Pembroke: Chained to a good cause

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The Independent Online
REMEMBER chain letters, that dismal pre-teen phenomenon where you got a letter, sent it to five 'friends', or else suffered bad luck? Well they have made a rather depressing return. Pembroke has recently received two, both signed by people you would not expect to have time for such trivia.

One, which originated in the Netherlands, comes to us with signed letters from a superstitious group that includes David Jones of Next, Ken Morrison of Wm Morrison supermarkets and Len Wright, managing director of fashion company Katherine Hamnett.

The other at least has a charitable aspect. Welsh Water is helping the Great Ormond Street children's hospital appeal with a chain letter asking each recipient to send a cheque for pounds 2 to the hospital and then despatch the letter to five fresh victims. What next, a sponsored kiss chase?

CATCHING the breeze in Cowes this week is a yacht with the rather un-maritime moniker Nicorette. The boat - a kind of 72ft overgrown surfboard - is sponsored by the makers of the rather nasty stop-smoking gum and patches that gradually release nicotine into the bloodstream to counter withdrawal symptoms.

The crew are, not surprisingly, non-smokers, and are unlikely ever to be tempted if they peruse the company's leaflet entitled 'What you should know about Nicorette'. It states that Nicorette may rarely 'cause mild unwanted effects such as strong bitter taste, sore throat, hiccups, headache, nausea, or indigestion. These are usually due to incorrect chewing technique. However, if palpitations, chest pain, leg pain, or severe indigestion occur the gum should be stopped and a doctor consulted.' Yuk.

MIKE ATHERTON, baby-faced new captain of the England cricket team, has probably got enough on his youthful shoulders trying to turn round our excuse for a national side. Now he is being told that John Major's future depends on his performance.

According to the clearly overworked accountants Coopers & Lybrand, which compile the players' test averages, Mike Atherton's test rating foreshadows the prime minister's personal rating by a few months. This follows the revelation two years ago that the UK economy mirrors the performance of the England cricket team, but with an 18- month time-lag. If this is so, we will all be in deep trouble come Christmas 1994.

But Atherton can be grateful for one small mercy. At least Major's rating follows his rather than the other way round. Otherwise he might just as well resign now.

GIRLIE calendars are out. Wildlife calendars are in. This is the steamy news from Bemrose, the gift company and business calendar publisher. The company reports that while sales of 'green' wildlife calendars have soared, and those featuring added right-on 'charity messages' have done particularly well, sales of 'femme fatale' calendars, featuring scantily clad dusky maidens, have slumped by over 20 per cent in the past two years.

But do not bang the politically correct drum too loudly. A Bemrose spokesman adds: 'It's the more explicit calendars that have suffered. Sales of the more tasteful ones (ie where the model has got her kit on) are actually increasing.'