Pembroke: Love's labours lost on Mr Blobby's PR man

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The Independent Online
BRIAN MACLAURIN, the PR man whose more sensible clients include Chrysalis Group and Mobil Oil, is not a happy chappy at the moment. Problem one: he was roped in to do the PR for the cult hit 'Mr Blobby', which involves answering banal questions on Mr Blobby's favourite restaurant and the like. Problem two: he finds the alleged romance between one of his staffers, Sophie Rhys-Jones, and Prince Edward splashed all over the papers. 'I've got reporters stacked 20 deep on the pavement outside my office.'

Mr Maclaurin says he prefers to keep himself out of the news. But hang on a minute. This guy is in PR. Having one of your clients and the name of your company all over the front pages is the kind of Christmas gift most PRs would trade their mobile phones for.

SO FAREWELL then Kevin Gardiner, the former senior UK economist at SG Warburg who is switching horses to join Morgan Stanley in the new year. Mr Gardiner, currently at home watching telly and peeling sprouts, will be broadening his focus to include pan-European economies. No skeletons in the Gardiner cupboard, it seems. 'He's a nice bloke,' says a Warburg colleague limply.

THE NATION's 42 cathedrals, ship- shape and Bristol-fashion when it comes to the religion business, are not so on the ball in accounting. Worried by lack of conformity in the compilation of cathedral accounts, the Archbishops Commission has called in the Institute of Chartered Accountants to sort things out.

'When one of your assets is a 500- year-old cathedral, the method of accounting for it is quite complex,' said Ken Wild, chairman of the Financial Reporting Committee.

The suits expect it will take up to a year to get to the bottom of cathedral management structures, bulk candle purchases and cassock dry-cleaning bills. 'In the church world, a year is quite a short time,' said Mr Wild.

TAKE A GUESS at which is the most profitable bank in the world. Dai-ichi Kangyo, perhaps? Deutsche Bank, maybe? Wrong. The answer is Banco Popular Espanol, which has come out on top for the third year running, according to the credit rating agency IBCA.

In the survey of the world's largest banks, size seemed to be in reverse proportion to profitability. Seven of the most profitable banks came from the smallest 100 covered in the analysis survey.

British banks experienced varying fortunes. Bank of Scotland plummeted to 128th place - it ranked second in 1981 - and HSBC, which took over Midland last year, sprang up from 270th two years ago to 16th this time.

Why are some people more organised than others? Bigger Filofax? Swanky new Psion Organiser for Christmas? Not necessarily. They probably just get up earlier.

According to a survey by Cosmopolitan on how women organise their lives, Baroness Detta O'Cathain, managing director of the Barbican Centre, gets up at 5.30 every morning and spends half an hour going through her diary. Then she goes for a swim and does her strategic planning in mid- stroke.

Claire Holder, chair of the Notting Hill Carnival, gets up even earlier at 5am. 'It gives me five uninterrupted hours before the public start coming in,' she says.

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CONTROVERSY surrounds the reaction of Vinnie Jones, the tough- tackling Wimbledon footballer, to the latest adverts for Mortal Kombat, a rather popular video game. Some reports have suggested that Jones was going to sue the agency that ran a Christmas version of the ads featuring him wearing a Santa Claus hat. A slur on his hard- man image, perhaps.

Baloney, says John Carver, creative director of the Leisure Process, the agency responsible for the hit campaign. All that happened, he claims, is that Jones was caught by surprise when he passed one of the billboards near Putney Bridge in London on his way to training. 'He nearly ran into the back of a lorry,' said Mr Carver. This is probably what tackling Vinnie Jones is like.

WHO SAID THE Inland Revenue doesn't have a sense of humour? This year's Christmas card from those people everyone loves to hate has been made to look like one of its terribly exciting leaflets, under the title: 'Going to Work for Santa: conditions for getting an elves' (sic) tax certificate'. I wonder if they sent one to John Birt at the BBC.