Media Bitch's Diary 16 April

Footballers have a flutter on the Grand National, volcanic ash strands Mirror executives in Madrid, Neil Jones goes downhill fast, and Romeo and Juliet share their love on Twitter

Peter Kay presents Tony McCoy with the winner's trophy at the John Smith's Grand National
Peter Kay presents Tony McCoy with the winner's trophy at the John Smith's Grand National

Six is the lucky number for Grand National guests

To Aintree for the John Smith's Grand National, where Mirror executives spent a happy afternoon betting on the horses - and entertaining clients, of course.

Out in force were the Mirror's Mark Hollinshead, managing director, nationals; Mark Field, head of business development; and Yvon Knolle, head of strategic sales, who entertained guests including Kevin Boast from Furniture Village and former footballers Kenny Dalglish and Alan Hansen.

Betting tactics varied widely, with Dalglish "gambling on everything" and Hansen only backing number six horses - a strategy that paid off handsomely when Tony McCoy won the big race on number six runner Don't Push It.

Knolle, inspired by his four-year-old-son who "pushes it every morning", also won on the big race - but his luck ran out when the party got stuck getting out of Aintree and had to hitch a lift in a private car. "We had a nightmare," he told Bitch.

Volcanic ash leaves Mirror execs stranded

But if Knolle had trouble getting out of Liverpool, it was nothing compared to the spot he found himself in after he and his strategic sales manager Mark Hurst flew to Madrid for a meeting with MPG on Thursday morning (15 April).

By noon all UK airspace was closed due to clouds of volcanic ash from Iceland, so Knolle and Hurst were forced to check into a hotel for the night - and they have been stranded in Spain ever since.

Their colleague Mark Field told Bitch he has visions of the pair "strolling around town wearing Real Madrid shirts and sombreros, and then coming back to the office and trying to claim it all on expenses".

But Knolle, a keen art historian, has in fact been whiling away the hours "indulging in some fine art" in the Prado. "If you don't like art and museums, there isn't much to do in Madrid," Knolle told Bitch. Which is presumably why Hurst was last seen tucking into tapas and red wine.

Mullins family keeps up with the Joneses

The News International offices were strangely quiet for two weeks over Easter, as commercial strategy head Neil Jones was away on a family skiing holiday with Evening Standard managing director Andrew Mullins (pictured below).

The pair have taken joint family holidays in Whistler for six years in a row, and the ski schools are so good in Canada, says Jones, that their combined children - five boys aged between nine and 13 - "are now better skiers than me and Andy".

Apart from Jones and Mullins' wives spending too much money in the restaurants, the holiday passed without mishap - there was no repeat of Jones' near-death experience on the Carat skiing trip back in 2008.

"I am less gung-ho these days", a mellowed Jones told Bitch, "but I still go down the double blacks". Even if his sons get to the bottom before him...

Media networkers cash in their chips at Maya

Maya, the infamous haunt on Dean Street that hosts the Media Week Awards after-parties, was the scene of the Media 121 Club on Wednesday (14 April).

Gambling was the order of the day, with guests including Danny Lloyd and Marc Boyan from Miroma, Paul Mann from Buy Now Media and the evening's host Alex Marks from eBay Advertising all betting on Blackjack, roulette and wheel of fortune.

Marks then revealed the winners of the evening's grand prizes: Daniel Zubiria Izquierdo from EHS Group won a bottle of champagne and Polyview Media's Tim Penton won £200 to spend behind the bar in Maya. Just not all in one sitting, obviously.

Parting is such tweet sorrow

And finally: Twitter has brought Shakespeare to the iPhone generation, with a performance of Romeo and Juliet played out in tweets over five weeks.

From this week, the cast (Romeo pictured below) will tweet the lines of ‘Such Tweet Sorrow' to a digital screen in Carnaby Street, as well as responding to news stories and direct tweets from the audience.

The Royal Shakespeare Company, which devised the play with Channel 4's digital investment fund 4iP and Mudlark, hopes people will keep up with the action on their mobiles. Follow julietcap16 and romeo_mo to watch the "digital experiment" unfold.

 

 

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