A dating service with a twist launched this week to match pampered personal finance journalists with their perfect freebie.
In its new “who’s who” section, Headlinemoney, a dedicated website for finance writers, invites lonely writers to look over a long list of corporate entertainments and pick their favourites. Would-be entertainers can then match events to journalists.
The usual suspects on the freebie list include the lavish foreign trips favoured by personal finance scribblers (although not those who work on the FT).
Other possible dates include polo, shooting and weekends away, while cheaper options (and therefore unlikely to appeal to the spoilt PF hacks) are sponsored visits to pubs, karaoke bars and even something called ATV – not a sad event for obsessive lovers of a defunct commercial television station but driving noisy “all terrain vehicles” across perfectly nice parts of the countryside.
The astonishing range of expensive jollies offered to the jaded journalists who write the money pages on national papers – and to the newbies from the trade press – means that financial services companies have to seek ever-more-exciting ways to excite their targets.
Although it’s not clear exactly where activities such as “interesting conversation”, “leaked memos” or even the rather sad “trips out of the office” might feature on the love-o-meter for these high-maintenance hacks.
Walking on water
When Mudlark called for creative accounts of how management consultants would sail a yacht, he somehow envisaged pithy epigrams. The winning entry, however, was a shaggy dog tale submitted by Alan Paterson, a self-employed salesman from Wrexham.
Paterson told Mudlark: “My wife considers me one of the nation’s leading grumpy old men. I have built an HO German railway layout in the loft and I go up there to watch ‘Byers’ incidents or, on a good day, have a clear run.”
In his entry, Paterson spared no cliché of consultant-speak as he recounted how the crew ensured “that leadership was not adversely affected and the creativity of the team and individuals in the team could be optimised to ensure on-the-job procedures were all carried out and delivery was to time and specification”.
Read his full report at www.ft.com/yacht
Che gelida gallina
There’s one place that the triumph over gunpowder, treason and plot won’t be celebrated on Saturday night with a display of Catherine wheels and rockets.
In the presence of feathered beauties Thelma and Louise, who made their Mudlark debut last Saturday, fireworks would be as popular as Guy Fawkes himself.
Like most small creatures, the hens are about as keen on fireworks as they are on brooms, their least favourite thing in the world besides foxes.
Experts recommend taking them indoors on Bonfire Night and putting them to bed in a cosy cardboard box in front of the telly.
So in place of the fireworks, Thelma and Louise will be entertained, believe it or not, with the the latest Luciano Pavarotti video. When they are not digging about the garden looking for worms, or perusing the FT, chickens love nothing better than watching the box; Pavarotti is a particular favourite, except, Mudlark suspects, when he sings “your tiny hen is frozen”.
If the fates smile, moreover, the Warbling One will also take their minds off the hordes of paparazzi that have been pursuing them since last weekend.
The girls have been virtual prisoners in their back garden in Billericay since Saturday’s column, and Louise sulked for three days in the henhouse after Thelma became a pin-up in dealing rooms, where not much else, to be honest, is allowed these days. Today Mudlark puts that right.