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Pembroke: Trademarkers to be branded by the sun

Iam heartened to hear that the European Commission is to locate its new trademark office in Spain. After all, if Europe must have a lumbering bureaucracy, why should all of it be based in boring old Brussels and Strasbourg?

But where exactly in Spain have our beloved Eurocrats chosen for their office? Not Barcelona, Madrid or any big commercial centre, but Alicante, a bucket-and-spade resort just a few miles south of Benidorm on the Costa Blanca. Surely the prospect of a bit of sunshine and a lunchtime swim did not sway the decision. Or is that the sound of Ray-Bans being packed and sun factor six being applied that I can hear?

Air stewardesses on British Midland flights might need to brush up on their customer service training if a recent incident is anything to go by. A colleague was slumming it in economy on an pounds 88 ticket from London to Brussels the other day when he met a friend who had shelled out the full pounds 196 for the first-class treatment. When they chose to sit together in economy, the stewardess refused the first-class passenger the top-notch breakfast, saying she would have to scoff the economy nosh instead.

'Don't worry,' she said. 'The breakfast in economy is much nicer anyway.' Given that the breakfast is supposed to be one of the perks of first class, this doesn't seem quite the right thing to say.

More on matters European. I see that Paul Eddington, the distingushed thespian famous for The Good Life and Yes Minister, is throwing himself into the hurly-burly of the commercial world with a Video Arts-type venture. Together with Bill Poeton, an old chum he met 40 years ago at the Old Vic in Bristol, Mr Eddington has set up a jointly owned company to flog a business video entitled The Post-Maastricht Insider's Guide to Europe.

The video nasty stars Mr Eddington and costs the princely sum of pounds 350, or pounds 90 a day to hire. The pair have big plans that could see Mr Eddington succeed John Cleese as the celebrity of the business video market. They have already scheduled a series of 12 videos on corporate governance and more are planned. 'We have sold over 200 of our first European video and hope to sell 1,000 or so of this one,' says Mr Poeton.

Newell and Sorrell, the London graphic designers led by the designer-bearded John Sorrell, has pulled off another coup. Every six weeks or so it hosts a celebrity talk at its offices, and past speakers have included Sir Bernard Ingham and Doris Lessing, the novelist. Next month Brian Keenan, who spent more than four years as a hostage in Beirut, will be speaking about his experiences and his book An Evil Cradling.

When Brian Lara, the impish West Indian batsman, was tonking the England attack around the ground on his way to his record-breaking triple century earlier this week, one Englishman was feeling very pleased with himself.

Max Rosen, managing director of Securitised Endowment Contracts had stumped up (sorry) pounds 50,000 prize money for the first batsman to score over 200 as well as pounds 50,000 for the first bowler to bag 10 wickets in an innings (step forward Curtly Ambrose). The reason the astute financier was feeling pleased was that he had taken out insurance.

'We had paid a pounds 5,000 premium against each prize, so I really wanted someone to win it,' says Mr Rosen, who hopes to offer the same prize again this summer when England's circus troupe takes on South Africa and New Zealand. 'We are a bit worried that after this one, the insurance company might put the premium up,' he says.

(Photograph omitted)