Hosting a breakfast for bankers in a venue that doesn’t take reservations? What could possibly go wrong, says Nicky Richmond in her first dispatch from Europe’s biggest property fair…
I ought to get a badge for long service. This is my 20th year on the MIPIM merry-go-round and I wonder each year how I can make it fresh and relevant and not my own personal Groundhog Day. A bad back a few years ago introduced me to the concept of the static MIPIM; stay in one place and make everyone come to you. My chosen hub is Le Voilier, on the front and I have eight events there in the space of a two day period. I know their menu off by heart.
I no longer do the three o’clock in morning drinks in the bar of your choice (insert as you please Roma/Martinez/Carlton) I mean don’t get me wrong, it has its place and I have had them hoovering round me at 5am, so I feel I’ve earned my spurs. But once you become un femme d’un certain âge, as they say here, clutching a beer bottle at 3am only means bags under your eyes and three days of recovery in an expensive spa. My challenge for the day is to steer clear of the Brexit conversation. I want to remain, in case you’re wondering.
This year for us it’s all about the specialist lenders and not the clearers. You can’t avoid the clearers though. Sat between Mr Barclays and Mr RBS last night at the dinner-that-was-DTZ, I encounter a man who doesn’t read menus because he finds it too stressful. It is as if fate has put us together and he is, frankly, stunned at my mastery of the menu. He does not know that I have eaten at Gaston Gastounette at least 40 times.
I also teach a banker how to use Siri properly. It is my party trick and I am still amazed at the number of punters who don’t use the digital dictation function on their iPhones. Property is full of technophobes.
Hosting a breakfast for bankers this morning, we discover our chosen venue does not take reservations. It will be fine, they said yesterday, there won’t be a problem. A pre-brunch visit reveals that the tables are already full and we may be forced to sit outside in the rain. Yes, rain. Heavy rain forecast for the whole of today and the weather is better in Cleethorpes. Welcome to MIPIM.