lloyds Bank film challenge, a competition for young film-makers whose efforts will be screened on Channel 4 in May.

Unforgettable, billed as a surreal drama, is made by two 14-year-old Scottish girls, Rachel Graves and Margaret Wilson. They are doing a Hitchcock and taking a bit part in their own movie.

(Photograph omitted)

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