A new scam?

Yesterday I got an ‘Expiration Notice’ – see below. It’s for my blog as you can see. I own timgarrattnottingham.co.uk and .com. They both point here.

Screen Shot 2013-03-29 at 13.48.37

I was a bit surprised as my domains don’t expire until October each year – and they are on automatic rentals.

But then you read the small print. This the expiration of one of those once in a lifetime offers. I part with $75 and they submit me to Google et al. If I don’t take their offer up by 13th April 2013 – they may cancel my oder. Wow. My customers (you) won’t be able to find me?

Last time I looked I was No.1 ranked on Google.

I think I’ll pass. I have tried to find out who these people are, but they don’t actually name themselves…

We Will Rock You…

Last night I was at the opening night of the ‘stadium tour’ of the West End hit musical We WIll Rock You. The tour bus hit Nottingham…the first stop on the world tour. Denmark, Dublin, Holland, Luxembourg, Czech Republic, Turkey, Croatia and Bulgaria join in the fun. The show had a theatre tour in 2010 and 2011 – but this is bigger and louder.


The show has had mixed reviews – most criticism is about the cheesy nature of the show – weaving some sort of story around Queen hits. The story is thin. But this is entertainment – and it’s good stuff.

You do forget how many hits you know – they even played my favourite Queen track – The Seven Seas of Rhye … But in here was We Are The Champions, We Will Rock You, Hammer to Fall, Don’t Stop Me Now, Under Pressure and Somebody to Love…

Curly Watts from ‘Coro’ appeared – but the big surpise of the night was the real curly pop star – Brian May – who played on the closing sequence, predictably Bohemian Rhapsody. The cast do a superb ‘full’ version – a feat Queen couldn’t manage – famously having a tape of the mid-section ‘Scaramouch’ part.

The synchronised dancing was brilliant – especially around Radio Gaga. The jokes were fairly current – and the songs timeless.

Cheesy – most definitely. Would I go again – most definitely.

Oh, and I cross off another rock star on my list – Brian May. Hairy but brilliant.

As safe as houses…

Over the last few days the Cyprus problem has dominated the news. Stories of the need to raid savings accounts of between 4 and 40% have been rumoured – in order to get the Country back on its feet. The last suggestion was 20% of deposits over 100,000 euros in the Bank of Cyprus and 4% in other Banks.


On the one hand you can understand the outrage of ordinary peoples savings being raided. On the other, some of these Banks were offering three times the average rate of interest offered across the Eurozone. Ever heard of ‘if it sounds too good to be true’?

It is unimaginable that the same could happen here? Or is it?

In October 2008 the UK was just three hours from financial meltdown. This followed a run on the Banks.

There is no evidence that we are in the same position as Cyprus, although confidence in the sector remains fragile. If Cyprus leaves the Eurozone it could send shivers down the collective banks spines.

I think the reaction here would be devastating if the raid on our savings occurred. I suspect it would end in anarchy.

Contrast this with an area of the property industry which is enjoying something of a renaissance. The student letting market has enjoyed the moniker ‘flavour of the month’ for a little while now. We are hearing of deals where yields are between 4 and 5%. This is compared to average yields for other property which will be 2 or 3 percentage points higher. In some sectors they will be more than 10%

Nowt so safe as houses then – student houses that is?

Funny how polarised the world is…

The Bowie Renaissance

It seems that Mr Bowie is back.


After surprising us all with a single released on his 66th Birthday the new album followed a couple of weeks ago. In fairness it was unlikely I would hate it – I have been listening to it since it came out. You don’t need to take my word for it – it has reached number one in the album chart and has received critical acclaim.

I love the album – it is a complete mix of material – reaching back through the back catalogue and taking influences from all manner of his earlier work. It is unmistakably Bowie.

Bowie famously got an O Level – in Art. But his artistic and musical influences are widespread. Some of his work was clearly done under the influence of various compounds! There was a brilliant quote from Bowie a while ago which suggested he couldn’t remember making Station to Station (another great album!) I have seen Bowie 14 times and the last time he played in the UK, he played the title track – which is brilliant.

Then there is the show at the V&A in London – looking back over his life in artefacts – costumes, posters and the like. The show has been sold out since it started. It seems we are desperate to see some of this stuff from his archive. There are over 300 items which demonstrate Bowies influence over the last four decades.

I haven’t been to the exhibition yet – but will do so before it finishes.

By Tim Garratt Posted in Grumpy Old Man! Tagged , new album, Station to Station, The Next Day, V&A

Budget – did anyone notice?

Apparently the Chancellor got his red briefcase out yesterday and wowed us with a whole series of mind baffling phrases. The Monetary Policy Committee, for example, “may wish to issue explicit forward guidance, including using intermediate thresholds in order to influence expectations on the future path of interest rates.”

Clear then? Like mud.


Beer went down 1p per pint. Thats going to help a lot. Game changing some would say. This was the 2013 Budget.

There are some good points – the £10,000 tax threshold is good. The improvement in the NI contribution for new jobs potentially looks good.

But the problem seems to be that people and businesses are saving; they are not spending! Personal borrowings are estimated at £20bn and Businesses at £750bn. Money being held back for a rainy day. There is no confidence to go out there and splash the cash. Business can’t borrow money. Even if it could I’m not sure it has the sentiment to take risks.

Finally no mention of Business Rates – which would help the High Street? The Business Rate poundage continues its inexorable rise. The Government continue to rely on 2008 values for calculating the non-domestic rate. This is criminal!

I wonder if the Treasury have any idea what they are doing? Answers on a postcard to the usual address….

Surveyors – looking up?

The latest survey or surveyors makes interesting reading…


It seem we have more job security and observe business confidence and sentiment across the UK improving since last year.

In 2013, 28% of property professionals are anticipating an improvement in economic activity (up 11% from 2012), while negative business sentiment dropped to 13% (from 16% in 2012). Heady stuff indeed.

The results of the survey:

* The average UK property salary: £48,901 (+1.2% from 2012)
* RICS membership leads to higher remuneration, for example an FRICS earns £62,480 in comparison to a non RICS counterpart who earns on average £40,235 (or a 55.3% premium)
* 43% (versus 39% in 2012) of respondents received a base salary increase, while only 4% (down from 7% in 2012) received a base salary decrease.
* 39% (versus 32% in 2012) of respondents secured a bonus with an average bonus of £13,803 (versus 13,461 in 2012)
* 19% believe that their pay and benefits will be positively affected by market conditions in the next 12 months compared to only 13% last year.
* 62% (versus 57% in 2012) assess their job security as either strong or very strong.

It seems that there are improvements in sentiment – which must eventually translate into an improving property market.

The City Message?

At MIPIM this year what struck me more than anything was how mixed the Nottingham message is. I suspect we are trying to be all things to all men and in a very crowded market-place this is not enough to differentiate ourselves.

Another unique feature for the city

Another unique feature for the city

We have in this fair city some amazing assets. We have some really good things in the pipeline around infrastructure (trams and trains in particular). But I’m not sure we have a clear message, a clear story or a coherent offer.

We need to make sure we become known for something other than the tram.

I have been thinking about this and I think the answer is either in ‘education’ or the ‘creative quarter’.

Our two Universities and two colleges (shortly to become three) are leading in the their class. Education is key to our future growth – it develops the best talent and, if we can keep the graduates or leavers here they can develop and grow. Although these are really good for the City they still don’t differentiate us.

But the creative quarter could. This is a group of talented individuals who work in that sector that is as big or small as you want it. It ranges from textile makers to TV programme makers. From Artists to Gamers. This does differentiate us. I think the answer is that we should really embrace the creative quarter and all who sial in her. We should make sure they get the support from the City they need – and we should shout from the roof tops about them.

The best talk I attended at MIPIM this year was that of Brian Cox. This was not a man who spoke about a place being open for business, but rather a man who spoke passionately about his area of interest – physics. He tied in the story of his life with the city he lives and works in – Manchester.

We need a Brian Cox character – and I’m sure there are lots of them.

MIPIM 2013 – a round up

My 10th MIPIM came to an end on Friday, the last three I have been variously involved in organising Team Nottingham – the private sector group of companies who ensured Nottingham retained a presence at this world property show – after the City Council couldn’t afford to fund the event.

Team Nottingham - decked out in Paul Smith!

Team Nottingham – decked out in Paul Smith!

All in all it was a pretty successful year. I think we had our best MIPIM ever – with three funded events. First a dinner for over 50 people, secondly a drinks party of around 200 and finally a brunch for 40 on the last day of the show. We kept Nottingham in the press and held our profile.

The numbers there were down I think. There was a story on the last day that out of 20,000 pre-sold delegate passes some 5,000 had not been collected. I don’t know whether this was true, but the restaurants seemed quieter. The weather was mixed – but it was the weather away from the Cote D’Azur which seemed to keep people away.

I met more (new) people than I have ever met previously – in 5 days I attended 16 ‘events’ – which is great for networking but less good on the waistline. The feet take a battering too as you walk between venues and stand for hours. Fortunately our apartment was within walking distance of the main hall (lovingly known as the bunker), so it was possible to get back and spend some time resting the feet!

So my next task over the coming week or so is to pick up those business cards and make contact again – to follow up. We have some really interesting opportunities.

Finally, there will be a handing over of the baton for MIPIM 2014 back to the City. If I’m honest I’m a little relieved, this is a big task which I try to fit into my day job. So to hand it over will be good. It also means I won’t have to deal with the conflict that can arise when a small group of people try to do the right thing – but face criticism and some hostility from various quarters. I don’t need that hassle anymore!

I’ll be at MIPIM next year. In fact, I’m looking forward to it as I think two major projects I’m involved in will be on-site in the East Midlands – so we will be able to shout about them…

The squash shot of the year?

If you drop by here often you will know I play squash.

We are pushing for squash to be part of the 2020 Olympics. And if this rally in the recent North American Open in Virginia is anything to go by the sport deserves a place for the sheer showmanship!

If you don’t play squash – this is quite difficult to do (even in slow motion)…

By Tim Garratt Posted in Nottingham Tagged fake shot, James Willstrop, North American Open, , squash 2020

Leicester enters – stage left (MIPIM 2013)

My MIPIM days left so little time for blogging this year, I’ll do a round up next week.

Leicester City v Newcastle United

But I thought I would just touch upon Leicesters presence at MIPIM this year. I went to their dinner on Wednesday night in the old town in Cannes.

It had been a busy day with the full complement of Cities on my agenda – Derby Breakfast, Nottingham drinks and then dinner with the Mayor Of Leicester, Sir Peter Soulsby in the evening. The dinner was well attended by Leicester developers and professionals. Leicester are where we, Team Nottingham were probably last year. They have raised private sector money and used their LEP to have a visibility.

Sir Peter was excellent – and I was able to speak to him about a requirement we have for some land in the City. He strikes me as a person who is making things happen.

We turned our back on the idea of a Mayor last year and I still can’t help wondering whether this was a mistake. He doesn’t do the small time politics stuff, he is interested in the outcomes and how he can make Leicester better. I’m not saying that Nottingham don’t want to see things change – but there is a different culture and attitude evident…

Well done Leicester.