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£3.25 ISSUE 49


EDITOR’S WORD

SQUAREMILE

squaremile

hilarious, incisive magazine with amazing covers; a City section full of apposite comment; and big name interviews with the likes of Alastair Campbell, Jenson Button and Nobuyuki Matsuhisa (Nobu, to his mates, see p46). We are also world renowned for our commitment to journalistic excelence (please check spelling – Ed) and for the sheer extravagance of the staff’s expenses claims, but there is one further thing for which square mile has rightly become a byword in the City: and that is for throwing some of the finest, kick-ass parties the financial district has ever seen. Who can forget the dancing-under-the-dinosaurs insanity of last year’s square mile Masked Ball with Boris Johnson at the National History Museum (coming up again this October)? Or the cocktail-guzzling spectacular of last autumn’s square mile Porsche Design party at Chinawhite, not to mention the sports lunches with Will Greenwood, Graham Gooch and Keith Wood, the 30 Under 30 Awards at the Hilton Park Lane or the luxury brand receptions with companies as diverse as Asprey, Armani Casa and Louis Roederer? But there is one party every year where we give more back to our readers than all the others – it’s the square mile Summer Party at Devonshire Terrace. Last year 500 lucky readers quaffed champagne and munched canapés on a beautiful summer’s evening. This year we’ve gone mental and 1,500 of you lucky beggars will be partying the night away, for free, shoulder-to-shoulder with the City’s most discerning readership and the usual selection of VIPs, celebrities and drunk bankers. It’s on 4 August – for your ticket email: events@squareupmedia.com. Be there, or be the saddest person in the City the following day…

DEPUTY EDITOR Mark Hedley ART EDITOR Matthew Lewis-Hasteley CITY EDITOR Jon Hawkins ASSOCIATE EDITOR Eugene Costello FASHION EDITOR Amelia Pruen JUNIOR DESIGNER Katerina Varnavides CONTRIBUTORS Jamel Akib, Geraint Anderson, Mike Baghdady, Neil Davey, Gareth Groves, James Gurney, Angela Knight, Steve McDowell, Antonia Methuen, Paul Milican, Gavin Newsham, Saul Wordsworth INTERNS Luisa Pizza Tessa Norman James Taylor PRINTING Colourfast Europe

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MANAGING DIRECTOR Tim Slee MARKETING Kirsten Beckwith Clare Brind Rebecca Longstaff PRINT ADVERTISING Michael Berrett Mark Edwards Christian Morrow Kevin Rudge Tom Rutherford EVENTS Vicky Miller Alex Watson ACCOUNTS Steve Cole Natalie Jackson

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ISSUE 4

Please square mile uses paper from sustainable sources

Martin Deeson, Editor martind@squareupmedia.com

To receive your complimentary subscription to square mile visit squaremileclub.com/subs

CAPRICE BOURRET …was voted GQ’s woman of the year and Maxim’s international woman of the year three years running. In 2006 she bought out the licence for her lingerie line and set up her own business, By Caprice.

JOYCE PURNICK …joined the New York Times in 1979 after writing at the New York Post and New York magazine, and if there’s anyone in US politics she doesn’t know then they’re not worth knowing.

EUGENE COSTELLO … is the author of White Gold: The Inside Story of the UK’s Largest Ever Drugs Haul. So we thought it would be fun to turn the poacher into the gamekeeper – and send him out on the beat for a day. See p30 for more.

PHOTO (Joyce Purnik) by Fred R. Conrad

CONTACT 020 7819 9999

squareupmedia.com

Our cover is an hommage to a poster designed by Shepard Fairey that was adopted by Barack Obama. On p38, read the true story of Bloomberg’s election campaign non-starter...

AT SQUARE MILE we are famous for many things: an

T h e vo i c e o f T h e c i T y

EDITOR Martin Deeson

ANGELA KNIGHT CBE …is chief executive of the British Bankers’ Association. She set up her own successful company before entering politics in 1987 and eventually becoming Economic Secretary to the Treasury in 1995. © Square Up Media Limited 2010. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without the written permission of the publisher. All information contained in this magazine is, as far as we are aware, correct at the time of going to press. Square Up Media cannot accept responsibility for errors or inaccuracies in such information. If you submit unsolicited material to us, you automatically grant Square Up Media a licence to publish your submission in whole or in part in all editions of the magazine. All material is sent at your own risk and although every care is taken, neither Square Up Media nor its employees, agents or subcontractors shall be held liable resulting for loss or damage. Square Up Media endeavours to respect the intellectual property of the owners of copyrighted material reproduced herein. If you identify yourself as the copyright holder of material we have wrongly attributed, please contact the office.

SQUAREMILE 7


CONTENTS

SQUARE MILE ISSUE 49

CITY 50 . MEET MR MAL The hotel group CEO Robert Cook 49 on his plans for world domination and how he’s eyeing China hungrily…

53 . POST-ITS Personal bodyguards for the World Cup; London Jewellery Week; office-friendly eco-scooter

55 . CAPRICE The former model on running her own lingerie empire and what makes her get out of bed each day

38

UPFRONT

. UP & COMING 18 . NOTICE BOARD 20 . CITY TALK 25 . STYLE ACCESSORIES 26 . STYLE 3D TELEVISIONS 12

FEATURES

59 . WHITE KNIGHT

30 . ESTATES WE’RE IN

38 . PUT UP OR SHUT UP?

72 . MOTORS MASERATI 80 . TRAVEL DUBAI

46 . SUSHI UNCOVERED

76 . HOTELS BROOKLANDS

87 . HOSPITALITY THE OPEN 88 . RESTAURANTS REVIEWS 91 . JEWELLERY LONDON

61 . MAC DADDY The Turtle experiment – UK-style

63 . HAWKEYE Of football and finance... and why City boys aren’t as bad as you think

COVER

In 2008 the presidential campaign was a two-horse race between Obama and McCain. It now emerges we were inches away from having a third candidate – step forward, Michael Bloomberg, the not normally reticent New York mayor

CHEQUELIST

Angela Knight tours India and finds a vibrant banking sector

We send Eugene Costello to get down and dirty with the City of London police force. Forget industrial espionage and insider trading – we’re talking about the day-to-day crimes that directly affect the people that live and work in our City

We meet Nobuyuki ‘Nobu’ Matsuhisa, the man behind the international eponymous restaurant chain, who (tries to) explain the secret ingredient in all of his dishes

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92 . WINE KIWI PINOT NOIR 95 . PROPERTY HIGHGATE

ENDNOTES 96

. LOWER LIFE MEETS BUTCH

8 SQUAREMILE

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After 31 years we’ve finally made it right. The iconic G-Class 4x4, now in RHD. Now our capable, head-turning cult off-roader is available as right-hand drive.

A hardcore 4x4 outside, the G-Class is a soft touch inside. The collection of standard features is so rich that there are no

Deemed worthy transport for the Pope, winner of the ParisDakar Rally, serial winner of readers’ polls since 1979, this

optional ones; there is only one specification you need.

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Find out for yourself, call 0845 600 3143 today.

Thanks to a litany of technology and engineering advances, the G-Class climbs or descends slopes of up to 80 percent. Its maximum stationary tilt angle is 54 degrees. Ground clearance is 29 cm/11.4 in. It can ford streams 50 cm/ 19.7 in. deep. And it looks spectacular.

Mercedes-Benz World at Brooklands

Specialist Product Division Mercedes-Benz World, Brooklands Drive, Weybridge KT13 0SL 0845 600 3143 www.mercedes-benz.co.uk/specialist Official government fuel consumption figures in mpg (litres per 100km) for the G-Class: urban 21.1(13.4)-13.2(21.4), extra urban 29.1(9.7)-22.2(12.7), combined 25.7(11.0)-17.8(15.9). CO2 emissions: 378-291 g/km. MODEL FEATURED IS A MERCEDES-BENZ G 55 AMG. G-CLASS PRICING STARTS FROM £79,490 (ON THE ROAD PRICE INCLUDES VAT, DELIVERY, 12 MONTHS’ ROAD FUND LICENCE, NUMBER PLATES, FIRST REGISTRATION FEE AND FUEL). PRICES CORRECT AT TIME OF GOING TO PRESS (03/10).


upFront

partners in  time

the £24k trouser belt p12 bob carlos clarke p17 city boy speaks out p20 3d tv kicks off p26

harry’s game: They’ve certainly raised theirs for the eagerly awaited Opus X, says QP’s James gurney, on harry Winston’s latest collaboration – this time with Chronode’s Jean-François mojon

p25


upfront

#23 IT ProfessIonal

The

u at such a speed over the last few days that most of us do not know whether we are infra-toothing or catching a train. Therefore if like me you cannot distinguish a hard drive from a hard day at the office, let us join together and sing three cheers for our onsite IT experts! Alternatively visit threecheers.com and register your thanks that way. IT Professionals (ITers) are so up on the latest technology that if you need to contact them there are 244 different ways of doing so. These include phone, email, IM, nip-box, i-tuck, n-thrall, zip-hound and shouting. Yet despite all this newfangled gadgetry, sometimes it is better simply to stroll over and speak to an ITer in person (“facemail”) – it is easy to forget that they enjoy the company of people as well as machines. Part of an ITer’s job is to oversee the email system. This is also known as spying and is open to abuse. For instance it would be a bad idea to conduct an affair with Sandra in accounts in case you receive an anonymous email saying: “Unless you wish HR to know what you plan to give Sandra in the basement, please deposit £50 in the waste paper bin by the Epson LaserJet 1010 printer. Thank you for your compliance.” So what are you waiting for? Hand in your notice, book yourself on a course and get learning IT-ish. There’s money in it, computers are the future (allegedly) and you’ll even get to read other people’s emails. Just remember to start off slowly, though: never byte off more than you can chew or you may end up looking WAN. ■ saulwordsworth.com

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Technology has advanced

CiTy

index

swinging dick? or just a dick head?

B

Up&Coming 12 SquareMile

100 Things to do After the City

▲ ENGERLUND 1: A couple of JP Morgan analysts apparently unaware that we’re all supposed to be preventing the world from collapsing into further economic meltdown have used quant modelling to predict the outcome of the world cup, and it turns out England are going to win. Given the pair used the same models the bank relies upon to assess stocks there might be a few worried investors, but at least we’ll have someone to blame when the side bows out after a 3-0 loss to Slovenia in the group stage. They think it’s all over! It definitely is now. ▲ SKIVING: A Continental Tyres survey says 6.7m men will bunk off work to watch the World Cup, and one in 20 will blame a family death. Given how shit her last Christmas gift was it’s the least auntie Janet could do. ▲ STEPHEN ATKINSON: Standard Chartered’s investor relations chief runs the marathon blindfolded for charity, led by head of business performance management. Insert own ‘blind leading the blind’ joke here... ▲ VINCE CABLE: Asked in Guardian questionnaire how often he has sex, answers “frequently and beautifully”. Yes, but how frequently and how beautifully, Vince? ▲ BLACK MONEY: Artist makes 100m fake black dollars to highlight dirty Internet scams. If you’re going to go to all the trouble, why not make them the right colour? ▲ CHURCHILL: Collection of Winston’s old guff could raise over £1m at auction in June. “We shall fight them on the beaches, we shall fight them on Bargain Hunt...” ▲ ENGERLUND 2: Squad to donate World Cup fees to charity, challenging image of footballers as sex-crazed, money-grabbing arseholes. Or was that bankers? ▲ POUNDLAND: Bought by a private equity firm for £200m. Two hundred million pounds? Shouldn’t the Trade Descriptions people be taking a look at that? ▲ DINOSAURS: “We are Wall St... We aren’t dinosaurs. We are smarter and more vicious than that,” says anonymous email, gaining cult status. Was it you, Gekko? ▲ COALITION: There’s no ‘i’ in team. Or car crash.

WANT TO NOMINATE SOMEONE?: Work with a legend? Or a turkey?

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UP & COMING

▼ BORIS JOHNSON: Props to Bo-Jo for his London bicycle-hire scheme, but why did he ignore British bids and source the bikes from a Canadian firm? Next he’ll be demanding we dress like mounties to ride them. ▼ JORDAN WIMMER: Ex-Nomos Capital exec loses £4m sex discrimination case against former boss Mark Lowe and must pay legal bills of around £100k. There are winners and losers in life, and Wimmer’s a loser. ▼ POISON: A former student of the Beaune wine school who demanded €1m to stop him poisoning a top estate’s vines faces trial in France. Sour grapes? ▼ SIMON EAGLE: Record £2.8m FSA fine for shareramping conman. The Eagle has landed himself right in the shit, though we hear he won’t be doing bird. ▼ HEADHUNTING: Applicants for each City job halve from 5.7 to 2.7 in March, sparking fears of inter-bank poaching. Just increase bonuses, surely. Eh? Oh... ▼ NYSE: ‘Flash crash’ in US markets on 6 May causes widespread panic. SEC seeks explanation but says ‘fat finger’ not to blame. That rules out the Americans then. ▼ TESCO: Supermarket plans to build ‘mini villages ‘ of houses in the North East. How many Clubcard points will buyers get? None. Poundland Homes anyone?

“Good luck, old cock... Sorry to leave it in such a mess”

S E l l

▼ FABULOUS FAB: We’ve all got some skeletons in our inboxes – hell, square mile has a sent folder full of emails Vanessa Feltz evidently never got round to replying to – so many will have squirmed when Goldmans released a series of saucy emails between Frenchman Fabrice Tourre and girlfriend Marine Serres. Fighting allegations of fraud, the bank released the couple’s emails in an effort to clear its name. “I look forward to many, many, many live tender moments tonight,” Serres said in one message. Live and tender? The French truly are the world’s greatest lovers.

A note left in october 1964 by the outGoinG tory chAncellor, reGinAld MAudlinG, to JAMeS cAllAGhAn

THE CITY’S wInnErS and loSErS

▼ OLYMPICS: 71% of under-35s would cut Games funding says Channel 4 online game. 91% of web users under-35 sport-shy masturbators, guesses square mile.

Contact us with your City Winners & Losers: jon@squareupmedia.com

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●●

▼ GORDON BROWN: Gone but not fo... sorry, who?

Crunch Bunch #14 In our regular serIes for people who thInk the crunch was somethIng to do wIth a nestlÉ chocolate bar... a £23,700 belt buckle

it’S eASy to admire the complex beauty of a Swiss-made watch, but is there really a place for such highprecision mechanics in something that keeps your belly in check? Luxury goods manufacturer Roland Iten certainly thinks so. Step forward the Calibre R82 MkII – a mechanical belt buckle, which is handcrafted from 150 engineered parts. Why use a simple hole to fasten your belt when you could have a tensionenhanced spring expanding mechanism? Gone are the days of struggling to loosen your belt after an over-indulgent lunch; the wearer of the R82 MkII can nonchalantly expand his belt by ejecting the buckle lever at the touch of a button with the stealth that conspicuous belt fumblers can only dream of. This action is so swift that it has earned the buckle the code name Cobra – although, they’ve not worked out a way to make it spit yet. Despite its complex mechanics, the R82 MkII’s frame is discreet enough to ensure your expanding waistline goes unnoticed. However, for those who just can’t resist showing off their £23,700 accessory, the limited edition buckle can be customised with precious stones. Perfect after a gut-busting Ruby. ■ – Tessa Norman

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Up & Coming

upfront

Up&Coming

Escape Artist

Bonus Buster

#4 Ex-DERivATivEs TRADER AT iNG BARiNGs, ROss MARshAll wENT ON TO lAuNch GOlf hOliDAy cOMpANy yOuRGOlfTRAvEl.cOM...

A.D. TRAMONTANA, £775,000

WHEn FErnanDo aLonSo goes home to oviedo on his days off from being bolshy on the F1 circuit, it would make sense to drive something as Spanish and committed to high-speed madness as he is. So he should probably consider stashing one of these in his garage. Last year saw the release of the tramontana r, a hardtop version, but the original open cockpit option pictured above looks far more hair raising to us.

squaremileclub.com

Cartoon: Modern toss, moderntoss.com

14 SquareMile

Beginning as a concept at the 2005 Geneva Motor Show, only 12 of these carbon-fibre beauties are made each year. You’d expect quality for more than three quarters of a million quid, and the tramontana gives you 720 horsepower, a top speed of 325kmh and a made-tomeasure interior (although, we’d like to see them fitting Jeremy Clarkson in one). You can even choose the number of seats – just don’t ask for more than two. ■ – JT

I had joIned Barings on a graduate trainee scheme but from day one I felt unfulfilled. It was just a conveyor belt of money and the majority of people were totally inanimate. There was no room for passion or emotion. It was all about self-gain. Sure, there was a lot of talk about values and how the bank wanted to develop people and encourage entrepreneurship but it was so highly political that everybody was just trying to position themselves or taking sideswipes at each other and that was something I didn’t want to get involved with. I’d been developing a few ideas in my spare time when I was at the bank, one of which was yourgolftravel.com. I’d even taught myself coding so I could build the initial website. My business partner Andrew had worked for a golf travel firm when he was younger and had a sound knowledge of the business. To us it just seemed that nobody was dominating in the golf travel sector and as none of the major retailers were doing golf either, there was a real commercial opportunity. To get the business off the ground we borrowed around £30,000 on credit cards and then flipped them over to other cards on 0% balance transfers. It wouldn’t happen now but the credit was easy back then and as we’d been turned down for a bank loan it helped fund the business. We didn’t draw salaries for two years or so and I went from working 80 hours, five days a week to working 120 hours, seven days a week. I was totally skint. I even had to move back in with my parents. But it’s been worth it. We’re now in year five and business has more than doubled year on year, we’ve acquired four other businesses, including Europe’s largest golf travel company and we’ve launched spabreaks.com too. I am grateful for my time in the City, if only for the fact that I learnt a huge amount about how not to manage people. ■ – Gavin Newsham


Pressesports ©

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Footballing legend Diego Maradona is Hublot’s new ambassador. Argentina’s current national team coach is also known as the «player of the 20th century» in honour of his exceptional career which has left its mark on the history of world football. And from today, it will be a Big Bang Maradona in ceramic that can be seen on the wrist of the «Hand of God»!

For a list of Hublot stockists in the UK, please telephone 0207 343 7200 or e-mail info@timeproducts.co.uk Hublot TV on: www.hublot.com

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Art work

UPFRONT

Smokin’… a retrospective of the smouldering catalogue of legendary photographer bob carlos clarke pays homage to his genius

The Little Black Gallery, 13A Park Walk, SW10; 020 7349 9332; thelittleblackgallery.com

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photo: ‘Incendiary Blonde’ by Bob Carlos Clarke

BEFORE YOU ASK: no, we don’t know her name; and no, we can’t give you her phone number. About the best we can do is tell you where to find her. This digital bromide print, entitled Incendiary Blonde, is one of a number of sexually charged images on display at The Little Black Gallery as part of ‘Full Throttle’, a retrospective of the work of legendary snapper Bob Carlos Clarke. Often called the ‘British Helmut Newton’, Clarke had a colourful career – he specialised in nudes – and the exhibition covers all 30 years of it. Models and subjects for Cork-born Clarke included Dita Von Teese, Caprice [read our exclusive interview with her on p55], Rachel Weisz, Keith Richards and Marco Pierre White. Second-wife and former model Lindsey Carlos Clarke recalls with a mix of affection and irritation: “He used to say, ‘Oh God, it’s such a pity you don’t have bigger boobs and longer legs. I could have made a fortune out of you.’ Bastard…” As Lindsey (along with It-Girl Tamara Beckwith and Clarke’s erstwhile agent Ghislain Pascal) is a partner at the gallery there is a permanent room dedicated to Clarke’s work; you can ring for an appointment or just pop in. The gallery’s forthcoming exhibition, Summer in the City, opens its doors on 9 June. ■

SqUaReMile 17


chequeliSt

Notice Board

+ LiNN & WiLLiaM orbit square mile readers were invited to celebrate the partnership between hifi specialists Linn and DJ William Orbit.

+ Maddox’s 3rd birthday Club supremo Fred Moss hosted a star-studded party to celebrate the 3rd birthday of Mayfair institution Maddox.

phOtOgraphs: (Linn & WIlliam Orbit) James McCauley

18 SquareMile

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upfront

IllustratIon by russ tudor

20 SquareMile

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City talk

take my mum-in-law…

That crippling dryness in your mouth, the constriction in your throat.… Whether as best man or presenting to clients, we all have to make speeches. gerainT anderson (aka Cityboy) overcame his nerves and pulled it off There is noThing on God’s sweet earth that used to scare me more than getting up in front of a large group of halfcut characters I haven’t met before and attempting to entertain them with witty banter for 20 minutes. A year ago, given the choice, I would have preferred to have covered my gonads in Pedigree Chum and run naked around Battersea Dogs Home than attempt such stress-inducing foolishness. Unfortunately, a few months ago someone made me an offer I couldn’t refuse to deliver an after-dinner speech and, with tightly clenched buttocks, I accepted the challenge. Partly because of my belief that we should all face our fears or we will be doomed to be controlled by them. But mainly because of the vast amount of wonga I’d been offered. It seems that I am not alone in fearing public speaking. Indeed, some studies suggest that ‘glossophobia’ ranks up there with the fear of death. One study even suggests that the amount of adrenaline coursing around the body of a newish actor just before taking to the stage is similar to that experienced by a soldier just before going ‘over the top’ in World War I. While I’m somewhat sceptical that trench-bound doctors were performing such tests rather than operating on machine gun wounds I can accept the point. I know only too well the sweatypalmed, wide-eyed, heart-pounding terror that immediately precedes a speech to a big audience. Indeed, during my

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12-year City career I used every trick in the book to avoid having to make presentations to large groups. I would either con a colleague into taking the rap or I would develop some kind of mysterious one-day ‘throat infection’ at just the appropriate moment. Unfortunately, while most people hate these public performances it is almost impossible to go through life without ever having to do them. Best man speeches, business presentations and other such obligations ensure that even the most timid of us occasionally have to stand up and reveal to our friends, colleagues or clients what hilarious, confident fellows we really are. And that’s the problem. Whenever one takes to the podium we all feel an enormous pressure to put on a great show and believe that our every stammer and nervous tic will be interpreted as a sign of our weakness and foolishness. Men particularly feel

●● The fact the bloke that they usually used was busy may have been a factor…

a huge pressure never to reveal any signs of vulnerability and City boys feel this pressure more keenly than most. What’s even worse for City workers is that they often have to speak publicly for their job and so performing badly can not only be embarrassing but detrimental to their career prospects too. Yet curiously for a confirmed glossophobe, I accepted an invitation to make a 20-minute after-dinner speech to 350 bankers in Hong Kong. I would be providing the ‘light entertainment’ just before the prizes were handed out at a magazine’s black-tie awards ceremony. They wanted to use me because I used to be a stockbroker and because my book Cityboy was quite popular over there. The fact the bloke that they usually used was busy that day may also have had something to do with it. A representative of the magazine had asked me if I ever made after-dinner speeches and I glibly said I did them all the time. Now, this, as the observant reader may notice, was not strictly true, though I had overcome my nerves on three separate occasions in the previous decade (best man, funeral, the Oxford Union). Still, none of those events were scarier than what I now faced. After an hour asking the magazine’s rep what was expected of me and what the audience would be like, I then spent a few days writing the speech – which was to be “70 per cent humorous and 30 per ▶ SquareMile 21


City talk

upfront

▶ cent serious”. The subject was to be the credit crunch and my ‘story’. My girlfriend and I arrived in Hong Kong the day before my ordeal and at 6pm the next day, after running it by the missus a few times, I left with a heavy heart to face the music. By the time the grand ballroom of the Conrad Hotel had been filled with 350 bankers my heart was pounding like a bass drum. Things didn’t get any better when the MC’s very first gag went down like a lead balloon. He pretended to receive a call from his gay lover on his mobile as he approached the podium which, while not exactly a sophisticated joke, could have elicited a few giggles from a more affable audience. After a mirthless five-minute discourse he came up, patted me on the back and whispered in my ear: “Tough crowd tonight, I’m afraid.” My heart rate went up another notch – especially when I realised that the two-thirds-Chinese audience might not get my gags about Jordan or EastEnders. Dinner seemed to take hours. Then, suddenly, I was called to the stage. I had asked the MC to give me an effusive introduction so that the very first thing I said might get a few laughs. I tottered up the stairs to the podium, paused for

●● The capital of Iceland (about £3.50) was a simple but effective gag 22 SquareMile

a few seconds and then said with mock surprise: “My God, after that introduction I can hardly wait to hear myself speak!” A smattering of laughs put my nerves at ease a little and as I delivered each sentence I felt the fear ebb away. Soon I found myself having to look down at my notes less often and could hear my delivery grow slower and my voice grow more confident. Some of my gags got the whole room laughing in an extremely satisfying way. Describing insider trading as like a German joke (“no laughing matter”), explaining how three sheep tied to a pole in Wales is locally referred to as “a leisure centre” and saying the capital of Iceland was “about £3.50” were simple gags but successful ones. The joke that got the most laughs was the quote from my married colleague who described the 2008 financial crisis as worse than a divorce “because he’d lost half his wealth but was still married”. However, certain anti-banker jokes, unsurprisingly, didn’t go down too well – I should have realised that saying that most people would call seven investment bankers at the bottom of the ocean “a good start” might not be a winner to an audience of 350 bankers. Still, by about halfway through the speech I was actually enjoying it and the hearty round of applause I received on finishing made me genuinely happy. I sat back down with a big grin on my face. I’ve delivered a few more after-dinner speeches since then, each one easier than the last. I am now planning to join an agency to do it on a professional basis. You get £3-5k to make a 20-minute speech, which has to be the best pay around unless you’re a premier league footballer. It’s even better money than I received in the City, for God’s sake… I broke my cherry in Hong Kong and no longer regard after-dinner speaking as akin to rubbing my genitals with a cheese grater. The simple fact is that the experience does not have to be traumatic if you prepare well and remember that it will be over in ten or 20 minutes. Believe me, if I can overcome my deeply-ingrained fear of this bizarre ritual then so can you. ■ Geraint Anderson is available for hire as an

Top Tips for delivering afTer-dinner speeches: Bankers, more than most, are obliged to speak at lunches, dinners and other such events. While many bankers regularly have to present to clients, an after-dinner speech is a different kettle of fish and still likely to make you pretty damn nervous. The first thing to realise is that nerves are perfectly normal. The second thing to realise is that unless you’re mumbling like you’re about to audition for My Left Foot or shaking like you’re just coming down off a four-day bender with Pete Doherty the audience won’t notice the nerves that you’re so painfully aware of. These tips should help: • Have a strong, relevant gag in the first few sentences – the first laugh really helps relax you. • Learn the beginning and end of your speech off by heart so that you can make a damn good first impression and leave on a high note. • Make sure you know the audience well so that you have the appropriate tone/subject/jokes. Self-deprecation is always an easy way to get the audience on side, as is flattery of the audience. • Read it out a few times 1) to test it’s the right length, and 2) to learn it. Shorter is generally better so be ruthless when editing. • Print the speech out. Take it with you but don’t just read it out as this would be dull. Instead, underline in red the keywords for each anecdote so that after several read-throughs a glance down at these words is all you need to prompt a few sentences of speech. • When delivering the speech remember that nerves may well often make you speak too quickly. Slow things down even if it seems unnatural and use dramatic pauses for effect. Don’t get drunk before your speech. Two glasses of wine max. • Remember the audience are generally on your side, have had a few sherberts and want to have a laugh. After a few of these terrifying ordeals you may actually enjoy doing them.

after-dinner speaker: cityboy69@hotmail.co.uk

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NEW LONDON FLAGSHIP 126,127 New Bond Street

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STYLE ACCESSORIES

UPFRONT

SHADY BUSINESS

It’s going to be a long, hot summer, if the forecasters are to be believed. There’s only one thing to do, says JAMES TAYLOR – invest in some super-sexy double-glazing

▼ MAGNUM OPUS QP MAGAZINE’S JAMES GURNEY ON HARRY WINSTON’S OPUS X

S T Y L E

1 RAY-BAN NEW WAYFARER,

ACCESSORIES

EDITED BY AMELIA PRUEN

£80 “Get that hair slicked back and those Wayfarers on, baby.” Don Henley’s Boys of Summer aside, the iconic design has had an update – now slightly smaller with a shallower lens – and is sure to be a hit on the beach. There’s a large range of frame and lens colours to choose from, but we’d punt for the basic black option: very Tom Cruise in Risky Business. But with better teeth, and less uncertain sexual orientation, we hope. ray-ban.com/uk

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2 PORSCHE DESIGN P8481,

€280 When it comes to wearing sporty shades, there are two types of people: those who can, and those who look like sales managers from a mobile phone shop. If you’re the former, then pick up a pair of P8481s. They have a titanium frame and unbreakable lenses – so you can sit on them and they won’t snap. If you’re not sure which category you fall into, ask yourself this: do you own a pair of cream chinos? porsche-design.com

3 EDEN PARK P5541, £105 Brad Pitt is a big fan of goldframed aviators, so be sure to get a pair of these to complete the ‘movie star who has the irksome task of choosing between two of Hollywood’s most stunning actresses’ look. The pair of P5541s have the Eden Park crest at the hinge, and a metal frame fused to hand-made arms. As stylish as they are, I’m afraid that we can’t guarantee they’ll help you get a role starring next to Angelina Jolie. eden-park.com squaremileclub.com

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3

DOING JUSTICE TO the phenomenon that is Harry Winston’s Opus series in a monthly column is virtually impossible. Opus X is a great watch, but absolutely needs to be viewed in the light of the previous nine. If you are a serious watch collector, likely enough you will already know more about the series than can be recounted here. If not you might be wondering what Harry Winston, that most famous of diamond houses, has to do with watches anyway. To set the scene, Harry Winston has had serious watch credibility for decades and was the first, for example, to use a retrograde date display on a wristwatch. Then came the Opus concept, where Harry Winston had an idea that has no comparison in other luxury industries; commissioning a new watch from an independent maker (usually before they’ve made any name for themselves), applying the Harry Winston gloss, but sharing the credit. The roll call of past collaborators is watchmakings’s current royalty – FP Journe, Urwerk, Greubel Forsey – a list that puts no small pressure on Jean-François Mojon of Chronode, the maker challenged with creating the tenth in the series. Mojon’s idea for Opus X looked at first glance to be a little underwhelming, but seen in action, the movement and poise of the planetary gears is supremely elegant – this is a watch that needs to be seen for real. You will no doubt be relieved that space does not permit any in-depth account of the gearing solutions, save that they are quite as complex as you might hope. ■ James Gurney is editor of QP. For tickets to the Salon QP watch show, visit salonqp.com. For 20% off, enter SUM1716

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STYLE TECHNOLOGY

UPFRONT

S T Y L E TECHNOLOGY

EDITED BY AMELIA PRUEN

WHO’D WANT TO go to the World Cup? It’s ages away, it’ll cost a fortune and with volcanoes and bolshy BA staff, your flight might not take off at all. Much better to stay home and watch the action on the biggest, best TV screen you can afford. This year’s event will be the first filmed in 3D, with up to 25 of the matches (including the final) getting the extra-special treatment. None of England’s group matches will be shown in 3D sadly, but this fact shouldn’t dissuade you from demonstrating your patriotism and faith that we’ll make it to at least the knockout stage. Toshiba, official consumer electronics supplier to the England team, is going even further –

26 SQUAREMILE

the company is offering a full refund on laptops and TVs bought before 10 June if we bring home the Cup. Sony, LG and Samsung have released their 3D TV models, and you can pick any of them up for £2k or less. LG’s LD950 uses ‘passive’ 3D technology, like the glasses you would have worn while watching Avatar. Replacement glasses are cheap – good for when you snap them in rage after England miss a penalty – but the 47in screen is the dearest here, at an even two large. The 40in Samsung UE40C7000 is £200 less, and uses ‘active glasses’, connected by a wire to the set. The TV switches between two images 60 times a second, and the liquid glasses

operate as shutters, tricking your brain into creating the most realistic 3D image available. The £1,500 Sony HX03 also uses the active glasses technology, and comes in 40-inch or 46-inch models. However, if you’re like Sharp, which has held off from the 3D spree so far, you’ll need hi-def 2D. Philips’s 40PFL9704 (£1,800) comes with a 40in backlit LED screen and built-in WiFi. It’s estimated that about one in two people looking to change TVs in the coming 12 months will bring their purchase forward thanks to the World Cup coming along. If you’re one of those people (toss a coin to check), there’s still time to trade up before the 11 July final. ■

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Features

a choking matter

on the beat in the city meeting nobu-san spirits of the summer

p38 bloomberg’s mare: For michael bloomberg, it was the presidential campaign that dare not speak its name – despite being the worst-kept secret in Us politics

p30 p46 p66


FEATURES

PHOTOGRAPHS by Chris O’Donovan

OLD SCHOOL

CITY CRIME

City crime: insider trading… FSA bank fines... pinstripe suits with poker-dot ties? Forget ’em. EUGENE COSTELLO goes to City Police HQ in the search for the street side of Square Mile crime WHEN YOU GIVE any thought to the question of policing the City, chances are you might think of uncovering boilerroom scams, watching out for possible terrorist activity and giving unruly bankers celebrating their bonuses a little too enthusiastically a couple of hours in the cell to cool off. And of course this kind of activity is all part of the requirements of the City of London police – the terrorist threat is especially resonant in this part of town after the IRA bombing of the Stock Exchange (1990), the Baltic Exchange

●● The Square Mile is full of ‘spectacular’ targets: stuff of a terrorist’s wet dream 30 SQUAREMILE

(1992) and Bishopsgate (1993). With the Real IRA resurgent and the threat from fundamentalist Islam all too present in people’s minds after the 7/7 bombs, City of London police are more than aware that the prestigious corporate head offices and many historical buildings found in the Square Mile represent the sort of ‘spectacular’ targets that would be the stuff of a terrorist’s wet dream. But there is another side to policing the City that many possibly don’t give much thought to. Dealing with multiple mortgage fraud carried out online from a converted council flat in a Nottingham tower block. Being called to a block of flats to deal with an incident of domestic violence. Uncovering a ring of drugdealing on an inner-city estate. This is all part-and-parcel of policing the City. While the main population of the City is a daytime one – more than 300,000 people travel into work here daily – there is a small permanent population of 9,000. While some of these residents are affluent inhabitants of the Barbican, a stone’s throw past them is the Golden Lane estate where the Corporation of London still has a statutory duty to house people.

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CITY CRIME

Other inner-city estates within the Square Mile can be found at Mansell St and beside Petticoat Lane. While relatively small and orderly compared to some of the sprawling sink estates found across the rest of London, social housing nevertheless does have attendant implications in terms of policing requirements – who would have expected that the City of London police would need to have a domestic violence unit, for example? And when it comes to fraud, the City of London Police’s economic crime department – operating out of smart, modern offices on New St that could be the home to a life insurance company – shoulders an enormous amount of the burden facing the UK. The reasons are two-fold: when it comes to, say, mortgage fraud, chances are the complainant (the bank or building society) will have its head office in the City. The second is that, as the lead force in the UK for fraud cases, City of London police has the expertise (and often the available resources) for undertaking lengthy and complex investigations. And finally the growth of the City’s entertainment industry has meant that many of the policing requirements are coming to mirror those of their neighbour the Met as it looks after the West End. Where 20 years ago most pubs shut at 9pm and you couldn’t get a drink at the weekend, the City’s nighttime economy is booming. And in small part thanks to the Millennium Bridge delivering tourists from Tate Modern to St Paul’s, weekends are no longer like being on the set of 28 Days Later. The massive new retail development at One New Change, Cheapside, is attracting quality retailers and will further establish this change in visitor behaviour, attracting weekend shoppers who will likely stay for dinner and a few drinks on a Saturday night. Over these pages we have attempted to give you a snapshot of the realities of policing the City. One thing’s certain; it’s a force that, due to the unique residential make-up and working patterns of those that spend time in the City, is quite unlike any other in the UK… ▶

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SQUAREMILE 31


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city crime

Features

▶ FRAUD IN THE CITY DC Doug Berry, 47, spent 20 years in uniform at Bedforshire police. He says: “Towards the end I was technically on fraud but the reality was that we were inundated with rapes, murders, stabbings and so on. So even with the best will in the world fraud cases – which are complex and extremely labour-intensive – don’t get the priority they deserve.” One of DC Berry’s bugbears is the notion that fraud is somehow a victimless crime: “I could take you to meet a lady whose husband died last year of cancer and she is now destitute,” he says. “Not because he hadn’t provided for her – he had provided very well – but a sophisticated scam bled him of every penny. And the heartbreaking thing was that he discovered it while he was still alive so he died knowing that the money he had worked so hard for to provide for his widow had all been stolen from him.” Where once organised crime might have looked to more traditional types of crime such as drugs or running prostitution rings to raise revenue, criminals have switched on to the fact that there are huge sums to be made from fraud for relatively low outlay and relatively low sentences, says Berry: “Say two to five years depending on the fraud, where it could be several times that for the other types of crime you mention.” The growth of the internet and far greater IT skills by the criminals mean fraud is massively on the rise, he points out: “Trying to follow a trail is painstaking work. For example, you ring an ‘020 7’ number, it’s answered and you assume you’re speaking to someone in London. But what you don’t know is that the number has been routed via Carlisle to New York, and then rerouted from New York so that the person you’re actually speaking to is in Moscow. And that really makes it very hard for law enforcement to keep up with these criminals.” Berry says that the best way to illustrate the complexity of the job is in a recent case that he worked on – a mortgage fraud where Abbey (now Santander) and Birmingham Midshires were taken for £7.2m between them in 33 separate mortgage applications. ▶ squaremileclub.com

The New RiNg of STeel iNSpecToR Neale whiTTock, 47, giveS uS a TouR of The ciTy of loNdoN police commaNd aNd coNTRol Room aT wood ST

“Calls come in to us in a number of ways. Either via 999 – those calls go through to our neighbours, the Met, and are then relayed to us. Or via our own switchboard, from people walking in to the front desk of one of our three stations (Bishopsgate, Wood St or Snow Hill). Or from one of our officers on patrol. We have the normal issues that you’d find in any London borough – say, domestic violence, begging, armed robbery – but the City is still the safest place to live and work. We’ve seen a spike in violent crime in recent years following the relaxation of licensing laws. Lots of Ministry of Soundtype clubs have sprung up, meaning many more people coming into the City from other parts of London. We’ve worked to minimise the impact by putting the onus on the premises to assess the risk. If a particular promoter or DJ can mean trouble we prepare for it. The premises will warn us, we’ll expect them not to serve glasses or bottles, and premises that fail to cooperate could be shut down or have their hours restricted. Everyone knows about the ring of steel, but the days when we had big blocks of concrete on the roads are gone. We have

an incredibly sophisticated system of fixed cameras all over the City with Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR). If a known criminal enters the City we can follow them and if need be send out a response unit. Our response is commensurate with the threat – if a car is associated with firearms, armed police will deal with it. In that sense, ANPR is our new ring of steel – we can read plates in rain, fog, darkness. And our officers monitoring the screens here at Control have joysticks that allow them to operate and move our fixed cameras so we can focus on and follow any suspicious behaviour – be it a car or individuals on the street. If we spot people acting suspiciously around an ATM we’ll follow them on camera and send in plainclothes to assess – and arrest them if need be.”

squareMile 33


city crime

Features

May the force be with you: (top) a control room officer monitors the cctV footage that covers every inch of the Square Mile; (bottom) like its neighbours at the Met, the city of London police also have a mounted division – here officers patrol the Golden Lane estate in the shadow of the barbican

▶ Berry takes up the story: “The way that it worked was this. Normal conveyancing requires a solicitor, and before a bank will start releasing funds to a firm’s client account, first of all they check that the firm has a practising certificate. They do this by checking with the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority (SRA) that the firm has a licence to practise – if a firm does, no alarm bells ring. In this case, a guy set up a fake firm in Ilford called Montague Mason and advertised for a bona fide solicitor to

●● The money was dispersed to 68 other bank accounts all opened using false identities 34 squareMile

come and join them. A Nigerian guy responded. He had a certificate to practise – overseas solicitors sit the Qualified Legal Transfer Test and if they pass get a licence to practise in the UK. They showed him some premises in Ilford that they said would be the office – they were going to be a high street firm dealing with crime and conveyancing, they told him, and the offices would open six weeks later, in January 2009. The six weeks gave them long enough to register with the SRA, using his certificate to practise, and they were up and running. It was during this period that they got the 33 applications in. The way it worked was this. They would apply for mortgages on properties that really were for sale so it all looked above board. But where they were clever was that they would only apply for a 50% mortgage so the loan-to-value ratio was low and wouldn’t trigger any alarm bells as it looked like a safe investment. Montague Mason would sign a contract of title that essentially said, ‘I’ve done due diligence, everything is in order, please wire the money.’

But of course there was no house purchase – and the funds the banks were transferring to Montague Mason’s ‘client account’ were going to a private account. From there, the money was dispersed to 68 other bank accounts that had been opened using false identities. Every address associated with these accounts were postal drops – communal letterboxes in blocks of flats, empty ▶

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city crime

Features

▶ houses, etc – while all the mobiles were pay-as-you-go and untraceable. Typically, these were trading accounts as these allow you to withdraw higher daily amounts from ATMs. In one day alone, one of our suspects withdrew £150k in Nottingham. From the times, we could see that he had a map of where the ATMs were and drove round drawing money from various accounts, as well as going into branches to draw large sums. The applications had all been done online so there were no paper applications from which we could get fingerprints or handwriting samples. But what we did have were IP addresses that we traced back to two addresses, one a residential road called Cavenham Gardens in Ilford and one in Nottingham, in a tower block of flats. On 2 June 2009 we executed two simultaneous search warrants on these addresses – I went to Nottingham while my colleagues took Ilford. When they turned up at Cavenham Gardens, someone started throwing credit cards out of a window at the back. There were 25 or 30 cards, all in different names, plus they found £120k in cash inside stashed in laundry baskets, pots, all over the place. Two brothers, Imran and Nadeem Khan lived there. While the officers were carrying out the search, there was a knock at the door – the visitor was one Farhan Khan. He was searched and in his wallet he had a couple of credit cards in different names, so he was arrested. Of course, they weren’t stolen, they were false aliases. When Khan’s home address was searched, there were lots of different aliases and identities with the Mirza brothers photos on them. So it’s a pretty advanced operation. Meanwhile, up in Nottingham we force the door at the flat in the Victoria Centre. Inside, it’s a council-style twobed flat – but it’s been converted into an office. There are desks, PCs, scanners, you name it. And there are built-in cupboards – on the shelves are piles of documents. When we look more closely, each pile relates to a different identity. There are utility bills in the aliases’ names, bank statements, papers detailing bank log-in details for the accounts in the

36 squareMile

●● When we turned up, someone started throwing credit cards out of a window at the back name of that alias, the security questions, what the name of the bank relationship manager is for that alias, and so on. And on the PCs we found a massive amount of documentation for fake companies for these aliases – company logos, letterheads, bank account applications in the name of those companies... There were rows of untraceable mobile phones on the shelves, and passports for fake IDs too. This office was run by someone called Khawar Khan but there was no sign of him. Then on 12 August we got lucky when Khawar was picked up. At his other address we found 200 or so different bankcards, 250 chequebooks and more forged passports. So between the Mirzas, Farhan Khan and Khawar Khan they had 668 bank accounts. It was a sophisticated operation, involving many police hours to unravel it. We recovered most of the money, plus some gold ingots and expensive watches they’d bought but there’s no doubt they had all previously been involved in other frauds so we’ll never know the extent of what they had been up to. In this instance, all four defendants pleaded guilty and on 1 March 2010, at Southwark Crown Court, Khawar Khan received five years, the Mirza brothers four years each and Farhan Khan received two years. And when you bear in mind that, even though the four pleaded guilty, the evidence amounted to 26,000 pages, you can perhaps see why county forces have shown some reluctance to committing resources to investigating these cases.” ■

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Features

38 squaremile

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michael bloomberg

Who will dare stand against Obama in 2012? Palin? (Sarah, not Michael); Bloomberg? (Michael, definitely Michael). JOYce PUrNicK on how the man who made his millions from that terminal on your desk almost ran in 2008

the DAY AFter Bloomberg won reelection as Mayor of New York by a landslide in 2005, his political maestro and stalking horse, Kevin Sheekey, dropped a bomb live on NY1 News, New York’s 24/7 cable television station. Asked about the mayor’s future, he did not hesitate. “Obviously, Bloomberg 2008 – we’ll roll right into the presidential as we move forward,’’ Sheekey said to his stunned interviewer, Dominic Carter. “Dominic, don’t you think the Mayor should run for president next with his unique view on how to solve the problems in urban America?’’ With that began the will-he-or-won’the parlour game, promoted aggressively by Sheekey, coyly by Bloomberg, helpfully by Bloomberg’s money. Would Bloomberg be an updated version of ▶

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michael bloomberg

Features

PHotograPH (Michael Bloomberg portrait, previous page) original by KPa/Zuma / rex Features

▶ H Ross Perot, the wealthy Texan who ran as an independent in 1992? No, the Mayor kept saying crankily for more than a year, and into the presidential season that ended with the election of Barack Obama. No. No. No. Wink. Wink. Wink. “Which letter in the word ‘no’ do you not understand?” he repeatedly said at press conferences. “I am not going to run for president.’’ Once, when pressed to cite the circumstances under which he might run, the Mayor answered: “If everybody in the world was dead and I was the only one alive.” Yet at the same time, his aides let it be known that Bloomberg could spend whatever he wanted on running for president. It would be “a billion-dollar campaign,” Sheekey told Newsweek. At every opportunity, he talked up the idea of his boss running as a thirdparty candidate, a message echoed by Bloomberg’s pollster, Douglas Schoen, who, surely by coincidence, was writing a book about the impending death of the two-party system and parallel rise of political independence. It would not have been hard for the Mayor to silence both men. He did not. In June 2007, Bloomberg, the lifelong Democrat who had become a Republican to run for Mayor, quit the GOP and declared himself an independent. He spoke about his decision the next day, at a ceremony marking the 50 millionth call to 311, his citizens’ service system. “I’m really thrilled that people care so much about 311 and its ability to deliver

●● A company with one client – Mike Bloomberg – had created a ‘Bloomberg for President’ website… squaremileclub.com

services, and I’m sure that will be on the front page tomorrow,” Bloomberg said sardonically. Asked at least a dozen different ways about his presidential gambol, he insisted he was “not a candidate’’ and had left the Republican Party to become unaffiliated only because, “if you are independent, it gives you a flexibility, and the more I thought about that, the more I think it felt right.’’ The true scope of the Bloomberg’s stealth campaign has never been disclosed. A company called the Symposia Group, which had a client of one – Mike Bloomberg – had created a ‘Bloomberg for President’ website on Sheekey’s instruction. Mayoral sources said Symposia was preparing to analyse voter preferences nationwide if Bloomberg ran. They also said they were polling around the country. It remains a well-guarded secret how far that went, what Bloomberg paid for preliminary “micro-targeting,” travel, salaries and polling, or what he learned. Since Bloomberg personally underwrote his non-campaign, he could spend what he wanted without creating the standard paper trail of public candidate reports. Unknown too, maybe to everyone but himself, is Bloomberg’s state of mind at the time. “He was conflicted,’’ says Gerald Rafshoon, the former aide to President Jimmy Carter and a founder of Unity ’08, a reform group that was looking for a bipartisan presidential candidate early in the campaign season. Bloomberg had attracted the group’s interest. Rafshoon remembers speaking with the Mayor early in the summer of 2006 at Ben Bradlee’s birthday party in the Hamptons: “He told me he had to decide what he was going to do after he was Mayor. He said ‘I could do more good as president than I could at philanthropy.’” To Rafshoon, Bloomberg seemed intrigued and flattered by Unity ’08’s interest in him, but worried. He did not, he emphasised, want to be a spoiler – “he didn’t want to be responsible for electing another right-wing president.’’ Rafshoon told him that he and his colleagues were convinced that in a polarised blue-state, red-state country, an independent candidate could parachute ▶ squaremile 41


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michael bloomberg

Features

●● the moment to realise a fantasy harboured since college, to be the first Jewish president, had now passed

PHotograPH (original image) Sipa / rex Features

▶ into the broad middle and win. It would all depend on who emerged from the Republican and Democratic primaries. Sheekey agreed. As he saw it, a country frustrated with partisanship and the dysfunctions of Washington might embrace a third-party candidate, especially one who could spend $1bn in his cause. He thought Bloomberg could appeal to the centre if the Republicans nominated, say, the conservative Mike Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas, and the Democrats nominated John Edwards – or Barack Obama. “I used to say if it was Huckabee and Obama, I’d write the filing checks myself,’’ said Sheekey, reflecting the preliminary and, as it happened, erroneous view of Obama as a standard liberal who would not appeal to independents. Sheekey told others his man could run if Hillary Clinton became the Democratic nominee. Sometimes it seemed as if any Democrat candidate argued in favour of a Bloomberg run. Others were more dubious about Bloomberg’s chances. He was a traditional urban liberal – anti-gun, pro-immigrant, pro-choice, a secular New Yorker who supported gay rights. His history of profanity and suits for sexual harassment – though settled and old news in New York except for one still-pending class action lawsuit suit against his company – would be national media fodder. He had never articulated an Iraq policy, then the central issue in the campaign, and bristled when anyone

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questioned his foreign policy credentials: “I know more about foreign policy than any of the candidates. I’ve negotiated deals around the world, I’ve dealt with politicians in every one of these countries, we do business with their companies and with their governments.’’

DesPite his DisclAiMers, Bloomberg was seen as poised to run for the White House if the opportunity arose, and the speculation about his intentions reached a crescendo in the last week of 2007, with news that he would join a bipartisan conference of elder statesmen and women at the University of Oklahoma, billed as an effort to pressure the major party candidates to renounce partisan gridlock. “Our political system is, at the very least, badly bent – and many are concluding that it is broken,’’ read the invitation. The participants included former Democratic Senators Bob Graham and Gary Hart, and Republicans Christine Todd Whitman, a former Governor of New Jersey, and Senators Bill Brock and John Danforth. Also attending were two men frequently mentioned as possible Bloomberg running mates – former Senators Sam Nunn, Democrat of Georgia, and Chuck Hagel, the maverick Nebraska Republican. When first announced, the conference seemed destined to take place while the presidential race was still fluid, so it attracted wide attention. Anything could happen, it seemed, as the 2008 election year finally dawned. On 6 January, Mike Bloomberg flew to Oklahoma on his Falcon 9 jet, an entourage in tow – Sheekey, Harris, Jim Anderson, his communications director, and Stu Loeser, his press secretary. Arriving for dinner at the campus home of the university president, former Democratic Senator David Boren, the Mayor was soon surrounded by reporters. Was he running? Was this the moment? Bloomberg smiled in silence. The reporters tried again. Silence. There was an unspoken sense that evening in Oklahoma that the press corps, not as star-studded as it would have been just three days earlier, had ▶ squaremile 43


michael bloomberg

Features

▶ lost its story – and interest. The journalists went through the motions, but their mission had evaporated. Something had happened. Iowa had happened. On 3 January, three days before the conference, Obama stunned the country by winning the first primary caucuses of the presidential year. The national media had moved not to Oklahoma but to New Hampshire, for its presidential primary on 8 January. “Obama’s Surge Deflates Forum and Talk of a Bloomberg Run,’’ read the New York Times’s headline the next day. By mid-February John McCain, who, like Obama, appealed to independents, had all but clinched the Republican nomination. A few weeks later, Bloomberg consulted with Sheekey, Patti Harris, Ed Skyler and his ad-maker, Bill Knapp. Go for it, Sheekey still advised. He had even lined up a presidential campaign staff-in-waiting, putting former Bloomberg workers on the alert in case the Mayor gave the nod. Harris and Skyler advised the Mayor to stand down. Knapp was said to be in the middle. Bloomberg pulled the plug: “I listened carefully to those who encouraged me to run, but I am not – and will not be – a candidate for president,’’ he wrote in a New York Times piece on 28 February. He was too level-headed to run when he knew he could not win. But the temptation had run deep. A couple of weeks before his Times piece appeared, Bloomberg emerged almost wistful from a Fifth Avenue party of media heavyweights, including Barbara Walters, Don Hewitt, creator of 60 Minutes and his wife Marilyn Berger, a writer; Herbert Schlosser, former head of NBC and his wife Judith, chairwoman of the Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance. “I would have carried that crowd,’’ he said, giving scant acknowledgement to the difference between Manhattan’s Upper East Side and the nation’s heartland. In his own mind, the presidency was a job not for the glamorous, but for a manager, an administrator. Yes, McCain or Obama might turn out to be a great president, he acknowledged, “but what the hell do they know about management and dealing with people?

44 squaremile

●● he was an urban liberal – anti-gun, proimmigrant, prochoice, secular and a supporter of gay rights Nothing,’’ said Bloomberg. “If you look at my company, why, after all the success that we had before I ran for office would you not think that I couldn’t run government? What the hell do I gotta do to prove myself? Or, after the success my company has had and our administration has had, why do you think I wouldn’t be qualified to be President of the United States? I mean, for God’s sake, I’m not running, but this is not different.’’ Three weeks after Obama’s election, when Bloomberg and I sat down for a post-mortem on his dalliance with presidential politics, the Mayor said, again, “there was never a time that I really thought it was possible for a third party candidate to win.’’ What, then, was he doing all that time? “What do you mean, what was I doing? Everybody says you would make a great president, you say ‘thank you,’ what do you say?” In short, nothing, as Sharkey had counselled when Bloomberg first asked him how to handle questions about the mayoralty. Sheekey told him, whatever you do, don’t say you are not running. Keep them guessing while you make up your mind. And so he finally made his decision and did not run. The moment to realise the fantasy he had harboured since college, to be president – to be the first Jewish president, in fact – had passed. ■ From the book ‘Mike Bloomberg: Money, Politics, Power’ by Joyce Purnick (£15.99). Extracted by arrangement with PublicAffairs, a member of the Perseus Books Group. Copyright © 2010.

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Features

nobu: a man of good tastes It’s not just the taste of the ingredients that makes Nobu’s food so special, finds neil davey – it’s umami, that elusive, hard-todefine ‘fifth taste’ What is umami? Yes, I know it’s the ‘fifth taste’, I know it plays a major part in Japanese cooking, I know that MSG is its ‘distilled’ form, I even know that it was identified by Kikunae Ikeda of Kyoto University in 1908 because, well, I’m a bloke, and we just log facts like that. But what is it exactly? If anyone should know, it’s Nobuyuki Matsuhisa – or Nobu, as he’s MUCH better known. The legendary restaurateur has become something of an ambassador for umami in recent years and that perhaps explains why, while I’m trying to chat to him about his life and background, he keeps disappearing to prepare another bowl of broth to illustrate what he means. “It’s that ‘mouthfulness’,” he explains, passing me a small bowl of dashi he’s prepared. Dashi is the spine of Japanese cuisine, a stock he’s made from konbu (seaweed) as part of an Umami Tasting Dinner he’d held at his titular London restaurant. “The last flavour left in the mouth. You have salt and spice and sourness and other flavours. But the harmony, the combination of those? That’s the umami.” 46 squareMile

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Nobuyuki Matsuhisa

●● Classic English examples would be Bovril or Marmite or, surprisingly, a ripe tomato The stock smells strongly of, well, not fish exactly, but certainly the sea. The taste, though, is light and fleeting, with an underlying savoury tone, but it’s the sensation it leaves you with – my notes say “spacedust” and “mouth-smacking” – that’s remarkable. It literally makes the mouth water, and it’s still watering when he returns with yet more examples. “Try this, it’s plain, but now you have tasted umami, you will get the same

slice of the past... Nobu’s fusion cuisine promises something for all tastes, but in June 1999, Boris Becker wanted a bit of something that wasn’t on the menu. The German tennis legend lived up to his ‘Boom Boom’ nickname by having it off with Russian émigré Angela Ermakova in Nobu. Becker relates the clinch (in disappointingly bland fashion) in his autobiography: “A little while later she left her table for the toilet. I followed behind. Five minutes small talk and then straight away into the nearest possible place and down to business.” For years, everyone thought the grand slam – which ended Becker’s marriage and resulted in his third child – took place in a broom cupboard. But last October, Becker told Piers Morgan that the shag in question was actually on the stairs between the bathrooms, which is, in a strange way, even more impressive.

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sensation,” he explains, before passing over more examples. “This one is light soy and sake... this one is the same base but with lemon juice... this is chilli and garlic. They are all different flavours, but the umami taste will be behind it...” They are, indeed, which is fantastically educational for me, but not so great for anyone reading this, so Nobu-san lists some other foods to illustrate this fifth taste. “Cheddar cheese! Cured ham! Soy sauce, miso paste, fish sauce...” The classic English examples, he agrees, would be Bovril or, perhaps more accurately, Marmite or, surprisingly, a ripe tomato: chew one of those 30 times and you’ll be left with the umami taste. Remarkably, Nobu-san is a relative newcomer to the concept of umami, only learning about it in the last six years. However, as he explains, what that did was put a name to the basic principle of Japanese cooking. “It’s that harmony,” he explains. “When I trained, I was taught how much salt, how much soy, how much dashi to add so I suppose that although technically I knew how to make umami, it’s only now I understand why it works and I look for umami combinations.” Discoveries such as these have helped Nobu-san maintain an interest in cooking. “It is like a marriage,” he says. “There must be passion. Cooking is the whole of my life. I don’t ever think of retiring, I like making people smile with my cooking. I visit different countries, I try different food, I experience different cultures. I try to keep my passions going.” Nobu-san certainly does travel. There are now branches of Nobu in Australia, Greece, all across the US, Moscow, Dubai, Hong Kong and the Bahamas, to name but a few and he spends time at each of them throughout the year. He is also constantly looking for “new locations to conquer – Beijing and Budapest are next,” he reveals. “The Chinese economy, it’s very strong. A lot of people there are looking for Japanese food, I think it’s a good time for us.” Although this trip to London has been rather whistlestop – “I’m here for three days, I won’t even get out to the Park” says Nobu-san – where, I wonder,

TAsTE OF ThE EAsT: Nobu has become a favourite with celebrities and connoisseurs thanks to its signature dishes such as (top) scallop tiradito and the now legendary broiled black cod with miso

would he go and eat? “The last couple of times I’ve been in London, I have been to Barafina, for good tapas. “It’s very casual, it’s clean and simple food, and we drink wine sitting at the bar... I like very simple food.” Is that the sort of food he prefers to cook at home? “I have a private chef at home,” deadpans Nobu... “She is my wife.” He laughs. “In the past couple of years, I have only been home for two months each year, so really I have no time to cook in my own home. “I have been married for 27 years,” he adds before laughing again, heartily. “Maybe I have been married for 27 years because I am not at home!” ■ SquareMile 47


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EDITED BY JON HAWKINS

CITY

PLAYING THE  GAME

MALMAISON’S CEO P50 CAPRICE LAID BARE P55 WHITE KNIGHT IN INDIA P59 TURTLE TRADERS REVISITED P61

P63 GAME FOR GIVING: We’ve learnt that not all footballers are money-grabbing morons and – much as you like to hide it – not all City types are selfish sharks who would sell their grannies (...right?)


City

He Wants to Get You Into Bed Malmaison and Hotel du Vin CEO Robert Cook on his plans for growing the brand and why he’s now looking overseas. By jon hawkIns

“I don’t have an office. In fact, I closed down head office last year,” Robert Cook, CEO of the Malmaison and Hotel du Vin hotel group tells us. “I want my team in the field because I am.” We’re sitting in the restaurant of Malmaison’s Clerkenwell outpost in the middle of a frenetic breakfast service, and as we talk Cook’s eyes scan the room. This, clearly, is his office today and he’s working – analysing – constantly. “All of the management team are in hotels all the time; we behave as guests and look at the service and quality that we’re getting as guests,” he explains. “I don’t have mystery shoppers going round the business telling me how good or bad it is because I’m close enough to it to know myself.” Cook has spent much of his life in hotels, and not all of it running them. He was brought up in The Swallow Hotel in Petershead, Scotland, which his parents ran, and he joined Holiday Inn as a graduate in 1984 before joining Edinburgh’s Balmoral hotel. “It was a period five-star deluxe hotel with international management, and it was a really steep learning curve for me,” he says. “That was the job of all jobs that got me going up the ladder.” 50 SquareMile

Following a stint with Crowne Plaza, an encounter with Malmaison founder Ken McCulloch led Cook to join the group in 1996. He has been there ever since, with the exception of a four-year period when he left to join McCulloch and racing driver David Coulthard in opening Monaco’s Columbus hotel. When he returned to Malmaison in 2004 as CEO, four years after its acquisition by the Marylebone Warwick Balfour Group in 2000, he was immediately instrumental in the £66.4m deal that added Hotel du Vin as sister brand to Malmaison. And while adverse weather conditions, air travel chaos, a general election and an economy that remains unsteady have all conspired against the British hotel industry in the early part of this year, Malmaison and Hotel du Vin performed according to the group’s expectations and delivered a first quarter profit. Cook says that the uncertain trading conditions both peg back growth and expansion and bring about fresh opportunities. “We’ve got sites we would like to develop and it was our intention to do that this year but at the moment we’re just having to sit on them. However, these markets do throw up new opportunities of doing deals and management contracts,” he tells us. The sites in question will, once the capital becomes available, eventually become Hotel du Vins, and the locations and buildings – the St Andrews golf hotel, a former tannery in Canterbury and a property within the walls of Chester castle – are very much in the group’s typical style. “The model now is cathedral town, university town, affluent population, good demographic, lack of good food and beverage,” says Cook, matter-of-factly. It’s a model that works equally well for both Malmaison and Hotel du Vin, though the two hotels have very separate identities: Cook describes Malmaison as a Maserati to Hotel du Vin’s Morgan. “There’s that sort of shabby chic about Hotel du Vin,” he says. “Both brands, interestingly enough, have been about finding old buildings and converting them, but with Hotel du Vin the building is likely to be in a more dilapidated state.

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prOfile rObert cOOk

It’s what we don’t do to that building rather than what we do to it that makes it work.” There are 14 Hotel du Vins in total, all of which are converted period spaces, and 12 Malmaisons, including a remodelled prison in Oxford (see review, right) and an Episcopalian church in Glasgow born again as a boutique hotel. It is the Malmaison brand – or Mal, as Cook and the hotels’ devotees call it – that Cook and MWB have earmarked for bigger things. While Cook envisages Hotel du Vin’s growth being limited to within the UK (“It should be very much a quintessentially British brand, albeit with a French name”), Malmaison’s expansion will be driven by taking the brand overseas, and he expects this to happen in the next year to 18 months. “With Mal, the world’s your oyster,” he explains. “When Kemmons Wilson started Holiday Inn in 1956 I don’t think he ever could have expected there would be 4,500 around the world. “With the right licence, management and development agreements Mal could get to those levels; we could have 20, 30, 40 hotels in China alone.” He admits he would love to put a Malmaison in New York and gives the example of W, the boutique hotel brand that first launched on Lexington Avenue in 1998 and now has 37 hotels worldwide, as where Malmaison should aspire to be. His enthusiasm for Malmaison’s global expansion does raise one obvious question. If the scope for growth is so great, why has it not been done sooner? According to Cook the brand has simply been in too many different hands. In 1999

●● My work is my life, but I enjoy my golf – I need to win every Saturday or I’m in a bad mood squaremileclub.com

Mal passed from McCulloch to US hotel group Patriot American (now Wyndham International) before a joint venture between MWB and hotel management group Rezidor SAS purchased it in 2000. MWB took full ownership of Mal in 2002. “Mal’s had four owners in 12 years and each owner comes along with a new strategy. MWB has held it longer than anyone and now we’re definitely going overseas, by hook or by crook,” he says. Cook has been central to the reinvigoration of a brand he admits was “wobbling and losing its appeal a little” when he returned as CEO seven years ago, but the Malmaison CEO is quick to identify the group’s employees as the key components in its continued success. “People are everything to this business,” he says. “The difference between Malmaison and everyone else is not how we look or how we’re designed. It’s not our music and it’s not our quirky tone of voice, it’s about the people.” His heart-on-sleeve passion for the brand, and for the hotel industry in general, is such that it’s impossible to see Cook doing anything else; it is, as he concedes, a way of life for him. He does, however, find time to play golf every weekend and he’s as rabidly fanatical about it as he is about running his business. “My work is my life, but everybody needs time off and I really enjoy my golf – I’m hugely competitive,” says Cook. “I need to win every Saturday or I’m in a bad mood,” he adds. Before we part square mile reminds him that he once claimed that if he wasn’t doing his current job he would like to sort out British Airways. Given the multitude of difficulties that have afflicted the country’s flagship airline in recent years, surely he would be less enthusiastic about taking them on now? His answer suggests he hasn’t wavered much: “Now, that would be fun. Someone has to bring the hospitality edge back to British Airways, and if I wanted the challenge and the sleepless nights that would be the kind of job I wouldn’t mind having a bash at,” he says. “But then it’s really just a flying hotel.” ■

Malmaison Oxford So that’s the man. But what’s the product like? Well, sinners and saints alike are welcome at this converted former prison in the heart of Oxford. A truly individual boutique hotel, the Malmaison is a rascal’s retreat and the perfect antidote to Oxford’s bookish sights. With its subtle gothic touches – from the heavy studded doors to the central wrought-iron staircase – it’s impossible to escape the history of the hotel. But fear not, the warden is long gone; a chilling solitary cell, and a subtle air of mischief are (thankfully) all that remains of its previous incarnation. These days the clink is naughty but nice, with plenty of guilty pleasures to be found on the brasserie menu. Steak frites, roast turbot and spiced seared tuna are here, but my heart belonged to the ‘homegrown and local’ specials such as ham hock terrine. Wine lovers will appreciate group sommelier Johnny Walker’s impeccable taste as they sample some of the vintages in the well-stocked cellar. After a cocktail at the mezzanine bar, grab your partner in crime and make a speedy getaway to one of the decadent suites. We made like the Guv’nor and snapped up the Thomas Lowton Robins suite. With its private cinema, four-poster bed and huge Victorian bath, it’s darker and more brooding than Colin Firth’s Mr Darcy. Swathed in rich aubergine tartan bedspreads and plum velvet curtains, it’s the ideal setting for an evening of refined debauchery. Being banged up for the night (oo-er missus) was never so tempting. – Sally McIlhone

malmaison.com; hotelduvin.com

SquareMile 51


squaremile T h e vo i c e o f T h e c i T y


POST-ITS

CITY

POST-ITS

Kicking Off We all know what it’s like after watching the footie. You’ve had a few, it gets fighty and all goes Pete Tong... and that’s just in your front room on a Saturday. Imagine the same scenario, but with 90,000 footie fans drunk on South African sunshine and multiple pints of Castle. Even if you do keep your head down, things could get a little frisky. So if you are heading to the World Cup it’s worth investing in some personal protection. London security company Nice & Secure will be there for the duration. You couldn’t be in safer hands: the director is Jo’burg-born Casey Christie, who is SWAT trained with five years’ experience in the South African Police. From individual bodyguards to security chauffeurs, personal escort sections to armoured vehicles, they offer every form of protection you could ever wish for. Apart from Durex, presumably. 020 7033 1999; niceandsecure.com

JEWEL ACTION

You know that feeling of dread when you need to find a present for your missus and you know chocolates and flowers just won’t cut it? Well, head to London Jewellery Week. With exhibitions, receptions, seminars, fashion shows, special collection launches, and even a street festival, the Week celebrates everything that’s great about London’s thriving jewellery industry. And if you think a hallmark is a cheesy greetings card, and a bangle is a member of a 1980s girl band, then sign up for one of the Goldsmiths events throughout the week. alison.byne@assayofficelondon.co.uk; 020 7606 8971; londonjewelleryweek.co.uk

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PLUG AND PLAY

The problem with electric vehicles is the annoyance of having to drag the cable to a fixed mains socket to top them up with juice. But new British company Econogo has neatly sidestepped that problem with the Yogo, a £1,999 electric scooter that boasts the UK’s first fully detachable and portable lithium battery. Instead of having to drop an extension cord over the balcony of your 8th-floor flat (or lugging the scooter up the stairs), simply unplug the 11kg battery and take it with you. You’ll get 22 miles out of a battery, which only takes an hour to recharge fully, and the optional second battery doubles that range. You can leave the Yogo parked without fear, as no one will steal a battery-powered scooter with no battery. Go for the unrestricted (top speed, an eco-friendly 38mph) version, and laugh at all the idiots stuck in gridlock as you zip through the traffic. Top tip: charge it under your desk at work – no point using your own electricity when you can use your employer’s. – James Taylor

Magic Numbers

666 ▲

Sum of the numbers on a roulette wheel

666 ▲

Number of ‘talents of gold’ collected by Solomon each year, as described in the Old Testament

€666m ▲

The amount invested by George Soros in Brazilian biofuels in 2007

£666m ▲

The amount that Manchester United owed to financial institutions in 2008

SQUAREMILE 53


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WELCOME TO MY WORLD

CITY

WELCOME TO MY WORLD

CAPRICE: WHY MY LIFE IS PANTS CAPRICE BOURRET on running her own lingerie business – not simply a licensing deal, she points out – and why she only occasionally misses the modelling circuit

BACK IN THE late 1990s, when Caprice Bourret was a scantily-clad everpresent in British lads’ mags, few would have imagined the California-born model was plotting the start of her own business empire. But in 2000 Caprice signed a licence deal with Debenhams to produce lingerie under her name. By 2006 she had ceased the licence deal, started her own lingerie business, By Caprice, and was selling her products to a variety of retailers, Debenhams among them. Now, she tells square mile, she wants her business to be the next Victoria’s Secret… ON STRUGGLING TO BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY… It was hard to convince people that I was serious about business, and initially I couldn’t even get a way in. I called Next myself to try to get meetings, to try and get buy-ins and they weren’t interested. They just thought, “Oh God, here we go. We have no idea about her integrity – she’s probably not paying

squaremileclub.com

attention to her products and she’ll be gone by next season.” But now I can look back in retrospect and I have success on paper, I’ve done it and I’ve done it myself. It’s not like the Elle Macpherson or Kylie Minogue lines, which are essentially licence deals. I’ve actually put in my own money, I’ve done the work and I’ve created a success story, and I’ve done it in a suppressed economy.

ON BEING SUCCESSFUL AND CONFOUNDING THE SCEPTICS… Breaking the stereotype – the whole lads’ mag thing and so on – was really difficult, but my persistence and a lot of hard work paid off. I gained credibility only because I had the numbers on paper – but it took a long time to get to that point. On the other hand, being a model means free marketing – you can’t pay for the kind of stuff that I do for free. You have to remember that in any business you create awareness and that, ultimately, is what creates sales.

●● I’ve done it myself. It’s not like the Elle or Kylie lines, which are essentially licence deals ON MAKING THE MOVE FROM MODELLING INTO BUSINESS… I had to be realistic about my future. I’m 38 now, and at the time I was beginning to think about starting my own business I was about 32. I knew my modelling career wouldn’t go on forever so I had to find something to fall back on. At the time I’d been doing a licence deal with Debenhams and it was a huge success, ▶ SQUAREMILE 55


WELCOME TO MY WORLD

CITY

▶ so I thought ‘Well, if I’m making them rich then I might as well do it myself.’ I started to teach myself, but then ultimately I just dived in at the deep end and said “I want to buy back my licence and start up my own business,” and that, as they say, was that.

ON WHY SHE CONTINUES TO PROMOTE HERSELF… Whatever I do out in the public eye promotes underwear – even if they don’t talk about it directly it still promotes the brand. So I have to stay out there. I’ve taken a back seat for the last three years because I’ve been making the business work, and I consciously made that decision because I had to. I was on the cover of FHM, GQ and Maxim all over the world and it was all a bit fluffy. I had to start all over again and create a different perception, but now I’m pro-actively looking to get back into entertainment – I want to go back on the West End stage. I’m having meetings and waiting for the right project to come along. ON SURVIVING THE FINANCIAL CRISIS First and foremost I reacted quite fast and quite early on. I reacted by cutting my buys and I started learning. A lot of my business is foreign exchange, because I buy my products in dollars and get paid in sterling, and at the time I wasn’t doing forward buys and I didn’t understand hedging – it was losing me money. I learned the logistics and started reacting and forward buying properly, and with my buys I wasn’t as risky. I cut my buys in half – I made better, smarter

●● Looking back, modelling was a piece of cake – I got paid a fortune for doing fuck all 56 SQUAREMILE

buys just by reacting to the economy. A lot of people thought things would be OK, but I reacted right when things started to go haywire – we didn’t really feel it until a month or two later and then we thought “Oh God, we’re in the shit.” But because I’d reacted before that, and because I cut all my costs, paid more attention and really got myself involved, I saved my business. I still haven’t had to go and get an equity partner or any loans from the bank – I’ve done it all myself.

ON THE CHALLENGES ‘BY CAPRICE’ FACES IN 2010… It’s not about making a fortune, it’s about just keeping your business going. We all have to work that bit harder and take a hit on our margins because the customer wants quality and they want it for a good price. We have to stay a step ahead in the game and be smart. So many businesses are in such dire distress, but I have no debt, I don’t owe anyone anything and I haven’t had to sell off equity – that’s a huge accomplishment in itself. ON BEING A WOMAN IN BUSINESS… It’s still a man’s world. I have a lot of respect for smart women who start their own business, and who become successful. One woman I respect a lot is Michelle Mone [the Glaswegian founder of lingerie brand Ultimo]. Her ideas, and the way she runs her business, have been an inspiration to me. ON NEARLY LOSING HER BUSINESS… I almost lost my business twice. One season I just didn’t pay enough attention, I let somebody else do my fits and they failed badly. But it wasn’t their fault, it was mine – I should have got involved, I should have taken the bull by the horns. When it’s not people’s own money they have a different kind of work ethic. ON BEING HANDS-ON… I’ve got the most unbelievable team working here: they’re incredible; they’re loyal; they’re smart; and they’re good at what they do. But I still have to stay involved: I have to negotiate my cost prices; I have to go to Hong Kong and do all the fits myself; and do all the designs

HERE’S SOME I MADE EARLIER: Caprice has made the tough transition from pin-up to businesswoman

myself. I also have to look over the cash flows: one little mistake could cost me a couple of hundred thousand, just because on a piece of paper the numbers are wrong. It doesn’t get easier, either. You would think once a business starts up and gets really successful things would be more straightforward, but you have to work even harder.

ON BEING PAID TO DO NOTHING… Of course there are days when I wish I could return to modelling, but I love what I do now. I remember when I used to bitch: “Oh my God, my hours are so long, I’m travelling and I don’t get to sleep.” But it was a piece of cake – I got paid a fortune for doing absolutely fuck all. And now I’ve really got to work for my money, but having my own business, I feel I’m much more successful – and it has far more longevity than modelling does. ON THE FUTURE… I want to expand. I’ll probably have to get an equity partner involved just to be able to have the facilities to expand at a huge level, and hopefully in five years I’ll be on my way to becoming the next Victoria’s Secret. ■ bycapricelingerie.com

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For more information or to book tickets, contact Vicky Miller on 020 7819 2448; vicky@squareupmedia.com


WHITE KNIGHT

CITY

WHITE KNIGHT

PASSAGE TO INDIA For so long the preserve of state-owned banks, India’s open for business and keen to avoid the UK banks’ mistakes, says ANGELA KNIGHT

BANKING IS BIG business in India. Just as in other emerging centres like Russia and Brazil and China. But it was in Mumbai, which I visited as part of a series of events arranged by the City of London, that the scale of the industry’s importance in helping countries join the mainstream of international commerce – and how they can improve the lot of their people at home – was brought home to me. When you are fire-fighting at home it is sometimes hard to remember what banks actually do. I had headed off to India during a strike although flights to Mumbai seemed largely unaffected. As a result, I sailed through a strangely empty Terminal 5 in double-quick time. I’ve never managed to clear security so fast – it was just about one guard per passenger. It wasn’t such plain sailing when we went out to meet our Indian hosts. The questions I faced were much what I expected – and much what I feared. Don’t let anyone fool you that domestic politics don’t matter – or that they don’t travel. The proposals of the main parties have been thoroughly picked over in India by friend and competitor alike. I was continually being asked if the UK was really going to break up the large banks, if we were going to tax banks more or go it alone in the face of squaremileclub.com

more limited action from the G20. People wanted to know what all the proposed regulatory change would mean and just how much further the capital ratios of UK banks were going to rise. And if that meant our banks were going to be heading east to make their money. There is genuine surprise that the political agenda in the UK is propelling Britain along a unilateral route in controlling the business of banking. India has learned our lessons – without having to go through much of the pain. So, while back in the UK politicians from every quarter say public expenditure must be cut and banks constrained to prevent future failure, India is able to sit back and watch what works well before it needs to do anything itself. And it’s not alone; other countries are also waiting to see what will happen in the UK before taking the plunge themselves. Thus, after a morning of meetings, it was also very forcibly brought to my attention that the subcontinent did not feel it needed to be subject to draconian punishment since – as in Canada – its banks hadn’t got into difficulty. It may have been partly luck and partly a focus on serving local markets that meant international exposure was less than in other, similar-sized economies but it is certainly true that India missed the worst of the global recession – although it has clearly shared the uncertainty. And the muck is still sticking. It was obvious that, despite a clean bill of health, banks and bankers were as unpopular there as here, with the visceral dogwhistle dislike they engender at home. Maybe the G20 could at least agree on that because the tough talking about global banking reform, so far, seems little more than empty words. And ‘empty’ is very apt as the void being created leaves room for business to flow out of the UK and for competitors to muscle in. Therefore, it was with great interest that I headed off to ICICI Bank to have a look round the fastest growing non-state bank in India.

There are contrasts everywhere. India’s openness provides access to the trading market but there is still a tendency towards protectionism, with an abundance of state-owned banks and only limited new banking licences each year. But Indian banks can see the opportunities and they are intent on growing in a controlled way as well as rewarding the expectations of their people. By the way, it is also worth noting the number of women in senior positions in India’s banks – Chanda Kochhar is very impressive as the chief executive at ICICI. I am very pleased she will be coming to London this summer to speak at the BBA’s annual conference. So, with that to look forward to, I left India – crossing Mumbai, a city full of bustle and enterprise, in one of those three-wheeled taxis. As metaphors go, it couldn’t be more wrong: India is not an economy where the wheels are coming off – it’s keen to grow its huge indigenous local market and to seize the opportunities out there. The west should watch out… ■ The BBA’s Annual International Banking conference will take place at Merchant Taylors’ Hall, Threadneedle Street on 13 July 2010; visit bba.org.uk/annualconference for more information.

SQUAREMILE 59


Exclusive opportunity for the Square Mile Club to attend

The 2009-10 Sovereign European Art Prize Gala Dinner & Auction

Tuesday 22nd June 2010 at the Museum of London, Sackler Hall During the dinner the winner of the 2009-10 Sovereign European Art Prize and its â‚Ź25,000 award will be announced, and the remaining 29 finalist artworks will be auctioned with proceeds going to support arts and education in the City and East London. The pieces can be viewed in advance of the event at the exhibition at the Barbican Centre from the 9th-20th June. To attend this charitable event, or place a bid on these rising stars of contemporary art please contact Rachael@SovereignArtFoundation.com or +44 (0) 20 7389 0555.

www.SovereignArtFoundation.com

SovereignGroup.com


MAC DADDY

CITY

MAC DADDY

LOOKING FOR MOCK TURTLES MIKE BAGHDADY wants to recruit volunteers to repeat an experiment that made ordinary folk very rich

IN 1984, RICHARD Dennis, a 35-year-old Chicago-based commodities analyst and philosophy graduate started a trading programme that would make him a legend. Having visited a turtle farm the previous year, he had noticed how the baby turtles at the bottom of the giant breeding ponds got crushed by the stronger ones who would climb and amass above them. Inspired, he applied this survival-ofthe-fittest ethos to his understanding of commodities trading – and having argued with his business partner that far from being an innate skill, successful trading could be taught – he launched into a revolutionary experiment that would ultimately see a group of everyday people turned into super traders.

●● The experiment ran for over four years – by then Dennis’s Turtles were up $175m squaremileclub.com

Dennis’s big idea was to drum his rule-based trading system into a group of 23 market newcomers over a two-week period, who would learn his technique of technical analysis and trend following, before being set loose on the markets with $1m of his own money each. Among those selected from the 3,000 applicants to join the programme were several blackjack players, an actor, a security guard and a designer of the fantasy game Dungeons and Dragons. He called his apprentices his Turtles, and taught them to trade using technical methods, focusing on price and its daily, weekly and monthly behaviour, seeking out patterns or trends. His system was one-third technical, one-third money management and one-third psychological. He wanted them to follow the market and not try to predict it or outguess it; to operate without a profit target, and only get out of a profitable trade when the market turned against them. Dennis taught his Turtles that cutting their losses and letting their profits run was counter-intuitive, as were almost all of their natural inclinations and emotions that came along, such as wanting to take profits too quickly. His experiment ran for four-and-a-half years – and by then the Turtles were up an astonishing $175m on the initial investment. “Trading was even more teachable than I imagined,” he told onlookers, adding that if he could have changed anything about his Turtle Training Programme, he would have reduced the amount of commission he pledged to pay them (they clocked up as much as $35m in incentive fees in four years). The most successful Turtle was Curtis Faith, who started working on the programme at just 19 years old and made $31m over that period in profits. Ten years on, Dennis’ former Turtles accounted for five of the top ten best performing money managers in the world, according to the Barclays Index. The Turtles later said it took two years to fully grasp and be able to use the principles that Dennis had taught them. One said they won 30 per cent of the time and made a lot of money, and lost 70 per cent of the time, but lost a little.

The key, they said was always sticking to the rules and remaining consistent. Indeed, Dennis regularly told them: “If you have an inferior trading system and stick with it, then you’re better off than if you have the best trading system in the world and can’t stick with it.” I couldn’t agree with him more. I have been trading using a constantly evolving system based purely on price behaviour for some 33 years and it has served me very well. Now I want to know what happens when a team of traders has the best trading system in the world and sticks with it. I am now looking for people to train to trade the markets with me using my ‘Mac Daddy’ price behaviour trading software – which is licensed by the likes of Deutsche Bank – and fund them to follow my rule-based trading strategy that saw me win the Live Trading World Championship in Frankfurt last year. If you’re interested, come and register on our website, and if there’s a turtle in you, I’ll look forward to seeing you at the top of the pond. ■ Mike Baghdady’s new Training Traders trading floor at Tower Bridge Business Centre, 46-48 East Smithfield will take up to 30 students who wish to trade under Mike and his colleagues, with an adjoining floor for 30 professional traders who want to hire flexible trading desks. trainingtraders.com

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HAWKEYE

THE ART OF TAKING ONE FOR THE TEAM A selfless footballer? Bah! As likely as a really charitable hedgie. Oh hang on, says JON HAWKINS

IF YOU’VE HEARD of Oguchi Onyewu the chances are you’re either a pretty fanatical football fan, an American (he’s in the US squad for the World Cup) or you saw the news that the AC Milan centre-half has offered to play for his club for a year without being paid. The Rossoneri accepted the offer (they’re no mugs, them Italians) and Onyewu, who made the offer out of gratitude after spending all but one game of his debut season on the treatment table, will pick up no wages for the 2012-13 season. The immediate reaction from the press was one of amazement and genuine delight that perhaps football, an industry so full of mercenary, money-guzzling,

●● We don’t expect footballers to connect the cash they hoover up to any responsibility squaremileclub.com

mindless shaggers that it gives bankers a good name, wasn’t as bad as we’d thought after all. It’s a lovely idea but surely no more than that – after all, Onyewu had played just one competitive game for Milan and would have been hard pressed to squeeze an extra season out of the club under any other terms. And the man’s clearly feeling guilty as hell – surely the most surprising element to the story. We don’t expect footballers to connect the vast sums of cash they hoover up from their trough to any kind of responsibility beyond the need to fill up the Aston or pay off the WAG’s credit card after a week-long residency in Harvey Nicks. Which brings us – circuitously, I’ll concede – to the City. When the Sunday Times released its annual Giving List in April, in which the UK’s 50 biggest charitable givers (relative to their wealth) are ranked, bankers and hedge fund managers featured prominently. Chris Hohn, founder of The Children’s Investment fund (TCI), topped the list with recent donations of £531.2m, and fellow hedgies Arpad Busson and Stanley Fink, along with ICAP chief Michael Spencer and Barclay president Bob Diamond, were also included. These were the very same people whose actions, the nation had been led to believe, led us into financial Armageddon a mere 18 months previously. As with Oguchi Onyewu’s generosity it simply didn’t compute unless you considered they were attempting to purge themselves of guilt at vast personal expense. Top giver Hohn is an interesting example. His activist TCI fund grabbed the headlines in 2005 when it foiled attempts by Deutsche Borse to purchase the London Stock Exchange, though his modus operandi has generally been to steer clear of publicity. His tenacious way of doing business, contrasted with his philanthropic activity, led the Evening Standard to dub him the “locust with a heart” in a 2007 article. Through TCI he donates huge sums of money to his wife’s Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, which invests in projects that help children in developing countries, and if he wanted to make a

song and dance about his philanthropic activities it wouldn’t be very hard. If Hohn feels any guilt over his huge pay then he’s expressing it very privately. There was, however, something a little less subtle about HSBC CEO Michael Geoghegan’s decision to donate £4m of his bonus to charity this year, as did Standard Chartered chief Peter Sands, who pledged to donate £2.1m. Coming as it did at the peak of the furore over bonuses, it was hard to view their actions as anything other than an attempt to curry favour with a public apparently ready to tear bankers limb from limb and pick over the carcasses themselves. The public and the media are entitled to their cynicism, but ultimately perhaps we should just be satisfied that some of the UK’s biggest earners are throwing their considerable financial weight behind charitable causes. Those who benefit presumably won’t be too worried whether their benefactors were motivated by guilt or by pure altruism. And as for Oguchi Onyewu – if he lines up in the USA side that faces England at the World Cup on 12 June, square mile is hoping he’s just as generous on the pitch as he seems to be off it. ■

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CITY FOCUS

CITY

FOCUS

MOTOR SHOW

Dream Machines

FESTIVAL

LOUNGE ON THE FARM

THERE ARE PLENTY of good-looking cars in London already, but even more of the world’s best wheels will roll into Canary Wharf from 7 June as part of the 2010 London Motorexpo. The free seven-day event will have a dedicated motor sport zone, a showcase of some of the greatest ever Le Mans vehicles, and lots of test drive facilities. Just try not to crash near the office – that would be embarrassing. Your next motoring top-up will be served this July at the Salon Privé – the annual supercar garden party which takes place at the Hurlingham Club. Expect Pommery champagne, lobster lunch and English afternoon tea. You may even squeeze in some time to look at the cars. motorexpo.com; salonprivelondon.com

Sink your teeth into some of the best food the country has to offer at July’s Lounge On The Farm festival in Kent. Voted 2008’s Best Festival for Foodies by the Guardian, the three-day event from 9-11 July at Merton Farm in Canterbury is only an hour’s drive from London (or 57 minutes on the high-speed rail). The food line-up is drawn from the finest that Kent and East Sussex have to offer, with all the fruit and veg grown within 20 miles of the site. There’s plenty of great music on the bill too. Headlined by Motown legends Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, and supported by Toots & The Maytals, you’re sure to be dancing in the wheat (do you see what we did there?). And on the way back, don’t forget to stop off at Deeson’s British Restaurant in Canterbury – the editor’s brother owns it and always gives square mile readers a special welcome. loungeonthefarm.co.uk

FATHERS’ DAY

WALK THIS WAY

20 June is fast approaching and we bet you haven’t got your dear old dad anything yet, you ungrateful swine. Luckily, Johnnie Walker has stridden to the rescue with gifts – featuring its top-flight Blue Label blend – especially designed for Father’s Day. The Walker & Son gift set contains a bottle of Blue Label and two bespoke tumblers. Much better than a pair of socks, right? And at least with this you get to share it with him. Unless you share your socks with your dad, in which case you probably need help. thewhiskyexchange.com

Action for Children: Celebrity Journeys Exhibition & Auction Some of the UK’s best-loved public figures have illustrated their professional and personal journeys to show support for the journeys faced by neglected children. The exhibition at The Music Room Mayfair on 24 June features work by Amir Khan

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(right), Rod Stewart, Lily Allen, Yoko Ono, Ronnie Corbett and Joanna Lumley, among many others; works will be auctioned live. Tickets cost £75 and all proceeds support Action for Children’s ‘Neglect’ appeal. 020 7704 7135; actionforchildren.org.uk

squaremileclub.com


FEATURES

GET SMASHED The summer is officially here. Time to give the wine cellar a break, and stock up on spirits and sparkles. JAMES TAYLOR selects everything you need for a BBQ par excellence...

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SIPSMITH LONDON DRY GIN, £24 Martini? Singapore Sling? Why not go all James Bond and have a Vesper? Once you’ve tasted it, it’s all you’ll want to drink. Whatever your choice, Sipsmith think its handcrafted approach to gin will win you over. Launched last June, each batch is limited to fewer than 500 bottles. Floral summer meadow notes on the nose lead to a palate of dry juniper and orange marmalade, and a dry finish with a hint of lemon tart. Marmalade and lemon tart? Sweet. sipsmith.co.uk

LOUIS ROEDERER BRUT PREMIER, £35

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CHASE VODKA, £33 The first and only British potato vodka in the world, this beat more than 100 rivals to be crowned ‘best vodka’ at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in March. If that doesn’t convince you, nothing will. Chase has improved on Steve McQueen’s method in The Great Escape – no pesky Nazis, for a start – by growing peeling, mashing and distilling the vodka at its family-run boutique in Herefordshire. chasedistillery.co.uk

The French grande marque is probably most famous for its see-through bottled Cristal, but if you don’t want to make like P Diddy, then pick up a bottle of its nonvintage little brother, Brut Premier, which has a nose of fresh fruit and hawthorn. A blend of 56% pinot noir, 34% chardonnay and 10% pinot meunier (including 10% of reserve wines from three former harvests), it’s aged in oak casks for two to six years. louis-roederer.com

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THE MACALLAN AND LALIQUE ‘CIRE PERDUE’ DECANTER, £WHO KNOWS? You might like whisky. You might like whisky a lot. But if it’s become a slightly unhealthy obsession and your friends are worried about you, then perhaps you should put in a bid for this. The crystal decanter, made by Lalique using the ‘lost wax’ method, holds 64-year-old Macallan single malt. It has been touring the world since April to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Rene Lalique’s birth. Sotheby’s will auction the decanter for charity in New York on 15 November, so you better start selling some stock to free up the readies... themacallan.com

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SUMMER SPIRIT

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SUMMER SPIRIT

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THEO FENNELL BLOODY MARY SET, £1,470 A Bloody Mary is the breakfast of champions after you’ve had a big night out. So fight off the hangover in style with this set, including silver sleeves for Tabasco and Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce, silver stirring spoon, and a sterling silver pepper grinder. Theo Fennell will even throw in a bottle of premium Russian vodka, but you will have to buy your own tomato juice, horseradish, and lemon. What a cheapskate! theofennell.com

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WINE KNOT TEAL BLUE, £480 Brooklyn artist Robin Antar is known for her highly realistic stone sculptures of ordinary things – jeans, boots and bags of M&Ms among them – but she’s also talented when it comes to the abstract. The first wine knot was made from stone, but this coloured version is cast from resin. As much a wine rack as it is a work of art, the curving knot has the advantage of still being interesting when you’ve finished off both bottles of wine. rantar.com

squaremileclub.com

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LINLEY SHOOTING COMPANION, £3,495 Just because you have a taste for the finer things doesn’t mean you should be denied the pleasure of a Blow Job, Quick Fuck, or Slippery Nipple. Unpack the oiled walnut and leather case, get seven of your mates together, pour from lead crystal decanters into pewter cups, then finish with a Cohiba cigar. I love it when a plan comes together... davidlinley.com

MARCELO LUCINI ALPACA ICE BUCKET, £817 MARCELO LUCINI JUJUY GOAT HORN TONGS, £83 You can never have enough ice at a party. Fact. That said, serving it up from a dustbin just won’t cut it – you’re not a student anymore. May we suggest instead a Marcelo Lucini Alpaca ice bucket? Insulated and airtight, the bucket’s handles are finished with discs of buffed black goat horn. Match it with a pair of goat horn tongs to finish of the look of ‘distinguished hunter man with impeccable taste’. couturelab.com

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LINLEY BALLISTIC COCKTAIL SHAKER, £265 This super smooth shaker from Linley may look more like something fired out of a Challenger tank than a device to mix drinks, but it’s sure to let you shake up a cocktail with real firepower. Made from polished steel, the shaker doesn’t contain silver or lead. As a result, it won’t tarnish, chip, crack, or break. When the cocktail recipe says you need a ‘twist’, we’re afraid you will still need to add some lemon. davidlinley.com

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Boodles Blossom Necklace Studio Fusion/OXO Jewellers Branch Necklace David Marshall Diamond Leaf Earrings Angela Fung at Platform Spin Ring Jacobs Jewellery Ring David Webdale Pear Flux Link Bracelet

The city’s biggest names and brightest talent will be opening their doors to celebrate London Jewellery Week. Join them at exclusive fashion shows, collection launches, gallery exhibitions, seminars and street festivals. To find out more visit:

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chequelist

bling it  on

italian maestro luxury pit stop plaza athÉnÉe we know pinot

p80 operation storm the desert: rising out of the sands like Las Vegas on acid, dubai is a shrine to the purchasing power of oilproducers – but can be surprisingly good fun, says antonia methuen

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CHEQUELIST

IDENTITY

MOTORS MASERATI

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MOTORS MASERATI

SOMETHING VERY STRANGE

THIEF on the latest evolution of Maserati’s Quattroporte – an Italian stallion that’s posing as a German executive PAUL MILICAN

happens to a person when they get into the driver’s seat of a car – and I’m not talking about the tendency of even the most unassuming folk to turn into raving lunatics hellbent on getting every other driver off the road. No, I’m referring to the uncanny way drivers take on the national characteristics of the car they’re driving. If dog owners look like their pets, car drivers behave like their cars. I’ve noticed when I’m in a Germanmade car, for example, that I have a tendency to drive a little on the dull side. I take pride in driving with care and courtesy, at pains to signal properly and observe every detail of the Highway Code. I wouldn’t dream of speeding – at least, not until I get on to the motorway when suddenly I’m possessed by a desire to out-Schumacher Schumacher. The Germans too have their daring side. When the car I’m driving is French – not one of the luxury marques, which, inexplicably, the French cannot make, but some gorgeous old fling like the Citroën DS Cabrio – I come over all romantic, caressing the steering wheel and throbbing with pleasure as the wizardry of the hydropneumatic self-levelling suspension kicks into action. Really, it can be quite embarrassing. So when a Maserati Quattroporte Sport GT S was delivered to my door last week, I was well prepared for my Italian side to reveal itself. (I even replayed my Godfather DVDs the night before just to get me in the mood). Funny thing was though, I barely recognised it as an Italian car at all. True, it had the new black grille with concave fins, typical of the sportier versions of Maserati models. And then there were the huge 20-inch alloy wheels. But overall on first ▶

MAKE MODEL ENGINE POWER TORQUE 0-62MPH TOP SPEED PRICE

squaremileclub.com

Maserati Quattroporte S GT S 4.7ltr V8 433bhp @ 7000rpm 361 lb ft @ 4750rpm 5.1 secs 177mph £89,860

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motors maserati

Chequelist

a meeting of minds: the Quattroporte is a beautiful fusion of german precision and italian flair

▶ acquaintance the impression was more four-door family saloon than performance car. Sedate and sober and, dare I say it, just a touch boring. I suspected this Maser was trying to pass itself off as German. It only took the flick of the ignition key to show me how wrong I was. For sitting under the bonnet of this car, a Ferrari-derived 4.2-litre V8 with more than 400bhp was just waiting to show me a good time. In fact, turning on the engine was enough to bring work on the building site over the road from where I live to a sudden halt as all eyes turned. The young Sophia Loren spread out on

●● Charge your way from 0 to 60mph in 5.1 seconds. Great if the mafia is on your tail… 74 squareMile

the bonnet could not have stirred up greater excitement. It didn’t take long before I began to notice subtle changes to the Quattroporte Sport GT S that turn it into an altogether sportier beast than its predecessors – and make it so much more thrilling a ride than anything you could get from the BMW 7-series, the Audi S8 V10, or the Mercedes S-class. For a start, the new suspension setup reduces the front and rear ground clearance giving a lower, more aggressive ride height. On top of this, spring stiffness has increased, making the steering very responsive, especially when taking corners which you can do with remarkable stability and grip. There is never any sense of this car losing its poise. The gears too have been overhauled – a six-speed automatic gearbox with MC-Auto Shift software makes for snappy gear changing and, in manual mode, a spine-tingling blip of throttle on the downshift. It also gives you the ability – should you wish it – to charge your way from 0 to 60mph in 5.1 seconds. Great if the mafia is on your tail. Or great if the Waitrose down the road is about to close.

And yet, it wouldn’t be truly Italian if it didn’t have an ostentatious side, an inclination for mad, extroverted heylook-at-me-everybody fun – like Roberto Benigni at an Oscars ceremony. This car has it in buckets. For nothing is more outrageously attention-grabbing than the Sport option – indeed it’s been specifically designed to make people gasp. Press the Sport button and pneumatic valves open up for a deep, throaty rasp that is enhanced by twin-oval tailpipes and guaranteed to summon an audience of awestruck onlookers. Never mind that the button will give you yet more oomph – it’s like downing a triple espresso coffee in one go – it’s not about that. It’s about telling everybody within earshot that you are having fun in life, and that not since you were a screaming new-born baby have you made such a silly amount of noise and had such a good time doing so. Recession? Depression? This car blows a deafening raspberry at the very notion. No, it says, I am about noise and speed and excitement and glamour – and behaving like a child again. All under the guise of a luxury four-door family saloon. Those Italians – fantastico! ■

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Chequelist

E-Class of its own

on the new ultra-luxurious (and exceptionally intelligent) Mercedes E63 AMG – and its spiritual home. No, not Stuttgart – Surrey Mark hedley

More than any other marque, Mercedes-Benz has perfected the art of making cars that can do everything. OK, they don’t fly (yet). But apart from that minor technicality, they tick just about every box you can throw at them. The new E63 AMG is no exception to the Mercedes rule: it really can do everything – and do it well. Fancy taking on a Porsche at the traffic lights? No problemo. Want to rag it round a circuit on a trackday and embarrass the hordes of Lotus Elises? Consider it done. You could even take it to your local Lidl carpark and out-donut the local yoofs – but obviously you’re far too mature to do that... right? Perhaps you’d rather waft along in supreme comfort, in the kingdom of Comfy like you’re being gently cosseted

●● I realised that the ‘e’ in the e63 doesn’t stand for executive, as I’d assumed, but rather e-e-e-e-k! 76 squareMile

by the God of all things comfortable? Job’s a good’un. You see, the E63 AMG is not just a car – it’s every car you need. With that epic 6.3litre V8, not only will you want to drive it like you’re Lewis Hamilton, the acceleration is so fierce you’ll end up with less hair than his dad. To truly stretch the E63, I took it to Mercedes-Benz World in Surrey. This Merc mecca has all manner of test tracks – from a slick ring to a race circuit – all situated on the site of the historic Brooklands racetrack and airfield. Mercedes’ choice of location couldn’t be more suitable – Brooklands was the world’s first purpose-built racetrack, after all. (Somewhat more ironic is the fact that the bouncing bomb was designed and created in the adjacent factory building. But we won’t mention the war.) Hammering the E63 down the test straight, I quickly realise that the ‘E’ in the E63 doesn’t stand for Executive, as I had first assumed, but rather E-e-e-e-e-k! The acceleration is one thing, but it’s the braking that really makes your eyes pop (and your retinas hit the windscreen). This is especially evident when the driving instructor – there for your safety, apparently – makes you take your hands off the steering wheel and do an emergency stop at 80mph. The car’s big Germanic brain takes it all in its stride, and apart from your heart rate, everything is beautifully balanced, as the

car is brought to a stop far sooner than you’d have thought physics would allow – and in a perfect arrow-straight line. Attempting to drift around the circular skidpan is equally eye-opening – not only in showing you how bad a driver you actually are, but also how much the Mercedes electronics prevent you from wrapping yourself around a tree when you’re on the open road. You don’t have to drive like a teenager on meow meow to enjoy the E63 AMG. In fact, you don’t have to drive it at all. Simply pull over, press one of the buttons on the side of the Merc’s super seats and enjoy a back massage from pulsing hands that knead your back like it’s a lump of dough in a Warbuton’s factory. If this doesn’t quite get rid of the knots after a hard drive, it might be worth a trip to a spa – and I know just the place... Next door to Mercedes-Benz World, the brand new Brooklands Hotel & Spa has just opened. The hotel has no formal affiliation with the car marque, but the two certainly profit from a natural symbiosis. After an afternoon putting the car – and yourself – through various paces, the Brooklands’ spa is the perfect location for some speed relaxing. Ignore working out at the state-of-theart gym. Rather, I’d recommend a strict relax-out regime: 15 minutes in the hot tub (situated on the terrace, overlooking the race track); 15 minutes in the sauna; ▶

squaremileclub.com


motors mercedes

photo by Mark hedley

motors mercedes

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MOTORS MERCEDES

CHEQUELIST

MAKE MODEL ENGINE POWER TORQUE 0-62MPH TOP SPEED PRICE

Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG 6.3ltr V8 525hp 630 Nm / 465 lb ft 4.5 secs 155mph (ltd) From £70,000

MODERN LOVE: (clockwise, from left) The imposing lobby; a standard suite; one of the two bathrooms in the Penthouse Suite

▶15 minutes in the steam room; then finish of with a 50-minute deep tissue massage. A word of warning: after that much tension pummelling, your legs may not fully function any longer. Fortunately, you won’t need them to, as you’ll be floating on a cloud of wobbly muscle and drifting across a sea of essential oils. Or perhaps that was just me.

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When you get back to your room, rinse off under one of the walk-in Amazonian rain showers made by Grohe. It should leave the top of your scalp as happily numb as the rest of your body. Without exaggeration, it is the best shower that I’ve ever had. With exaggeration, it’s like a troupe of miniature angels performing a rendition of Riverdance on top of your scalp. For the full Brooklands experience, splash out on Room 319 – the penthouse suite. It has a stunning panoramic, decked terrace that overlooks all the track action, and is so large that it could accommodate more than 30 of your drunken mates. Or just you, on a cycle. Inside, there are three TVs, including a waterproof flatscreen tiled in flush above the bath; a circular day bed worthy of the Playboy mansion and even your own cloakroom – attendants not provided. There are two bathrooms, a living room, conference room and, next door, a

bedroom. Perfect for work and play – a weekend with your secretary, perhaps? The hotel is ideal for a couple’s retreat: men can go and do some serious work on the MBW track, while the women can do girl things in the spa. While you’re dousing yourself with eau de rubber brûlé, the ladies will be lathering up with products from Lubatti – the new range from Tracey Malone, Jo’s down-to-earth, democratically named sister. In the evening, a trip to the bar is obligatory. The ‘Finishing Straight’ cocktail is a taste sensation – calvados, orange and lemon juice and a dribble of maple syrup. And for dinner, the chef at the neighbouring brasserie is creative and accomplished in equal measure. The hotel is a real all-rounder – catering for everything you could want. Plus a little bit extra. Simply put, the Brooklands is the Mercedes-Benz of hotels. High praise, indeed. ■ brooklandshotelsurrey.com; 01932 335 700

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Chequelist

Sheikh, your booTy

Rising like a mirage from the desert, Dubai – ‘Las Vegas on acid’ – has a host of superlatives to describe it. antonia methuen couldn’t help loving it in spite of herself…

Travel Dubai

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squaremileclub.com


Travel Dubai

photo: courtesy of Virgin holidays + hip hotels

I wanted to hate Dubai. From zero to 60 in just 40 years, those rural roaming folk living in the deserts in the ‘pre-oil’ years would be hard pressed to find anything left of the original pearl-fishing villagers who once called this home. ‘Las Vegas on Acid’ has the largest population of any UAE city, though close neighbour and sometime rival Abu Dhabi is largest by area and the UAE’s official capital. Dubai has been on an unassailable upward trajectory from the get-go, growing 300 per cent from 1968 to 1975. What took Europe 600 years has taken the UAE just 40. The fact that the ‘village’ is now a city packed full of motorways, metros, skyscrapers, cars, beaches, palm trees, media centres, ski slopes, markets, expats and racecourses, as well as the world’s biggest shopping mall, the world’s biggest man-made waterway, the world’s biggest fountain, the world’s biggest suspended aquarium and the world’s biggest sense of self-awareness, is really nothing to be surprised about. It was, as they say, written in the sands. While the cynical Brit in us all makes it very easy to sneer at the blatant over-enthusiasm of Dubai (both from its rulers and its residents alike) it is a place packed full of as many contradictions as of cranes, and one has to admit, it really is pretty bloody impressive. I can categorically say there is nothing (at least not in west London) quite like swimming across one of the world’s largest infinity pools found on the fourth Floor of The Address Dubai Marina, with a backdrop of the Dubai Marina cityscape at night – quite an experience. So why do Dubai? From footballers to terrorists, it seems that Dubai is the place to be these days. Seven hours on a direct flight via the Virgin Upper Class clubhouse, takes you to constant sunshine, clean beaches, air-conditioned bus shelters and zero(ish) crime. And the expats love it… maybe even a little too much. Shopping, partying and more shopping with no taxes to pay – Dubai certainly has the same sort of urban fantasy setup that Hong Kong had in the 1970s and 1980s. If you earn you can play. But while much has been said about the gold taps, the marble slabs and the ▶ squaremileclub.com

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Chequelist

Travel Dubai

●● There are no Swarovskicovered palm trees or fake camels at Address hotels ▶ man-made islands, scale aside, Dubai has, at least at The Address Hotel Group, got a side where quality is still the driver – even if the overall scale of the city is in opposition to its contemporary design credentials. The Address Group, owned by Dubai construction giant Emaar, has a clutch of hotels: The Address Dubai Mall, The Palace, Old Town, the Address Dubai Marina, The Address Downtown, The Address Montgomerie, as well as a golf resort, an equestrian and polo club and various business hotels. All highly stylish, elegant and slick affairs, owing more to Milan than the overdone Versaillesinfluenced palaces on which Dubai’s hotel infamy has been based. There are no Swarovski-covered palm trees or fake camels at these hotels, and Emaar is keen to put the rest of the world right – when it comes to Dubai they continue to show the developer’s commitment to the future development of the city, even if that development will be at a slightly slower pace than before owing to the downturn. At 828 m (2,717 ft) the Burj Dubai, now called the Burj Khalifa, houses the Armani Privé Hotel and the Armani Residences that will open later this year, as well as spas, restaurants and office spaces. The Burj, while eye-wateringly tall, with a lift that goes like a rocket and an observation platform that makes you grab for your seat belt and engage landing gear, has since its inauguration in January been seen by many as a reflection of the excesses that Dubai and its man-made fantasies have long represented. That said, for others it is the monument ▶

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summer night city: (clockwise, from top) the world’s biggest fountain at the Address, Downtown; two views of neo’s cocktail bar at the Address, the second clearly showing the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa in the background; shopping at the Dubai marina mall

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Travel Dubai

Chequelist

SPA-Ing PArTner: take in the incredible view as you relax at the spa at The Address Downtown

▶ to engineering that Prince Mohammed had envisaged. And the fact that this monument to Dubai now carries the name of UAE President Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan reflects the fact that Dubai has been taken down a peg or two in the downturn and has been reminded that, despite its dizzying recent growth, it is Abu Dhabi that really calls the shots. Hardly a surprise from a city that has a population of 1.77 million, 90 per cent of that expat or non dom, Dubai is like a global buffet counter, with a quite extraordinary choice of food at any location you should choose – from fine French to Chinese via ‘the world’s

●● Dubai has been reminded that, despite its dizzying growth, Abu Dhabi still calls the shots 84 squareMile

biggest burger and chips!’ Dubai is a foodie oasis – just go easy, otherwise a clothes-shopping trip to the mall could become slightly depressing. Though if Louis Vuitton isn’t your bag, then how about walking through an aquarium with giant sharks floating above your head? And if that doesn’t do it for you there is always the biggest sweet shop in the world (apparently…) Candylicious. Shops, food and fountains aside, culture is served by a number of ‘heritage sites’ such as the Dubai Museum and the former home of a sheikh. Those seeking something a little wilder, grab a 4x4 and get surfing those sand dunes – not for the faint-hearted, as being in a Toyota sliding along the brow of a dune, 50ft off the ground, is quite an experience. For the even more adventurous, why not zip off to the mountains and river beds at Hatta (about two hours away) with one of the adventure companies such as Arabian Explorers and bash some wadis in your very own Hummer? Up in the mountains you will also get the chance to see one of the restored forts that show how Bedouin life once used to be. A small glimpse of history, but the fact that the shop was shut suggests this is a small nod to the past from a country that is ultimately more concerned about its future. The hills of Hatta also give you the chance to see expat life before the bling, with the old school hospitality of the Hatta Fort Hotel, which is where the first flood of expats used to head off for the weekend. Back in Dubai, we managed to grab some non-western consumerism at the gold and spice souks, hidden away in the old town across the creek. Be sure to take one of the water taxis across this short stretch of water – for just a few dirham you get to hang out with the locals and glimpse everyday life in Dubai. Back at the Palace Hotel, it was a different kind of water display that was on offer during the evening, with a musical water fountain display that could not fail to impress by its sheer magnitude. We left Dubai feeling very pampered – a place full of more contradictions than the Catholic church… whichever God you pray to, Dubai can certainly lay its claim to be the eighth wonder of the modern world. ■

armani hotel virgin holidays + hip hotels

You have to search high and low to find understatement in Dubai. Fortunately, the new Armani hotel offers a rare touch of elegance and discernment. The world’s first Armani hotel (there’s also one in Milan) occupies 11 floors of the iconic Burj Dubai. With 160 luxurious rooms and suites, signature restaurants (including Mediterranean, Japanese, Indian, and authentic Italian), the Armani/SPA, a private members’ club and its own hip club on offer too, the Armani Hotel is one of Dubai’s most fashionable destinations. Five nights in Dubai with Virgin Holidays + Hip Hotels, including economy Virgin Atlantic flights, accommodation at Armani Hotel Dubai with breakfast and private transfers starts at £2,869. Prices are per person based on two adults travelling and sharing an Armani Class room, price includes all applicable taxes and fuel surcharges, which are subject to change. Prices are based on selected departures September 2010. 0844 573 2460; vhiphotels.co.uk

Antonia Methuen stayed as a guest of The Address Hotel Group – rooms from £165, though prices vary according to which hotel and time of year; theaddress.com Flights with Virgin start at £445 for economy, £790 for premium; virgin-atlantic.com The Desert Safari (dune surfing) including BBQ dinner costs from US$ 55; Hatta Mountain Safari (driving Hummers in wadis) including lunch at Hatta Fort Hotel, US$110; Dubai City Tour, US$35 per person; arabian-explorers.com For what to do in Dubai, visit dubaitourism.ae

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Business First Executive Luxury

Including breakfast, internet and complimentary Spa access, ‘Business First’ at Jumeirah Carlton Tower and Jumeirah Lowndes Hotel is the perfect package for busy professionals in the heart of London. For more information call+44 (0) 20 7235 1234 or email JCTinfo@jumeirah.com Jumeirah Carlton Tower, On Cadogan Place, London SW1X 9PY

jumeirah.com


SquareMile

Promotion

OPEN FOR BUSINESS Official hospitality packages at The Open Championships offer a lot more than just good golf: top-quality local fare is also high on the menu for the Sportsman’s Dinner this July To mark The 150th anniversary of The

open Championship, golf fans can enjoy a unique event where past open champions will battle it out on the old Course on 14 July on the eve of the Championship. all 32 living open champions have been invited to take part in The open Champions’ Challenge, which takes place at St Andrews, the ‘Home of Golf ’. The aptlynamed Champions’ Challenge is held in the afternoon, and is followed by a champagne reception and sumptuous four-course Sportsman’s Dinner with fine wines at The R&A Links Restaurant beside the first tee. Tony Jacklin, one of the greats of British golf, is the Official Hospitality ambassador to The open, and he will be guest speaker

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at the Sportsman’s Dinner. BBC sports commentator John Inverdale will be hosting the event and guests will be able to take away an exclusive 150th anniversary gift to commemorate this special year. Prestige Scotland, the dedicated Scottish catering division of Sodexo Prestige, is partnering with The r&a to provide the Official Hospitality at this year’s Open. Prestige Scotland will be showcasing the very best of Scottish produce on offer. The Sportsman’s Dinner package includes a ticket to both the practice day and The open Champions’ Challenge. Tickets are still available, costing £299 each plus VAT. ■ A range of official hospitality packages at The Open is available from opengolfofficialhospitality.com

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Chequelist

reviews restaurants

Plaza athénée a 25 ave Montaigne, 75008 Paris t +33 1 53 67 66 65 W Plaza-athenee-Paris.coM

Hearing that a restaurant is “a favourite with the fashion crowd” doesn’t fill me with happy anticipation. Will I be disconsolately forking a solitary lettuce leaf around my plate? Will the waiter gasp if I order a pudding? Will anyone – God forbid – force a wheatgrass shot on me? Three cheers, then, for the Plaza Athénée. This five-star hotel off the Champs Elysées, might be the unofficial canteen of Paris Fashion Week, but its food is definitely not size zero. Take the hotel’s signature sandwich, the Croque Plaza: a chicken breast between two slices of white bread, topped with cream cheese and black truffle marmalade. Delicious? Yes. Cuisine minceur? Defiantly not.

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There are three main places to eat in the Plaza, all of which are decorated in a style best described as ‘Versailles meets Lady GaGa’. So the hotel’s three-Michelin-starred restaurant, Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée, boasts the obligatory chandeliers, but made to look as though they’ve exploded in a shower of crystals. Here, you can blow the bonus on shamelessly indulgent French food such as a plate of steamed langoustines with caviar (€175) or duck liver and black truffle in puff pastry with a madeira reduction (€100). Things are also pretty haute couture at the Galerie des Gobelins (pictured), the hotel’s tea salon. The abundance of Hermès Birkins and unfeasibly small dogs tells you that this a place for ladies-who-lunch – or to be more accurate, ladies-who-nibble-on-delicate-pastries. These include profiteroles, iles flottantes and the irresistibly named oréade (wood-nymph), which according to the English menu features something called a ‘black chocolate crispy’.

These morsels are universally so beautiful that you are likely to find yourself exclaiming “this looks far too good to eat!” – before contradicting yourself pretty much as soon as the plate touches your table. However, if your visit is more about business than pleasure, then you need to head to the Relais Plaza, where deals are thrashed out in an ocean liner-inspired dining room that’s served everyone from Errol Flynn to Sharon Stone. The food is classic bistro fare, with lashings of foie gras and truffles, so we felt relatively abstemious having lobster velouté with a cep infusion (me) and rabbit porchetta (him), washed down with something from the hotel’s 35,000-bottle wine cellar. As you’d expect from a five-star hotel, the food was flawlessly presented and flavoured, and the service enthusiastic without being obsequious. “I love Paris in the fall,” Doris Day might have sung in the Cole Porter Can-Can song; thanks to Plaza Athénée I could get pretty used to it all year round… – Louise Troy

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reviews restaurants

arch Hotel a 50 great cuMberland Place W1 t 020 7724 4700 P £30PP +Wine W thearchlondon.coM

As names for a hotel restaurant go, HUNter 486 is about as idiosyncratic as they come. And yes, it is capitalised like that. The reason? Well, obviously the bar and restaurant area at the West End’s newest luxury hotel, the Arch, takes it’s name from the 1950s dialling code for Marylebone. Tsk... tsk… don’t you know nuffin’? And the name Arch? Well, that’s because we are very close to Marble Arch – which means we’re also very close to Park Lane, where hotels cost an arm and a leg – and right there, we have the first major advantage that the Arch has over many hotels in the area: it is significantly more affordable (rooms start at £180, excluding breakfast). But, apart from its great location, smart exterior spanning seven Georgian townhouses and two mews homes, reasonable room price, free wifi, soft drinks and Nespresso machine in the rooms, flat-screen telly in the

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bathrooms, original artwork on the walls and general air of sophisticated design, what has the Arch hotel ever done for us? Well, that’s where HUNter 486 comes into its own… (in case you’d forgotten, the aforementioned idiosyncratically named bar and restaurant area of the hotel – do keep up, Bond…). The Library is where you start the evening, an art-lined den full of the sort of expensive coffee table books we all lust after (well, my wife does, anyway) – perfect for the pre-dinner martini or as a destination bar in its own right (they do an amazing line in savouries – try the foie gras & sauternes éclair). The dining area of the open-plan kitchen is where dinner happens and afterwards, before (or instead) there’s cocktails at The Bar or fizz at Le Salon de Champagne. And the main event? A seared, sesamecrusted cannon of yellow fin tuna, with cucumber ceviche and sea vegetable salad was perfectly (ie, barely) cooked – the sesame a nutty counterpoint to the dip-in-the-ocean freshness of the salad. My orzo primavera, asparagus and pea shoot cress was excellent, coming as it did with my favourite pasta, and my wife’s salt marsh lamb was as pink as her bottom. All in all: an overArching success. (Sorry for that.) – Martin Deeson

anthologist a 58 greshaM st, ec2 t 0845 468 0101 P £10Ph + Wine W theanthologistbar.co.uk

The scene: it’s election night. Two old (well, mid-forties) men seek a quiet table at which to drink to the departing ancien regime and see in the latest bunch of clowns. They choose Anthologist, a new “all day bar and deli”, “the perfect antidote to the City” and somewhere you can get a flat white coffee all day, or drink a large white wine all afternoon, should you so choose. A place, I am tempted to say, “where everybody knows your name.” Because there is quite a lot of Cheers about this bar/ restaurant. I’d imagine, if I worked within a 15-minute walk of Gresham St, it would quickly become my local. For two miserable sods seeking a quiet place for dinner the banging house music was not ideal. “Busy, innit?” we said to the waiter. “Oh, sometimes we get up to 800 people in here,” he replied. The food was fine. My rib eye was fine. My mate’s salad was fine. The wine was good. And the bill was low. It’s that kind of place. You wouldn’t travel far to come here, but if it was your local, and you were younger than us, well, then you’d end up spending several nights a week in here: you’d pull in here, you’d probably meet your future wife in here, and the staff would definitely all know your name. And then it clicked: the cocktails on the list are listed as being ‘skinny’ (ie low calorie), the music is loud, the website is covered in butterflies: Anthologist is one for the ladies. And none the worse for that. – Chris Floyd

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BROOkLANDS HOTEL WEyBRIDGE, SuRREy • • • • • • • •

120 Bedrooms 7 Event Suites 4 Star Deluxe 1 Destination Spa Wedding License Christmas & New Year packages available Countless Options for Discerning Stag & Hen Groups Bed & Breakfast rates start from just £126 per room per night

MEETINGS & EVENTS Ranging from the Brooklands Suite, capable of catering for 175 people, to the Solomon which can comfortably host an intimate, celebratory soiree for up to 25; whether you want to have the run of all the rooms for a super sized, yet stylish conference, or are looking to quietly enjoy your event with a few close friends and family members, we can cater for any and all of your requirements. Exclusive use of the entire hotel is also available on request.

ROOMS & DESTINATION SPA Home to some of the largest bedrooms of any UK hotel, we also feature a selection of vast super suites which, combined with Mercedes Benz World driving experiences next door, a critically acclaimed on-site destination spa and stylish 1920’s style cocktail bar, help to ensure we are the perfect location for group celebrations, honeymoons with a difference or even glamorous one-night stopovers prior to jetting off from Gatwick or Heathrow airports.

LOCATION Adjacent to the Mercedes Benz World Experience, we are situated within the historic Brooklands motor racing circuit— in fact the original track runs through our reception! Minutes from the A3, the M3 and the M25, we are midway between Heathrow and Gatwick, and fast trains to nearby Weybridge mainline station from London Waterloo take 30 minutes.

Brooklands Hotel Brooklands Drive Weybridge Surrey KT13 0SL

Tel : 01932 33 57 00 Fax : 01932 33 57 01 info@brooklandshotelsurrey.com www.brooklandshotelsurrey.com


PROMOTION

SQUAREMILE

LONDON JEWELLERY WEEK The premier celebration of London’s diverse jewellery industry – whether you’re coming to look, learn or buy. (Your other half will be hoping for the latter...) LONDON JEWELLERY WEEK

(7-13 June) will comprise a series of exhibitions and activities enabling visitors to discover and appreciate the capital’s diverse and world-leading jewellery scene. As one of the driving forces behind London Jewellery Week 2010, the Goldsmiths’ Company will be hosting a number of the key events that have been designed to celebrate London’s unique position in the world of jewellery design, production and retail. ■ For further information and bookings for the Goldsmiths events, contact Alison Byne, Promotions & Events Co-ordinator, on 020 7606 8971 or alison.byne@assayofficelondon.co.uk For info on London Jewellery Week, contact: 020 8510 9069;

DAY OF KNOWLEDGE

londonjewelleryweek.co.uk

GOLDSMITHS’ HALL, 10 JUNE, 11.00, 14.00, 16.30 & 18.45 (£20-£30 PER TALK)

Designed for anyone with a passion for designer jewellery the day will be hosted by jewellery expert and historian Joanna Hardy, senior specialist at Sotheby’s for 15 years. The day will be divided into a series of illustrated talks, and part of the Company’s renowned collection of contemporary jewellery, rarely seen by the public, will also be on display.

HALLMARKING WORKSHOP FOR CONSUMERS

SALON PRIVÉ – FASHION SHOW AND SELLING EVENT

JEWELLERY FAKES AND FORGERIES SEMINAR

GOLDSMITHS’ HALL, 7 JUNE, 10.15 OR 13.30, £10PP

GOLDSMITHS’ HALL, 8 JUNE, 15.00, £10PP

GOLDSMITHS’ HALL, 11 JUNE, 9.45, £50PP INC. TWO-COURSE LUNCH

The workshop has been tailored specifically to educate about the importance of hallmarking. After an informative talk covering the laws of this age-old form of consumer protection, a series of practical sessions will follow including the opportunity to test a personal item of jewellery for its real precious metal content.

Held in the gilded, chandeliered interior of Goldsmiths’ Hall, the latest jewellery collections by the country’s top jewellers, including Boodles, David Marshall, Elizabeth Gage and Dower & Hall will be shown in an exclusive catwalk event. After the show guests can view, try on and even purchase some of the jewels.

The first of its kind, this seminar is a follow on from the Assay Office London’s renowned Silver Fakes and Forgeries Seminar. As well as talks from experts in the trade, it will also include a series of practical sessions looking at a variety of counterfeit jewellery items, watches, gemstones and silverware.

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Wine Pinot noir

Chequelist

becoming a PinotPhile

Wine lover gareth groves can recall his first Kiwi pinot noir (£15, Oddbins, Edinburgh, 2001). He takes a Sideways glance at this prince of grapes Chateau Square Mile

Wine Pinot noir Pinot noir is booming. Perhaps it is the Sideways effect, named after the Hollywood buddy-movie that turned it from a grape into a bar-call, or possibly it is the realisation among drinkers that red wines do not need to be dark, ultra-concentrated macho beasts to be good. Whatever the reasons, the grape’s fortunes have never looked brighter. The grape’s home is Burgundy, a tangled web of vineyards, villages and vignerons that can take even the most dedicated connoisseur a lifetime of study to unravel. Twenty years ago, if drinking pinot noir you would almost certainly be drinking Burgundy. Not anymore. Today the grape is almost as ubiquitous as cabernet sauvignon or chardonnay, grown across the world from Chile to California. Personally, I have a soft spot for New Zealand pinot noir. The 2001 Wither Hills pinot noir was the first wine that I drank after joining ‘the trade’, grabbed off an Oddbins shelf in Edinburgh and devoured in the back office while we cashed up the tills. At the best part of £15 it was the priciest wine I had ever tasted. I was hooked. The Kiwi attitude to pinot noir is refreshingly straightforward. Talk to a

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Vino

winemaker like Ben Glover from Wither Hills and you quickly discover that he is as passionate about the grape and his terroir as any Burgundian superstar, but equally keen to keep things simple. Wine doesn’t have to be an intellectual challenge to be enjoyed and the idea that you need a Wine Atlas to decipher a label is pure anathema to Ben and his colleagues. New Zealand pinot noir is, as another Kiwi winemaker says, “Burgundy without the bollocks”. The marketing of New Zealand pinot noir may be relatively simple but thankfully the wines are not. Last year, I tasted through the Wither Hills back catalogue from its 1997 debut to the current 2008. The standard of the wines has rocketed over the decade. I loved tasting that 2001 again for the first time in years – and the 2003 was just stunning – but my top marks went to the 2007 and the 2008. The best Kiwi pinots are rich and plush with lovely red fruit, subtle spice and some plush chocolatey notes. Do they taste like Burgundy? No, not really. Are they utterly delicious? You bet they are. ■

Our very own bespoke Bordeaux wine, Chateau Square Mile, is coming along extremely well. The innovative firm Crushpad, which allows you to create your own wine – even from afar, using a computer programme – is flushed after a recent ‘mash-up’. Not from the wine so much as from the success of the event. Some 55 Crushpad clients braved volcanic ash to make their way to southwest France for their first tasting of their wines and to decide on finessing the blending operation. The draw was undoubtedly Crushpad’s consultant, the famous Eric Boissenot (Lafite-Rothschild, Mouton-Rothschild, Margaux et al). Alison Deighton, a London-based property developer, said: “We had a ‘moment’ this morning while blending our white wine. We decided on more steel and less barrel – it created the most fabulous white wine.” We are looking forward to sampling our creation at Square Mile HQ soon – watch this space for our slightly slurred tasting notes. crushpadwine.fr

Wither Hills Pinot Noir 2008 is available from Waitrose priced at £15.99

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property london

Chequelist

north? buy northwest If you’ve ever wanted to live in a new home in historic Highgate, then Kenwood Place could well be your last chance, says James taylOr

Knightsbridge has One Hyde Park, Kensington has Phillimore Square and now Highgate has Kenwood Place. Arguably north London’s most exclusive trophy address, this provides the very best that north London has to offer – Belgravian luxury in the leafy, historic suburbs of N6. This collection of exquisite apartments provides a rare opportunity to live next to Hampstead Heath and its 800 acres of open countryside, parkland and woods. Set in landscaped grounds, Kenwood Place is a collection of 21 stunning apartments and penthouses in three villas. Designed by architects David Chipperfield, each villa is finished in Northumberland stone, with floor-toceiling bronzed windows. Private terraces bring the outside in – it becomes part of the rooms, offering sheltered outdoor space. Balconies, patio gardens and roof terraces maximise the setting, offering views of mature trees and the capital. Space, light, cool design, lateral living, excellent security and squaremileclub.com

complete privacy are the key elements of Kenwood Place. Natural light floods into the apartments through vast windows, offering dual, triple and sometimes quadruple aspects. Spacious rooms, high ceilings, window security shutters, solid wood floors, fireplaces and bespoke features reflect the quality and design in each living space. Kenwood Place features a private health club with gym, swimming pool, Jacuzzi, sauna and steam room. Apartments come with secure

●● hampstead heath has 800 acres of open countryside, parks and woods

underground parking spaces and a storage room. Each building has its own 24-hour six-star concierge service provided by Harrods Estates Asset Management. The on-site security team is able to control and monitor all access into the development, with CCTV recorded and monitored at all times. Kenwood Place, which takes its name from nearby Kenwood House, lies between the two fashionable and historic villages of Hampstead and Highgate. This trendy part of London has streets crammed with boutiques, artisan shops, bars, cafés and restaurants. The local area benefits from two golf courses and tennis courts, while some of the country’s leading independent schools are a short journey away. Kenwood Place is one of the most desirable developments in the UK, and with only two apartments left, offers the last opportunity to live in a collection of new homes next to Hampstead Heath. ■ Prices from £3.75m; viewings by appointment only; call 0203 213 0019 or visit kenwoodplace.co.uk

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LOWER LIFE

ENDNOTES

HERE’S ONE FOR the cricket fans – lunch with Butch. Happily, Mark Butcher is a damned good sport and didn’t object to my little social experiment. My favourite Aldgate lunchtime haunt is a splendid gastro pub in Leman Street called The Dispensary. The beer is fresh and delicious, the food wholesome and yummy and the girls who work there are pretty, cheerful and thoughtful. You can probably see why I like it. Anyway, I was meeting Butch for lunch as I walked in to the place: “I’ve brought a celebrity for you, ladies.” They look nonplussed. “Former England captain with 71 caps,” I said, pointing at the man himself. “Don’t know anything about football,” they said, looking slightly embarrassed. The man who once smashed one of the best fast-bowling attacks in history for 173 not out to win an Ashes Test singlehanded just smiled. As a cricket nut I find this slightly disturbing. He’s not bothered at all. “Ashes Tests are special because of the history of it, the public, even the noncricket going public get really excited by it and it’s the closest you come to being properly famous as a cricketer when the Ashes come around,” he says. Butcher is one of the nicest, and brightest, men in sport. He’s a very, very tidy guitar player too. But like many cricketers who spent 20 years schlepping around the country plying a trade that is frequently watched by about 12 people and a dog, he’s not into playing the game anymore. Since retiring a couple of years ago after fighting a brave but losing battle against persistent injury he hasn’t picked up a bat. “Four-day county cricket only has one purpose and that is to produce players for the national side. And that’s how it should be viewed. I dream of a day when serious county cricket is played by six regions with only English players playing the game really hard.” At the time we are talking England’s Twenty20 side is tearing up the opposition in the Caribbean. “Twenty20 is great stuff but it’s a different game. It has no adverse effect on Test cricket, let alone the Ashes. What 96 SQUAREMILE

LOWER

LIFE STEVE McDOWELL

sinks a few with his hero, cricket legend Mark ‘Butch’ Butcher

loses its place is the 50-over game. Who wants to watch that now? Eight hours. Blimey. What a bore.” Despite his lack of enthusiasm for actually playing cricket, a veteran of 20 Ashes Tests is not going to give up just yet. Butch is taking a three-week tour Down Under for the Ashes Tests in both Sydney and Melbourne. Travelling cricket fans who fancy the trip would be well advised to part with the cash and go.

●● Curtly Ambrose was pissed off about something and decided he wanted to kill me

Trust me, wherever Butch goes, it will be fun. As a man who has voluntarily stood 22 yards away from a string of enormous psychotic fast bowlers armed with five and half ounces of leather-bound missile, he is not afraid of much. How was facing great attacks like the ones he battered around Headingley in 1998 (Glenn McGrath, Jason Gillespie and the lightning quick Brett Lee?) “It was fun,” he says, munching on his ribeye steak. “Especially if you score runs against them. I used to get out to crappy spinners but usually did quite well against the likes of Shane Warne and the bewitching Murali (Muttiah Muralitheran). “Warne had two balls, really, and just bluffed the rest. And Murali? Jayasuriya scored 200 against us at the Oval so I asked him how you played Murali as a left-hander? He said ‘It is very simple, padding, padding, padding, cut.’” He doesn’t lay claim to being a good player of spin. “At the end of the day, they are not going to kill you.” So, surely something must have frightened you? He chuckles. “Well, Curtly Ambrose in Guyana in 1998. He was pissed off about something and he just decided he wanted to kill me. I’m not saying I was scared but my heart rate was way beyond what it should have been standing still.” What about the improving England? “Well they hold the Ashes so retaining them shouldn’t be beyond them – there’s plenty of talent there – but to win them outright in Oz, that’s unbelievably hard. “I’m optimistic though – you’ve got to be, haven’t you?” So he hasn’t given up this game altogether, then – you can still see where he really wants to be. And, if you want to join him down under there are still a few places left on his tour. Wish I was one of them. ■ If you book through square mile you’ll get a seat on Mark’s table at the All Out Cricket Ashes Supporters’ Tour; Melbourne and Sydney Tests including Christmas lunch with Butch, plus a NYE Sydney Harbour cruise; dates from 22 December to 9 January; to book or get more info call 0800 840 7280.

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The Prince Regent

30 St James’s Street London SW1A 1HB Available from Asprey New Bond Street, Harrods Fine Jewellery and Watch Room, Selfridges Wonder Room, Weir & Sons Dublin

www.backesandstrauss.com


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Square Mile Magazine - Issue 49 - 'Bloomberg for President?'