The property developer thought it wasn’t up to much and wanted to go home because he had a sore throat. But there was an architects’ party to go to and well, you never know.
And I suspect that the ‘well, you never know’ factor was behind many a decision to attend MIPIM in the metropolis, just to see what it was about.
Attendees may not have been expecting the dirty protest which greeted them at the main entrance, where a reported four hundred or so gathered to disrupt the start of the conference, chanting shut it down, whilst the police tried to stop them storming the event. The protests were targeted, variously, at the Mayor, oligarchs and property developers and anyone else who they felt might be to blame for the lack of affordable housing in the capital. I’m sure lawyers were on the hate list somewhere. We usually are.
By the time I arrived at lunchtime, the only sign of protest was some hay bales and manure, piled up on the pavement. And a lot of police. It was a somewhat unexpected start to what one might have thought would be a fairly uncontroversial trade fair.
And unlike MIPIM Cannes, where the official events are attended only by the very keen, the organised talks here, mainly panel discussions, were mostly packed. Possibly because Hammersmith Road isn’t the Croisette and there isn’t much else to do, once you’ve done the stands.
And the MIPIM opening party at the end of the day was as sophisticated as an end of term disco, with what may well be the worst white wine I’ve ever tasted. As ever, the best parties were happening elsewhere.
Next year I suspect we’ll be hosting one. For there will be a next year. It’s already been announced.