Sooner or later, we just knew ARN's community would foster more than healthy business relationships.

In a departure from Tabloid's normal hard hitting style, we are pleased to announce the engagement of Martyn Raab, channel manager at APC (American Power Conversion), to the love of his life, Kristy Swift, marketing manager at distributor SCSI Corporation.

Significantly, the two hapless singles met at an ARN industry breakfast timed to coincide with the PCIT conference and exhibition at Darling Harbour in 1998. According to Raab, "we met at the table and the rest is history".

According to one channel spy, the impending wedding indicates he has a passion for the channel in more than one way!

Tabloid hopes this will be the first of many happy relationships to come from ARN's famous industry breakfasts, held once every quarter.

In fact, the two lovebirds are now regular attendees at the breakfasts, and our spy believes they owe ARN a lifelong debt of gratitude. Now, we wouldn't go that far of course. But we will concede that it is yet another valuable example of what we in the channel love to call a value-added service.

In fact, "the bloke who does Tabloid" is considering brushing the dust off Dexter and launching his own Perfect Match service. You might remember our first foray into the wonderful world of matchmaking was with HP's new CEO Carly Fiorina and her opposite number at Compaq, Michael Capellas (ARN, July 28, page 68). Tabloid spies report the two are still infatuated with each other.

Raab and Swift are due to be married in Byron Bay on March 4. Send your congrats message or one of those (in)famous wedding reception telegrams to and we'll make sure we pass it on.

But before we finish recording this historic moment in the channel, the final words must go to Raab himself in what can only be described as an indication of his devotion to the channel.

Raab told Tabloid he is pleased with the speed at which the relationship had developed. "There's been no mucking around, we've closed the deal."

Once a jolly salesman

They say that in New Zealand the highest honour you can achieve as a male is to play rugby for the All Blacks while the highest honour you can attain as a female is to mother an All Black.

Either way, we at Tabloid are convinced that the smartest thing you could do as a New Zealander is to leave the land of the wrong white cloud.

One such ex-shepherd who lowered the average IQ of both nations by moving across the pond is Hypertec's new Australian sales manager, Kieran O'Shaughnessy. As a mad-keen rugby fan, O'Shaughnessy was prepared to do just about anything to get his hands on a spare ticket that became available for the recent sellout Bledisloe Cup game at Stadium Australia, when MD Colin Lillywhite was called away on business.

O'Shaughnessy was told he could have the ticket if he came to work the day before dressed from head-to-toe in green and gold and stayed that way for the duration of the day. This is something akin to expecting an Aussie to don the Union Jack and join the barmy army at a cricket test for the day.

Being a good sport (and desperate for a ticket), O'Shaughnessy took the dare and even sheepishly ventured out to the local shopping centre. Fortunately, Tabloid was there to capture the moment for posterity.

Just to add more insult to injury, Tabloid rejoices in reminding O'Shaughnessy that the game was one of the greatest moments in Australian rugby history. The Wallabies absolutely flogged the hapless All Blacks (28 - 7) in the biggest winning margin ever inflicted on the once champion team that is red hot favourite to take out the World Cup next month.

The jolly swagman well and truly stuffed the jumbucks into his tucker bag - the silence of the lambs on the night was deafening. Bring on the William Webb Ellis Trophy.

IT exec visits Chicago with harem

A Tabloid correspondent was amused to catch Compaq's enigmatic managing director Ian Penman out on the town last Thursday night for a Sydney performance of the musical Chicago.

Curiously, he was first spotted enjoying dinner before the show at a restaurant next to the Capitol Theatre, being courted by not one, but three lovely ladies.

So in true Tabloid journalism style, our reporter - seated just tables away - tried to glean tit-bits of the conversation through the noise of the restaurant and determine the identities of the mystery women.

But all we could decipher were some comments about "those journalists" and how they "always take things out of context". Clearly Penman was explaining the tough job he has fighting off annoying calls from some of the industry's misguided channel reporters - although we're certain he wasn't referring to ARN's star-studded team.

Tabloid was just dying to rush up to the elusive MD and clarify details about "that retail channel strategy" but modesty prevailed. After all, a Compaq man needs some time to relax after the rigours of fighting one channel battle after another.

Stunning opportunity

Amongst the many industry-related press releases and other transparent marketing gibber that crossed the Tabloid desk last week was one that espoused the opportunities that abound in selling "personal protection products" over the Internet.

It seems that Safety Technology of Jacksonville, Florida is looking for a channel for its "full line of stun guns, mace, pepper sprays and other safety items" and is spruiking the success of e-tailers that have attached the line of goods to their Web sites.

We figure that with the word Internet in the press release, they figured that every computer magazine in the world must be just dying to know about the booming sales in personal protection products.

Joke of the week

A Red Indian walks into his doctor's surgery and says: "In the morning I think I'm a wigwam and in the afternoon I think I'm a teepee."

The doctor replied: "Don't worry, I'll give you a sedative. You're too tense."

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