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Ice-cold start to New Year for our boyo John.

An unusual way of seeing in the New Year even by John James standards.

At about 10 am on January 1, the Birmingham Forward chief executive and Quantum PR non-executive director, was totally submerged in the icy cold waters off Saundersfoot, near Tenby, in Pembrokeshire.

Along with about 100 local people he was raising money for Tenby charities - the total came to several thousand pounds of which JJ accounted for a couple of hundred.

JJ's mother and sister live at Tenby and he claims to be Welsh even if the troops suggest his ancestry is rather more uncertain.

The January 1 dunking involved total immersion for ten seconds...a time span with which the bon viveur is particularly associated in all sorts of ways.

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In comes what is described as a "Hemingway card".

Yes, Roy Richardson has made it through the Panama canal and has been sunning himself in Key West where once Ernest Hemingway pondered on life.

Goodness knows where he has got to as you read this...but certainly still on the QEII on his annual cruise.

He wishes me a good New Year - and the same to you Roy - and is promising more QEII T-shirts.

He writes: "Andy Skinner has asked for the first delivery of the XXXL T-shirts this trip."

Ah, glad Roy recognises that my male model figure bears no resemblance to Skinner.

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My old mate John "Crabbers" Crabtree at Wragge has decided its time to live life in the fast usual.

Somewhere over the Bay of Biscay to be exact.

He has decided to hire Concorde for some beanfeast which will see the troops on a junket through the sound barrier.

Champagne all of the way.

Of course.

But all in aid of a good cause, charity Sense's Homes for Life Appeal.

It is to build special homes for deaf and blind young adults. Since the Midlands arm was launched in 1991 they have raised pounds 1 million and built accommodation for 70 people in Birmingham.

Anyway there are 100 seats on offer at pounds 475 a throw which, I am assured, is a bargain. Usually costs pounds 685.

All happening appropriately on April Fools Day.

A two-hour spin at Mach 2 (whatever that is) and as much bubbly as you can drink.

A Himalyan trek a year back was part of the Sense fund raising.

"This is another one of those daft ones," John admits.

So step forward Birmingham's barmy army.

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A giant US cable company. That is how NTL is often described and it even came as a surprise to me that it is not a "giant."

The company is looking to get its foot in the door at Aston Villa and if it is successful the company will run the club's media rights.

A question raised was how does it operate its huge sports operations in the US. Don't forget we are still thinking of it as a giant US cable company.

A call to NTL soon put things in perspective.

"We are not a US cable giant," said their man.

Ideas that millions of Americans watch gridiron and baseball pumped through the NTL cable system was well away from the truth.

"We have not got an operation in the US. The money behind us is from the US but our bosses spend nearly all their time in Europe," he said.

NTL employs about 12,000 people and 95 per cent of them are in the UK . . . what are they all doing?

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Law firm Edge Ellison has discovered that it has long been at the forefront of Birmingham City Council's desire to reduce city centre congestion.

In 1914, founding partner Mr Hall Travers Edge was the only businessman still riding his horse into work.

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He's here, he's there... he's the Big Gobbler.

Yes, Gordon Harvey has finally made it.

Gordon is a member of a Solihull walking club, bizarrely called the Gobblers.

Don't ask!

Gordon, of Birmingham stockbrokers Capel Cure Sharp, was yesterday (Friday Jan 14) elected the boss - the Big Gobbler.

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Oh dear. Training Guru David Cragg got the MBE... and nobody noticed.

Really bad. I'm sorry David.

But Training and Enterprise Councils are pretty boring. Poetic justice. Still the Great Survivor deserves a gong. Now that the Royals are all practising to be Commoners, enjoy the steak and kidney pudding and Banks's Mild at Buck House, mate.
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Author:Bright, John
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jan 15, 2000
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