MIPIM 2013 – the countdown has begun….

It’s that time of year when our attention is turned to promoting this fair city in Cannes. Lovingly known as MIPIM, the world turns it’s eyes, in inward investment terms at least, on the filmic Cote D’Azur harbour-town of Cannes.


The private sector have supported the City for the last two years – at a time when spending on such things was not seen as ‘appropriate’ – particularly in light of the cuts going on in local government. We created ‘Team Nottingham’ – a loose affiliation of like-minded business folks from a round the town to peddle the wares of the city.

It was a bit like three men in a boat – except the boat is now more like a sleek yacht – with lots of men and women! We have engineers, developers, architects, QS’s, surveyors, PR types, green-types, a chemist(!), journalists and inward-investment experts. It’s a pretty powerful team!

We already have a bigger budget than 2011 – we are going as part of a LEP-wide team. This will support the wider region and give Nottingham and Derby a presence in the ‘bunker’ (aka Exhibition Hall). We are also arranging a number of high profile events – including a formal dinner and our, now famous, drinks reception. We have another event in the making too.

Boots and Paul Smith have helped us enormously – and these world brands will make our life easier in selling the City.

The team are really fired up – we are in the process of writing a dedicated app to show off the city on iPads. A film has been commissioned…

Over the last two years it has been challenging to put this show on – but we have a brilliant team now. We should be able to hit Cannes hard!

Paul Smith & Leica

I’m a fan of Paul Smith – he’s a local lad who has done pretty well for himself building a global brand. He’s talented too. Leica are synonymous with quality – making a brand of cameras that reek of money and quality. I have never owned a Leica, but aspire too…

If you have found a purse and you are fans of Paul Smith and Leica – this is your moment. For the princely sum of £2,000 you can buy one of 1,500 limited edition cameras designed by Sir Paul himself.

It looks amazing. I love the quirky light bulb sketch for the flash. The racing green leather looks cool too – although the orange might be a bit gaudy for those moments when you are trying not to draw attention to the fact that you are holing £2k worth of camera. It’s not too shabby as a performer too – 16 megapixels and a 24mm f2.8 lens shouldn’t disappoint. You can read the specs of it here.

Like most of these editions people won’t use them – they are bought as investments. In fact why would you buy one – the ‘standard’ model in black costs £500 less.

Even so, I love it! Piggy Bank – how are you fixed?

Nottingham – The Message

Over the last couple of weeks the issue of what Nottingham’s message is has cropped up a few times. The message I think is important – it gives us an opportunity to differentiate ourselves. No longer can we rely on the time-honoured and vague “open for business” as every other UK city is.

We need a story, it needs to be coherent and genuine. It needs to tell people what we stand for. And doing so isn’t easy. But that doesn’t mean we should shirk away from it.

Let’s face it, our reputation as a City has taken (and still takes) a battering from those who think we’re an easy target. Bad news is easier to deliver than good. We have tried variously to deny or ignore stories – especially those surrounding gun crime. Trying to use statistics to push the problem away doesn’t lose a reputation easily.

But the best way to change perception is to have positive stories. It’s about getting a new message out there. Nottingham has some great stories, which we need to shout from the rooftops. Boots, Robin Hood, Confetti and the creative industries, Bio City, the Contemporary and two world class Universities. This is the home of Sir Paul Smith, of Sir Peter Mansfield (inventor of the MRI scanner), and home to inventions such as Ibuprofen. We have lots to shout about. We do some of these in isolation.

But we still need a city-wide message. I don’t pretend to have the immediate answer, but a theme keeps coming up – that of Rebels. Sometimes this can be perceived as a bad thing, but the Apple Poem I blogged about at the weekend seems very apt?

Perhaps we need to revisit the City of Rebels idea…

Maybe one for the Mayoral debate?

What I want for Christmas

This, if you know me, is a somewhat premature list. A week ago, I was asked what the City’s messages are going to be for us to take to MIPIM 2012. I’m not sure I am qualified to be deciding the City’s messages – but since they asked (and apparently it is getting close to Christmas – approx. one month I’m reliably informed) here’s a suggested list. I’m happy for you to add / subtract as you see fit!

1. The A453 to be ‘dualled’ from the M1 at Junction 24 to Clifton Bridge.

2. Work starting on The Broad Marsh Centre – and only finishing when the new owners at CSC have run out of cheques – £450m should cover it. Ridding us of the Patio Door entrance from the stain would be a really nice, early pressie.

3. Work not starting on the Victoria Centre – well not until c.2020

4. Some sort of World Class offer being introduced at Nottingham Castle. Ideally based around Robin Hood. But joined up thinking with The Trip, BroadMarsh, The People’s College site, Castle and Castle Gate all being a part of something big.

5. A ‘new’ Specsavers / Speedo / Experian or Capital One. Someone who can bring jobs to the young people of the City. We need jobs generally, but our young people need a step up too.

6. Work starting on the tramlines 2 & 3. After Xmas ideally.

7. An announcement that the HS2 Station will be close to the A52 / M1 junction (this rather assumes the HS2 line will proceed)…

8. An announcement that the Nottingham – St. Pancras line could be electrified in the short term.

9. Some money from central Government for investment in Education in the City – schools and colleges have slipped back.

10. A pair of Paul Smith stripey socks…

I hope this doesn’t sound greedy Santa? Could you sort?

Paul Smith – true inspiration

I have always been a fan of Paul Smith‘s clothes. I love some of his clothes and accessories. So when The Nottingham Contemporary had Paul as a guest speaker this week I couldn’t resist.

And he was utterly brilliant. He has a very avuncular style – unassuming and relaxed. But inspirational too. And shrewd.

He is of course one of Nottingham’s great exports – now selling in 72 Countries around the globe. After having left school at 15 he has built a world class brand – from very humble beginnings. His recurring theme was that you had to do commercial things that paid the rent, but quirky noticeable things which kept people interested. Both were critical.

But what I loved was that the messages he gave really can be applied to any business – and that is what I took away from the evening. Some of his quotes from the presentation he gave were:

The job always changes you; you never change the job – a quote from Edward de Bono.

Purity of design is key to everything.

Make room and break the rules.

You can’t do it without doing it.

Do things that are right not that are easy.

Never assume.

You can find inspiration in everything – if you can’t you aren’t looking properly.

We love our customers.

Effort is free of charge.

Be brave.

Speed doesn’t kill, bad driving does?

There was news last night that some new Speed Cameras (aka Cash Machines) have been put on hold on Nottingham’s Ring Road. Actually there aren’t many parts of the Ring Road without speed cameras.

Camera Partnerships - rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic since 2001.

The reason for the change of heart is cash. As part of the severe cuts in public spending this is an area now affected.

The Government for the last 10 years have been drilling into a message that ‘speed kills’. Just for clarity they mean ‘high speed kills’, suggesting that those who drive at 15mph in a 40mph don’t have any effect?

If you want to read an alternative view, read the late Paul Smith’s excellent web site – Safe Speed. He dispels a number of myths. The most notable one being the clear lie the UK Government put out that speed was “a major contributory factor in about a third of all road accidents”. This simply wasn’t true.

Many other factors were named as contributing to road accidents, from driving without due care and attention to the influence of drink; from poor overtaking to nodding off at the wheel. The actual figure given for accidents in which the main factor was “excessive speed” was 7.3%.

Is this just another case that there are statistics, statistics and bloody lies?

Why can’t we just have some honesty in what we are told… I am getting bored with the ‘spin’.

In the meantime, this looks like a bad cash-generating idea. It is estimated Speed Cameras generate around £110m in fines! Not a bad return on the investment?

Nottingham Retail – 6th in the UK

There was good news recently as Nottingham climbed one place in the CACI British Footprint rankings. We are now in 6th place.

Jack Wills - the original!

The top ten are:

1. London (West End)
2. Glasgow
3. Birmingham
4. Manchester
5. Liverpool
6. Nottingham
7. Leeds
8. Westfield London
9. Newcastle Upon Tyne
10. Norwich

It is incredible that Westfield Centre in London has made the Top Ten in its own right.

What Nottingham now needs is the Westfield Scheme in Nottingham to proceed. Without it, we have done well. With it, conceivably we could be nudging Manchester. Even the smaller scheme now proposed should help us.

As I blogged about before, I was unimpressed with Manchester when there in early May. I was in Liverpool this week and think we can compete!

Last year we were pipped into 7th place by Leeds, so we have done well to loosen their grip. They do have a good centre and Victorian Quarter and the benefit of “Harvey Nick’s

Retailing is vitally important to the city. It give’s it lifeblood. But it needs to be different to make people want to visit. We have some great destination shops – Paul Smith, One True Saxon and Vivienne Westwood, to name a few. These give us a real boost.

Onwards and upwards!

UPDATE 23 July 2010

The Nottingham Evening Post had the story on their front page tonight! You read it here first – and three weeks ago!!

By Tim Garratt Posted in Business, Nottingham Tagged CACi, Harvey Nichols, Nottingha, One True Saxon, , retailing, Vivienne Westwood

Modern Masters influence in 2010

There’s a great TV programme on the BBC at the moment, looking at four modern masters – Matisse, Picasso, Dali and Warhol. Sunday nights show was about Matisse.

Matisse stained glass window at Vence

What was fascinating was his apparent influence on our modern world – over 50 years since his death in 1954. The programme explored some of the influences – which included Nottingham born fashionista Paul Smith. The Paul Smith element of the show was intriguing – I had not quite realised how much was taken from the artist. The stripes which are now so in my socks familiar come from Matisse…

But the influence could also be seen in the London 2010 logo. The logo has a number of colour washes, but the blocked effect could clearly be seen in some of Matisse’s work.

Matisse was known as The King of Colour. I have seen a number of his paintings – mostly in MOMA in New York. When you see the real thing – as opposed to a print, you do get a different perspective. Most of the programme on Sunday talked about colour, his use of it at the time went against convention – and he became disliked by the art establishment.

I thought the best piece of work though was not a painting, but the Chapelle du Rosaire de Vence – on the French Riviera. This is a brilliantly executed building was his last major work – and is a fitting tribute. The stained glass windows in particular look stunning.

I guess that sometimes art and architecture can be meshed together to create a building that works in all senses. This is a great example – simply executed. And art doesn’t just have to hang on a wall – it can be a wall… (how profound?)

Nottingham – the place to go in 2010

Whilst I was doing some research at the weekend I was reminded that Nottingham had been named in a Dorling Kinderley article as the 3rd most important places to visit in 2010.

We were pipped into Bronze medal position by Reykjavik and Istanbul. But we still came in the top three – and that’s some accolade. When you consider all of the Cities in the world! Apparently there are 2,469,501 cities in the World.

The reasons given were threefold – The new Robin Hood film, The Nottingham Contemporary and our Shopping!

I have blogged before about the first two, but have tended to overlook the third. I rather take our shopping for granted – but we have some great brands. Of course Paul Smith is probably the biggest name – and it all started here! But then we have latterley attracted Vivienne Westwood. We also have the very cool One True Saxon – if Carl Froch shops there it must be ok! And that’s just fashion!

Although Broad marsh Shopping Centre is now showing signs of its age – and needs the upgrade we have been looking forward to for the last few years, Victoria Centre still draws the crowds (estimated at 23m each year!). And the connecting Bridlesmith Gate has one of the highest footfall figures in Europe. The City’s average weekly footfall is between 800,000 – 1,200,000.

Waitrose have opened a convenience store at the £70m Trinity Square development.

In 2009, the City slipped slightly to 7th place in the Experian Retail Survey. The order is:

1 London (2008, 1)
2 Glasgow (2)
3 Birmingham (3)
4 Manchester (4)
5 Liverpool (5)
6 Cardiff (10)
7 Nottingham (6)
8 Leeds (7)
9 Edinburgh (8)
10 Bluewater (9)

As we will always find it difficult to compete with some of the larger conurbation’s, we need to hold onto and promote the specialist shops and make sure the overall offer remains good.

Dorling Kindersley obviously thought it added to the attraction of visiting!

The walk of fame – in Nottingham

There was some great coverage yesterday of the Walk of Fame in Tinseltown – centred around the fact that it celebrates its 50th year and Ringo Starr was about to become the 2,401st celebrity to be immortalised in a paving slab.

Michael Jackson - at the walk of Fame

It turns out that the first was Stanley Kramer back in 1960. Since then the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce have ‘managed’ the whole process and now charge $25,000 for each little square of marble with brass inlay. The whole walk now stretches over 3.5 miles!

I actually visited the walk of Fame when I was in the USA with the Sheriff of Nottingham last September. You might have seen previous blogs about the trip. The summary is here.

One of the ideas we had was to have a Walk of Fame in Nottingham – accepting that this would be on a smaller scale…

But we have some great people who were either born or spent their working lives here – they each tell part of the Nottingham story.

Some candidates:

Sir Paul Smith – fashionista
Jessee Boot – pharmacy
Robin Hood – good bloke
Lord Byron – poet
D H Lawrence – author
Su Pollard – actress
Richard Beckinsale – actor
Leslie Crowther – TV personality
Jane Torvill & Christopher Dean (one each I think!) – skaters
Stella Rimington – MI5

There are lots of others – but wouldn’t it be fun and entertaining to get this started?

And as Paul McCartney doesn’t have his star in Hollywood I am sure we could let him have one here – just so long as he doesn’t mention football?