THE BOOK OF LISTS: BEST DIARY STORIES OF 2002 - Hornby's referees blow apart bid to join the IPA with lady-boy reference, Tuesday, 17 December 2002 12:00AM

24 May, and Johnny Hornby must have wondered what he'd done to deserve friends like these:

Having won the accounts for Tango, The Daily Telegraph, Carphone Warehouse and Premier Foods, you could be forgiven for assuming that the founders of Clemmow Hornby Inge had earned the respect of their peers.

But you'd be mistaken. Now CHI is seeking to affirm its position on the London agency scene by applying for IPA membership. But, wanting to dissuade any riff-raff from joining, the IPA requires written references.

M&C Saatchi's Nick Hurrell was suggested as one referee, a charge he took seriously. His brief letter read: "Johnny Hornby is a wanker. I don't know the other two. Kind regards, Nicholas Hurrell, chief executive."

Hornby and Simon Clemmow's old mate Garry Lace was suggested as another referee. Now Lace had revenge in mind, as Diary readers will recall Hornby nicked Lace's car and chauffeur to get to a pitch.

His reference reads: "With reference for your request for some thoughts on Clemmow Hornby Inge, I can confirm that two of the people did indeed work here a couple of years ago.

"I was, however, slightly surprised to receive your letter since I wasn't aware that they had started an ad agency. The last I heard was that Clemmow had decided to re-train as a chiropodist while Hornby had gone to Singapore to ply his trade as a lady-boy." What a pair of wags.

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