David Parkin on Celine Dion, being tickled by ukeleles and sharking skills

David Parkin on Celine Dion, being tickled by ukeleles and sharking skills

IT’S been a musical week. And I’ve not even been to Glastonbury. Much to the chagrin, I’m sure, of the BBC, which put so much effort into the music festival it almost hurt. I couldn’t think of anywhere worse to go. I’m sure there are people working for the Beeb that would not understand that statement. I heard a BBC correspondent interviewed on Radio 4’s Today programme that sounded so smug to be there she could hardly articulate the experience. Fortunate, may be. Smug? Get over yourself, love, it’s a music festival, not caring for orphans in the Sudan. Meanwhile I was experiencing Celine Dion at the Leeds Arena on Sunday evening and the Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britain in a marquee at the Grassington Festival on Wednesday. Rock on. I was invited on a clay pigeon shooting day by wealth management business Brook Dobson Brear last week. Well they don’t actually call themselves a wealth manager, I like their slogan – your personal finance director. Anyway, Tim Brear and Andrew Brook-Dobson and their colleagues were great hosts – so much so I’m saving up so I have enough money for them to manage for me. It was good to see several familiar faces there – Stephen Moore of PwC and Ian Beaumont of KPMG as well as Matt Lowe, chief executive of Lawrence Tomlinson’s LNT Group. It is perhaps ironic that Matt once worked for Royal Bank of Scotland, the institution Tomlinson skewered in his report for the government on the banks’ treatment of businesses. Back to the clay day and Ian Beaumont, a talented but down-to-earth character...
David Parkin on mingling with the glitterati, Jigsaw’s puzzle and finding a new hobby

David Parkin on mingling with the glitterati, Jigsaw’s puzzle and finding a new hobby

THE latest restaurant to launch in Leeds opened its doors this week. Issho is part of the D&D stable, the London-based chain that acquired the Conran group and already operates Crafthouse and Angelica in Leeds. The new venue is in the Victoria Gate shopping centre and boasts a restaurant, bar and roof terrace with sweeping, majestic views of the city’s open air market and bus station. If you crane your neck enough you can just about see the dancing tramp on Vicar Lane. At Tuesday’s grand opening the group welcomed guests with a free-flowing supply of Laurent Perrier champagne and appetising samples of its unique Japanese-style cuisine. The glitterati of Leeds were out in force. For the record, that’s two blokes from Emmerdale and a Look North weather girl. I got an idea of what kind of do it would be when a chap in a tight leather jacket and slicked-back hair who I vaguely know, shook my hand but looked over my shoulder, hoping he could spot somebody more trendy or interesting to engage with. Donald Trump might have suggested putting solar panels on his proposed wall between the US and Mexico, but if Leeds City Council could have tapped into the energy produced by the collective hair flicking of the many pouty, sullen guests then I reckon they could have powered 1,000 council houses for a week. That was the women, the men were clad in tight T shirts and looked like their hair had been painted on. It looked like a casting call for the next series of Love Island. I bumped into my old Yorkshire...
David Parkin beside the seaside, finding an oasis of calm in the city and boxing the Terminator

David Parkin beside the seaside, finding an oasis of calm in the city and boxing the Terminator

I WENT to the seaside in my suit last week. The Welcome to Yorkshire team invited me to join them at a new event called The Business Day at Bridlington Spa. Launched by East Riding of Yorkshire Council and Hull City Council, the fear was that any event organised by the public sector might not work for the private sector. But the business community on the east coast are a close knit bunch and the event was backed by sponsors including KCOM, Wykeland Group, Sewell Group, Spencer Group, Bonus Electrical, BP, Andrew Jackson Solicitors and MKM Building Supplies. The organisers probably needed all that sponsorship as they had TV presenter and singer Alexander Armstrong hosting the event and speakers were Baroness Brady of Knightsbridge CBE and BBC World Affairs Editor John Simpson, who aren’t cheap. Better value was Big V himself, Sir Gary Verity of Welcome to Yorkshire. He took to the stage and immediately throw in a few references to the previous day’s general election, saying he was pleased to be at the “strong and stable” Bridlington Spa to give the “Paul Nuttall memorial lecture” – the UKIP leader had announced his resignation that morning. And he was also able to inform the audience that local club Hull City had announced the arrival of former Russia coach Leonid Slutsky that morning. “What did he just say?” asked one businessman sitting behind me in the stalls. “Slutsky’s in Hull,” his neighbour answered. “There’s nothing new there,” he responded. Having had a multi-million pound makeover in recent years, Brid Spa is an impressive venue looking out to sea and attracting...
David Parkin on election negatives and why football is all Greek to him

David Parkin on election negatives and why football is all Greek to him

HOW do you sum up the election campaign? As far as Theresa May’s Conservative Party goes, I’d quote my late grandfather. Somebody who had lived, indeed served in the armed forces, during the First World War, whenever there was a crisis, or even a minor mishap, he’d exclaim: “It’s the biggest cock-up since Mons.” He was referring to the first significant battle of the 1914-18 conflict when the relatively ill-prepared and under-strength British Expeditionary Force suffered defeat to the Germans near the Belgian city of Mons, close to the French border. The Tories went into this election campaign in fine fettle, facing what looked, just six weeks ago, like lacklustre opposition from the Labour Party, having a 20-point lead in the polls and the benefit of the element of surprise in calling a snap election. I’m sure that the Conservatives’ election campaign will be used as a case study by political students in the future. Albert Einstein once said that the definition of insanity “is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. Well when are the Tories going to get that slagging off the opposition and focusing on the fear of what they might bring doesn’t win votes? It didn’t work in the last election for London Mayor and it didn’t work for David Cameron in last year’s referendum on whether we should remain in the European Union. So why do it again? Theresa May looked a safe pair of hands when David Cameron jumped ship just over a year ago. What none of us knew then was that she clearly can’t cope with...