David Parkin on being suited to a role alongside David Gandy and going all Groucho Marx

David Parkin on being suited to a role alongside David Gandy and going all Groucho Marx

OF all the jobs I fancy doing, “brand ambassador” is top of the list. You’ve seen them, whether it is David Beckham and Breitling or George Clooney with Omega, down to a flurry of reality TV stars who promote particular products, being an ambassador for a brand looks a great job to me. But who could I work with? Seeing pictures of the model David Gandy at an event in London gave me an idea. Gandy and I have a lot in common. Shut it and let me explain. We both tend to bring out in the inner Kenneth Connor in women (“Cor, look at him, phwoar!!”) and we both like our clothes. To be fair, he tends to pose in his undies in public more than me. I prefer to do that in private (#ripped). David Gandy and footballer turned Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp are both brand ambassadors for a Mayfair tailors called Thom Sweeney. It is nice gear, but over priced. Call me old fashioned, but if you are going to trumpet the benefits of a brand or product, then you have to believe in it. So that got me thinking and I popped along to the premises of Leeds tailor James Michelsberg for a coffee. Sitting in his dark wood showroom in the Victoria Quarter I outlined my idea to James, a gregarious man creative enough to spot a great opportunity when it is presented. And daft enough to listen to me. I met James many years ago when he was a frustrated recruiter (is there any other kind?) when I was at the Yorkshire...
David Parkin on election excess, sporting recruitment and finding your inner Frankie

David Parkin on election excess, sporting recruitment and finding your inner Frankie

I WAS strangely enthused and a bit excited by the announcement of a snap general election by Prime Minister Theresa May this week. I say strangely, because I thought after last year’s referendum on Europe, a general election in 2015 and the vote on Scottish independence in 2014, I, like most people, would be a bit jaded by another election campaign. Perhaps it was the surprise nature of the news. When was the last time a political announcement or policy launch was made without being widely trailed in the media first? Or maybe it is because the vote on June 8 will answer so many fascinating questions. Can Theresa May win the backing of the country to deliver Brexit? Is Jeremy Corbyn blithely leading Labour towards oblivion or will the opinion polls prove as unreliable as they were for last year’s EU referendum and the 2015 general election? Can Tim Farron’s Liberal Democrats capitalise on the Brexit frustrations of the Remainers and become a parliamentary force again? Given the success of the Scottish National Party in the 2015 election, can Nicola Sturgeon retain her party’s strength in Scotland or will those who voted for Brexit and those who don’t favour independence now abandon the SNP and vote for other parties? My initial reaction to news of the election was thinking Theresa May had played a blinder. Labour can’t unite around Jeremy Corbyn and so doesn’t provide a particularly effective opposition. Tim Farron hasn’t proved a high profile leader of the Lib Dems and they are yet to really stake their claim to be the right home for disaffected Labourites...
David Parkin on fake news, customer service the United Airlines way, and celebrity chef sightings

David Parkin on fake news, customer service the United Airlines way, and celebrity chef sightings

FAKE News. Or Fake Nooze as dear old President Trump says it. It is certainly the topic du jour. The plethora of news providers combined with the online ease to access news as well as readers’ ability to connect and share it via social media means that it doesn’t take much for content to go “viral”. And while that might once have been cute videos of kittens (I’ve a friend in recruitment who is obsessed with them) and photos of cats that look like Hitler (damn, Sean Spicer and Ken Livingstone told me not to mention him), there has been a rise in obscure websites promoting wild and untrue stories in a bid to get “hits” to boost online advertising revenues. For someone who has spent his career in the media, that is a negative trend we could do without. And so is Donald Trump’s accusation of Fake Nooze to denounce any story he doesn’t agree with. But some are creating fake news with the much darker objective of trying to smear political opponents and high profile individuals. There are signs that the outcry over fake news is finally going to bring the big online carriers of news and information to account. But for corporations such as Google, Facebook and Twitter, policing their communities with hundreds of millions of users is going to be challenging. In the meantime there is another worrying trend I have seen that is helping contribute to the issues over fake news. These days most people consume their daily news online, not from a newspaper or even, these days, television. Some might head to a...
David Parkin on great sporting clashes, robots v lawyers and the dark side of Harrogate

David Parkin on great sporting clashes, robots v lawyers and the dark side of Harrogate

EVERY sport has had its memorable clashes. In boxing Ali versus Frazier stretched to three fights culminating in the Thrilla in Manila. In cricket the Ashes gets the juices flowing every two years when England and Australia clash. And in football every weekend appears to throw up a big match between rival teams at the top and bottom of the Premier League and the Championship. I would have said England v Scotland is a memorable footballing clash, but it hasn’t been the same since the Scots nicked the goalposts at Wembley. And then became rubbish too. But what happens when you set up a sporting clash between individuals from different sports? We might find out this year if unbeaten boxing great Floyd Mayweather comes out of retirement to fight UFC loudmouth Conor McGregor. There will be only one winner if the match is made under boxing rules. Everyone at the top of their sport competes believing they are going to win. But what happens when you take them out of their familiar sporting environment and only their words will defeat a doughty opponent? That is what happens at the annual Lord’s Taverners Balloon Debate. This year’s event in Yorkshire takes place at the Queens Hotel in Leeds on Wednesday, May 17 and features four sporting speakers who have all reached the top of their game. England and Yorkshire cricketer Jonny Bairstow, rugby league legend Kevin Sinfield, Great Britain paralympic footballer David Clarke and Yorkshire County Cricket Club’s head physiotherapist Wayne Morton will go head-to-head for a sporting battle with a difference. The annual Balloon Debate is held to raise...