Saturday, 3 March 2012

Tales from the Med...


Next week, in Cannes, the annual MIPIM will be taking place.

MIPIM stands for some unpronouncable French description of several thousand property related persons, gathering together in a huge concrete bunker to drain the whole of the Champagne area's annual quota totally dry, in just a few days.

I used to go for my old firm, and indeed, still have the scars on parts of my liver to show for it, because there really is an overhead industrial bucket of alcohol waiting to be poured down you at every turn.

A few years ago, the five day session used to start at Gatwick, at around 10.30am, with a few pints for breakfast. One time, I found myself carrying a leather suitcase worth about £5,000, and it turned out that the lady who I was chatting to, and to whom the voluminous extravagance belonged, was a Bond Girl (once), but because the mists of time, possibly a large G and T, and the several years since I saw 'Dr No', I can't remember for the life of me who she actually was...

But anyway, once one has landed in Nice, the fun begins, and the opening bash (at The Majestic in those days), sets the scene for several days of hypertension, sleep deprivation, and of course, blurred vision...

I'm only saying all this, because my good friend and BP said yesterday evening that he was feeling a bit fed up with having to turn down all the invitations, and I have to admit, I'm already wishing that just somehow, I could say 'Yes' and arrive at a lawyer's bash, possibly to trip up on entering the vast room, and apologise to the hatstand!

Most of the action happens away from the Bunker, where all the stands are, and although I actually used to work the aisles to start with, it was always nicer outside, in places like this, where one year, I stayed all day from 11.00am until late at night. This place, the Caffe Roma, just heaves, and I probably miss the craic there more than any...

You'll see many big faces (often red), and names from the courts, the bloated councils, the prisons (oh yes), and the occasional contact with whom there's some actual business to discuss, but that is a bit of a rarity, because there's no time to talk except for making generalities, and then doing the nitty-gritty the following week - if you survive that is.

One year, we were all on one of the superyachts in the Old Harbour, (owned by a wealthy family, who unfortunately happen to be in the news as we speak), and it was all going well, until there was a little overloading problem, i.e., there were too many people on one side of the huge boat, and a certain slope seemed to occur which meant that the champagne began to tip over the edge of the glass. It got progressivly worse, and the inclination increased, so we adjourned to the quayside, and watched what would happen.

Apparently, it was nearly a total disaster, because it is an incredibly dangerous situation when an overloaded boat sets up a rocking motion, and the Harbour Master was called to get everyone off pronto. (I hope BP will expand on this, as he knows these things). It took half an hour for the boat to stop rocking, and a stern discussion ensued with much arm waving, 'Merdes' and 'Mon Dieus', but by then we were far away in a cheeky little Italian eatery, enjoying another bottle of Chianti, and some choice pasta, with, among others a lovely lady client and my good chum Andy, who somehow both discovered over a second bottle, that they had lost their respective virginities on exactly the same beach in Devon...

(For once, I won't mention my traditional moan about naive councils attending, because there are plenty of newspapers which do that for me, and take these delegates to task for spending all that taxpayer's dosh)!

So, all you lucky people, getting packed for the flight down on Tuesday, or perhaps taking the Eurostar and the TGV, which is a fabulous way to travel down, I wish you a successful, riotous and happy week, and while you're away, BP and I plan to land the biggest deal we've ever done, and we won't tell you until long after you get back, by which time it will be far too late...

13 comments:

rvi said...

Alors, vraiment it's tough at the top n'est-ce pas?

En passant, I have some very good friends who live just to the west of Nice and who a few weeks ago sent me some amazing pics of humungous waves crashing over the promenade all along that sea front. Lots of wet tootsies and some minor flooding that day! I wonder if the cheeky Italian eaterie you describe was the one I used to frequent (back in the day!) half way up the pedestrian area on the right. It is still there - or at least was 12 months ago the last time I was in that neck of the woods. Forget what it was called, but their pizzas sont magnifique.

Philipa said...

I vote you let your BP land the huge deal while you take me to Cannes - think of Donkey in the film 'Shrek' jumping up and down shouting "Pick me! Pick me". Donkey and Shrek off on a whirlwind adventure. There I can work the room doing an upmarket 'giz-a-job' routine. You can get as sloshed as you like knowing I'll scrape you off the pavement at the end of the night.

Electro-Kevin said...

Good luck with that, Scrobs.

Philipa said...

By the way, Glad you got off the boat.

Electro-Kevin said...

I meant good luck with your business, not with accompanying Pips, who is great company.

With a gal like that on your arm you wouldn't need a four leaf clover to clinch a deal !

Scrobs... said...

I think the one we were in was behind the trees in the 'Piazza', (French term presumably...), and up a few steps. I recall the steps, because I may have fallen down them when we left...

There was (is) a super Pizza restaurant up in Rue Buttura, where Andy (mentioned pal), and I used to go when we needed a break from all that networking. Sounds like it could be the same one Reevers!

We also used to rent an appartment for several of us in out firm and other friends, in Rue Bivouac Napolean, literally just across the road.

That got abused on many occasions as well...

Scrobs... said...

Now that's what I call a real offer Pips!

BP used to come down there as well, (before we were actually BPs), and stayed in another very old chum's appartment.

To protect the innocent (and also the guilty), I'll stop there, as he'll be reading this...;0)

Actually, you probably could get a job as you described, but you'd have to write it down pretty damn quick, as everyone forgets after a certain time...

Scrobs... said...

Ha ha Ha! Thanks Elecs!

I'd have to firmly steer Pips away from a certain sort of situation saying 'Pick me, Pick me', which occurs there nowadays though...

I know they're not all Russian, but they might be...

Scrobs... said...

Pips, there are dire warnings everywhere about falling between the boats, because once you're in the water, nobody can get down to help you, and I believe someone drowned doing just that one year!

But it's even more dangerous negotiating the steps coming out of the bunker...

Thud said...

Living large hey scrobs! us spade wielding types don't get a look in. oh well in the next life perhaps.

Scrobs... said...

Thudders!

Here I am, 5.10am, ready for getting out in the big wide world!

I'd prefer a spade any day to a mobawl fone, but needs must to recoup the crap years losses under labour...

I'm off to see about a council led scheme, which first surfaced in the early 1980s, and they still can't make their minds up how to do it!

Its called progress I suppose...

Will tell you how I get on some day!

Thud said...

Scrobs, I've always been fascinated/horrified by the unearthly hour you seem to rise and do your blogging...its unnatural!

Scrobs... said...

But the day's your own then Thud!

Peace and tranquility, up with the latest news for free, re-hydration as necessary etc...

I may well make this a bigger post, but it depends how early I get up ;0)