returns from MIPIM babbling about scary politicians, semi-naked or collapsing Kens, blokes in leather shorts and some nonsense about watching fruit

Prescott runs amok

I’m just back from the orgiastic annual property schmoozathon known as MIPIM. There was much to report, as always, including the non-appearance of Nigel Griffiths despite being the star attraction at five fringe meetings, and Ken Shuttleworth’s collapse at the Majestic after eating a dodgy mushroom.

My fondest memory, however, has to be John Prescott storming around in a rage that was as awe-inspiring as it was funny. Prezza was furious at claims in The Daily Telegraph that he was wasting taxpayers’ money by living it up in the £5000-a-night Sophia Loren suite at the Carlton Hotel, and made it his business to use every speech he made (and he made quite a few) to slag off the rightwing broadsheet. “Is there anybody here from The Daily Telegraph?” he repeatedly demanded, finding no takers until his keynote speech with Ken Livingstone at which, to cheers and general hilarity, a hapless Torygraph scribe raised his hand. “You’re quite happy to make silly allegations but you don’t give any space for apologising when you get it wrong!” he bellowed. Fair point really – rumour has it that it was actually Prescott’s son, also called John, who’d booked the suite.

The bare mayor

The strangest sight of MIPIM was undoubtedly London mayor Ken Livingstone, clad only in a bath robe and carrying what looked like a pair of goggles, making his way across the street to the Majestic Hotel. It seems Ken regularly rounds off a hard day’s work with a dip, and was seen by your correspondent returning after a swim in the Med. Tony Winterbottom of the London Development Agency confirms that on foreign jaunts, he and Ken often take to the waves together.

Now there’s an image.

The leprechaun look

The festivities for the 60th birthday of Sir Robert McAlpine legend Benny Kelly were held in the refined surroundings of the Carlton Hotel, and partygoers were therefore asked to dress to impress. This failed to be grasped by Kevin Arnold, a partner in Gardiner & Theobald, Michael Clark of RHWL and Roger Steer of Hoare Lea, who turned up in a bizarre parody of Irish dress that made them look like Robin Hood in lederhosen. Ray O’Rourke, on his first trip to MIPIM, tried to gain entry but was apparently barred. Any ideas what he was wearing?

Nice ’n’ sweaty

One talking point at the fair was a hot musical trend “punk rock”. The devotees, or “punks”, are mostly middle-aged men who jump up and down. I went along, and found myself listening to a happening new band called “the Stranglers”. As I happily pogoed in the mosh pit to such songs as Looking at the Peaches and No More Heroes, I was surprised to find myself surrounded by a senior director at Scott Brownrigg, several perspiring senior QSs, and the deputy head of the ODPM’s Thames Gateway Delivery Unit, with whom I had been discussing urban development corporations just a few hours previously.

Digital manipulation
Digital manipulation
I must share one non-MIPIM story with you, courtesy of services group Mitie, who laid on a magnificent spread for assembled hacks and City types at the Vinopolis venue near London Bridge. The do was hosted by a French cocktail expert who proved to a real pro. The smooth drinks expert even managed to almost slice the top half of his thumb off while chopping a lemon, but managed to plough on as nothing had happened. What a trouper.