David Parkin on Sky presenting and a food challenge with a difference

David Parkin on Sky presenting and a food challenge with a difference

IT has been a busy but rewarding week with the high spot a day-long training session for Sky on presentation skills. No it wasn’t the Sky newsreaders who needed the benefit of my help but regional managers who work in the group’s home service division. We put together and I hosted the day called ‘Powerful Presenting – public speaking and media skills to become a better presenter’ in the very impressive and welcoming surroundings of Bowcliffe Hall near Wetherby. Involving some interactive sessions and some filming and feedback from broadcast journalist Simon Hare, we spent the day outlining how to create and present effective and engaging content to a very likeable and talented group of people who asked lots of questions and really threw themselves into the day. A memorable presentation is made up of many things but I believe the key is all about delivering your content with power and passion, inspiration and impact, authenticity and humour. Get those right and you can enthuse and empower your audience. I’m a great believer that audiences shouldn’t be feared, they want to get something out of the time they put in attending an event and not view it as a waste. As a journalist and writer you might expect me to also believe in the power of storytelling as a great method of getting a message across in a presentation. I recruited another former journalist, Scott Allen, who is now a children’s author, to come along and present a session for the Sky team. His second book, called Llamas Go Large – about a team of Llamas who represent England...
David Parkin on the danger of Leeds resting on its laurels, bolting in Brid and TV fame

David Parkin on the danger of Leeds resting on its laurels, bolting in Brid and TV fame

IN the last few weeks Leeds has hosted England Test Match cricket versus Pakistan at Headingley. Across the city international football was played at at Elland Road with England v Costa Rica plus boxer Josh Warrington won a world title in his home city front of 20,000 fans. Meanwhile last weekend millions of TV viewers enjoyed the World Triathlon Series while even more watched in person and on screen as the four day Tour de Yorkshire cycle race came to a glorious climax in blazing sunshine outside the magnificent Leeds Town Hall. Such a glut of sporting highlights have been rightly celebrated and together they gave truly international profile to the city. As one Twitter user proclaimed: “Leeds is superb, don’t be scared of being proud of it and shouting it out.” True. These are achievements to be proud of. But the city needs to be careful. I can’t help thinking back to another time when it was not just proud, but pretty pleased with itself. In fact it was downright smug. It was after Harvey Nichols chose to open its first store in its 160-year history outside of London – in Leeds. The 1996 opening in the impressive Victoria Quarter of the city centre rightly caused quite a stir and gave Leeds bragging rights over other UK cities like Edinburgh, Glasgow, Cardiff, Birmingham and Manchester. When I arrived in Leeds in 2000 the city was pitching itself as Britain’s number one retail destination outside London. At the same time it was aggressively marketing itself as the legal and financial capital of the provinces. Well, why wouldn’t you? The...
David Parkin on being a Love Island virgin, Peter Stringfellow and a testing time at the cricket

David Parkin on being a Love Island virgin, Peter Stringfellow and a testing time at the cricket

UP to now ITV2 show Love Island has passed me by but I did notice the interest it has generated among viewers and the media. It seemed to attract an audience that wasn’t just the crowd who watch other reality TV shows such as Geordie Shore, The Real Housewives of Cheshire and The Only Way Is Essex. So when the latest series started on Monday I decided to see what I had been missing. Insightful, inspiring, intelligent conversation and sharp wit. Everything it didn’t have. It makes Big Brother look like Question Time. A bunch of narcissistic, surgically enhanced boneheads all vying to ditch their dead end careers for TV stardom. I thought the most popular word uttered by the contestants would be “me” but it turns out it is “like” I, like, counted eight likes in a, like, two sentence, like conversation. The producers have devised a format that keeps the audience entranced night after night. All the contestants are paired up to start with and then new ones are thrown into the mix at the Spanish villa with the opportunity to choose a partner to share a bed with. So one girl who had made a “connection” with one of the white-toothed, glossy-haired guys then has to leave him for the new arrival who has selected her. She appeared devastated and heart broken but after a cuddle between the sheets with her new partner – bigger with whiter teeth and glossier hair than her previous 24-hour beau – everything was fine. Among the motley crew who include a model, a West End performer, a student, an air...
David Parkin pays tribute to two top men, spots celebrities and encounters a naked lawyer

David Parkin pays tribute to two top men, spots celebrities and encounters a naked lawyer

FAREWELL then Brendan Ingle. The eccentric Irishman forged five world champions in his gym perched on a steep hill in the Wincobank area of Sheffield. “Prince” Naseem Hamed, Johnny “The Entertainer” Nelson, Clinton Woods, Junior Witter and Kell Brook were trained by Brendan in the St Thomas’s Boys & Girls Club along with talented contenders such as Herol “Bomber” Graham and Ryan Rhodes. But so were hundreds of others who never made it to the pinnacle of the sport but gained so much in life from their experience with him. Ingle died two weeks ago at the age of 77. I was fortunate to spend some time with him when I was a student journalist and I suggested to the editor of Boxing News, the late Harry Mullan, that I go to Sheffield and interview a three-fight novice called Naseem Hamed who had the skills and the cocky confidence of Muhammad Ali. His trainer, Dublin-born Ingle, showed me around his gym, making sure no photographs were taken of the lines and circles painted on the wooden floor – which he used for carefully crafted footwork drills. Brendan told me how he had first seen Naz as a seven-year-old. Ingle was sitting on the top deck of a bus and saw a fight going on in a school playground. Hamed, the son of Yemeni immigrants, was dwarfed by much bigger boys but was still giving them a pasting. Ingle persuaded his father to bring him along to his gym and that was the start of the story of one of Britain’s most talented boxing champions. Ingle’s love for his sport...
David Parkin on a little bit of the other….

David Parkin on a little bit of the other….

IF you’re going to pick a sporting hero then you are not going to be short of stories with Gazza. BBC football commentator Guy Mowbray admitted that his true sporting hero is Sir Ian Botham but he felt he should stick to his own sport when choosing a subject to talk about at the Lord’s Taverners Balloon Debate in Leeds on Wednesday evening. And it proved a good bet with Guy carrying the day on a wave of nostalgia from an audience with high hopes for England at the World Cup in Russia this summer and bittersweet memories of Paul Gascoigne crying and a Chris Waddle missed penalty at Italia ’90 and more missed penalties but that spectacular goal by the flawed Geordie genius at Euro ’96. Up against stiff competition from former Yorkshire and England cricket Ryan Sidebottom, Leeds Rhinos rugby league international Danika Priim and double gold medal winning Paralympic cyclist and adventurer Steve Bate MBE, Guy performed brilliantly. Not content with delving into Gazza’s autobiography for stories, he had spoken to Chris Waddle, for so long Gazza’s room mate when they both played for England. Waddle remembered the time the players were given access to the hotel kitchen to get snacks after training. Gazza appeared back in the hotel room with a dozen fresh eggs and proceeded to throw them out of the window at people using a cash point across the road. Then there was the time a bored Gascoigne was sitting on the end of his bed in a hotel room in Tirana, Albania, the day before an England international match and he bet...
David Parkin meets a Judge, a Sheriff and Royston Vasey royalty

David Parkin meets a Judge, a Sheriff and Royston Vasey royalty

I WENT up before a judge this week. I know what you’re thinking: not before time. But be fair – I haven’t been in any bother since the tag came off. So fortunately the long arm of the law didn’t so much mean I had my collar felt as put a friendly arm around my shoulder. I met The Hon Mr Justice Barling (or Sir Gerald to his friends), a High Court Judge of the Chancery Division, at a dinner at the beautiful home of the new High Sheriff of West Yorkshire, C Richard Jackson MBE, DL (or Jacko to his friends). The role is a royal appointment for a year and among the responsibilities of the High Sheriff, they must ensure the welfare of visiting High Court Judges, attend on them at Court and offer them hospitality. Hence the dinner hosted by Richard. So why was I there? Well due to join Sir Gerald was The Hon Mr Justice Nicklin (Sir Matthew), one of the youngest High Court Judges (he’s even younger than me) and a media specialist. So Richard dusted off his Filofax and invited a few media types including me, Harry Gration and an old chum of his from Junior Chamber days, Robert McClements. Unfortunately Mr Justice Nicklin was called back to London at short notice and so we all gathered for dinner with Mr Justice Barling, a specialist in European law and former President of the Competition Appeal Tribunal. It’s fair to say that I probably had less in common with him. But it turned out that Sir Gerald was born in Preston, where I...
David Parkin on seeing double, Tour de Yorkshire triumph, Leeds United and Huddersfield Town

David Parkin on seeing double, Tour de Yorkshire triumph, Leeds United and Huddersfield Town

TWO David Parkins. What a prospect. I can hear women fainting across Britain. And beyond. But last night, about 8.15pm in a marquee near Harrogate, that is what mankind (and the ladies) were faced with. Up popped my visage on the big screens at the Variety Yorkshire Property Awards where I was presenting some video films about some of the night’s winners. I turned around from my seat near the stage to look out across the 800-strong black tie audience but nobody recognised me as it was too dark. After a short introductory piece filmed outside the offices of law firm Addleshaw Goddard in Leeds, where the awards judging took place, I then popped up on the 12th floor roof terrace of the new Platform building above Leeds station, where, perhaps appropriately, I have an office. The building, redeveloped very impressively by property firm Bruntwood, won one of the night’s three Game Changer awards, given to projects which have made a big impact within the region. Then to bring the video segment to a close I appeared in the plush Salon Privee bar of luxury Leeds hotel Dakota Deluxe. One of the features of the Yorkshire Property Awards, organised by Variety, The Children’s Charity at Rudding Park near Harrogate, is that they have introduced a bit of fun into the event so it isn’t just about the awards. So in a series of confessions, key players in the market were exposed for past sins and members of the Yorkshire Property Awards committee had the chance to decide whether they were forgiven, or not, for these misdemeanours. They included a...
David Parkin on ABBA, the Tour de Yorkshire and going plural

David Parkin on ABBA, the Tour de Yorkshire and going plural

YOU go away for a week and it all happens. The Home Secretary resigns, Sainsbury’s and Asda announce they want to merge and the brains trust at the Football Association want to sell Wembley to an American football club owner. It all seemed to be going on last week. You’ll be telling me next that ABBA are going to release a new album. What, they are? Yes apparently the Swedish pop band have announced they are reuniting to release new music for the first time in 35 years. The news was greeted calmly by fans of the former Eurovision winners who disbanded in 1982. According to Sky News, one said: “This is the best news I’ve had in my lifetime.” Another said: “Waiting for this my whole life.” You can’t beat a bit of real perspective. ::: IF you are in Yorkshire this weekend I hope you get the chance to experience the excitement, exhilaration and general feel-good factor of the Tour de Yorkshire. This year’s race is bigger than ever and has attracted some of the best men and women cyclists from across the globe. The Welcome to Yorkshire team has done a great job yet again and the region’s cities, towns and villages along the route will welcome riders with a gusto they can have rarely seen before. I’ll be watching the big finish in Leeds on Sunday afternoon and I also attended the Eve of Tour celebration in the city’s Millennium Square on Wednesday. Riders were introduced on a big stage by a pair of slick presenters – a woman with very glossy hair and a...
David Parkin freezes in London, blows up a balloon in Leeds and runs out of words

David Parkin freezes in London, blows up a balloon in Leeds and runs out of words

A TRIP to London last weekend underlined the gulf that now exists between certain parts of the capital and the rest of the country. Spend some time walking the streets of Knightsbridge, Mayfair or Kensington and you see plenty of examples of what now makes modern London. From Kazakh billionaires sipping Coca-cola at a pavement cafe near Harrods to well groomed hedge fund managers unloading Louis Vuitton luggage from their supercars outside a gleaming hotel, parts of London now have more in common with Manhattan, Moscow or Milan than boroughs down the road. If you go shopping in Mayfair or St James then you would certainly struggle to buy a newspaper or some chewing gum amid the luxury fashion boutiques, cigar and wine merchants and yacht brokers. We stayed at the Millennium Gloucester Hotel which is opposite Gloucester Road tube, straight down the Piccadilly line from King’s Cross Station. Not just well situated, the hotel is well run and welcoming and a great base for a visitor to the capital. I felt at home as soon as I arrived, but it also helped that on leaving the hotel to explore the stunning squares and mews nearby I heard the shout of: “Parky!” and was embraced by a bloke on a mobile phone on the steps of a nearby restaurant. It was Simon Padgett, one of the original investors in TheBusinessDesk.com. Wandering the streets you can sample a myriad of eclectic cuisine including nitrogen ice cream, which is flash-frozen at -198 degrees centigrade by liquid nitrogen smoke and, I’m assured, the only way one should now eat a molecular frozen...
David Parkin on losing Len, veterans in Vegas and Yorkshire on TV

David Parkin on losing Len, veterans in Vegas and Yorkshire on TV

WARM, intelligent, generous, thoughtful and honest, Len Tingle had these and many more qualities. A top class journalist and broadcaster, Len died this week after a year long fight with stomach cancer. Len, 63, who lived in Huddersfield but was brought up in Cudworth near Barnsley, was a familiar face on Look North and Sunday Politics. His television career began at Central TV in 1981, before joining the BBC in 1989 as a business presenter in London. He moved to Leeds as business and industry correspondent before taking up the role of political editor in 2001. I first met him when I arrived at the Yorkshire Post in 2000 and we would often see each other at business events or take part in ‘meet the media’ panels. Then he moved on to political reporting and I saw him less but it was always a highlight to bump into him. He was a regular reader of my blogs – something I took as a huge compliment – but it was Len who used to lavish the praise. In February he dropped me a line to say how much he enjoyed the blog, said he was glad to see I was doing well and ended his email with the words: “Couldn’t happen to a nicer bloke.” Coming from Len that really meant something. I suggested we catch up over a cuppa in the near future. He replied with even more kind words: “What a great story about the student you helped break into the video journalism business. I’ve tried to keep in touch with all the work experience students who have...