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A Shaw thing

Sam Shaw is a reporter on Money Marketing

Now firmly back in the loop after a couple of weeks away, having cleared the 1,086 emails from my inbox (most of which were pointless, of course) and got my head around what has been going on, I was treated to dinner at the rather salubrious Shanghai Blues in Holborn to celebrate the Chinese New Year courtesy of Fidelity.

My hosts, David Dalton-Brown, Richard Miles and Alison Boyle, were charming as ever although I somehow found myself committing to head of IFA distribution Peter Hicks’ suggestion that I join their fund-raising Crisis Square Mile Run in June.

Hicks once again pointed out he has far better taste in shoes than I do (or a more generous salary), sporting his Prada loafers while lovely PR Sam “Cupid” Slator’s eyes lit up once again as she saw yet another potential match-making opportunity, noting my still-single status.

This was followed by my entering the enemy camp (well, a dinner celebrating Arsenal so it is as near as, given the current footie rankings) courtesy of edeus. As I masqueraded as a mortgage journalist enjoying many a glass of Sancerre with Alan Cleary, John Malone and other key industry figures, including a very welcome gatecrash to our party by Kevin Duffy, the klepto-side in a few people came out, with my oversized handbag seemingly used as the getaway vehicle for a collection of cutlery, without my knowledge, I hasten to add.

Number of Valentines received: none. Obviously Stoke Newington’sposties were on strike.

Annie Shaw is a freelance financial journalist

The normally benign David Elms, IFA Promotion’s chief executive, was spotted pacing up and down a Soho pavement in the dark one night last week declaring in vampire-like tones that he wanted to rip people’s eyes out and force his victims to eat them. What could have upset him? The occasion was IFAP’s annual media bash and a desperate David, who had given up smoking a mere five weeks earlier, had nipped outside for a whiff off other people’s exhaled smoke. But boy, was that nicotine withdrawal kicking in.

Also at the do was IFAP chairman David Graham, who was lamenting the PR stunts of the current “Widow” Hayley Hunt and remembering fondly the days when the first two TV Widows, Debbie Moore and Amanda Lamb, were contractually forbidden to show so much as a glimpse of leg from under their widow’s weeds. The new Widow not only has her own website but appears in music videos and TV ads for hair products.

The following evening, the HBOS investment writers’ dinner on the Walkway of Tower Bridge was a glittering if vertiginous occasion, with dinner served 45 metres above the middle of a rather foggy Thames. The gloomy predictions for the economy by HBOS boffin Martin Ellis were offset by the disclosure by Bank of Scotland head of wealth management Chris Haines that in his youth he had once visited a club frequented “by doctors and lawyers dressed as women”. Intriguing.

Number of weeks of sleep deprivation suffered by Halifax press officer Paul Fincham, at the time of writing: three (since baby Sophia Grace was born to his wife Becs. Congratulations to both.)

Esther Shaw is a freelance financial journalist

And so to Polka in Soho for the annual IFA knees-up that is the IFAP drinks night. Having received a text message around 5pm saying “we’re in Polka having a cocktail pre-party if you are about. Anna and Sue”, I could only envisage that a rather fun evening lay ahead.

By the time I arrived at the venue, AWD Chase de Vere’s giggling St Trinian’s schoolgirls Anna Bowes and Sue Hannums were certainly on their way to a happy place but all eyes were on Hargreaves Lansdown’s Tom “Gandolph” McPhail as he scooped up the highly coveted whisky decanter award for IFA of the year with a rather big grin on his face. As the night progressed, I could sense things were deteriorating as Phil Scott from Thisismoney and I found ourselves deep in conversation with Aegon’s Kevin Brown and this publication’s editor discussing the finer points of a certain amphibian’s reproductive life. As you do.

Suffice to say we ended up in one of Soho’s darker drinking holes until the early hours, resulting in my receiving an email from one of Kevin’s colleagues the next morning saying simply: “Now what’s all this about Kev and frogs and what did you do to the poor boy, he’s all over the place today”.

Time spent running through the streets of Soho trying to find a certain member of the Aegon press team who had managed to get himself lost on the short journey from one watering hole to the next: a long time.

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

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