David Parkin gets inspired at KPMG, has Black Friday Blues and meets some Forward Ladies

David Parkin gets inspired at KPMG, has Black Friday Blues and meets some Forward Ladies

HOSTING an event for KPMG Enterprise this week gave me the opportunity to have a close up look at the impressive new home of the business advisory firm in Leeds. The Sovereign Street building represents a big change from the firm’s previous home across the road. Walking in you immediately see staff walking around the building. There is a welcoming cafe on the ground floor, complete with a jukebox. I had a play on it and by accident put on Kylie’s greatest hits. I think it cleared the cafe for the next hour. I didn’t tell anyone I could do the dance to The Locomotion. KPMG staff have been getting used to the concept of hotdesking – not having your own desk in the building – and they appear to have embraced it with gusto. The meeting spaces are airy and welcoming and it all helped create a great atmosphere for the first KPMG Enterprise event to be held in the building. I “facilitated” the event, which I explained to the audience was about them hearing less of me and more of a talented panel of business people and a guest speaker who revelled in the monicker “The Master Thief”. Hamish Taylor trained in brand management at Proctor and Gamble, was head of brands at British Airways, CEO of Eurostar and Sainsbury’s Bank – all before the age of 40. It makes you sick. His talent was not being afraid to pinch ideas from others, hence the nickname. While at BA he decided the best people to design a new business class cabin were yacht designers, not aircraft engineers....
David Parkin on rapping in a balloon and making himself understood

David Parkin on rapping in a balloon and making himself understood

A DJ rapper, a former England cricketer nicknamed Badger because he fidgets a lot, an Apprentice candidate who irked Lord Sugar for not selling enough cat towers in a pet promotion and a sports presenter idolised by rugby league fans. Putting all four together in front of an audience of top business people and hoping it might add up to entertainment was probably the stupidest thing I’d done since telling Sir Ken Morrison, one of Yorkshire’s richest men, he’d love a market I’d recently visited because there were loads of bargains. But when you say you’ll help out a charity, you have to try to deliver. So walking into the Lord’s Taverners Balloon Debate at Headingley last night I probably felt as nervous as I had been when I competed in the first event two years ago. Whereas then, I only had to worry about what I was going to say, this time I was reliant on what four other people were going to say. To my great relief Nick Ahad, Paul Nixon, Ruth Whiteley and Tanya Arnold were four interesting, entertaining and enthusiastic speakers who gave our audience a night to remember. If you’ve never come across a Balloon Debate before then it is based on the imaginary idea that four people are in the basket of a hot air balloon which is thousands of feet in the air but losing height and only one can remain if it is to reach the ground safely. So they all must speak about a sporting hero over a series of three rounds with one getting voted out each time until...
David Parkin on doppelgängers and rainbows

David Parkin on doppelgängers and rainbows

DO you have a doppelgänger? No, it’s not something you buy from Anne Summers, but the German word for look-a-like. It literally translates as “double-goer” (I’ve met one or two in my time) and is often applied when someone looks like a famous person. In Germany it is traditionally seen as a harbinger of bad luck. That was certainly the case last Saturday. Going to the BBC Sport website to check on the progress of the Huddersfield Town v Leeds United match, my eye was caught by a photo of a familiar face. Why illustrate the live match report with a picture of Huddersfield Town’s commercial director, Sean Jarvis, I wondered? He’s not a bad looking bloke but that’s not a good enough excuse. Clicking onto the live match report I noticed another photograph of a yawning Sean Jarvis with the caption: ‘New Huddersfield manager David Wagner doesn’t look entertained by the match.” Clearly the journalists operating the BBC Sport website thought that the bearded, spectacle-wearing Jarvis was the bearded spectacle-wearing former Borussia Dortmund coach and former US international David Wagner. Given the Terriers lost the match to their West Yorkshire rivals 3-0 then the BBC’s mistake – also made by the Daily Mail’s Mail Online site – certainly did bring bad luck. The BBC quickly deleted the yawning photo of Sean Jarvis from their report, but left the photo of him on the sport homepage for some time longer. There is more than one doppelgänger among the supporters of Huddersfield Town. When the club played away at Leeds the season before last the fixture took place just after...
David Parkin on a Leeds legend and going to the MOBOs

David Parkin on a Leeds legend and going to the MOBOs

THE word legend is bandied about too much these days. But I was lucky enough to be in the presence of one yesterday. Former Leeds United great Norman Hunter was the guest at our lunch at the Foundry restaurant where we ‘celebrated’ the 40th anniversary of his infamous fight with Francis Lee of Derby County. Hard as nails as a player, Norman is a humble and charming gentleman who told our audience that he isn’t proud to view the dramatic footage of his Baseball Ground battle with Franny. He said that the Leeds manager at the time, Jimmy Armfield, was attempting to clean up the club’s image and so had instructed him to keep it as clean as possible on the pitch. But that was before his fiery team mate Billy Bremner started whispering in his ear, winding up Norman that the “fat, little ****” Lee had got the better of him. Norman sat next to Rodney Dalton, the Lupton Fawcett Denison Till property lawyer, once also described as a “local legend” by the Chambers legal bible. Rodney did a great job of priming Norman for his Q&A after lunch by asking him questions about his playing days and wanting to know which of the stories that have gone down in the Leeds United annals were true and which were apochryphal. I told Rodney later he’d done a great job and it was a bit like in racing when they put a donkey in with a thoroughbred racehorse to calm it down before a big race. I think Rodders thought he was the racehorse. Someone pointed out that today...