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A shaw thing

Sam Shaw is a reporter on Money Marketing
After a very late arrival at Andrew Edmunds on Wednesday, I grabbed the tail-end of a rather interesting conversation led by Elliot Lane, head of media relations at the Chartered Insurance Institute, over lunch about Amy Winehouse and company expenses.

The lunch was great and a sober affair as I opted for several glasses of water and a peppermint tea. Yes, I really did.

Money Marketing news editor Paul McMillan and myself heard all about the very charming PFS chief exec Tim Eadon’s plans for world domination, oh, all right, it was about improving professional standards across the industry), our shared penchant for choosing the vegetarian option at industry dinners and, obviously, our three favourite letters – RDR.

Sadly, I had to pass on Resolution’s infamously drunken Burns Supper, but am eagerly awaiting any tales, so fire away.

My eight-day dry spell ended with a glass of Sauvignon or three with Skandia UK chief exec Brett Williams, where we once again put the world to rights and I think I finally understood a little bit more about life office persistency rates. Or lack thereof.

Morrissey tickets missed out on: two.

Belated birthday wishes: a handful. But then you can only celebrate being 21 so many times so I didn’t really advertise the fact.

Annie Shaw is a freelance financial journalist
To the Albert Hall to see the latest Cirque du Soleil performance in the company of the urbane Richard Janes and charming Michelle Barry from HBOS. Watching all those acrobatics and contortions was quite exhausting. On Tuesday, I had a bright and early start for the long trip to Chatham for the Kent Reliance Building Society AGM.

The event was held at the historic dockyard in the rather grand Commissioner’s House, said to be the oldest surviving naval building in the country.

The meeting itself took place in an adjoining marquee, which the venue uses to house wedding receptions. Unfortunately, the festoons of white chiffon adorning the roof, which made the environs delightfully light and airy, had the effect of making the PowerPoint presentation invisible.

The Kent has prided itself on becoming a truly national, if not international, society. It has closed most of its branches, preferring to do transactions on the phone and by post, and moved its back office to Bangalore but chairman Malcolm Mackenzie revealed the society’s parochial roots when he had to correct a comment about the society’s sole branch at Hempstead in Kent after mistakenly referring to it as “Hemel Hempstead” – adding “wherever that might be”. If there were any Hertfordshire members in the audience who took umbrage, they did not identify themselves.

Number of jobs in PR offered this week: one (declined).

Esther Shaw is a freelance financial journalist
First to Dominic “Polecat” Hiatt, who has seized the new year as the perfect opportunity to rebrand the seemingly innocuously named Glowbe PR as the rather more, shall we say, exotic, Rhizome PR.

While Hiatt promises that the new name has “a bit more personality”, Wikipedia reliably informs me that a rhizome is the “horizontal stem of a plant that is usually found underground, often sending out roots and shoots from its nodes”.

At the same time, Carl Jung philosophises that “life has always seemed to me like a plant that lives on its rhizome” so perhaps there is a deeper side to young Dominic after all.

While Dominic has been busy getting to grips with his strawberries, Andrew Montlake from his mortgage-loving client Cobalt Capital has been grappling with his grains.

In an email to promote his blog The Full Monty, he pledges to offer honest comment on anything I think may be interesting, yet trawl through his comments and you will chance upon an entry that reads: “A nationally renowned freelance journalist has asked me to mention today I have just been eating homemade granola. Unfortunately, it has been sticking in my throat and making press comments more difficult.” It is certainly honest.

Games of netball played by BestInvest’s PR man Mark Houlding from Rostrum Communications: several (in the misguided belief that it would be a good way to meet girls).

Any Out of Contexts or Diary stories? Send them to Diary editor Nicola York at nicola.york@ telephone: 020 7943 8042


Land Registry figures show house price drop of 0.4 per cent in December

Land Registry figures have shown that house prices in England and Wales dropped by 0.4 per cent in December, the first fall for England and Wales since August 2005.The average price of a house is now £184,469.The Land Registry says that this month’s data provides evidence of a ‘downward trend’ in house prices. It says: […]

A kind of magic

I generally enjoy reading Nic Cicutti’s column and his recent article featuring me (Money Marketing, January 17) was no exception, perhaps because I was on a Barbados beach at the time and read it on my Blackberry.

Federal express

Turmoil in the markets, the Fed catching us all out, Mervyn King warning of tough times ahead – not to mention the annual Davos Fest – it felt as though a whole quarter had been crammed into a single week.


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