Pembroke: Oh what a lovely evening

THE OPENING night of the National Youth Theatre's Oh What a Lovely War was not quite what sponsors Price Waterhouse hoped for. Seeking refuge from Northern Ireland matters on Wednesday, John Major turned up only to be heckled by a couple of hippies. 'How many died in the Gulf war?' they shouted. Embarrassed PW partners Ian Durrans and Glyn Barker looked on as the Prime Minister did his best to ignore the rumpus. 'Not to worry. Not to worry,' he said.

Mr Durrans was still unimpressed yesterday: 'They were a right bunch of lefties.'

THERE ARE some nice twists in store next week when former book-selling rivals Tim Waterstone and Terry Maher, erstwhile head of Dillons, publish books. Dillons will cut the price of Mr Maher's Against My Better Judgement from pounds 15 to pounds 11, which is amusing given the dethroned Pentos chief's views on the Net Book Agreement. And the aspiring author has deigned to give just one promotional reading - in Waterstone's.

Mr Waterstone, whose debut novel Lilley and Chase is the first in a three-book deal, sounds as though he can hardly wait for the Maher book battle saga: 'I'm desperately hoping I've been libelled actually.'

'If he doesn't know what I've said about him now, he ought to,' Mr Maher counters.

TO PLANET Hollywood for the launch of 1035AM, the new London country music station. The place was awash with folk wearing stetsons and cowboy boots, quaffing the freely flowing Jack Daniels.

However, the big switch on was a big switch off, with station managing director John Wellington and country singer Garth Brooks engaging in a telephone link that tilted alarmingly close to Smashey and Nicey territory.

''How ya doin', Garth?' 'Just great thanks, John.' 'Now, Garth, would you like to declare the station officially open?' 'Oh man, it's my pleasure.' It was a short step to: 'I love country music, mate, don't you?' 'Not 'arf, great, great mate.' Tune in for more.

DETAILS of a 24-hour insurance hotline reach my desk from Royal Insurance. At 9.30 one evening the hotline received a call from a man who had arrived home to find his wife had left him, taking almost everything.

So what does the man do? He rings the insurance company to see if they can find someone to iron six shirts for him as he had to go on a business trip the next day. Is it any wonder his wife left him?

SCHRODER Ventures has drafted in a new man to help spend its pounds 150m war chest. Martin Dunnett hops over from Hill Samuel to become Schroders' first marketing director. 'A few years ago marketing in this industry used to consist of answering the phone quickly,' says partner Charles Sherwood. 'Things have changed.'

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