Ah, the glamour of the Riviera ... long-legged Russian beauties, a daring daylight robbery and, erm, that’s about it – unless you count middle-aged male nudity or the stand from Corby council
Does a trouser press count as a celebrity?
Every local authority needs to have a celeb at Mipim to wave the flag for their home town. Sir Alex Ferguson, who was in town this year with property investment fund aAIM, has represented his adopted city of Manchester and this year Birmingham had Frank Skinner. Spare a thought however for Corby, Kettering and Wellingborough. Bob Lane, the man in charge of regenerating the area, was heard lamenting: “We can’t find anyone famous. If you can think of anyone, let me know.” We’ll get back to you on that one, Bob.
An interesting way to form policy ...
Nicky Gavron, the deputy mayor of London, gave a less than impressive speech at a breakfast briefing on Wednesday morning. Her main point, that climate change was “an overriding priority” for herself and Ken Livingstone, was undermined slightly as she stuttered through the presentation, at one point telling a cringing audience to “erm, just read the slide and figure it out for yourself”.
Disobedient child, despairing parent
Will Alsop was in fine spirits on Wednesday, sunning himself on the terrace behind the London stand, fag in one hand, glass of red in the other. In fact, he was enjoying himself so much he completely forgot about the SMC event taking place at the same time, for which he had been advertised as the star attraction. After several people asked why he wasn’t at his parent company’s do, he reluctantly peeled himself away and ambled over – much to deputy chairman Stewart McColl’s relief.
Never mind the cossacks
The Russian contingent was the other major talking point this year. This was partly because it was advertising projects in places hitherto neglected by the wider world, partly because of the entertaining use of Cossack dancing, but mainly because of the long-legged,
scantily-clad women that had been drafted in to promote the region. Some delegates felt this approach was inappropriate, while others preferred to dwell on the adage that there’s no such thing as bad publicity. Put it this way, several thousand people who had never heard of the city of Kazan have now …
First-class lip service
Sustainability was at the top of the agenda this year, which didn’t sit too comfortably with the excesses surrounding the show. One overheard comment that seemed to sum things up: “My mate was given a ride down on a private jet – on his own – to arrive in time to give a talk on sustainability.”
It seems that Robert McAlpine’s Benny Kelly and former Hammerson construction boss Geoff Wright have been up to their old tricks. After a pleasant dinner and a couple of glasses of champagne with Hoare Lea chairman Roger Steer, the group decided to take a stroll on the beach. From here on, eye-witness accounts diverge, but two things seem certain:
1) Steer decided to take a skinny dip in the sea and 2) Kelly and Wright made a fumbled attempt to steal his clothes.
Should anybody have a clearer idea of what occurred that night please email email@example.com
My good friend from the communities department, Richard McCarthy, was visibly relieved when he took a call on his mobile telephone last day?. The cause of his good cheer? The Olympic budget. Given that the budget for the Games has nearly tripled in just two years, I blanche at what Mr McCarthy would have considered bad news.
It takes talent and a bit of guile to set up your own architectural practice. At one Mipim dinner the talk on the table invariably turned to the ruses architects have to play to impress big clients when they are starting out, like James Stirling bussing in a load of architectural students to make up numbers. When they started out, Foreign Office Architects worked out of their kitchen which was quickly transformed into an office when clients were making an appearance by placing polystyrene boards strategically across work surfaces. Apparently though on one occasion the hob was accidently turned on and the bard went up in flames.
The Russian contingent was also a major talking point at this year’s Mipim. Partly because it was advertising projects in places hitherto unheard of by the wider world, partly because of the entertaining Cossack dancing, but mainly because of the long-legged, scantily-clad beautiful women that had been drafted in to promote the region. Some delegates felt that this approach was out of place and inappropriate in today's world, whereas others repeated the old adage: There's no such thing as bad publicity. Put it this way, several thousand people who had never heard of Kazan have now...
Sir Alex back in Europe
Sir Alex Ferguson revisited MIPIM but this year he was representing his own interests - aAIM, the property investment fund that he backs along with broadcaster Sir David Frost. He was spotted hobnobbing on board the aAIM boat with Tony Blair's former spin master Alastair Campbell and a handful of agents on Tuesday afternoon. Obviously Sir Alex was enjoying some downtown in the south of France in the midst of Man United's fixture congestion and injury worries…
Mipim's secret prog rockers
Rick Wakeman, who performed on the beach with ELO on Wednesday night, wowed audiences with a concerto of nursery rhymes strung together in a prog rock style. I was amazed at how many prog rock fans came out of the woodwork this year … and was surprised to learn that no-nonsense English Partnerships chairman Baroness Ford turns out to have a predeliction for the Californian school of early 70s singer songwriters led by James Taylor.
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