David Parkin on Yorkshire’s Rio Heroes, football spivs and a marvellous view

David Parkin on Yorkshire’s Rio Heroes, football spivs and a marvellous view

NEVER before have so many talented individuals who have given so much been gathered together to show off the precious metal they had earned in pursuit of greatness. And that was just the mayors present. Yorkshire’s Rio Heroes homecoming parade through the streets of Leeds on Wednesday evening and the civic reception which followed it was a wonderful celebration of our Olympic and Paralympic sports people and their coaches. Given the number of medals on show (Paralympian Hannah Cockcroft was weighed down by three huge golds) and the presence of mayors from across Yorkshire wearing their civic finery, there hasn’t been that much bling on show since a Kardashian wedding. Local authorities from across the region, led by Leeds, had shrewdly handed the organisation of the actual parade to Sir Gary Verity and his team at Welcome to Yorkshire while the council sorted out shutting the roads, policing and everything else that goes into putting on such an event. Sir Big V injected the expected pizzazz into the event. Given he’s got most of our Olympian and Paralympian sports stars on speed dial, delivering enough competitors was never going to be his biggest challenge. Athletes taking part included triathletes Alistair and Jonny Brownlee, diver Jack Laugher, Paralympic champion Kadeena Cox and Olympic rower Andy Triggs-Hodge, who summed up all their feelings when he tweeted “What a great day! In the county you love, sharing the sheer joy of a gold medal! Loving it!” They climbed aboard six open top buses to tour the major thoroughfares of Yorkshire’s biggest city accompanied by three bands, convertible cars, a music float and...
David Parkin on the good guys of business, a perfect day at the races and crunch time for biscuits

David Parkin on the good guys of business, a perfect day at the races and crunch time for biscuits

TRADE secretary Liam Fox appears to have got back in his box following his comments about British business being fat, lazy and too keen to play golf on a Friday afternoon. The comments were pretty idiotic and ill-thought out. For a man facing the Himalayan task of helping negotiate Britain’s trade position post Brexit, he probably thought he’d focus on a target close to home, rather than spend time on the challenging role he faces. There are lazy people in every profession. In business, particularly if you run your own company, laziness is not recommended as you won’t be in business very long. I’ve always thought that you can spend a lifetime in business and meet many people that you respect. If you are fortunate you will only come across the odd bad apple. Bob Stott was one of the good guys in business. The former chief executive of Morrisons died this week at the far too young age of 73. I got to know Bob quite well during the supermarket group’s takeover of larger rival Safeway. He spent 30 years with the Bradford-based grocer and was a right hand man to Sir Ken Morrison and stepped up to become CEO post the Safeway deal when Sir Ken became chairman. He was modest, charming and cared about people. Where Sir Ken used to get frustrated and annoyed with the criticism of his company from the City during the takeover of Safeway, Bob couldn’t quite understand why analysts and journalists would be so vicious in their sniping at Morrisons. Anyway, he and Sir Ken had the last laugh and proved...
David Parkin on a big screen star, a night in New York and a sting in the tale

David Parkin on a big screen star, a night in New York and a sting in the tale

THEY’VE been predicting the demise of cinemas for decades. But they are undergoing a renaissance, led in no small part by “boutique” cinema chain Everyman. This independent business opened its 19th cinema in Harrogate last week. Having visited the Everyman in Leeds’ Trinity shopping centre, what I like about their approach is the individuality in terms of decor and the approach of its staff combined with consistent quality of films, food and customer service. And that combination is clearly working: Everyman invested £10m in the Harrogate cinema, part of a development which includes restaurants and bars such as Cote, Cau, Byron Burger, Veeno and Yo Sushi on the site of the former Beales department store on Albert Street. Having started out in London, the Harrogate cinema is Everyman’s most northerly opening, with others to open over the next 12 months in Chelmsford, Stratford Upon Avon, Cirencester and Kings Cross. The Harrogate Everyman has five screens over two floors which have between 40 and 200 seats each. As soon as you walk into each cinema, the decor, soft lighting and welcoming armchair and sofa-style seating encourages you to relax. And so does the ability to have food and drink delivered to your seat such as bottles of wine, handmade pizzas and Everyman’s trademark Spielburgers. I managed to cadge an invite to the official opening last week after chatting to Paul Lancaster of 4Urban, behind the development of the impressive project, on a recent cultural tour of Hull. When I arrived I was met by a very friendly staff member called Mark who proceeded to give me a full tour of...
David Parkin celebrates the culture of Hull and has an arresting experience at the cricket

David Parkin celebrates the culture of Hull and has an arresting experience at the cricket

I DEFINITELY need to get out more. Why, you ask? Well I’ve just had one of the best days out of my life…in Hull. Yes Hull. I suppose I’ve only got myself to blame. Invited to a lunch a few months ago at the offices of Chameleon Business Interiors overlooking the choppy Humber Estuary, I asked the assembled Hull business owners how plans for their city being UK Capital of Culture 2017 were going. Most admitted that they hadn’t been particularly engaged by it and said that many of the council-funded developments wouldn’t even be completed by the end of 2017. Shaun Watts, chairman of Chameleon and a non-executive director of Welcome to Yorkshire, suggested that rather than moan, they should all get involved doing their bit to help promote their Capital of Culture city. So a plan was hatched for each business person to invite a contact from outside Hull to join them on a ‘Cultural Tour’ of the place next year. But of course a practice run would be needed. Now, before you assume that cultural tour is a posh description of a pub crawl, I have to advise you that there was plenty of culture and history on the way, as well as the odd pub. And an eclectic and fun group of business people gathered for the trip with the local representation including Nic Marshall, who runs call centre business ResQ, Ken Sturdy of office technology business IT@Spectrum, Dominic Ward of law firm Andrew Jackson and Neil Fisher of building services company Airco. Guests ranged from Fred Normandale, a fisherman with four trawlers in Scarborough...
David Parkin on the genius of Gene Wilder, celebrity masterminds and a naked lawyer

David Parkin on the genius of Gene Wilder, celebrity masterminds and a naked lawyer

FAREWELL then Gene Wilder. I hadn’t realised until I listened and watched the radio and TV reports on the death of the US comic actor at the age of 83, quite how many great films he had appeared in. I also didn’t realise he was that age. Having suffered from Alzheimer’s in later life, he had not appeared in films for many years. And so for us, the watching public, he was still the frizzy-haired, rubber-faced, ageless performer with piercing blue eyes and While most remember him as Willy Wonka, my abiding memory of Gene Wilder was as the neurotic Leopold Bloom opposite the equally hilarious Zero Mostel in The Producers. My Dad had suggested I watch it when it appeared on TV and even before political correctness had been born, it was surprisingly edgy as well as being gloriously and outrageously funny. Wilder subsequently teamed up again with The Producers’ creator Mel Brooks on Young Frankenstein and Blazing Saddles and then with stand-up comedian Richard Pryor in Silver Streak, Stir Crazy and Hear No Evil, See No Evil and, one I haven’t seen yet, Another You. Until I saw a clip of Pryor’s expletive-fuelled stand-up routine, I didn’t know how much he had seriously toned down his approach for Hollywood. But, like with Brooks, Pryor gelled with Wilder perfectly, their opposing personalities bouncing off each other brilliantly on the big screen. I can also remember a scene, from, I think, The Woman In Red, a 1984 film that Gene Wilder wrote and starred in. He had been captured by gangsters and was being taken up an escalator by...