Q Do you have to get authorisation before carrying out promotional
sampling in the street?
A You do not need permission for handing out leaflets or samples as long
as you are not asking for payment. However, the local authority may
intervene if your activities are creating litter or causing an
obstruction to pedestrians or traffic.
Before undertaking sampling in London, Westminster City Council
recommends you get advice from its Special Events Department, on 0171
Q I have heard that virus writers plan to launch a major attack at the
millennium to cripple computer systems. Is there a risk and what can I
do to protect my data?
A The IT community has, by-and-large, been too concerned about the
millennium bug to worry about viruses. But recently, some have been
voicing concerns that computer vandals may see the start of 2000 as an
ideal time to try to bring the world to a standstill.
The damage viruses can do was demonstrated earlier this year by
’Melissa’, a new type of ’macro-virus’. It choked servers, bringing big
organisations like IBM almost to a standstill.
Other viruses continue to damage hardware and turn files into
Experts point out that you are at risk at any time and should not wait
for special anniversaries to start worrying about viruses. Protection
software is effective as long as you do regular updates: suppliers
pounce on new viruses as they appear and aim to write fixes before they
can do serious damage.
Updates can often be supplied over the internet. Do one before you go to
celebrate and another as soon as you come back, and you should be
covered against nasty surprises.
If you haven’t got protection you need to take action quickly. Major
anti-viral software suppliers are Symantec, producer of Norton (01628
592232), and Sophos (01235 544015). Information about viruses can be
found at www.sophos.com.
QWe are having an annual prize-giving ceremony and would like to hire a
celebrity lookalike to make a speech and hand out the awards.
Who can supply this?
ALookalikes agency Derricks Doubles specialises in this type of
It recently provided a Marilyn Monroe lookalike for a Gordon’s Gin
advert and represents the participants of the Stars In Their Eyes TV
show who imitate famous singers.
The agency says it has 2000 lookalikes on its books. Popular choices are
Del Boy and Rodney from Only Fools and Horses, Joan Collins, Patsy and
Edina from Absolutely Fabulous, Pierce Brosnan and Jack Nicholson. Tony
and Cherie Blair are also favourites.
A typical engagement would cost around pounds 450, plus travel and
A double act, such as Elton John and George Michael doing a duet, could
cost pounds 700. The agency advises that you book a month in advance.
Phone 0181 312 4550 or 0181 311 2129.
QI have to make a presentation but am hopeless when it comes to speaking
in public. Is there anyone you can recommend who provides coaching?
ASpeakers tend to have two types of problem: they have stage fright or
they send the audience to sleep. Training can help overcome nerves and
develop a punchy delivery.
Speaking and Presentation Skills suggests two half-day sessions at a
cost of pounds 800. This is its corporate price and covers all the
basics, including vocal presentation, body language and stage
confidence. If necessary, the coach can also assist with organising the
You will be asked to bring a passage to recite that has particular
meaning for you, as well as a short sample of a presentation. The
training uses video so you can see yourself in action.
Call 07000 773257 or 0181 466 7026. You can find more information at
professionalspeakers.org (go to the members’ directory and look up
Phillip Khan-Panni). Alternatively, try Speaker Skills Training on 0171
359 7419; or Talking Shop on 01945 588707.
E-mail enquiries to Susan Moffat at email@example.com.