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Journalism - The Guardian

City diary
Tuesday November 19, 2002

  • The legal dispute between Easy Group and Easyart.com is rapidly descending into farce. Last week, Easyart chief Simon Matthews picked up the gauntlet and decided to go to court over Easy Group's claims that his company is infringing its "easy" trademark. At the same time, he rather cheekily registered easyvictory.com as a measure of his confidence. But just a day later, with comic predictability, another letter from Easy Group's lawyers arrived, demanding Easyart hand over the easyvictory domain. According to Easy Group's thinking, registering another domain makes Easyart twice as bad and half as likely to win. But, recalling Monty Python's Life of Brian, Easyart reckons that once you've been condemned to death for saying Jehovah, how much worse can it get? Easyart lawyers' response to the threat can thus be summarised: "Jehovah, Jehovah, Jehovah."

  • Every now and again some academic working quietly away in a paper-clogged room will produce a report that changes the way we see society. That aside, the Institute for Social and Economic Research has spent several thousand hours interviewing employees regarding their feelings about work. The report reached three dramatic conclusions: We feel better about our jobs on Saturday than in the middle of the week; we don't like being overloaded with work; being unemployed or having no money is stressful. Now, what's that phrase we're after? No something, Sherlock.

  • It's all go at fashion brand Burberry. No, we're not talking about the imminent ousting of chairman and chief operating officer Roger Saul by majority shareholder Christina Ong, we're talking about the opening of a "second flagship store" in London. Now, you may believe having two flagships is impossible, but when that store "wraps Knightsbridge's most focal corner" and "incorporates visual vocabulary" while interspersing "elements of wit", who's going to argue about tautology? Sadly, if Mr Saul had spent less time building flagships and more building ordinary stores, as was his agreement with Mrs Ong, he may still have had a job at the end of this week.

  • Talking of publicity, one of those who practises it seems to have gone AWOL. No doubt frustrated by slow corporate decision-making, a Mattel PR rep has clearly had enough and headed down to London Waterloo with a digital camera to get the news out without delay. And what news is that? That the Travel Train Barbie is at last available. Then, presumably as a reward for letting her take pictures of the doll next to a Eurostar train, comes a blatant plug: "And what better operator for Barbie to work with than Eurostar - from London to Paris in under three hours..." Next comes a dig at train operators: "Unlike current British rail operators, Barbie's train always runs on time... Perhaps a tall pretty blonde is the answer to British rail's problems!" We recommend a fortnight's holiday. Soon.

Link to copy on Guardian





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