David Parkin cheers Bradford’s celebration of Hockney, sees success at Elland Road and embraces the Christmas spirit

David Parkin cheers Bradford’s celebration of Hockney, sees success at Elland Road and embraces the Christmas spirit

BRADFORD doesn’t seem to get much positive publicity these days. Through a combination of unjust views from those outside the city and a local authority which hasn’t always made the best decisions, Bradford has not really been seen with its name in lights very often. So it was great to see that David Hockney’s home city is to honour the artist by opening a permanent gallery dedicated to his work to mark his 80th birthday. The David Hockney Gallery will be housed in the city’s Cartwright Hall. “I used to love going to Cartwright Hall as a kid,” Hockney said in a statement. “It was the only place in Bradford I could see real paintings.” The new gallery will show works ranging from early sketches to well-known paintings and his colourful iPad drawings of the East Yorkshire countryside. The BBC reported that it will open on 7 July – two days before his 80th birthday. Cartwright Hall claims to own the largest public collection of Hockney’s earliest work and is converting one of its existing rooms into the dedicated Hockney gallery. The council-run gallery is owns later works including Le Plongeur, his 1978 pool scene. Its exhibits will include drawings and sketches from his days studying in the city, many of which, Cartwright Hall says, have rarely been seen in public and never all at once. Hockney, who now splits his time between homes in Los Angeles and Bridlington (nice combination), is also celebrate at a permanent exhibition showcasing his work in the stunning Salts Mill building at Saltaire. I love a trip to Salt’s Mill, its combination of...
David Parkin on not boxing clever, ring names and Christmas cheer

David Parkin on not boxing clever, ring names and Christmas cheer

IT seemed a good idea at the time. After a boxing training session I was chatting about fitness to my friend Nathan Lane of Campfire PR. I told him he lacked stamina and he told me he didn’t. One thing led to another and suddenly a challenge was laid down that we would box each other at the gym for three two-minute rounds. If it does anything then knowing that a bloke is going to try to knock your head off for six minutes does focus your mind on getting fit. Particularly one who a few years ago went into serious training and took part in a competitive cage fight. It wasn’t pretty, but then two blokes rolling around in a ring surrounded by fencing wire never is. Nathan is one of my oldest friends and one of the best public relations operators I know. I couldn’t tell him that before we entered the ring because he might have thought I was lavishing praise in order for him to go easy on me. Anyway I survived the experience and landed and avoided a few decent punches but must have taken one or two because I’m still nursing a bruised rib and did struggle to chew my cote de boeuf at our post-fight celebration at the Foundry restaurant in Leeds. Perhaps the mind plays tricks, but my memories of delivering a graceful and powerful performance were underlined when a video of the boxing match was produced by Jonathan Clough of Researchbods who trains with us. Set to the opening operatic music from Raging Bull – Cavalleria Rusticana Intermezzo – we looked...
David Parkin on a maritime marvel, sartorial success and dinner with dummies

David Parkin on a maritime marvel, sartorial success and dinner with dummies

BRITAIN bid a fond farewell to aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious this week after 32 years in service with the Royal Navy. The ship, which weighs 22,00 tonnes, is 210 metres long and has sailed 900,000 miles across the world’s seas, left its home port of Portsmouth for the final time after the Ministry of Defence sold it to a ship recycling company in Turkey for £2m. It is a rather ignominious end for Illustrious, which started its life in the Royal Navy when it was rushed into service in 1982 in the aftermath of the Falklands War. It’s a pity it couldn’t be turned into a floating naval museum, like HMS Belfast, which still attracts plenty of visitors moored on the Thames in central London. The latest Royal Navy ship to be retired, nicknamed Lusty, carried out many missions including in the Adriatic to help maintain a no-fly zone in Bosnia in the 1990s, supporting operations in Afghanistan following the September 11 attacks in 2001 and in on an aid mission in the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyanan in 2013. I spent three days on HMS Illustrious in 1998 when it was operating in the Gulf. The Ministry of Defence flew a group of journalists out to Bahrain where we boarded Lusty and spent three days aboard while she was involved with British and US Navy warships on manoeuvres in the Persian Gulf. The highlight was watching her Harrier jump jets taking off and landing on the carrier’s runway and being flown by helicopter low across the dark blue waters of the Gulf to land on the frigate HMS Monmouth...
David Parkin banks on change, sees his musical taste go pop and crazy Christmas adverts

David Parkin banks on change, sees his musical taste go pop and crazy Christmas adverts

IT is rare that you go to an event and the speech by the sponsor makes headlines. But yesterday’s Forward Ladies National Women in Business Awards Grand Final lunch certainly did that. I was a guest of James Cliffe, UK head of business banking at global group HSBC and he told me he was planning to make an interesting announcement. Given he’s currently walking with a stick after a knee replacement operation, I was more concerned with how he was going to make it up the steep steps to the stage at New Dock Hall in Leeds. But he did and even turned his struggles into a laugh. Leaving his walking stick against the lecturn, he gingerly walked to the centre of the stage. “You’ve just seen a banker take a risk,” he said, to great hilarity. James told the audience that he had heard a female entrepreneur with a small business admit at a recent round table discussion that if it came to employing a man and a woman, then she would pick the man because her firm could not afford to lose one of its handful of staff on maternity leave. He said this admission had got him thinking and he yesterday announced the HSBC Parental Leave Support Package for small businesses with fewer than five employees and a turnover of up to £1m. Applying to employees of either gender going on parental leave and covering maternity, shared parental leave, adoption and surrogacy, its key features include no interest on overdrafts, repayment support on loans and capital repayment holidays. Banks do get a lot of flak, but...