Tuesday at MIPIM
Wonderful start to the show as I enjoyed an impromptu petit dejeuner in the sunshine with my old mucker, the wondrous Gary Sullivan of Wilson James, here in his capacity as Chair of the Thames Gateway South Essex Partnership.
He had forgotten his sun glasses and seemed happier to squint than to borrow my spare pair from Primark. Breakfast concluded, Gary and I were straight up onto the London stand - no messing - where things were looking pretty slick I thought. And quite busy despite the circs. It's coffee and content this year rather that champagne and schmoozing but frankly none the worse for that!
Attended a fab seminar chaired by the Paul Finch, always excellent value, about the role of the London suburbs. Cllr Mark Loveday of Hammersmith was gloriously off message about the market and East London, and even more outspoken about Business Improvement Districts. Before any of his officers could intervene, he then gave the Evening Standard the whole lot!
I have to say, I would be rather optimistic about Hammersmith going forward - they've got some cracking sites and a terrific approach. Finding the right partners is always key but they have a very proficient team and no worries about the quality of their leadership. Just nipping down to the UKTI party at the Martinez - there can't be many more pleasant walks than that along the front at Cannes!
Had a fab lunch with the UKTI presentation down at the Martinez Beach and managed to put in good word for the British Urban Regeneration Association (BURA) international effort. I chair BURA, a membership organisation where - uniquely - the private sector meets the public sector meets the community sector on equal terms. My members need to look internationally to generate more work.
We are best in the world at regeneration and we need to capitalise on that. Had a bit of a schmooze with the Locate in Kent types at the lunch, they were flying the flag in a very collegiate way.
Back into the centre of Cannes to meet the planning consultant on the Wirral Waters scheme at the Crillon (our dear old bar is branded up "Manchester" - how hilarious is that?) - he is keen to get me more involved in local economic development projects in the North West. Well, I'm game if they are! Bless. Back onto the London Stand to hear Boris's maiden speech.
Not long on technicals or detail but there were some very good jokes and a major dollop of huge enthusiasm for London and - hey! - that does it for me. A big turn out and a positive response to the new Mayor, who was clearly a bit overwhelmed by the MIPIM phenomenon. The guys just loved him.
Well, that brought us to nearly 5pm and surely it's time for a cocktail?