squaremile T H E VO I C E O F T H E C I T Y
£3.25 ISSUE 52
Jura Watches Boutique: 3 Burlington Gardens, Mayfair, W1S 3EP Tel: 0800 011 2704 E-Boutique: www.jurawatches.co.uk
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EDITOR’S WORD squaremile T h e vo i c e o f T h e c i T y
EDITOR Martin Deeson DEPUTY EDITOR Mark Hedley ART DIRECTOR Matthew Lewis-Hasteley CITY EDITOR Jon Hawkins ASSOCIATE EDITOR Eugene Costello SENIOR DESIGNER Katerina Varnavides ASSISTANT DESIGNER Justine Middleton
WHILE MR DEESON works on making squaremile.com the No.1 City web portal, sod’s law has it that, in editing my first issue, I’m asked to defend Goldman Sachs. Right, here goes. So... erm… oh, whom am I kidding? The public loves a good fall from grace – and when it came to Goldman Sachs’s SEC fine, even the banking community was smacking its chops with glee. (Just see Cityboy’s state of schadenfreude on p32.) Yet meet someone who actually works for Goldman and they’ll defend their beloved bank as if their life – not just their livelihood – depends on it. Goldman elicits an unparalleled
CONTRIBUTORS Jamel Akib, Geraint Anderson, Mike Baghdady, Will Greenwood, Gareth Groves, James Gurney, Angela Knight, Steve McDowell, Saul Wordsworth
devotion from staff that’s more appropriate to a religious sect
LEEDS CORRESPONDENT Martin France
appeal. At least, Warren Buffet certainly could. After all, the
INTERNS Nick Hayne, Will Mathieson, Lizzie Rivera PRINTING Colourfast Europe
“The god is Goldman. You subjugate yourself to that god, and in return they will make you a gazillionaire.” You can see the oracle of Omaha offered up $5bn to the Goldman altar. As recent developments have shown, his faith has been rewarded. Of course, as with anything that commands such reverence, there are plenty of unbelievers too. Just ask everything bad that’s ever happened – from the credit crunch
MANAGING DIRECTOR Tim Slee
to that time the fit girl in 5b teased him for having a spotty
MARKETING Rebecca Longstaff
nose. There’s even one website that tries to suggest Goldman
EVENTS Vicky Miller Alex Watson
is linked with the devil. But then, the same website hosts tabs that it’s a totally trustworthy source for balanced comment. Love it or hate it – Goldman Sachs is merely a bank. Anything else is just a load of GS.
CONTACT 020 7819 9999
Mark Hedley email@example.com
...was the joint top try scorer in England’s victorious campaign in the 2003 Rugby World Cup. Greenwood started his career as a trader for HSBC, before becoming a professional rugby player. After retiring in 2006, he now works as an analyst for Sky Sports. GERAINT ANDERSON …is the best-selling author of Cityboy – Beer and Loathing in the Square Mile. He found notoriety as thelondonpaper’s resident Cityboy, having spent almost 12 years in the City as a joint team leader and star stock analyst at Dresdner Kleinwort. DAVID HAMBLING ...is a freelance journalist whose work has appeared in New Scientist and the Guardian. He is the author of Weapons Grade: Revealing the Links Between Modern Warfare and Our High-Tech World (2005). On p38, David asks how much of the City was built by the Masons.
for ‘BarackObama666’ and ‘JPMorgan666’, so I’m not sure
ACCOUNTS Steve Cole Laura Otabor
square mile uses paper from sustainable sources
WILL GREENWOOD MBE
than a bank. One Wall St veteran summed up the doctrine:
Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi who seems to blame Goldman for
PRINT ADVERTISING Michael Berrett, Joe Manalac, Christian Morrow, Tom Rutherford
This month’s cover depicts a Goldman Sachs conveyor belt producing arguably the best – and consequently most loathed – bankers on the block. Illustration by Jamel Akib
To receive your complimentary subscription to square mile register at squaremile.com
JAMES GURNEY ...is the founder and editor-in-chief of QP magazine and the man behind SalonQP – the UK’s first watch show dedicated to mechanical timepieces. He likes to claim, on very slender evidence, the credit for the fact that Brits can now think beyond Rolex. © 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.
COVER FEATURE 32
PORTFOLIO 14 . THE EXCHANGE 18 . SQUAREMILE.COM 20 . ARTWORK 22 . NOTICEBOARD 26 . CITY TRUMPS 28 . ANALYST ASSETS 72 . BUY! BUY! BUY! 75 . PRIME TIME 77 . MOTORS 80 . REVIEWS 83 . WINE 84 . SPIRITS 86 . TRAVEL ENDNOTES 96 . LOWER LIFE 10 SQUAREMILE
FEATURES 32 . ATTACK OF THE CLONES: THE GOLDMAN SACHS MACHINE COVER FEATURE With Goldman barely out of the news in 2010, Cityboy Geraint Anderson explains why he, and the rest of the world, loves to hate this most divisive of investment banks. (And why he would secretly give his right arm to work for them.)
38 . SALON QP: IT’S SHOW TIME There’s no substitute for seeing the world’s greatest watches in the flesh, says QP editor James Gurney, which is why he decided to gather them all together in one place for the annual SalonQP showcase at One Marylebone.
46 . THIS SATANIC CITY The City is awash with Masonic architecture, including St Paul’s Cathedral. No great surprise, says David Hambling: Sir Christopher Wren and Nicholas Hawksmoor (nicknamed ‘the devil’s architect’) were both Freemasons.
CITY 54 . WILL GREENWOOD The England legend says a rugby World Cup final is a doddle compared to life on the trading floor.
57 . ESCAPE ARTIST 58 . WELCOME TO MY WORLD: KCS CEO STUART POOLE-ROBB The ex-Special Forces man says City firms must wake up to the threat of corporate espionage.
61 . WHITE KNIGHT BBA chief Angela Knight goes on tour in the EU.
63 . MAC DADDY Why London is the Daddy of global forex.
65 . HAWKEYE What would happen if the City went on strike?
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city winners & losers
picture this: masked ball
city trumps: commuting
PhotograPh by rankin
gotta whole lotta rosie
cider with rosie? Yes, please! Glamourpuss Rosie Huntington-Whiteley â€“ to use her full name â€“ has been made to look even better by the legend that is Rankin
THE CIT Y INDE X SWINGING DICK? OR JUST A DICKHEAD? THE CITY’S WINNERS & LOSERS
B U Y
THINGS TO DO AFTER THE CITY WORDS
It’s all very well banks and hedge funds threatening to quit the UK, but who’s going to have this ramshackle bunch of cash-hungry outcasts when they up sticks? Pfäffikon, that’s who. This tiny town of 7,000 on the banks of Lake Zurich has the lowest corporate and personal tax in Switzerland, and is already home to Man Investments, UBS, George Soros and the private banking arm of Liechtenstein’s royal house. Throw in that notorious Swiss sense of fun and it sounds like a blast. Excuse us if we don’t move in straight away – we’re busy alphabetising our copies of Woodturning Magazine.
#26 A LIFE OF CRIME
▲ UKULELES George Formby probably wasn’t talking about bankers when he sang: “In my profession I’ll work hard, but I’ll never stop. I’ll climb this blinkin’ ladder till I get right to the top,” in glass-polishing anthem When I’m Cleaning Windows. Nevertheless, City traders have evidently been channelling the bucktoothed wartime troubadour, because ukulele playalongs are the latest team-building exercise, according to the Guardian. Bankers playing with their tiny instruments; since when was that news?
▲ SWEARING Good news for sailors and Tourette’s sufferers, because swearing in the office, says a scientific study, can make you better at your job. Funny, square mile’s been calling the publisher a handshandy grandmaster all year but we’ve still not been promoted. There’s no pleasing some spam-javelins...
▲ GOLDMAN SACHS Citboy may be bashing them this issue, but few others in the City would be able to match Goldman’s new ‘10,000 Small Businesses’ initiative, providing education and funding for small UK enterprises. Such as Lloyds and RBS, presumably.
▲ PLAYBOY The Playboy Club is returning to Mayfair after a 30-year hiatus. Randy pensioner Hugh Hefner, 213, is thought to be excited, and can’t wait to see some activity down there again. One day. Hopefully.
SQUAREMILE’S ‘Miles’ by Jamel Akib
▽ I’ve thought about it. You’ve thought about. In fact, we’ve all thought about it. But this is neither the time nor place to discuss it. Instead, let’s consider your next career move – that of a life of crime. I got a rare glimpse of what it is to be a criminal the other day. No, I’m not talking about sexual harassment (not this time). Instead, I spent two weeks avoiding my neighbours for complex reasons that have no place here. During this period I was exhilarated by the stealth required to steer clear of them and did a lot of quiet laughing to myself. Lurking and dodging wouldn’t be enough to sustain you, though. You’d need something with high reward and reasonable risk, perhaps a heist like the one portrayed in The Thomas Crown Affair. That kind of highend pilfering would be the shiznit. The only problem is, you’ve probably never tried to steal a painting from an international gallery before and are likely to get caught. Then you’ll go to prison, get bummed and come out a broken man. That’s not suave and cool. That’s just getting bummed. It’s therefore better to start with the smaller stuff: double parking, texting while driving, not recycling and so on. When you’re comfortable with that you can move onto the bigger stuff like shoplifting, resisting arrest and driving without looking. Then, once you’re feeling super-confident and finally thinking like a career criminal, you can become a banker again. ■ saulwordsworth.com
One New Change, the City’s new £540bn shopping centre, is now open, with brands including TopShop and H&M. Proof that the Square Mile is finally ready to embrace the modern, by trading bowler hat for soulless tat? We wouldn’t bet our bespoke pinstripe Y-fronts on it...
▼ LOSS-MAKING Bankers caused the financial crisis for the masochistic pleasure of running up losses, says a study by Cardiff University’s Dr Paul Crosthwaite. And there was us thinking it was owing to a collective desire to put Woolworths out of business.
▼ WALL STREET SEQUEL Gordon Gekko’s back and this time Greed isn’t so good, as Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps opens to scathing reviews. The world obviously has enough real-life bankers to despise already...
I do not want an academic running this part of Government. Theoretical pronouncements are no bloody help whatsoever.
▼ BOWLER HATS
Savile Row tailor Cad & the Dandy has named London’s best-dressed banker, and the result makes for distressing news. It turns out the embodiment of the City’s rich and glorious tradition of sartorial excellence is an American, commodities broker Greg Rellis of OTC Europe. What has it come to when even the Septic Tanks can out-dress the City? What next, the Germans beating us at our own beautiful game? The Italians being better than us at shagging?
▼ SARTORIAL STANDARDS
It hasn’t taken long for some in the City to digest the government’s calls for austerity and interpret them as a green light to fritter away thousands of pounds on booze and strippers. Spearmint Rhino has, according to boss John Specht, seen a 35% rise in custom from the City, with one punter spending £18,480 on lap dances in a single night (that’s a lot of tips – Ed) and another group of City workers blowing £30,000. “I’ve been in LA, Vegas, Florida, but these guys are something else,” said Specht. What a boost for the local economy; it warms the cockles of your heart, doesn’t it?
ANDY RAYNOR, CEO of RSM Tenon on Vince Cable and his attack on capitalism
Want to nominate someone? Work with a legend? Or a turkey? Contact us with your City Winners & Losers: firstname.lastname@example.org
CR CH BUNCH
OUR REGULAR SERIES FOR PEOPLE WORDS Lizzie Rivera WHO’VE MISSED THE NEWS...
#17 DIAMOND STILETTO ▽ There’s them as say the last days of Rome were marked by orgies, vomitoriums (vomitoria?) and sodomy. And Hitler’s last days in the bunker, we’re told, were one big party – booze, drugs and orgies. (Not all bad, then…) So the link between decadence and the death of a civilisation has left us searching our drawers for our life-insurance policies. This is thanks to a press release that hit our desks this week – it’s for the Eternal Borgezie Diamond Stiletto. The shoe comes adorned with 2,200 diamonds with a total weight of 30 carats, and is made up of gold and platinum. The sole and heel are removable – making it inadvisable to wear these on a nightbus to Hackney. (Though if you can afford these, you’re unlikely to be on a nightbus. Or in Hackney.) With a £100k price tag, it’s the sort of thing that few will be in the market for. Perhaps Wayne Rooney could get it for Christmas as a peace offering to Coleen (she’ll no doubt be getting him Old Spice – or Oul’ Spice). Let’s face it, with more time on the bench than a piss-stained old tramp, it’s the nearest he’ll be getting to a Golden Boot this season… ■
R★O★G★U★E TRADERS BANKING AIN’T WHAT IT USED TO BE... WORDS
#1 LORD MONTAGU NORMAN Governor of the Bank of England 1920-44
Britain has been conquered only twice in its history. The first time was by William the Norman in 1066 and the second by Montagu the Norman in 1931.
– Harold J. Laski, 1940 P O R
BONUS B U STER PATEK PHILIPPE 5339R
L I O WORDS
enlarged case and small print ‘tourbillon’ on the face alert you to the 5339R’s much revered ‘Grand Complication’ status. It manages to retain the reserved, classic charm you’d expect from a Patek through its authentic white enamel dial and goldapplied hour markers. It’s also the first time that Patek has ever associated its hobnailpatterned ‘Clous de Paris’ bezel with a minute repeater model. Lucky 5339R! Patek Philippe has never needed to shout about what it does though. The watches simply speak for themselves. 01733 230 774; patek.com
▽ Where to begin with the legend that held onto the position of Governor of the Bank of England for 24 years, when two-year governorships had been the precedent since the bank’s inception in the 1600s? Perhaps with the accusation that, by prematurely returning the pound to gold standard, Norman was responsible for the Wall St crash of 1929. Or with the assertion that merely by making public his opinion he brought Labour to their knees in 1931. Possibly with the allegations that Norman’s irresponsible banking style made conditions ripe in Germany for the rise of Nationalism, and that he even supported Hitler’s rebuilding policies right up until the declaration of war. Oh, and then transferred £6m worth of the Czechs’ gold to the Reichsbank following their invasion by Germany. Nah. Let’s talk about the debonair style in which Norman conducted his dealings. Said to belong to the “world’s most exclusive club”, he used his personal relationships to influence meetings that decided the fate of the world’s economy. True to his maxim, “never explain, never apologise”, Norman shrouded his business deals in mystery, kept all meetings off-the-record, refused to give interviews or speeches and even assumed aliases when travelling. “I am the gold standard”, he once humbly declared. And this charming aristocrat wasn’t far off the mark. ■
PHOTO (above) by J. Gaiger/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images. CARTOON by Modern Toss, moderntoss.com
No one likes a show-off. In fact, when it comes to watches, there’s nothing worse than being all show and no substance. Fortunately, Patek takes completely the opposite approach to its new 5339R tourbillon minute repeater. The 5339R successfully retains the uncluttered aesthetic of the iconic and unmistakable Calatrava – but beneath its elegant façade is a hive of mechanical activity. A manually-wound movement is to be expected, but it’s also endowed with a minute repeater and tourbillon escapement too. Only subtle tweaks such as an
T F O
here is the news…
Not just any old news – squaremile.com has rounded up a crack troop of the least informed journalists we could find to offer you a refreshing viewpoint unencumbered by facts or expertise Spending Review 2010: Key pointS at a glance Words
Bank of england Finds Banknote sponsors, removes Queen’s head Words
▽ In a shock announcement, the Bank of England has revealed that its next round of quantitative easing will be sponsored by Bentley, Smythson, and McDonald’s. “The idea came to me in a dream,” said BoE Governor, Mervyn King. “I’d had loads of wine and cheese so I went to bed in a stupor. When I awoke the idea was fully formed.” King’s plan is to print reams of newly minted cash backed by some of the best names in retail. The new notes will no longer include the Queen’s head but will instead feature the company logos of those involved. All sponsors will also be given the opportunity to choose newly denominated notes and coins with values commensurate to their most famous product. “The new £2.49 coin, sponsored by McDonald’s, signifies the price of a Big Mac,” said King. “It will have a chirpy Ronald McDonald emblazoned on the flipside. I’ve seen a few and they look great.” Other new denominations will include the £4.99 Milk Tray note, the £429 Apple iPad note, plus the newly minted £110,000 coin sponsored by Bentley. “Since they’ll be sponsoring, we won’t have to pay a penny,” said the man from Chesham, Bucks. “I think I’m a genius, though I’m keeping that on the down-low.” When asked about the inevitability of these goods rising in value, a spokesperson for the Bank of England issued the following statement: “Shit.” ■
ECONOMY & JOBS The Treasury predicts about 490,000 public sector jobs will be lost by 2014/15, although it hopes much of this will come through “suicides and mysterious disappearances”. WELFARE State pension age to rise from 66 to 85 for men with “really thick arms”. Rise in retirement age for women depending on their ability to give accurate directions and move furniture. Winter fuel allowance available only to those over-75-
year-olds who can prove they weigh “less than nine squirrels”. Children to be scrapped in Herefordshire. HOUSING The end of “homes for life”. All homeowners to have at least one homeless year in five following a successful pilot scheme in Huddersfield. HEALTH More money for “talking therapy”, in which cancer sufferers and those with severe, longterm pain are encouraged to think about nicer things. JUSTICE & POLICING The big loser, with the £10.2bn Home Office budget cut by 96%. Repeat offenders given early release if they
have “nice eyes” and local communities expected to police themselves using tough language and swords. NORTHERN IRELAND/ SCOTLAND/WALES No announcement yet, as the Chancellor has never actually visited the provinces, but “would really like to one day”. EDUCATION Education is the big winner with up to seven new flipcharts for schools in Bedfordshire and the abolition of teachers with elbow pads. SECURITY An extra £650m injected to help protect the country from The Isle of Man.
the cutS: city ReceiveS eaRly ShocK Words
As details of the Spending Review begin to emerge, the City is still reeling after a giant gaffe allowed crucial pages of the review to be papped. The two pages that were photographed in Danny Alexander’s lap as he drove away from the Treasury shed early light on the government’s attitude towards the banking community. We debated whether it was in the public interest to publish it. We decided anything that had a cock and balls and a 1950sstyle robot had to be brought to a wider audience.
U N R E
T R A I N E D
THE STUNNING NEW SUPERCHARGED EVORA S The new Evora S blends the sublime handling of the award winning Evora with the surging 345 bhp of a supercharged V6 engine. It offers everyday practicality and comfort, and possesses the finesse and instant response for unrestrained driving pleasure. For further information contact your local Lotus retailer.
Fuel consumption in mpg (l/100km): Urban 19.4 (14.6), Extra Urban 37.2 (7.6), Combined 27.7 (10.2). CO2 emissions: 239 g/km.
artwork rankin Words Mark Hedley the wunderkind of british art launches cinematic portraits of rosie huntingtonwhiteley. and you can see her raspberry ripple
photograph by rankin
Madonna, Prince, Banksy… erm, Sootie? Any artist that can pull off a one-word moniker is usually well set to go down in history. (Apart from Akon, of course.) Rankin is no exception. (To be fair, if your other names were John and Waddell, you’d run with your middle name.) One of the most renowned portrait and fashion photographers of our generation, Rankin has shot everyone from royalty to refugees. As well as founding Dazed & Confused magazine straight out of uni, he now publishes several high-end fashion titles and has recently made the natural step into filmmaker. Rankin’s new experience in film is reflected in his latest work. Ten Times Rosie – a high-end fashion photography book featuring the designs of Paula Thomas (founder and head designer of luxury label Thomas Wylde) – comprises ten portraits of model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley shot in and around LA. Launched in London Fashion Week in September, the project was a celebration of Thomas’s UK homecoming. We’ve always been a huge fan of Rankin over here at Square Mile Towers – his dramatic atmospheric portraiture is unrivalled. The fact that he’s not averse to squeezing in a bit of nipple has nothing to do with it, you understand. ■ TEN TIMES ROSIE is available at turnaround-uk.com, and all good bookstores, priced £40; for more of Rankin's work, visit Annroy Gallery – 020 7284 7320, rankin.co.uk
The second annual square mile Masked Ball in association with the Mayor’s Fund for London was a huge success. Held at the glamorous Hurlingham Club, 500 of our readers listened to a characteristically colourful speech from Boris Johnson before enjoying an evening of great food and entertainment. The night culminated in a charity auction raising more than £65k for the Mayor’s Fund. PhotograhPs by Chris o’Donovan
Charity partner • The Mayor’s Fund for London mayorsfundforlondon.org.uk venue • The Hurlingham Club hurlinghamclub.org.uk
SpOnSOrS • Montblanc montblanc.com • EEA eeafm.com • Louis Roederer champagne-roederer.com • GFT gftuk.com • Air Partner Private Jets airpartner.com • Karma Resorts karmaresorts.com • Penfolds penfolds.com
entertainment • English National Ballet ballet.org.uk • Flood The Floor floodthefloor.co.uk • Divine Company divinecompany.co.uk • Rebeca Jones harpist rebecajones.co.uk
Catering • Searcys searcys.co.uk after party • Boujis boujis.com
hugO bOSS StOre Opening To celebrate the launch of the new Hugo Boss New Bond Street store, we invited you down to party the night away at Mews of Mayfairâ€Ś PhotograhPs by Laura Crouchley
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▽ This month...
THE BATTLE OF THE COMMUTE JON HAWKINS
ILLUSTRATION by Colin Elgie
CITY TRUMPS 26 SQUAREMILE
As fast as your legs can carry you. But then it’s not about speed or convenience, it’s about peak physical fitness. And tiny shorts. PRACTICALITY You won’t need much equipment, but you will need a shower at the other end unless you’ve already alienated everyone you work with anyway. THE COST Conclusive proof that the best things in life aren’t actually free, running to work costs nothing. Unless you count your dignity. RATING ★★ HOW FAST?
RUN BOTHER? Because
you’ll become heroically fit. You’ll also look like a colossal twat and almost certainly wreck your knees in the process, but you’ll be an extraordinarily fit twat with bad knees. It’s a triumph of sorts, then. THE LOOK Tiny backpack, tinier shorts and a face redder than a baboon’s slapped red arse. If you like tight-fitting fluorescent athletic apparel, you’ll love running.
CYCLE WHY BOTHER? You’ll be riding a huge wave of smugness – ecowarrior, fitness guru, pedal-dancing rouleur. And then you’ll ruin everything by wearing more Lycra than a giant Russian gymnast. THE LOOK Grim-faced determination, Lycra and sweat. HOW FAST? Very fast, providing you plough through every red light, inject yourself with several pints of fresh blood on a regular basis and don’t crash. PRACTICALITY If you’ve got a bike, you can ride to work. Until it gets nicked from outside the office by a tramp with an angle grinder. THE COST The journey itself will cost you nothing, but the lure of ever more expensive machinery could see things move into organ-flogging territory quicker than you can say “high modulus carbon fibre frame with eccentric bottombracket shell.” RATING ★★★★
DRIVE BOTHER? Quite simply, because you can. Being granted access to a parking space in the City in 2010 is roughly equivalent to being given your own army to command in the days of the Roman Empire. Any sense of achievement, however, will be erased by the reality of spending most of your waking day stuck in traffic. THE LOOK Sullen, angry defiance, tempered with intense boredom. HOW FAST? Glacially slow, which will at least give you plenty of time WHY
UNDERGROUND WHY BOTHER? While hardly marking you out as a free-spirited transport maverick, the Underground is the leading choice. Sure, you’ll probably be fondled by a lonely pensioner and if you do get a seat it will have been soiled by its previous occupant, but the Tube is generally a safe bet. Except in summer or when there’s a strike. THE LOOK “Even crushed against his brother in the
Tube the average Englishman pretends desperately that he is alone,” said Germaine Greer. HOW FAST? Faster than almost anything else, but limited by broken trains, signal faults, engineering works and people under trains (sadly, not mechanics fixing them). PRACTICALITY If you’re unable to master the Tube, you shouldn’t be working in the City. THE COST Pricier than being stuck underground with thousands of strangers has any right to be. RATING ★★★★
to contemplate the existentialist dilemma of being trapped, motionless, inside a fourwheeled monument to your considerable wealth and success. PRACTICALITY You’ll need a car. More than that, you’ll need a car capable of doing at least 180mph more than the 3mph you’ll average through the centre of London. Nothing conveys a sense of latent potency like a Porsche in a traffic jam. THE COST How long is a piece of string (or RAC van cable towing your overheated Ferrari)? RATING ★★★
KEY NAME, CHEMICAL SYMBOL
▽ This month...
ATOMIC NUMBER [ATOMIC WEIGHT]
LITHIUM, LI 3 [6.941]
Used to store electrical energy chemically
Super-conductor used for interconnections between components
TANTALUM, TA 73 [180.94788]
Used in the manufacture of capacitors
SILICON, SI 14 [28.0855]
Semi-conductor used in chip substrates
NIOBIUM, NB 41 [92.90638]
Combined with lithium to make the ferro-electric lithium niobate (LiNbO3) used in for memory and RFID chips
▶ NOKIA N97
ANALYST 28 SQUAREMILE
PRECIOUS METAL YOU ever wondered why there are so many companies that will happily give you cold hard cash in exchange for your crappy old mobile phones? Well, to put it in context, a metric ton of gold ore contains between 0.3 and 5 grams HAVE
of gold: a metric ton of mobile phones can yield as much as 250 grams of gold. With gold at record highs, this means a possible return of more than $11k per ton. But that’s not all: from that same ton you’ll get 140 grams of platinum and palladium, 3kg of
silver, and 140kg of copper. And that’s just the phone – chuck in the battery too, and you have a wealth of lithium. Then there’s the tantalum and nobium; both extracted from coltan, these are used in mobiles as electrical capacitors and resistors.
In the UK it’s estimated that around 90 million mobile phones are lying unused in cupboards and draws around the country. So it’s not surprising that this relatively untapped source of precious and valuable minerals is attracting some interest.
Mazuma is recycling 150,000 phones per month at present, while Envirophone has already paid more than £70m to the public in the last five years for unwanted mobiles – offsetting 3,000 tonnes of CO2 in the process. A ringing endorsement, indeed. ■
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SACHS & THE CITY:
THE BANK WE LOVE TO HATE GRAND DESIGNS:
THE DEVIL’S ARCHITECT
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MAHOMET AND THE MOUNTAINS You no longer need to travel to the land of Heidi to see the finest horological pieces. Thanks to SalonQP, they’re coming to you...
(aka Cityboy) could hardly contain himself for glee when he heard about Goldmanâ€™s SEC fine. Why does the world love to hate this hugely successful bank? GERAINT ANDERSON
THE MACHINE “WHEN I HEARD that Goldman was being charged with fraud by the SEC, I thought it was my birthday, Christmas and New Year all rolled into one!” said a former colleague of mine gleefully down the phone. A few more calls to several other ex-colleagues confirmed the unrestrained schadenfreude that was being felt across the Square Mile (“Christ, if I’d been any happier I’d have exploded!” exclaimed another) as a result of Goldman’s woes. The sheer extent of their pleasure got me thinking about why this particular investment bank elicits such strong emotions from its competitors. Is it just envy or does Goldman get everything it deserves?
I first heard about the Goldman ‘machine’ a few days before joining the City in August 1996. My fund manager brother had just secured me an interview at Société Générale despite the fact I was a pony-tailed history graduate who wouldn’t have known what a PE ratio was if it had jumped up and bitten my bony arse. The ‘interview’ took place in a City bar and essentially involved drinking about nine bottles of champagne with a bunch of bladdered MDs who thankfully couldn’t be arsed to ask me any technical questions about pointless things like shares. On hearing that this one interview/piss-up was all that was required to get me a job as a junior ▶
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●● The financial crisis was crying out for a pantomime villain and the market pushed forward this venerable bank
ILLUSTRATIONS by Jamel Akib
▶ analyst, my brother rolled his eyes and muttered something about ‘standards dropping’. He also informed me that an American bank called Goldman Sachs would have required about 14 separate interviews before they’d have offered me a role and would probably never have even considered my application owing to my lack of qualifications. As I waltzed into my cushy job I remember wondering what kind of hellish institution would require such a vetting process and thanking my lucky stars that there were still some European banks with a more ‘laissez-faire’ approach. Over the next few years I invariably bumped into my competitors from Goldman regularly at company presentations. I came away with the strong impression that they had all received ‘personality bypass’ operations on being accepted into ‘the firm’ (which seemed to have a lot in common with the cult-like ‘Firm’ described by John Grisham in his book of the same name). Most of my fellow analysts in UK waters knew they were involved in a farcical little sector and didn’t take themselves too seriously. However, the Goldman boys walked around like they ran the show and had a gnarly stick permanently implanted up their arses. At annual results presentations they invariably asked the FD tedious technical questions solely designed to show attending buy-side analysts how smart they were. They also
invariably viewed analyst dinners with utility companies’ managers merely as an opportunity to shove their tongue so far up the CEO’s arse he came out thinking he’d had a colonic to go with his salmon en croute. These buffoons really meant business, and failure simply didn’t seem an option for any of them. They were hyper-competitive, humourless cyborgs who learnt Sun Tzu’s The Art of War off by heart. I once cornered an almost human Goldman analyst after yet another corporate jolly in some God-awful provincial town and, emboldened by a few £30 shots of whisky, asked him what he thought was so damn special about his ‘poncey little firm’. His eyes immediately misted over and took on a far-away look as if he were discussing Helen of Troy’s matchless beauty, and he waxed lyrical for 20 minutes about the organisation he loved. The rigorous graduate trainee programme had weeded out the weaklings and his loyalty was now such that had the spiked Kool-Aid been passed around he’d have been the first to take a sup. Goldman at the time was still a partnership and all he coveted was to be one of the ‘big guys’ upstairs. It was this carrot that had made him willing to work late into the night and rarely experience a free weekend as he desperately sought ‘success’. The main objective of the partnership was to make money, and these guys made this pursuit a veritable religion, which led to a strange ‘us and them’ perspective. When I enquired as to what his goals were, my Goldman
counterpart’s response reminded me of Conan the Barbarian when he is asked by the Mongol general “what is best in life?”: “To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women.” The only difference was the bit about women – who seemed of minor concern to this autistic alien. All that the Goldman boys appeared to dream of was the humiliation of those deluded uppity European banks like UBS and Deutsche who foolishly thought they could challenge them. They had some vague respect for Morgan Stanley and Citigroup but even these were viewed as clumsy, incompetent wannabes. Goldman was at the top of the tree, and they knew it. There was another more scurrilous, less flattering explanation for the unremitting hard work the Goldman robots were willing to endure. There is an apocryphal theory that Goldman’s HR department has a remit to look out for CVs from graduates who ‘were probably bullied at school’. The thinking behind such a policy, were it to exist, would be that only desperately insecure characters would have the necessary drive to work like demons through the best years of their lives so they can prove to themselves that they have ‘made it’. Clearly untrue – but it is an insight to how Goldman is viewed that such a theory could even be postulated. Surely, only the dream of driving a Ferrari with a fit blonde in the passenger seat around the estates of their former tormenters shouting ‘Do you see? I’m somebody now!’ can explain why these jokers worked 70+ hours a week? ▶
●● Goldman Sachs has, of course, shown an unerring ability to forecast the future rivalled only by the late Paul the Octopus ▶ Whatever the psychological motivation, one thing became very clear early on in my City career. These charmless drones weren’t just desperate to win – they generally did. Pretty much every time I was involved in some pitch for corporate business some douche bags from Goldman would whup my sorry ass. Whether I was pitching to organise a rights issue for a UK electricity company or attempting to be the main adviser to some Continental gas company trying its hand at M&A, we kept on being pipped at the post by those dreadful automatons. It got so bad that when I heard that Goldman was competing against us for the same corporate work I gave up the ghost there and then. Goldman consistently topped the Thompson M&A league tables and only Morgan Stanley or Citigroup ever came close. Its trading was also something to behold. In 2009 alone, their traders made at least $100m in net trading revenues on 131 days. This was a phenomenal record and a source of enormous bewilderment to all Goldman’s competitors. Even more impressive was their announcement in 2008 that they had actually made money out of the growing subprime mortgage debacle in the US over the previous year when all the other banks had posted serious losses. It was about at that point that City boys like me began to wonder if these robo-bankers had signed a pact with Beelzebub himself.
The six billion dollar question is whether this relentless success could really be a result of brilliance alone. Recent developments have certainly bolstered the long-held view that Goldman’s success can partly be attributed to the willingness of some of its employees to sail close to the wind. The recent SEC fine of $550m may have been the biggest in the regulator’s history but, in reality, it merely represented just over 1% of Goldman’s annual revenues – and Goldman’s shares rose dramatically as soon as it was announced. It has also been alleged that, despite Goldman’s major role in selling mortgage-backed securities, its traders had bet against these products in the early part of the crisis. This practice was succinctly described by one US senator as “selling a car with faulty brakes and then buying an insurance policy on the buyer of those cars”. These outrages have also been music to the ears of the conspiracy theorists. The most famous one, Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone magazine, wrote an article concluding that Goldman had, throughout the last century, purposefully inflated and deflated asset price bubbles and in, so doing, made enormous profits on the way up and on the way down. Taibbi famously referred to Goldman as “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money”. Whilst this is, of course, how a capitalist company works (and Goldman has shown an unerring ability to forecast the future rivalled only by the late Paul the Psychic Octopus), it is too easy with hindsight to see conspiracy in everything. Indeed, there are even some crazies who see the hand of Goldman behind BP’s recent oil disaster. They point out that Goldman’s sold a sizeable stake in the company just before the
Deepwater Horizon rig exploded and claim this disaster was the only way they could take themselves off the front pages and cease being the most hated corporation in America. Now, I know those boys get up to some questionable activities while executing ‘God’s business’ (as CEO Lloyd Blankfein has foolishly referred to his bank’s role) but this theory is stretching things a little. Goldman is a top-class organisation that does pretty much everything better than all the other investment banks. But the financial crisis was crying out for a pantomime villain and the market – generally right in these things – pushed forward this venerable bank. It has become a symbol both of everything that is right in banking – intelligence, innovation and profitability – and everything that is wrong – greed, short-termism and selfishness. Inevitably Goldman will overcome this little bump on the road to global domination and successfully restore its reputation. It’s a winner – and, what’s more, every banker knows it. That’s why all those ex-colleagues of mine who were happy to be quoted about the joy they felt at Goldman’s recent troubles all demanded that their musings were anonymous – just in case, as one of them said, “I’m ever lucky enough to be asked to work for those dodgy bastards.” It seems Goldman may be a morally dubious “vampire squid” – but it’s the blood-sucking cephalopod that every banker still wants to work for. ■ Do you work for Goldman Sachs? Want to defend yourselves? Write to us at editorial@ squareupmedia.com – and we’ll publish your riposte (space permitting). Geraint Anderson is author of ‘Cityboy – Beer and Loathing in the Square Mile’ cityboy.biz
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From 11-13 November, One Marylebone will be home to the world’s greatest timepieces at the annual SalonQP showcase. JAMES GURNEY tells us what to expect… AS POWERFUL AS print media is in
With this in mind we decided that telling stories and creating impressions, SalonQP should be about meeting there is sometimes no substitute for seeing watchmakers and designers as the real thing in the flesh. We set up QP much as about simply seeing the to communicate some of the excitement finest watchmaking has to offer. we felt on examining the world’s finest After all, given enough time you watches and talking to their creators, but could see at least two-thirds of the we eventually came to the conclusion watches elsewhere in London. The that reporting on Baselworld and first SalonQP removed any doubt Geneva’s SIHH was not enough. Why that this was the way forward, as couldn’t we bring at least a selection the more-than-slightly sceptical of the watches we saw in Geneva and watchmakers brought over from Basel to London and let London’s the likes of Jaeger-LeCoultre, watch aficionados see for themselves Vacheron and Blancpain were the craftsmanship and creativity we overwhelmed by the interest report on in square mile and QP? visitors took in their work. What began as nothing more For 2010 we are building on than an ambition was spurred on this with more watchmakers by experiencing first-hand the and a variety of specialist success enjoyed by occasions craftsmen (including a such as Salon Privée, square diamond-cutter from Backes mile’s events and even Whisky & Strauss) on hand to show Live – all of which show that what makes their watches so people respond with great special. The highlight will be interest when offered the the presentation by two of chance to see the finest of the finest watchmakers in a métier and to meet the the world, George Daniels creators behind them. and Roger Smith, of their Talking with Aston Martin collaboration series. We about their tradition that know of collectors who will engines are ‘signed’ by be travelling from across the engineer who made the globe to see the watch them decided the issue. and meet the creators.
△ SILICON VALLEY FRÉDÉRIQUE CONSTANT
Frédérique Constant will be showing a tourbillon watch with a silicium escapement wheel at SalonQP. Based on its award-winning Heart Beat Manufacture Calibre, Frédérique Constant developed its tourbillon fully in-house. The piece features a number of unique features, namely the silicium escapement wheel, smart weight balancing and fast oscillation of 28,800 BpH. Each tourbillon cage in the limited edition of 188 pieces is individually numbered.
▷ DIAL UP MONTBLANC
For the first time in the UK, Montblanc will be displaying its superlative Villeret Exo Tourbillon. This isn’t just a ‘standard’ tourbillon, either. No, it’s an ‘exotourbillon’, which means that the balance wheel has been separated from the tourbillon assembly and is positioned outside its cage. So, the balance isn’t affected by the tourbillon cage’s rotation. It means the tourbillon cage is in turn much lighter – a highly desirable feature in a tourbillon. Impressive stuff.
▽ THE YOUNGEST SWINGER IN TOWN TAG HEUER
One of the most exciting movements this year comes from TAG Heuer in the form of the new Pendulum. TAG’s engineering team has replaced the traditional hairspring in this concept watch – which is based on a pendulum clock from 1657 – with a ‘virtual spring’ that works by driving a pendulum between magnetic fields. The pendulum swing is controlled in 3D by complex geometric calculations and provides the linear restoring torque necessary for the alternative movements of the balance wheel. See the mechanical marvel in all its glory at SalonQP.
△ A VENERABLE MAISON VACHERON CONSTANTIN
Established in 1755, Vacheron Constantin, the oldest watch manufacture in continuous production, will be exhibiting exceptional examples of its passion for fine watchmaking at SalonQP (such as the Patrimony Traditionnelle Skeleton – automatic movement, case white gold set with diamonds, pictured). The 25 fine timepieces on display will feature high complications, decorative arts and remarkable craftsmanship. The watchmakers and artisans working for this maison understand their professions as art forms and Vacheron Constantin is deeply committed to handing down and developing the watchmaking trades, especially the highly specialised decorative arts. The Vacheron Constantin space at the Salon will bring these crafts to life with live demonstrations of the highly skilled craft of hand engraving over the three days of the event.
▽ FOUR FACED MECCANICHE VELOCI
Meccaniche Veloci is a creative time lab that mixes motor engineering with the highest watch craftsmanship, creating extraordinary models: first of all Quattro Valvole, a wristwatch born of an intuition, to produce a prestigious object based on the idea of a four-phase engine piston, the pulsing heart of the best competition racing cars. The watch is a mixture of motor engineering and personality, which links the worlds of automobiles with luxury watches. With the Quattro Valvole Multilayer, Meccaniche Veloci has achieved another important goal: to produce a unique watch, in a rigorously limited edition, combining carbon, titanium and copper.
△ DIVE TIME JEANRICHARD
JeanRichard has experienced several decisive milestones during its three centuries in existence, including producing its first divers’ watches in the 1960s. And it is these original pieces that have inspired the new Aquascope featuring the JR1000 in-house movement and 300m water-resistance. The design of round opening in a tonneau shape reflects the creative spirit of the period and its use of strong, unconventional geometrical shapes. The monobloc case features an external bi-directional rotating black bezel with a safety system, which acts on a corrector located at the level of the 9 o’clock pusher. When the crown at 9 o’clock is screwed in, the bezel cannot move. The screw-down crown at 3 o’clock activates the hour and minute hands, as well as the date setting.
▽ A DRIVING FORCE B.R.M.
Bernard Richards’ racing spirit is deeply entrenched in the 2,000 timepieces that his company, BRM, manufactures. The latest piece from this independent French watch producer is the CL 44, a sporty and robust chronograph composed of three pieces held together with four columns. As with all watches in the collection, the design reflects all the passion and know-how of motor sport – inspiration for the lugs came from the security harness of the racing cars and the push buttons are designed along the lines of the start buttons of vintage cars. Six years in the making, the watch has been modified several times to obtain today’s result.
△ TWO BECOME ONE GIRARD PERREGAUX
Girard Perregaux’s Bi-axial Tourbillon combines sophisticated design with technical complexity and aesthetic innovation and has its origins in the centuries-old quest for precision in time measurement. The piece contains two concentric cages enabling the regulating part to make multi-dimensional rotations – an internal cage bearing the balance, balance spring and escapement completes one turn on its axis in 45 seconds and an external cage that completes one revolution in one minute and 15 seconds, enabling a rotation on its second axis. A full revolution is completed in three minutes and 45 seconds. The two cages comprise a total of over 110 components yet weigh just 0.8g. A combination of gold, steel and titanium, the cage materials were chosen to provide the best balance and greatest performance.
▽ A SLIMMED DOWN PANERAI PANERAI
Launched at the SIHH watch fair in Geneva in January this year, the Panerai Radiomir 42mm Titanium contains the new P.999 hand-wound mechanical movement, designed, developed and produced at the company’s Neuchatel manufacture in Switzerland. The movement is 27.4mm in diameter and has a thickness of 3.4mm – smaller than any other Panerai movement, yet still completely accurate to the historical pieces in its aesthetic. The layout of the dial is still classic, and exceptional legibility in the dark is in fact achieved through a ‘sandwich’ structure with the luminescent material placed between two metal layers, the top one perforated in correspondence with the numerals and indices.
△ LANGE’S TRINITY A. LANGE & SÖHNE
Celebrating its 165th anniversary this year, A Lange & Söhne has introduced three exceptional timepieces that demonstrate the capabilities of the company’s watchmakers. Presented in a novel gold alloy that is almost twice as hard as other gold alloys, and which, Lange calls ‘honey coloured’, the Homage to FA Lange trilogy consists of the Tourbograph Pour le Mérite (limited edition of 50 pieces), the Lange 1 Tourbillon (limited edition of 150 pieces) and the 1815 Moonphase (limited edition of 265). The anniversary collection gives a new face to the watchmaking tradition of the Lange family as regards technical and aesthetic perfection, while maintaining the spiritual legacy of their great mentor.
▽ A HIGHER RATE GRAND SEIKO
2010 sees the international launch of Grand Seiko – a collection that, since 1960, has been Seiko’s leading luxury watch – with its UK debut at SalonQP. The new 10-beat 9S85 is the brand’s most advanced mechanical calibre with an increased vibration speed that makes the watch more precise and more resistant to shock. But for a long power reserve, the calibre requires much more torque and needs a very durable structure. For this reason, to build a reliable and durable 10 beat calibre is the true test of a manufacture. Following the code of the Grand Seiko Inspection Standard first established in the early 1960s, each piece is tested over 17 days, in six positions and three temperature shifts and must achieve a mean variation of just 1.8 seconds a day and a maximum variation of 4 seconds.
△ ALL AT SEA BREMONT
SalonQP will see the world debut of Bremont’s Ship’s Clock. Made entirely in England and inspired by John Harrison’s original Ships Chronometer, the marine clock has been designed in-house and comprises some unique features including three time zones, 30-day power reserve, date, 90-day chronograph and a fully waterproofed case. Capable of being mounted via a security plate to a ship’s bulkhead or a custom stand, the clock’s movement incorporates some of the best features and designs from clock and watchmakers of the past, re-examined and updated with the technology of today. With such a complicated design and build Bremont will only be able to make 10-15 clocks per year.
SALONQP 2010 ONE MARYLEBONE, LONDON 11-13 NOVEMBER 2010
Tickets are now available to purchase in strictly limited numbers of just 1,000 and 700 for Friday and Saturday respectively, allotted in three-hour visiting slots. SalonQP is offering square mile readers a 20% discount on Friday and Saturday tickets. Just log on to salonqp.com and enter the promotional code SUM1716. FRIDAY 12 NOVEMBER 12:00–15:00: £20.00 15:00–18:00: £20.00 18:00–21:00: £35.00 includes champagne & canapés SATURDAY 13 NOVEMBER 13:00–16:00: £20.00 16:00–19:00: £20.00 P&P £3.75. Tickets can be purchased by calling 020 7759 2916 or by logging on to salonqp.com.
△ SERVICE INCLUDED
◁ DIAMOND LIFE
BACKES & STRAUSS
Earlier this year, Cartier introduced the ID One Concept Watch – a timepiece that requires no regulation, adjustment or servicing either during assembly or at any other time during the life of the watch. Housed in a 46mm Ballon Bleu-style case crafted from high tech Niobium-Titanium, the ID One contains a hairspring made of Zerodur – a ceramic/glass material that is unaffected by magnetic fields and remains stable across a wide range of temperatures. The balance wheel, escape wheel and lever are made from diamond-hard carbon crystal and the watch contains a shock-resistant escapement cage. And to top it off, it’s pretty goodlooking too – judge for yourself when the prototype takes a starring role at SalonQP.
Backes & Strauss, the world’s oldest diamond company, will present its most exclusive and luxurious watch at SalonQP. The bespoke Royal Berkeley 43 is Backes & Strauss, most important masterpiece to date, retailing at £1,101,550. The piece is inspired by Berkeley Square, which has particular resonance for Backes & Strauss, as its great plane trees were planted in 1789 – the year that Backes & Strauss was founded. The 18ct white gold case is hand-set with 44 custom-cut diamonds weighing 12.67 carats and the dial is set with 96 custom-cut diamonds weighing 15.41 carats. The bespoke, fulldiamond bracelet is hand-set, with between 156 and 185 custom-cut hand-polished diamonds, ensuring the exclusive and perfect fit to the wrist.
sects & the city The Square Mile and Freemasonary have long been bedfellows â€“ but the relationship may be even more intricate than you knew, says DaviD Hambling
THe Square mile is history and
IllustratIons by Martin Hargreaves
mythology made concrete, going back to the London Stone itself (said to be the place from which the Romans measured all distances in Britannia. It is now set within a stone surround and iron grille on Cannon Street). Settlement here dates to pre-Roman times, but the biggest influence on the City as we know it today was the rebuilding project that took place after the Great Fire of 1666. This gave London much of its present form and introduced many of its greatest monuments. Unlike the previous random sprawl, which had grown up organically over centuries, the rebuilding was carried out according to a deliberate master plan. Some claim that it was simply an attempt to build on more orderly and ‘rational’ lines, but if we peel back the surface the esoteric, Masonic and even magical aspects of the City of London are revealed. We tend to view the 17th century as a period of scientific progress when rationality broke free from the bonds of superstition. However, that rationality took many forms, and sacred geometry, numerology and astrology were just as respectable as astronomy and chemistry. The quest was on for the keys to the Universe. While we might now believe that science will provide all the answers, in those days the occult held an equal attraction for men of learning, and this is something we can see in their works. The Freemasons emerged at just the right time for the great rebuilding project. They were the latest group of seekers after ultimate knowledge, following hard on the footsteps of the ‘Invisible College’ of the Rosicrucians, which was either a conspiracy, an impenetrable secret society or a hoax, depending on whom you believe. The Royal Society, still an important organisation today, dates back to this era and is regarded by some as an extension of the Invisible College. Founded in 1660 as the ‘Royal Society of London for the Improvement of Natural Knowledge’, it originally dealt as much with alchemy and astrology as what we think of as science. There was a large overlap between membership of the Royal Society, Freemasons and even
●● The Freemasons emerged at just the right time for the great rebuilding project in london more secretive esoteric groups such as the Cabala Club (more familiar now as the spiritual home of Madonna). The great architect of the new London was Sir Christopher Wren – astronomer, geometer, Royal Society founder member, MP and architect. He also appears to have been a Freemason. On 18 May 1691, the antiquary and biographer John Aubrey noted: “This day… is a great convention at St Paul’s Church of the fraternity of the masons, where Sir Christopher Wren is to be adopted a brother…” The theory is supported by an old tradition in the Masonic Lodge of Antiquity No 2 that Wren was Master of the Lodge, and to many Freemasons his membership of the Craft is obvious in his works, particularly in his greatest monument – St Paul’s Cathedral. Working alongside Wren were two other notables, John Evelyn and the notorious Nicholas Hawksmoor. The latter was nicknamed ‘the devil’s architect’, and his Masonic credentials are not in doubt. Hawksmoor’s membership was recorded in 1691, when he became Wren’s assistant.
THe neW JeruSalem To the builders of the new London, the City was to be the New Jerusalem. Rome was in the hands of Catholics, so London must succeed it as the capital of the true faith. This was reinforced by a popular theory that the English were the descendants of the Lost Tribe of Israel. Londoner William Blake – who had a tendency to employ Masonic imagery – was merely echoing this idea when he ▶ squareMile 47
▶ wrote of Jerusalem being “builded here” decades later. This belief was a help to those who believed that Britain should be a global empire, a true successor to Rome, with a temporal and religious capital to match it. Several concepts were put forward for the new street plan. All of these did away with the warren of tiny streets and alleys and imposed some sort of regularity. Some, such as the plans put forward by cartographer Richard Newcourt, were simple grid patterns, like modern New York. But both Wren and Evelyn had more complex ideas, and it has been suggested that Evelyn’s plan bears a marked resemblance to the Sephiroth or Tree of Life from the mystic Cabala, “the best hieroglyph of the known and unknown universe”. Cabalism was a popular topic among esoteric philosophers of the day, with its mathematical and geometric approach, some of which was assimilated into Freemasonry. Evelyn had previously written about how a careful arrangement of the environment could “influence the soule and spirits of man, and prepare them for converse with good Angells”. In cabalism, the angels are the messengers between the physical and metaphysical world. In the event, practical considerations restricted the wholesale remodelling of London. But while they could not entirely re-arrange the street plan, the architects of London did arrange places of worship according to their plan. Wren realigned the axis of St Paul’s so it stood 2,000 cubits (914m, or 3,000ft) from Temple Bar to the west and the same distance from St Dunstan-in-theEast in the other direction. Hawksmoor’s St George-in-the-East is 2,000 cubits from the London Wall, St John Horselydown was placed 2,000 cubits from the Monument and Hawksmoor’s St Mary Woolnoth is the same distance from his Christ Church Spitalfields. The measure of 2,000 cubits is used in the biblical Book of Numbers in its rules for city planning: “Measure from without the city on the east side 2,000 cubits.” It had featured in modern
studies of sacred geometry since 1662. John Wilkins, vicar of St Lawrence Jewry and the first secretary of the Royal Society had converted it into modern measures, creating the essential yardstick for a New Jerusalem.
THe Devil’S arCHiTeCT Christopher Wren is remembered as the chief architect of modern London, but his assistant, Nicholas Hawksmoor, towers above him in occult circles thanks to his 12 churches built in accordance with the 1711 Act. These made a break from the traditional Gothic style and introduced a new and alien geometric vocabulary of obelisks, pyramids and cubes. His supposedly morbid interest in pagan cultures and pre-Christian worship have helped darken his reputation. Hawksmoor’s churches are based on a layout of intersecting axes and rectangles, which he described as being based on the “rules of the Ancients”. His work borrows from Egypt, Greece and Rome – all revered by the Freemasons – and often in a grand manner. The nave of St George’s Bloomsbury church is a perfect cube, with a tower in the shape of a pyramid. Seven of the keystones are decorated with flames, the eighth bears the Hebrew name of God inside a triangular plaque surrounded by a sunburst; the symbolism of this is obscure. Hawksmoor’s St Mary Woolnoth is based on the idea of a cube within a
●● To the builders of the new london, the City was to be the new Jerusalem cube. This has represented the squaring of the circle from ancient times, which takes us back to the ideal proportions of Leonardo’s Vitruvian Man… and, of course, the Freemasons. But it is the geographical alignment of Hawksmoor’s churches as much as their architecture and ornate leitmotifs that has provoked speculation, starting with Iain Sinclair’s book-length prose-poem Lud Heat in 1975. This describes how Hawksmoor’s churches form regular triangles and pentacles, and “guard, mark or rest upon” the City’s sources of occult power. Sinclair even provides maps to prove the alignments, which he considers a clear sign of Hawksmoor’s true Satanic affiliation. Sinclair was the first to connect Hawksmoor’s churches with some of the most shocking crimes in London’s history – the Ratcliffe Highway murders of 1811 and Jack the Ripper’s killing spree in 1888. Sinclair suggests that the malign influence of Christ Church, Spitalfields, is so great that it attracts dark acts of violence to its vicinity. The theme was taken up in Peter Ackroyd’s novel Hawksmoor in 1985, which switches between the rebuilding of London after the Great Fire and a modern serial killer case
beHinD THe maSK OF reaSOn The obsession with mystic geometry was not confined to places of worship. John Byrom was another Freemason, geometer, member of the Cabala Club (and inventor of shorthand) from the same era as Wren and Hawksmoor.
A collection of detailed drawings was recently found in his papers suggesting a geometric and astrological basis not just for many of London’s churches but also for its major theatres. Masonic influence on London didn’t end after the Great Fire. In the early 19th century, Freemasonry enjoyed a period of more open popularity. Prince Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex, the sixth son of George III, became the first Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England. Secrecy was relaxed and famous Masons of the day included the Duke of Wellington and renowned architect Sir John Soane. Soane was, appropriately enough for a Mason, the son of a bricklayer. His many works included the Bank of England, perhaps the most significant emblem of power in the new century. Soane’s work on the Bank continued for 45 years and he described it as “the pride and the boast of my life”. A bank must project an image of solidity and stability, and Soane’s Bank of England building, a veritable cathedral of finance, did just that. After a jittery period during the 1790s, the institution regained its reputation for standing foursquare amid global upheaval. As recent history has again proven, the confidence of investors is all-important, and losing it means a catastrophic fall (softened only by the occasional government bail-out).
Soane’s Bank building was demolished in the 1920s, an act described by architectural historian Nicholas Pevsner as “the greatest architectural crime, in the City of London, of the 20th century”. Only the outer walls now remain. After the demolition, the Bank suffered its greatest crisis in the Great Depression – a fitting punishment, perhaps. Another of Soane’s masterpieces was the Freemason’s Hall in Great Queen Street, meeting place for hundreds of Lodges and home of the Grand Temple. Even the Masons admit that its current incarnation contains a mass of esoteric symbolism which can only be fully understood by the initiated. In a spirit of openness, the Hall is now open to the public with frequent guided tours. Soane also left a monument to himself, turning his house and studio into a remarkable museum which reveals his “eclectic, experimental, whimsical, and above all, illusionist preoccupations”. Again, behind the mask of rational design lurks the joker.
THe eYe in THe SKY We now appreciate how much impact buildings can have on the people who live in them, and London still has many grim concrete tower blocks to remind us how an architect’s paradise can become a hell for those who live there. London also still sees more than its share of buildings which seem to owe more to the occult than to strict practicality. Number One Canada Square, better known as Canary Wharf, is topped with a conspicuous pyramid ▶
●● after the demolition, the bank suffered its greatest crisis in the great Depression
THE FOUNDATIONS OF MASONRY A POTTED HISTORY
The modern Freemasons are not so much a secret society as a society with secrets. With a membership of several million worldwide, including 500,000 in the UK and two million in the US, and many prominent meeting places, they can hardly be considered as an underground movement. They do charitable works and encourage a sort of moral personal development. But secrecy has always been a key part of their way of working. Tradition says the Masons can be traced back to around 1000 BC and the builders of the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem, now destroyed – a symbolically vital structure that connected God with Man. As with many such societies, this is an invented pedigree created to impress. Where did they really come from? One view is that the Freemasons grew out of the medieval masons who built the great cathedrals of Europe. These craftsmen moved from place to place between jobs, and jealously guarded the secrets of their trade. They lived in masonic lodges, or dormitories, the ancient equivalent of the site hut, which were often lean-tos against the structure they were building. There was an important distinction between a Freemason (or freestone mason) and other builders. The Freemason was a skilled craftsman able to shape stone, rather than a simple workman only capable of basic building work. The Freemasons had their own recognition signals so that a true Mason could be identified when he arrived at a new site. A labourer attempting to pass himself off as a Mason would be soundly punished. The Freemasons are concerned with inner building, personal and moral development, but their philosophy is expressed in the symbolism and geometry of construction which makes them uniquely suitable for being represented in stone. It is little wonder, then, that the beliefs of the Freemasons have often found expression in buildings – and even entire cities.
ISAAC NEWTON AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM ST PAUL’S CATHEDRAL
If London was to be the New Jerusalem, then St Paul’s would be the new Temple of Solomon, the seat of the spiritual power of the City and hence the Empire. The Temple plays a key role in Masonic mythology, and its geometry was a major obsession in the 17th and 18th centuries. It was not until 1936 that Newton’s astonishing collection of ‘non-scientific’ papers was released. Newton may have been the first true scientist, but he was also, as John Maynard Keynes put it, “the last of the magicians”. Newton was a Royal Society member, a close friend of Wren’s and probably a Freemason. He devoted years to studying the geometry of the Temple from its detailed description in the Book of Kings. Newton believed that the Temple was divinely inspired, a plan of the Universe, past, present and future, including the end of the world. According to Newton’s calculations, the New Millennium would start with the Christ’s return in the year AD 2060. You have been warned. The Temple of Solomon was also a great interest of Wren’s, and Robert Hooke noted having a long discussion with him about it in 1675. Hooke was another Freemason, Royal Society member and scientist with an interest in the esoteric. Wren had been working on plans for a
●● Canary Wharf could hardly be a more graphic embodiment of the familiar masonic symbol from the back of the uS dollar bill 50 squareMile
new St Paul’s even before the Fire. It took three attempts for him to produce a new design acceptable to the commissioners. The final version was known as the Warrant Design and the first stone was laid – with Masonic rites – in 1675. Symbolism is common in cathedrals, and the visitor to St Paul’s can easily spot the usual doves and lambs, as well as more unusual pelicans and peacocks. But St Paul’s also follows Wren’s notions of sacred geometry and encodes the
▶ with a flashing light at its apex. It could hardly be a more graphic embodiment of the familiar image of a pyramid topped by an eye, a masonic symbol familiar from the back of the US dollar bill. The architect was Cesar Pelli, who is quoted as saying that the tower was intended to be a simple geometric form. “Of the four different roof shapes available from the World Financial Centre, he chose the pyramid because he found it to be common in most cultures,” says one source. Pyramids are not exactly common in our culture – although Hawksmoor certainly added a few. The height of the Canary Wharf pyramid happens to be
Cabalistic Sephiroth or Tree of Life, the ten domes corresponding to the ten spheres, as well as representing the ten spheres of the classical heavens. Wren, an astronomer, brought the whole Universe into his cathedral. The new St Paul’s was also to be a continuation of the old. The Freemasons revered the ancient builders; St Paul’s was built on the foundations of older churches and a Roman temple. Before the Romans, the site had been a pagan site and a stone circle may have once stood there. Wren claimed that when he told a workman to place a piece of rubble to mark the centre of the new St Paul’s, he found it was actually a tombstone fragment with the Latin inscription “Resurgam” (I will rise again). The word was inscribed on the pediment of the south door and marked with a phoenix. Rubble from the old St Paul’s was used in the foundations of many of the 51 churches built after the Great Fire. Iconic World War Two images show St Paul’s surrounded by smoke and flames during the Blitz. The bombing was intense, with 28 bombs landing in the Cathedral grounds in just one night in 1940 – but St Paul’s did not succumb, thanks to the fire crews who defused bombs and put out fires. Does it not seem strange that so many would risk their lives for an uninhabited old building? Perhaps it’s because Winston Churchill, who ordered St Paul’s saved “at all costs”, was a Freemason...
130ft (40m), which some have suggested makes it an embodiment of the 13 steps of the Masonic pyramid. “This is the clearest symbol yet. Screw the Washington Monument, I think I’ve found the biggest Obelisk and Eye of Horus yet. This has got to be down to the Masons,” writes one excited blogger, as he demonstrates how the Canary Wharf complex can be mapped on to Masonic symbols. Conspiracy theories do not need much of a launch pad, and others have linked Pelli to the Skull & Bones Society and to the Order of Death. We think the Great Architect, though, would like to claim the Wharf’s architect for his own. ■ From Fortean Times (Dennis Publishing Ltd)
KCS CEO STUART POOLE-ROBB
SQUARE MILE SPREADS
ILLUSTRATIONS in this section by Jamel Akib
MILLION DOLLAR TRADERS UNION
STRIKE IT UNLUCKY In these tough times it seems the whole world is joining the picket line, but what would happen if the entire City went on strike? Jon Hawkins imagines the scene, and it sure doesn’t look pretty
Where There’s Will… Former England rugby hero WILL GREENWOOD has an exciting new venture for raising cash for talented people. Now he needs you…
THERE ARE ONLY a few questions that tend to worry me when I hear them... The first few are along the lines of who is the biggest/tallest/fastest/strongest/ dirtiest (I think you get the idea) bloke you have ever played against? They are normally asked late on during a rugby club dinner when everyone but me is, to a greater or lesser degree, hammered. I try to come up with some unusual ones – Jason Leonard has the best singing voice and Austin Healy the hairiest legs – just to keep people guessing. The next few are when I’m asked to compare rugby to something else. Rugby and cooking, rugby and dancing, rugby and gardening… I end up scratching my head trying to find similarities and come back to stock favourites – communication, teamwork and the fact that doing these activities fills me with the urge to tackle someone into the middle of next week. But when square mile asked me to ponder the similarities between banking and rugby, I was happy to do so – not least because in what seems like my very distant past, I used to work in the City. They were happy days. I was playing for the Harlequins and back then there was no pay packet waiting for a player at the end of the week. We used to get free gym membership, and a liberal view was 54 SquareMile
●● We got free gym membership, and a liberal view on the amount of petrol from home to training
taken on the amount of petrol it took to get from home to training and back again – but that was about it. And shock horror, we had to get jobs. One of the places that many London rugby players ended up in was the financial district. It fitted with our lifestyle, and the City fitted with the rugby mentality. As a trader you could start early, head out when the markets closed and make training four nights a week. My first job was with HSBC in a booth on the Liffe floor. Liffe is closed now, but
was an old-fashioned open outcry pit. Put simply, it was a place where lots of men (and the odd woman) stood in a circle, like an amphitheatre, and shouted trades at each other. You got your business done by being noisy, physical, quick and pumped up. In short, you could turn on your rugby mind. Get timid and you got eaten. But only after all the other traders had pulled your pants down, smacked your arse and taken all your money. Trust me when I say this – a rugby World Cup final is a stroll in the park when compared to the Liffe floor when the Bundesbank suddenly cut interest rates. It was absolute pandemonium. I liked to think of myself as not easily scared. I am a coward, but I can handle pressure and back myself in tough situations. Not in there. I was bullied into corners, shouted down and intimidated by small men from Essex and public school oddballs who looked like they would kill if their trade didn’t happen. On the floor, Grebbo from Dean Witter used to trade behind me and he was an ex-European judo man. But the guy who really ruled the roost was Terry Crawley. Even today I walk in fear of bumping into him at Sunningdale – some people can scare me long after Jonah Lomu. And if you want frightening, how about getting on the wrong side of a $1bn trade, which is exactly what I managed to do during a three-month stint on the spot foreign exchange desk. I nearly messed my pants when I had to tell the senior dollar/yen trader, Bob Barnett, that he had to go back into the market and buy $40m of yen to get his right position because I’d sold $20m, not bought them. It was the worst and most frightening walk of shame I have ever had to do. In the end, I left the City when the game turned professional and I could make my money playing rugby. I do miss it, though: the chat, the smart people hunting a deal, the buzz – and the knowledge that if something goes wrong, then it goes very very wrong. But times have changed, both for rugby and the City. Today, greater professionalism is called for and demanded. There is greater regulation of the financial and sporting world:
WeBackYou Will Greenwood has just launched WeBackYou.com. It’s a brand new way of supporting talent and raising money. For just £10 you get to see what really goes on in sport and entertainment. what is weBackYou?
It’s a new way of mixing talent, business, and entertainment. Simply put, we got tired of seeing manufactured sportspeople, popstars, and actors. What we wanted to do was put the power back in the hands of the fans. The people that really make or break a star. Why should big companies and big money decide who gets to fulfil their talent? so how does it work?
Take our first project, golfer Adam Gee. He needed to raise £10k to have a go at making the European Tour, so instead of trying to get one big contract with one company, he turned to WeBackYou. He gets a web page that tells everyone who he is, and he comes up with rewards, which he sells for cash. The rewards range in price from £10 to £5,000, and cover everything from blogs and video updates, to golf lessons and rounds with famous faces such as Jamie Redknapp. Some are expensive, but most are cheap enough for everyone to afford, and turn all of us into the backers of real talent. It’s all down to the skills and idea of the person asking for your help. Get inspired, and you can get involved. what do i get from it?
A behind-the-scenes, honest, raw view of what it takes to crack the big time in a sport, and the chance to follow talent from the start, to create the star. You like them, you back them, you give
●● A rugby World Cup final is a stroll in the park when compared to working on the Liffe floor
them their chance. Imagine being a mix of Simon Cowell, Jose Mourinho and Donald Trump. And you get your reward, whatever it is you agree with the talent. is it onlY for sport?
No, it’s for anything that can get people excited enough to put their hands in their pockets. We have a rap group, a filmmaker and a bloke who thought it would be a good idea to pack in his job and cycle to the Ashes in Australia. can Backers make moneY out of it?
At the moment, the rewards are projectbased. A filmmaker offers tickets to the premier, or producer’s rights. A sportsperson offers lessons, and the chance to play together. But in the future, there is no reason why financial rewards can’t be worked out – the talent could sell shares of future earnings, for example. webackyou.com
misbehaviour is not tolerated, and as a result many of the characters that made them both such memorable places to work have gone. And – in the end – this attempt to clean up its image may be the one practice that the City and rugby have most in common now. Their pasts may have been a laugh – but sadly, fun seems to have no place in their future. ■ will greenwood was joint-top try-scorer at the 2003 Rugby Wold Cup (which England won).
The number of political prisoners currently being freed by the Cuban Government after increased international pressure
The number of Roman coins found by a Somerset farmer buried in a field – worth an estimated £250,000 in total
The amount Picasso’s portrait of Angel Fernandez de Soto painting sold for at Sotheby’s
The number of burglaries that occurred last year in London through unlocked front doors across the capital
The number of days it took comedian Eddie Izzard to run 43 marathons, covering 1,100 miles across the UK
City in Numbers
Gwendolyn Carrié was a VP and a director at Merrill Lynch. She is now a luxury shoe designer whose signature range is made with fish-skin leather.
By ThE TImE I left the Square Mile, I was in charge of retail and luxury goods at Merrill Lynch. It was very exciting – a time of tremendous growth with my team of six bringing in £40m of revenue. My decision to go into banking was hugely influenced by my dad who was determined that I wasn’t going to become a starving artist. So rather than going to design school, I ended up at Princeton and then the City. But it was 13 years of doing different shades of the same job and unless you’re very driven by money it’s hard to keep going when you’re no longer growing as a person. So when the chance came to become CEO of dresssmart.com I took it. The dotcom bubble burst nine months later; we sold the company and I bowed out. Around this time I found out that I was pregnant with twins. I was on bed rest for nine weeks, during which time I decided that there was another side to life. I’ve always had a passion for shoes, and it needs a lot of management and know-how, which intrigued me. I started taking night classes to learn about pattern-making and shoe-making. I got in touch with contacts and interned for a top Turkish brand, designing for
free and having my samples produced in return. I became a factory worker – I cut, stitched, montaged and spent time with each of the sub-compartment suppliers. Now all of my shoes are made in Turkey; it’s very hard to get the same quality elsewhere. They are used to making mass-market shoes there so as a luxury shoe designer, I’m a bit of a pioneer. I work with the best suppliers; the brand is very proud of what we achieve, which is really rewarding. I also find it much more real than the Square Mile. The Mile is a very special place, but we tend to breathe rarefied air. I now go from dealing with fish factories for my signature leather to attending fashion week, so it’s a much more varied existence. But it’s also difficult. There are no more all-nighters, but compared with my old job the hours and salary are awful; I cannot lie! The best thing is that it’s under my control though. We decided to grow in a controlled manner: it was important for us to know that this could work. Now that we’ve done our pilot it’s time to spread over a a wider scale. We are looking into our first US store in Florida, but if the oil spill affects tourism we may not go forward with it. If I looked out a few years from now, I’d love to be part of a bigger group, helping to put young British designers on the map. ■ – Lizzie Rivera gwendolyncarrie.com
City in Words CFDs (abbrev.): No one actually knows what CFDs are or what they do. Some speculators have suggested that the acronym could stand for ‘Cash For Documents’. Basically, what happens is, the bank issues a document – usually in Excel; it says something about mortgages for poor people; and the bank exchanges it for cash. Easy money. What could possibly go wrong?
welcome to my world
i spy with my little eye… jon hawkins talks to kCs Group CEo stuart Poole-Robb about the intriguing world of corporate espionage
sTuaRT PoolE-RoBB joinEd the Royal Air Force in his teens, before transferring to the Special Investigation Branch (SIB) in 1962. He was sent for Special Forces training, and within his unit he received weapons, counterinsurgency and counter-terrorism training before serving in Egypt, Libya, Nigeria and Oman and the Yemen. In 1982 Poole-Robb founded Merchant International Group (MIG), which tackled risks and threats facing the corporate world until 2007, when it was subject to a hostile takeover bid and Poole-Robb was dismissed. He subsequently became CEO of the KCS Group, which has offices in the UK, Africa, Thailand and Hong Kong. How would you describe what the KCS Group does? sTuaRT PoolE-RoBB KCS addresses difficult and complex situations affecting businesses in non-domestic markets. Where possible, our company levels the playing field and creates transparency around business transactions. Defence issues, business development matters, intelligence gathering: all are discreet matters for us and for which we use our high-level network to ensure the squaRE milE
safety, the security and the integrity of our clients. We would not take on anything which could be detrimental to this country nor indeed to our client – nor compromise ourselves and our professionalism. sm What are the most challenging markets for companies to enter into? sPR China, Russia, India – in short, nondomestic markets. The US has proven damaging to UK companies in the past, as has France and other western European countries. The truth is that the bigger the client, the more arrogant, naive and ignorant it can become. Take an example: a company CEO flies into Moscow, takes a limo to his hotel, enjoys an expensive dinner with a client, concludes the deal and flies back again next day. This does not offer that CEO an understanding of how the market ticks nor what might lurk behind the ‘lucrative’ deal he has probably just signed. Unfortunately, far too many business people do this, leaving any problems for their junior managers – who also lack knowledge of the market – to sort out. In short, it is a recipe for potential disaster. sm What particular risks should financial firms in the City be aware of? sPR Many British companies lack understanding of the social dynamics of a market and how it works commercially – but they believe that they do because they think they ‘know’ someone or have read some background detail about that person or persons and their operation – all of which could be really non-specific and lack any substance.
●● There is an attitude that spying is just something out of the movies. But that’s a fallacy
Financial firms in the City of London – and elsewhere – should make thorough investigation prior to entering into any kind of agreement and they should be prepared to listen to advice even though it may not be the sort of advice they would like to hear. sm Many businesses see huge opportunities in China at the moment. How tough a market is it to negotiate? sPR China is a notoriously difficult country to enter. Its size alone makes it a daunting task; but when you consider the numerous pitfalls and obstacles that could lie ahead, it is a country too far for most. Apart from the language and the culture, there is the Chinese perspective of us ‘westerners’ – we are seen as rude and smelly. But while there is a need for that image to be addressed, we in the west also have to understand the important aspects of deep-rooted traditions like Guanxi, which revolves around relationships, networking and ‘face’ – dignity, honour, respect, status or prestige. Also there is a need for the western business manager to realise that China is neither for the faint-hearted nor for the short-term. If, in addition, your products are strategic and/or of high value, then there is always the possibility that you could be subject to governmentsponsored espionage! Is the potential significant? Yes. Are the risks high? Yes, again – very much so. sm How serious a problem is corporate espionage for British firms? sPR Corporate espionage is rife; government espionage is even more of a threat. Most UK firms do not consider that they are at risk. There is an attitude that spying is just something out of the movies. But that’s a fallacy. There are companies and consultancies – though they are few and far between – who actually carry out ‘legal corporate spying’. One example I can think of is that of a major confectionery company that was seeking to purchase something in Indonesia. The company carried out all the usual due diligence and absolutely nothing appeared to be out of the ordinary.
welcome to my world
●● i overheard a president of a us bank refer to us as being in our “little islands across the pond” However, an uneasy CEO insisted that two consultants spend two weeks outside the premises of the company it was buying goods from to observe what went in by way of raw materials and what went out. They were able to determine exactly how much of the supposedly finished goods were being produced. The figures declared by the supplier were wildly different from what was observed by the consultants. The exercise of course, was far more complex in its execution than I have made it sound – but it is an example of ‘legal corporate spying’ and it’s what goes on in the world today, indeed has been going on for a long time. sm How does the approach to corporate intelligence by British companies compare to that of their foreign counterparts? sPR Russians, French, Chinese – even US government agencies – have had a go at us here in the UK. Once, I even overheard a president of a major US bank refer to us as being in our “little islands across the pond”. That was a little hard to swallow and suggests we are not a serious nation when it comes to business, let alone such specifics as corporate intelligence. But British companies do take corporate intelligence seriously and are aware what is going on around them, but these companies are few and far between. One company I know, that did take the situation seriously, built up a security and intelligence structure over a number of years under the guidance of a former Chief of Staff with Military Intelligence – a great character. What he put in place was superb and enabled the company
to actually make a profit. The operation he set up was so efficient that he could almost see threats coming out of the clouds. His was a ‘cost centre’ but well spent as far as the CEO was concerned. Without giving too much away, around the world, strategic industries are being targeted. The perpetrators are looking for technological breakthroughs, pricing margins and anything else of value that they can then use in their own corporations. How do they do it? Some of the more simple methods include employing cleaning contractors to infiltrate the
organisation. Likewise, they might use waste-removal companies to feed back information. Or they may go as far as utilising contracting engineers or even temporary staff. And let’s not forget bribery – yes, that is happening all over the world to gain knowledge across a raft of situations. Alternatively, companies may employ a useful pretext – engineer a professional headhunter or they may even entrap someone considered to have vital information – as a way of getting closer to the target, be it a person or a product. ■ For more information, visit: kcsgroup.com
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NICE TO SEE EU, TO SEE EU NICE… ANGELA KNIGHT gives us a revealing insight into the BBA’s summerlong whistle-stop tour of major European hubs
DON’T BELIEVE ANYONE – from members of the Caravan Club to Status Quo – who tries to tell you that touring is glamorous. It’s not. It’s just tiring. On the upside you do get to meet some very interesting people. And it’s all the better if there is a purpose to the trip. Which is what I kept telling myself during the BBA’s summer tour of the key UK embassies in the major European financial centres. Our visits reflected the importance of the Brussels agenda to what will be happening to regulation and the financial services sector in the UK. And that’s a lot, I can tell you. Coming your way are about two dozen or so key policy areas where decisions in the European Commission are going to have a major impact on the industry here. And the scope of the changes are vast, covering everything from tax to transferring your bank account, from the capital and cash banks must hold to how much banks can reasonably pay their staff. It’s all a bit of a minefield and we are concerned that – along with possible government legislation here – the net effect will mean the UK ends up being seen as a less attractive place for banks and businesses to operate and invest. squaremile.com
What with that, and the fact that very soon you’ll be able to hop on a train at St Pancras and step off in the heart of Frankfurt, making that city a very strong competitor to London, means we simply couldn’t ignore the European angle. Hence the tour and what took me out on the road. The tour was partly an information-gathering exercise to better understand what makes people tick and to address their concerns about where forthcoming rule changes will take us. And partly it was to see what common cause we would be able to make with our continental cousins so we can work well together to moderate what’s coming. So, first up was Warsaw. We need to get up close and personal with countries of the emerging east. The Poles are worried about the straitjacket that regulation could have on their economy – as well as their ability to catch up on the century of capitalism they’ve missed. Not that Poland’s bullish economy is struggling at the moment. Alone in Europe they did not see their finances slip into the doldrums. And, quite reasonably, they’re keen to keep things that way. We were made very welcome and the Foreign Office was pleased with how things went, paving the way for the other visits. Despite fundamental differences between how the British and the French view the world we got a warm welcome in Paris. The French are very good at understanding the Brussels landscape and are what might be described as ‘Big Europeans’, believing in integration much more than the recent Roma row would have you believe. The French
●● Despite differences in how the British and the French view the world we got a warm welcome in Paris
solution to so many things is to create a pan–European body to control it, regulate it, knock it into a tri–coloured shape – and have Paris pulling the strings. But they are genuinely worried about the fate of the euro and the knock-on effect of the sovereign debt crisis in Greece and its creeping effect throughout Mediterranean Europe. On another note, our Paris embassy must be in one of the loveliest buildings the UK owns – and it has a truly magnificent garden. We had a bit of a break in the middle of the tour when it seemed like everyone in central Europe had headed, quite literally, to the hills to escape the worst of the summer heat in the major capitals. But, with the cooler days of September, we set off again – like so many birds migrating south – to complete the first round of the Great BBA Roadshow. And we visited Rome where European politicians are treated with some disdain. And Madrid, where arrangements took on a very laid-back aspect and we were told we had to have a late start – and lay on a long lunch for delegates – or they simply wouldn’t turn up. And in Germany we visited both Berlin and Frankfurt. The Germans are currently very relaxed as recent growth figures have exceeded expectations. It was a fitting end to a journey that aimed to bring down barriers between business partners, in which I found that no matter how far you go, you can always find a common place to stand. ■ ANGELA KNIGHT is CEO of the BBA. For more of her columns see squaremile.com.
WHY WE WON’T BE TRADING PLACES London handles 37% of all global forex trades (Tokyo is third, with just 6%). MIKE BAGHDADY, on a Great British Story
WHAT DOES BRITAIN do better than the US, that’s worth – in one day – what Germany produces in an entire year, and has gained 20% in transactional volume since it was last measured? It’s the City of London’s share of the global forex market, and it’s never been bigger. In September, London expanded its role as the world’s largest centre for currency trading, with its share rising more than two percentage points to handle 37% of all forex trading conducted globally. Second came the US with 18%, followed by Japan with 6%. The latest triennial survey of turnover in the forex markets by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) revealed that between April 2007 and April 2010, the UK not only continued to be the single largest centre of foreign exchange activity, it also increased the average daily turnover in the UK forex market by 25% in the period to $1,854bn. At the same time, the BIS estimates, the $4 trillion worth of currencies traded a day is some 70 times the value of goods and services that actually change hands. But what’s more attention-grabbing is the 48% jump in ‘spot forex trades’ to $1.5trn a day over the past three years.
The ceaseless growth in the forex market is being spurred by an increase in global investing, especially in emerging markets and commodity-producing countries, as well as being accelerated by computer-driven trading and hedge funds. Investors are turning to other markets for investment returns and generating more forex trading in the process, thanks largely to the ease of trading over electronic platforms themselves. It’s not just investors, but funds of all descriptions – including hedge, mutual and sovereign-wealth – that are seeing the currency markets as a distinct asset class and not just a way to make an investment priced in another currency, reflecting a broader search for diversification, which has also led to increased investment in commodities, land and other assets beyond stocks and bonds. The currency trading market dwarfs US stock trading, which in April averaged about $134bn per day, according to data compiled by the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, with trading in US Treasuries averaging $455bn per day in April, down from an average of $570bn for all of 2007. After three quarters of trading this year, we’ve seen stocks and commodities come full circle to the same prices they were at when we started 2010, thanks mainly to uncertainty. This uncertainty has been compounded by upsets this year, like the eurozone sovereign debt crisis and a panic that the US was heading for a second recession. But there have also been surprises, such as China’s well-managed comedown
●● China has come down from 2008’s well-managed adrenalineneedle-in-theheart stimulus
from the adrenaline-needle-in-the-heart stimulus administered to its faltering economy in 2008, which has led to positive corporate results there, once more. But it’s emerging-market currencies that are topping risk-hungry investors’ buy orders, with the market share of 23 currencies growing to 14% in April, from 12.3% in the previous survey in 2007. There have been significant increases in demand for the Turkish lira, Korean won, Brazilian real and the Singapore dollar. Australian and Canadian dollars have also seen their shares rise by a percentage point, to 7.6% and 5.3% respectively, buoyed by their status as commodity currencies benefiting from soaring demand for raw materials from China and other emerging nations. The IMF calculates that China holds forex reserves of around US$2.45trn, nearly 30% of last year’s global total. It may, then, be only a matter of time before Shanghai moves onto the coveted FX leader board – but they’re not going to be causing London any concerns in that department anytime soon. ■ MIKE BAGHDADY is running an apprentice programme to rival Richard Dennis’s Turtle Trading experiment of the 1980s and is seeking applicants to join him, with no prior trading experience necessary. trainingtraders.com
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BLACKBERRYS DOWN, MES AMIS Fed up with being blamed for everything? Time to get a little French on their asses, says JON HAWKINS
IN THESE TROUBLED and fractured times the world is, at least, united in one thing: when the going gets tough, the tough gather around a burning dustbin, wave placards and don’t go into work. In Kenya, farm workers are striking over the use of automated tea-picking machines; in France they’re blocking oil refineries, distribution centres and major junctions because they disagree with pension reforms and because, let’s be frank, they’re French; and in Blackpool, bus and tram drivers are striking over the suspension of two drivers for being too fat to fit in their cabs. And this, we’re told, is only the start of it. As governments the world over attempt to stave off economic doom with cuts that Edward Scissorhands would have dismissed as too brutal, the threat of strike ‘action’ (I almost pity the word for its use in this context) looms even greater than at any other time in recent memory. The prospect of weeks of news stories about airports full of displaced tourists camping out by Costa Coffee and the entire City swimming to work because the giant underground train set has been switched off isn’t a particularly appealing one, but it could be worse.
What would happen if the whole of the City decided to go on strike? If every trader, lawyer, accountant, M&A adviser, operations manager and everybody else decided they’d had enough of being blamed for everything – from The X Factor results to the closure of a jetski dealership in Wigan – and downed BlackBerrys. It would spell a financial apocalypse worse than anything the past two years have thrown at us, that’s what. We know that, because we’ve conducted our own research into the matter using some of the most advanced scenario-modelling software known to the Sinclair ZX Spectrum 16K. This ground-breaking analysis enables us to present our readers with a harrowing and deadly accurate vision of a world in which the City went on strike.
MARKET TURMOIL It goes without saying that if the City of London didn’t turn up for work it would spread pandemonium throughout the global financial markets. Around 37% of the world’s FX trading – some $1.48trn a day – takes place in London, a sum it would be deeply unwise to entrust the rest of the world with. They’d probably blow it all on gold-plated Bugatti Veyrons, fauxGothic castles in the Swiss countryside and tiger-skin smoking jackets. At least that’s what square mile would do. STAGNATING ECONOMY This country doesn’t produce anything anymore, which is exactly why our economy has to be propped up by the financial services industry. Were the
●● Men in sheds would be pressed into building aeroplane engines from bits of scrap metal
bankers taken away, even for a couple of days, the only way to prevent an inexorable slide towards financial oblivion would be for the country’s nonstriking population to start industrial production immediately. Men in sheds would be pressed into building aeroplane engines from bits of scrap metal and lengths of wooden dowelling, and anyone with a garden would be compelled to start mining for buried cutlery and gravel. No one wants that.
EMPTY STREETS Walking along Cheapside at 8am on a Monday morning it’s impossible to imagine the City’s streets anything other than teeming with frenetic activity, like an anthill disturbed with a stick, full of irritated, suited and booted humans haring about on autopilot. But if the City stayed at home, or congregated on a picket line on the outskirts of the Square Mile, there would be nothing. No people, no open shops, no activity whatsoever. It would be like no scene ever played out in the City before, except on Saturdays, Sundays, bank holidays and that bit in the middle of the summer when everyone’s buggered off to the Dordogne with the kids. ■ SQUAREMILE 65
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Works of Art
Will the Fed Kill or Cure? Stock markets are rallying, with Fed intervention expected. But DAVID MORRISON asks, is it a false dawn?
ALTHOUGH OUR CUSTOMERS have a keen interest in precious metals, crude oil and other commodities, they are most active in currency pairs, individual equities and stock indices. Relatively few regularly trade bonds, gilts or bunds, although I know plenty who keep a close eye on them in order to gauge the market’s expectations for interest rate movements. Yet, in the wider investment world, there has been a huge shift away from equities and into government and corporate debt markets. At the end of September, the US Investment Company Institute (ICI) recorded the 22nd consecutive weekly outflow from US domestic stock funds, with investors putting the proceeds into fixed income instruments. This has led to many analysts warning that the bond market is currently a bubble looking for a pin. CFDs and spread betting make it as easy to go short of a market as long, and just like the wider investment population, our customers are wary of chasing equities much higher. Yet there has been no significant let-up in the stock market rally that recommenced at the end of the summer. This rally took off following Federal Reserve Chairman
Ben Bernanke’s speech at August’s Jackson Hole Economic Symposium. Mr Bernanke made it clear that the Fed was concerned by the lack of growth evident from a poor run of US economic data, and stood ready to provide additional stimulus should there be further deterioration. Investors took heed and are now convinced that the Fed will announce another round of quantitative easing in early November. Consequently, as the odds on further monetary intervention have continued to shorten, the US dollar has taken a dive. Despite unresolved sovereign debt issues, including another downgrade for Ireland, this expectation of further Fed stimulus has seen the euro/USD push above 1.40 with some analysts convinced that it could go much higher. Others feel that the single currency is overbought, and short interest in the dollar suggests a sharp reversal could be on the cards. In some ways, the current situation feels like autumn 2007. Equity markets had rallied throughout the preceding year, and the S&P500 finally eclipsed its previous all-time high of 1,550, set at the height of the dotcom boom in March 2000. In early October 2007, the S&P made a fresh record-topping 1,570, despite concerns about excessive leverage, the unchecked growth of securitisation and subprime mortgages. Then began a precipitous fall which ended in March 2009 when the index hit an intra-day low of 666. Now that the S&P is within striking distance of 1,220 (the high it reached in April 2010), are the
●● The private sector is deleveraging and too weak to take over reins from the state
fundamentals in place for a continuation of the rally, or do we have the equivalent of a new subprime crisis brewing? The private sector is still deleveraging and too weak to take over the reins from the state. In the US, despite unprecedented monetary and fiscal interventions, unemployment remains at desperately high levels, while there is an increasing likelihood of a housing double-dip. While not a definitive list, all the following have the potential to cause a major economic upset at a time when our financial institutions are more fragile than they were three years ago: disappointment over the Fed’s QE announcement (in scope, scale or timing); the escalation of currency wars, and an eventual descent into protectionism; an escalation in sovereign debt issues of European peripheral countries; budget shortfalls at US state and municipal level or even disappointing third-quarter earnings. But most disturbing is the brewing scandal over foreclosures and the allegations of widespread fraud by major US financial institutions. This harks back to origins of the financial crisis and has the potential to send US property and banking sectors into a tailspin. If the market can negotiate its way through this precarious minefield, then equities can certainly continue to rally. But we seem to be putting an awful lot of faith in the Federal Reserve, and even it can’t control everything. ■ Fancy having a go at spread betting? Sign-up now on squaremile.com/spreads.
2011 Square Mile 30 Under 30 Awards
ZILLI, JE T’AIME
THE INAUGURAL SQUARE Mile 30 Under 30 London Talent Awards took place in March this year, proving a resounding success. Nominations are now under way for the 2011 awards, with the ceremony poised to be even bigger and better. The Square Mile 30 Under 30 London Talent Awards recognise and celebrate individuals aged 30 years or younger working in and around the City, who excel in their field and stand out from peers and colleagues. If you believe yourself, a colleague or anyone you know is deserving of recognition, nominate now at squaremile.com/30under30.
The French know about style, they know how to enjoy three-hour lunch breaks, and they know to start meals with an aperitif and finish them six courses later. So it’s no surprise that each shirt from one of the finest gents’ fashion houses in the world, Zilli, involves a total of 95 different operations and requires the skills of 42 seamstresses. (We’ll forgive the French brand for basing its shirt-making atelier in Italy.) These clearly aren’t just any shirts, not even M&S shirts, either. And, raising the bar even higher, founder and proud Frenchman Alain Schimel is now offering bespoke shirts priced at £620 each. Zilli sources only the very best in materials, from Australian cloudless mother-of-pearl buttons to delicate Swiss and Italian fabrics. On top of this, all of their stitching is based on nine points per cm. So it’s no surprise that you’ll have to wait five weeks from measurement to delivery for a bespoke shirt. Well worth the wait for the extra je ne sais quoi, non? zilli.fr
GET UP AND GUSTO
Without naming any names, some well-known energy drinks are so full of additives you’d need a PhD in chemistry to even contemplate reading the ingredients list, and they’re not exactly healthy either. Not something you can say about organic herbal energy drink Gusto. Containing stressrelieving Siberian Ginseng, organic Guaranine, apple juice for sweetness and Mind Peak, a herbal blend originating from Taoist monks in 12th-century China, Gusto will lift your performance without getting you down. Handily, it goes down rather well, too – proof, were it needed, that good taste never goes out of fashion. Just ask those Chinese monks. somaorganics.com
Modern Toss Presents: More Work Does it feel as if the workplace has become more like a war-zone recently? Fear not, because relief is at hand. Pictorial pranksters Modern Toss return with a collection of 64 illustrations that, as you’d expect from the cult animators and cartoonists, are refreshingly blunt, hilariously
funny and appear to have been drawn by angry children. Featuring front-line scenarios that you’ll no doubt be all too aware of, expect the sort of explicit language and gobshite humour currently being spurted by your boss (or so we like to imagine). moderntoss.com
Matchday Hospitality 10/11 Uniquely situated on the picturesque banks of the River Thames, a day out at Fulham is the perfect way to entertain clients, family and friends, as our dedicated and friendly staff provide absolute service quality, with that all-important personal touch.
Exclusive 15% off: Book any matchday hospitality package for the 2010/11 season and receive 15% off with our exclusive ‘Square Mile’ offer.*
Call 020 8336 7555 and quote ‘Square Mile’ e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.fulhamfc.com/hospitality for details. Fulham Football Club, Craven Cottage, Stevenage Road, London, SW6 6HH. *Subject to availability.
After 31 years we’ve finally made it right. The iconic G-Class, now in right-hand drive. Now our capable, head-turning cult off-roader is available as right-hand drive. Winner of the Paris-Dakar Rally, serial winner of readers’ polls since 1979, this powerhouse has become the definitive cross-country vehicle. Thanks to the advanced technology and engineering, the G-Class climbs or descends slopes of up to 80 percent. Its maximum stationary tilt angle is 54 degrees. Ground clearance is 29cm. It can ford streams 50cm deep. And it looks spectacular. A hardcore 4x4 outside, the G-Class is a soft touch inside. The collection of standard features is so rich that the available options are merely indulgences.
Find out for yourself, call 07500 881 328 today.
Specialist Products Division Mercedes-Benz World, Brooklands Drive, Weybridge KT13 0SL 07500 881 328 www.mercedes-benz.co.uk/specialist Official government fuel consumption figures in mpg (litres per 100km) for the G-Class: urban 20.8(13.6)-13.1(21.6), extra urban 28.8(9.8)-22.4(12.6), combined 25.2(11.2)-17.8(15.9). CO2 emissions: 378-295 g/km. Model featured is a Mercedes-Benz G 55 AMG at £114,975 on the road (on the road price includes VAT at 17.5%, delivery, first year’s Road Fund Licence, number plates, first registration fee and fuel). Prices correct at time of going to press (10/2010).
beeming with pride
a white little goer BMW’s ‘Z4 sDrive 35is’ may not roll off the tongue, but it certainly tears up the Tarmac. This baby Beemer is a force to be reckoned with...
CLEARLY THE BEST We at Square Mile have been calling for greater transparency in the markets. MARK HEDLEY applied this law to his round-up of sexy gifts
BUY! BUY! BUY!
[ BELOW ]
MONTBLANC JOHN LENNON LTD EDITION 70 £17,300
As a tribute to John Lennon on what would have been his 70th birthday, this Montblanc has the word ‘Imagine’ rendered in white gold, a guitar neck with the Imagine chord sequence in sapphires, and a nib engraved with Lennon’s signature. Imagine that. montblanc.com
BUY! BUY! BUY!
[ RIGHT ]
RIEDEL EVE DECANTER £375
[ ABOVE ]
HARMAN KARDON SOUNDSTICKS
Not only is this wine decanter a work of art, a dinner-party talking point, and a spitting cobra impressionist, it decants wine rather brilliantly, too – twice aerating as the wine bubbles through its twisting tail. riedel.com
Harman Kardon’s Soundsticks are so well designed that they have permanent residence in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Check out the third generation of these iconic speakers. harmankardon.com
C L AU S
A. F R O H
P H OTO:
C H R I STO P H
K I C H E R E R
At bulthaup, we understand the desires of individualists who are fascinated by the sensuality of high-quality materials and the aesthetics of form. So this is why, with bulthaup, you can create living spaces that stretch beyond the kitchen. Talk to the specialists in the new kitchen architecture from bulthaup. To locate your nearest bulthaup partner, or request more information please visit www.bulthaup.com bulthaup Clerkenwell 36-42 Clerkenwell Rd London EC1 phone 020 7317 6000
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Of Corum’s ‘Four Pillars’, it is the Admiral’s Cup that gives the brand its most alluring character; a half-century love affair with the sea that has helped shape the brand’s identity a lot more successfully than the Romulus, the Golden Bridges or the Artisan. The first Admiral’s Cup watch was made to mark the 1960 competition and the line has continued, in varying forms, ever since. It was not until the early 1980s, however, that Corum took a more active role in the event, when they began presenting their new 12-sided watches to winners. In 1985, the Corum Trophy Cup appeared, and two years after that the brand entered their own Corum I yacht into the race. As a result, Corum became intrinsically associated with the sport. The early Admiral’s Cup watches had slim, elegant square cases, a far cry from today’s distinctive chunky 12-sided bezels, with their totemic nautical pennants creating a robust dodecagon that has seen an endless trickle of variations and upgrades. To celebrate the 50th anniversary, Corum has introduced a number of new models. The latest piece in the range is the limited edition of 555 pieces Admiral’s Cup Chronograph 44 Centro Mono-pusher. Rarer than the classic twin-pusher chronograph, this complication with its single pusher serving to stop, start and reset the chronograph is generally associated with models featuring a more classic appearance. But in tune with its tradition of innovation, Corum has again chosen to swim against the tide aided by the CO961 mechanical self-winding movement that allows the chronograph minute hand, traditionally placed in a dedicated subdial, to be mounted on the same axis as the conventional hour and minute hands resulting in a remarkably uncluttered dial. James Gurney is editor of QP, qpmagazine.com and founder of SalonQP, salonqp.com
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the pocket rocket
motors BmW Z4
Don’t be fooled. The new BMW Z4 may look like it’s used by Chelsea ladies on the gym run, but the little fella has a mighty heart, says jon hawkins The Germans have a word for everything. It’s why they have angst, blitz, doppelgänger and schadenfreude, while we have to make do with muddling our way through something about pleasure from the misfortune of others (or just borrow schadenfreude). So you’d think BMW could do better than ‘Z4 sDrive35is’. It’s a particularly clunky handle, far clunkier than a car this good deserves, and one that requires a hell of a lot more explaining than, say, Z4 M. But this isn’t an M (for ‘motorsport’)
car, no matter what the muscular bodykit, gargantuan wheels and blue and red ‘M’ badges on the sills and steering wheel might suggest. It is, however, bloody quick, and it looks it, too. This latest Z4 has been stretched and widened, the design tweaked and a folding roof added, and the result is far more aggressive than you’d expect from a car BMW itself says is supposed to have grown up. Which is very good news as far as I’m concerned. As is the 340bhp twin-turbo
six hiding under the BMW’s bonnet. The glorious engine delivers a crushing 450nm (332lb/ft in old money) of torque from just 1,500rpm, which hurls the 35is from 0-62mph in 4.8 seconds. It’s not interplanetary-space-travel-fast, but the pace is unrelenting thanks to a trick seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox that switches cogs so quickly there’s no interruption to the power delivery. Crawling through London, wedged between wheezy, fume-spewing lorries and black cabs impatiently edging ▶ squAreMile 77
▶ perilously close to the pristine white bumper, you might as well have none of this power and pace, though the Z4 remains a pleasant place to be holedup. The interior isn’t exactly a work of avant-garde futurism, but it’s beautifully ﬁnished and looks appropriately racy in red leather and aluminium trim. If there’s a criticism to be made, it’s of the ﬁddly and not especially well-positioned shift buttons on the steering wheel. This is easily remedied, however, by largely ignoring them; the auto mode is clever enough, and unless you’re really pressing on you’ll rarely ﬁnd yourself demanding to take control of shifting duties. On city roads resembling a scarred and contorted post-earthquake landscape, the little white BMW deals admirably, even if it does occasionally
●● on early morning surrey roads, sprinkled with a little rain, the Bmw is clearly at home 78 squAreMile
clatter over larger potholes in its 19in wheels and run-ﬂat tyres. And you’d be ill advised to use the car’s ‘Sport+’ driving setting on anything less than billiard table smooth Tarmac – the stiffened ride may sharpen the car’s handling, but it will also shake out any loose teeth. There are three settings in BMW’s new Drive Dynamic Control function – Normal, Sport and Sport+ – with incrementally stiffer ride, keener throttle response, higher gear changing points and less intervention from the traction control. More often than not we found ourselves in Sport, with Normal about right for pottering around town. Not that you’ll want to stay on city roads for long – the 35is is a genuine allrounder (motorways are consummately dealt with, but we won’t bore you with that), but it’s a sportscar at heart and on early morning Surrey roads, sprinkled with a little rain, the BMW is clearly at home. With so much torque available at so few revs, it devours the straights before eating the corners for dessert, the engine snarling and the chassis hunkering down into the turns – it’s a very easy car to drive fast. “I’m amazed how quickly you’ve got to grips with the car,” says one passenger, gripping the door handle and cleverly disguising the fact that what he actually means to say is “You’re driving too fast and I’m beginning to fear for my life.”
MAKE MODEL ENGINE POWER TORQUE 0-60MPH TOP SPEED PRICE
BMW Z4 sDrive35is 3.0-litre in-line 6 340bhp @5,900rpm 332lb ft @1,500rpm 4.8 sec 155mph (limited) £44,220 OTR
Hood-down is the best way to appreciate things, though it’s easy to forget the 35is is a convertible because it makes so convincing a coupé. It looks fantastic with the hood on (better than with the hood down, in my view) and only a couple of exposed hinges on the inside give the game away, but press the magic button and the roof peels away into the boot, exposing you to the elements and providing a front row seat to the BMW’s three-litre soundtrack. It positively begs you to seek out tunnels to drive through while giving the loud pedal a good boot. This was the car BMW told us had grown up, and it has, but into a more versatile and altogether more desirable sportscar than its predecessors that will undoubtedly steal sales from the likes of Mercedes, Audi and Porsche. No doubt those three German marques will have their own names for the Z4 sDrive35is; something like Bastardwagen would be our guess. ■
hook, line and sinker Martin Deeson is
bowled over by American diner-style Redhook in Farringdon
redhook a 89 Turnmill STreeT, eC1 T 020 7065 6800 W redhooklondon.Com
Redhook is the latest addition to Jonathan Downey’s Rushmore group (he of Milk & Honey and Shoreditch’s sadly deceased East Room). Or at least it was when we visited last month; the relentlessly enterprising Mr Downey has since added Notting Hill bar and restaurant Tiny Robot, little sister to Giant Robot in Clerkenwell, to the group’s portfolio. You’ll find Redhook’s restaurant and its accompanying cocktail and oyster bar in Farringdon which is, at least as far as we’re concerned, A Good Thing. Within spitting distance of the Square Mile, yet far enough away to maintain pleasure at a decent arm’s
length from business, Farringdon deserves the City’s patronage over more celebrated locations to the east and west. If Redhook feels like a product of a particular location it isn’t anywhere in London though, it’s New York (in fact, Red Hook is a district in Brooklyn). But for big windows offering a glimpse of greenery and walls hung with pieces by Gavin Turk, this converted warehouse could easily be in Manhattan’s Lower East Side; all exposed brickwork, weighty metal struts and dark leather benches. The American influence runs to the menus, too – it’s surf’n’turf (or surf or turf in most cases) on the plate and mostly west-coast US reds in the glass (along with a few Argentine malbecs, several top-notch clarets and some whites from all over the Americas). We started at the surf end with oysters from the bar – the taste of the sea distilled in little, plump cushions – and roasted diver
scallops with foie gras and baby aubergine, both excellent. We picked a bottle of 2007 Twelve Clones pinot noir from Morgan’s Santa Lucia Highlands winery, and bravo us – it was sensationally good, and a fitting accompaniment to my companion’s British surf’n’turf – tender ribeye with freshwater crayfish – and my heartbreakingly tender striploin (more stars and stripes). Partnered with salty, garlicky green beans and samphire, and in truly epic proportions, both were as good as you’ll find in the capital and, I dare say, the Big Apple. So sated were we that, even in the name of experimentation on our readers’ behalf, we felt compelled to skip dessert and go straight to coffee. In spite of the fire that destroyed the East Room in March, Downey’s empire has continued to grow – but on this evidence he certainly can’t be accused of spreading himself thin. Another Downey triumph. ■
28°-50° wine workshop & kitchen a 140 FeTTer lane, eC4 T 020 7242 8877 W 2850.Co.uk
My missus is definitely a ‘meat and two veg’ kinda woman – by which, of course, I mean that she likes her food simple and unfussy. I, on the other hand, enjoy something a bit more fancy with as much variety thrown in as possible. So finding a restaurant that tackles both our tastes can be pretty tricky. A foodie friend of mine recommended ‘28°-50° Wine Workshop & Kitchen’ (what a mouthful), which, I was reliably informed, would provide the perfect middle ground for such a culinary conundrum. The head chef of Fetter Lane’s newest restaurant is Paul Walsh (previously of Ramsay’s flagship Royal Hospital Road), so there’s plenty of flair to the fare. Yet with main courses like lamb shoulder or pig cheeks and belly, it’s proper earthy wholesome grub too. There’s a generous sharing plate of charcuterie for starters – rustic enough for my wife, varied enough for me, and more than enough for both of us. But the real hook for me is not the food – it’s the wine. The restaurant’s owner is Xavier Rousset, the wine wizard from the award-winning Texture. In the quest for rarity and variety, Rousset has come up with two interesting oenological sells. First, he offers a ‘Collectors’ List’ – beyond the main wine list – that comprises bottles from some of his own personal contacts’ private cellars. Many are super-rare – but all are super-value. Second, all the labels on the main wine list can be bought as either a bottle, a carafe, a 125ml measure, or – and this is the really original bit – a 75ml measure. Now, you won’t usually find me advocating a 75ml measure of anything, let alone wine. But on this occasion it really works. What it means is that you can legitimately ask for two (OK, three) glasses per course. This enables you to compare different styles of wine with the same food. Suddenly, the ‘Wine Workshop’ moniker starts to make perfect sense. (It’s a bit like Design & Technology at school – but instead of pine dowels, it’s oak barrels; and more about getting leathered than lathed.) One meat, two veg, three glasses of wine. My missus will be thrilled… ■ – Mark Hedley
sushi Ga Ga a 16 liSle ST, WC2 T 020 7287 6606 W SuShigaga.Com
Sushi Ga Ga? Bit of a gamble, that. What if Lady Gaga turns out to be a one-year wonder and is lost to rehab, Buddhism or baby-dom? Then you’re stuck with a restaurant name that’ll soon mean nothing – as if you had called your ’80s restaurant Café Hucknall, or Brasserie East 17. However, crazy name choices aside, Sushi Ga Ga is a simultaneously serious and frivolous addition to the London sushi scene. Its location alone is a boost: in the heart of Soho’s Chinatown, it raises a cartoon middle finger to the Han hegemony that surrounds it. Frivolous because Sushi Ga Ga is fun: wasabi prawns arrive on sticks like lollipops, we sit in sunken seats like a proper Japanese restaurant, everyone else is young, Japanese and very trendy. Lucky I brought my 20-year-old daughter along for back
up. Otherwise I would have looked as dubious as a middle-aged man going alone to see Disney on Ice. The food is serious: no huge surprises, apart from the presentation (everything looks like space food) but it is all done very well: scallop tempura is stand-out sublime and slightly seared tuna on radish relish, gobsmacking. You will feel like you are eating in a cartoon – or indeed a Lady Gaga video. Which, just occasionally, is exactly what you want. ■ – Martin Deeson
By appointm entto HerM ajesty The Q ueen Cham pagne Supplier PolRogerLtd.
explains the wonders of zinfandel – from its Adriatic roots to its Californian exodus GARETH GROVES
Penfolds Grange is not just a wine, it’s an institution – Australia’s ‘first growth’. Grange was created as an experiment by the pioneering winemaker Max Schubert in 1951. Mad Max had returned from a trip to Bordeaux with one mission – to out-claret the French. The result was a wine that went on to win more than 50 gold medals in 50 years, and take home the coveted ‘Red Wine of the Year’ award from Wine Spectator for its 1990 vintage. This rise to the top wasn’t easy. In 1957, Penfolds’ management forbade Schubert from producing Grange as they deemed it not to be commercially viable. Schubert continued in secret though, for two years. It was only by 1960 that the real quality of the earlier vintages shone, and suddenly Penfolds realised it was onto a winner. Ever since, Grange has been a new world winner capable of taking on old guard grand crus. The 2005 vintage is no different – tight, defined and balanced. Not how you’d usually describe an Aussie – but then Grange isn’t your average Australian. ■ Penfolds Grange 2005 RRP £190; penfolds.com
ACCORDING TO THE clever folk at AC Nielsen who put the pie charts together, we drink millions of bottles of zinfandel every year. Dig a little deeper though, and you find out that 95% of these bottles are what up until recently was called white zinfandel, and now goes by the more accurate name, zinfandel rosé: sickly-sweet lollipop wines for the alcopop generation. The whole thing is a travesty, giving a bad name to what is one of the greatest red grapes around. Real zinfandel is a big, macho wine with masses of character; the sort of thing that implores you to order a medium-rare New York strip steak with extra fries. It should be dark, ripe and fruity with chocolatey oak and hints of typically Californian raisins. It should be warming, spicy and heady. The very best are justifiably expensive. Many of California’s oldest vineyards are planted with zinfandel – it’s as close as the USA gets to a native grape (its origins are actually Croatian). Dry Creek’s Old squaremile.com
Vine Zinfandel 2006 is a perfect example. 0.365 The vines are more than 80 years old and produce tiny quantities of a wine that is brooding and intense, displaying its 15% alcohol like a badge of honour. It is not dissimilar in taste to a dry Port, in fact. If you like the sound of zinfandel, then you should also check out its identical twin brother, primitivo. These two grapes share identical DNA but have grown up thousands of miles apart. Zinfandel’s home is California whereas primitivo’s is Puglia, the boot of Italy. Despite a shared genetic make-up the grapes do differ a surprising amount – a case of nurture affecting nature. I know of one American winery that planted some Puglian primitivo alongside its zinfandel. The primitivo ripens two weeks earlier and produces a far less interesting wine than it does back home in the Mediterranean. In Italy, primitivo is the basis for some wonderful wines. Many are cheap and cheerful, pizza- and pasta-bashers, but others mimic some of the spicy, sweet
complexity of the top Californian zins. They are almost always good value for money and taste more Italian than their transatlantic cousins, with bitter black olive notes replacing the sweet dark chocolate and a rustic, rugged texture replacing the slick Californian sheen. ■ Dry Creek Old Vine Zinfandel 2006 is available from bibendum-wine.co.uk priced £16.
ShotS ring out... And these ones hit the mark. We choose five of the best new tipples for putting the fire in your belly. Pick your target...
1 the dalmore aurora, £3k
Our editor is 45, and so is this whisky. However, no one detects the following aromas in our editor: “Enticing notes of blood oranges, crushed apples and pear… a thunderous aria of ripe Ogen melon, walnuts, Jamaican jerk and cinnamon… Bulgarian roses, with coriander and cocoa powder.” He’s more earthy than that. thedalmore.com
black moth vodka, £40
no. 3 london dry gin, £33
mahiki rum, £40
don agustin tequila, £34
Premium vodkas are big business – think Belvedere, Grey Goose, etc – but Black Moth sounds special even to our jaded ears. Not only is it five-times-distilled and triple filtered, it is infused with Périgord truffle. Strictly for connoisseurs... blackmothvodka.com
Sometimes you have to be dry. Think Connery in Thunderball after harpooning Vargas saying: “I think he got the point...” Bond might have preferred vodka in his martini, but we’d rather gin and bear it… no3gin.com
Those clever chaps behind the Mahiki club in Mayfair enlisted the world’s No.1 rum distiller Papa Jules to create this Barbados beauty. It’s rare for rum to have a double maturation; it’s unique for it to be finished – as Mahiki Rum is – in cognac barrels. mahikirum.com 5
Tequila is much maligned, associated mainly with cowgirls in hipsters. The Camarena family would be horrified – their 100% agave blanco is a refined caballero with citrus aromas. No slammers here. thedrinkshop.com
All that glitters Private dining, press launches, board meetings, drinks receptions, canapé parties and weddings. P r i v at e D i n i n g r o o m - 15 to 28 seated | 25 to 50 canapé party F i r s t F l o o r r e s ta u r a n t - 40 to 70 seated C o C k ta i l B a r - alfresco drinking l o u n g e - 30 to 150 drinks receptions, canapé parties and press events a r t g a l l e r y - 30 to 50 drinks and canapé parties, exhibitions and press events l a C a v e - bespoke wine tastings 10 to 40 standing Mews of Mayfair boutique restaurant and bar serves up a distinctly different dining experience on all floors. w
ews oF ay F a i r 10 Lancashire Court, New Bond Street, London, W1S 1EY T. 0207 518 9395 F. 0207 518 9389 E. email@example.com
Travel anda lucia
The all-new golf g’n’T
Sit by the pool sipping gin and tonics at the fabulous Finca Cortesin near Sotogrande, says martin deeson. World-class – and apparently, they do golf…
i’ve never been to Spain before. Or, to be more accurate, I’ve never been to Spayyyn before. I have eaten tapas in Madrid, wandered down las ramblas in Barcelona and climbed Los Picos de Europa in Asturias. But I have never – until now – been near the real English Spain: the good ol’ Costa del Sol. This is the land of Sexy Beast (contender for ‘Top Ten films of All Time’), lobster-red ingleses drinking John Smith’s while eating a full English in the sun, and high-rise hotel blocks rising out of the barren rock like Shane McGowan’s teeth. And I am not disappointed. The 86 squAreMile
●● this is the land of Sexy Beast and lobster-red ingleses having John smith’s and a full english in the sun...
airport is full of the kind of English that I come abroad to get away from; I see a road sign for Malaga and almost scream with delight (“It’s real! I thought it was a made-up place!”) and as we pass Torremolinos on the coast road from the airport, I am delighted to see so many tower blocks: it’s as if global warming has brought the Mediterranean to Thamesmead’s doorstep. “On your left you will see your fellow countrymen disporting themselves like cockney whelk-sellers in a Margate heatwave, and to your right the almost unspoiled ranges of the Andalucian
●● a living room with 4m-high ceilings opens onto a balcony big enough to play tennis on… countryside, like a set from a Spaghetti Western, ruined only by the odd billboard shouting ‘English Supermarket!’ or ‘Have You Considered Selling Time Shares?’”. But, of course, our driver does not say anything of the sort, because he has been sent from the fabulous hotel Finca Cortesin, and he would never be so rude. In fact, at Finca Cortesin, he probably only ever meets a better class of Englishman, all surgeons and bankers, and long may it stay so. As we push on past Marbella we leave tacky English Spain far behind and enter a world that every time I re-visit I am stunned at how much I love: Spanish Spain, a country that gives Italy a good run for its money for the title of ‘most civilised country in Europe’. Settling into the deep leather seats of the Mercedes I ponder why it is that once again I find myself on the way to review a golf hotel. I have only ever played golf once, for 20 minutes, and was so good at it that I quickly dismissed the game as no real challenge for a man of my phenomenal fitness and hand-eye coordination. I jest, of course. I don’t play golf because I am just too fond of lying round swimming pools and siestas after lunch. I think golf is God’s way of saying you have too much time on your hands. But I understand it is a ‘core interest’ for our fellow City workers and so, I have selflessly decided to spend a weekend at the home of a world championship 18-hole golf course (designed by Cabell Robinson) and a Jack Nicklaus Academy and the host of ‘The Volvo World Match Play Championship’.
And I needn’t have worried. If my role this weekend as reviewer was to act as ‘golf widow’ and see if there was enough to keep a non-golfer happy here then my work – if you can call it that – would be a doddle, for Finca Cortesin is also a world-class hotel and spa. Our room, and I have to be careful not to sound too gushing here, was, how can I put it? Awesome. The décor at the Finca Cortesin is cool, restrained, luxurious and classic. Some of Europe’s finest design talent has been used to provide a sense of grandeur and light space. A large living room with 4m-high ceilings opened out onto a balcony big enough to play tennis on overlooking one of the hotel’s two outdoor pools (one 50m and one 35m). There was a kitchen, an excellent range of libations and enough fruit and chocolates to please the most demanding golf widow. The bedroom (also opening onto the balcony) housed an enormous bed just crying out for an afternoon nap and the bathroom was luxury made marble. The two restaurants overseen by Dutch chef Schilo Van Coevorden serve Michelin-standard food to the clientele who did indeed turn out to be largely bankers and surgeons. At Schilo, he
the costa? (not too hefty…)
Junior suites start from €350 a night (including breakfast, excluding 7% VaT) Finca Cortesin, Carretera de Casares s/n e 29690 Casares, Málaga, spain +34 952 93 78 00; fincacortesin.com
serves a stunning Arabic-Asian cuisine, a witty take on haute cuisine, with the dessert designed to depict the local coastline by night, in chocolate, being far easier to eat than it is to imagine. At El Jardin, Andalucian dishes are centrestage, including the sublime house speciality Ajo Blanco (white gazpacho). Should the poor golf widow(er) tire of his or her poolside cabana, post-lunch snoozing or simply gazing out over the stunning views then it is time to haul ass down to the spa where masseurs will pummel, beauticians will beautify and the snow cave, sauna, steam room and 25m indoor pool will work their magic. Even for the non-golfer it is hard to imagine a more relaxing destination for a long-weekend of de-stressing. The lobster-red need not apply… ■
The hole nine yards: fantastic golf for those that want it; fantastic local food and superb suites for me
cometh the tower…
… cometh the man. When the Jumeirah Carlton wanted someone to roadtest its £7k-a-night suite Martin deeson was the only man for the job Wanna play at being a Bond villain with his own penthouse lair? Or even an Arab potentate out for the night to celebrate his successful bid for Harrods? Then we, my friends, have the perfect hotel suite for you. The Royal Suite at the Jumeirah Carlton Tower – brand new this summer – is the most palatial suite it has been my distinct hardship to review. Entering into a small lobby, we wander first into the dining and bar area, with huge table, perfectly formed, and fully-stocked, bar (well, it was when we got there, at least). On your right you have the hotel suite version of a downstairs loo, ideal for guests who you don’t want to let near your bedroom, or, more likely, for your bodyguards. Moving through the bar area, on your left may I present the work area – a desk thoughtfully equipped with iPod and wireless keyboard should the sudden urge to work on a report overcome you in the night. More likely, you’ll be interested in the L-shaped leather sofa – big enough to accommodate the entire staff of Spearmint Rhino, your board of directors, and your mother-in-law, four wives and a couple of friends, depending on your mood. Past the distinctly disco-ish sofa area, which, like a lot of the rest of the penthouse, has a definitely louche, Studio 54-era vibe to it – and none the worse for
●● the sofa area, like a lot of the penthouse, has a louche, studio 54-era vibe to it squaremile.com
that – we come to the balcony. Big enough to hold half a dozen smokers at a pinch, it is the vista here that you are paying for. Perfectly centred on Cadogan Place below, the vista down this majestic rectangle towards Sloane Square, is pleasing to the eye as only a bit of really good symmetry lined with trees can be. It is like the view down the Champs Elysées, classical and perfect, only without the Eiffel Tower – although you can see the radio mast at Crystal Palace (which induced in me a post-dinner reverie: “That’s where I grew up, and here I am in a fabulous hotel suite. You’ve come a long way, boy…” – or geographically hardly gone anywhere, depending on how you look at it). And now we move on to the main course: the master bedroom and en-suite disco bathroom. The latter is like no other bathroom you have ever been in. Fibre-optic points of light sparkle from the Milky Way ceiling, tiny tiles flecked
with gold catch this light all round the room and wink it straight backatcha and the bath big enough for an entire Saturday five-aside football team jostles with the shower – bigger than a student’s apartment – to see which will get the pleasure of your ablutions. The bedroom itself is fit for a king, or I suspect, more accurately, a sheikh: vast bed, massive flatscreen TV, Bang & Olufsen entertainment system, electric curtains – this is somewhere you could hole-up for week and watch that bonus draining out of your bank account. All in all, this is the daddy of hotel suites. Born the heir to an oil rich gulf state? Book it for a month. Won the EuroMillions? Book it for a week. Snagged a mega-bonus? Book it for a couple of nights. In the morning, you’ll be dancing all the way to the bank. ■ Jumeirah Carlton Tower, One Cadogan Place, SW1; 020 7235 1234; Royal Suite from £7k per night
A T E G
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Business class With first-rate business facilities and a Michelin-starred Thai restaurant, Belgravia’s Halkin is a luxurious haven for the international business traveller and Londoner alike London, for aLL its charms, could
never be called the world’s most relaxing city for the international business traveller. fortunately sanctuaries do exist, and few are as perfectly suited to doing business and relaxing afterwards as The Halkin hotel. Tucked away on a secluded street in Belgravia, yet conveniently located for access to the City, London’s original boutique hotel has been welcoming guests for nearly 20 years. That it continues to set standards speaks volumes for its discreet, luxurious and highly personal offering, as does the fact that an extremely high proportion of The Halkin’s custom is repeat business. This is entirely unsurprising when you consider the facilities The Halkin offers its business clientele. The sumptuously and
thoughtfully furnished rooms are equipped with everything necessary for work, rest and play, from the expansive marble desk and LCD control panel to the king-sized bed and Bose iPod player. Guests can also use the fT Lounge, with copies of the Financial Times and computer facilities available in a relaxed but stylish environment. Business guests also receive complimentary Internet access, a free music and movie library and a drink on arrival. The jewel in The Halkin’s crown, however, is David Thompson’s Michelin-starred Thai restaurant, nahm. Like the hotel that houses it, nahm is the perfect place to unwind after a challenging day in or out of the office. ■ The Halkin, Halkin Street, London, SW1X 7DJ; 020 7333 1000; halkin.como.bz
Reader offer Enhance your stay at The Halkin until 31 January 2011 with a £50 credit to spend on drink or food when you book a Deluxe Room from £340 per night (room only, exclusive of VAT). The food and drink credit can be used against lunch or dinner at Nahm, the hotel’s Michelin-starred Thai restaurant, or for the indulgent ‘Flights of Wine’ menu in The Halkin Bar. Please note: this offer is subject to availability and excludes black-out dates. For reservations, please call 020 7333 1000 and quote ‘Square Mile offer’.
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LIFE BY STEVE McDOWELL DOWELL
You’d get better tips working in McDonald’s. So our resident joker asked people who know their arses from their elbows for insights
BEFORE I START, I must issue an apology to my reader. Sorry mate. It appears I’ve endured throughout 2010 what us punters call ‘a stinker’. Every bet I have made has gone mushroomshaped and every bet I have threatened to make, but not made, has romped home like a steroid-fuelled lurcher chasing an arthritic hare. If the Commonwealth Games is anything to go by though, we’re in trouble. The Aussies won the Games – if that’s possible – but still honked on about the conditions, the referees (or whatever) blah, blah. They won so much gold they were lucky they weren’t flying Ryanair – all that extra weight would’ve cost them a fortune. And yet the Aussie media horde, which only leaves its own cricket
team alone to bash the Poms and then complain about the British press, has been all over old Ricky Ponting. Unusually, I actually feel sorry for an Australian captain, even one as obnoxious as Ponting. He is a genuinely world-class cricketer who has got Australia into winning positions and out of trouble almost more than any other. His only problem is that he, unlike the Aussie press, has worked out that for a decade and more, the ‘old’ team contained at least three of the greatest cricketers ever to play the game who have now gone. In short, they are an ordinary team and are vulnerable. India has just shown that with a 2-0 victory. The secret to playing successful Test matches in Australia is not rocket science. If it was, after all, no one in Australia would have the faintest chance of understanding it. But it is all about big, tall, fast bowlers. Simple, really: (1) Starched, flat, white wickets. (2) A different ball with less of a seam, so it moves less. (3) Blindingly hot, dry air – no humidity or much in the way of clouds – meaning the ball won’t swing a lot... poor Jimmy Anderson – he’ll barely get a wicket. (4) Hit the deck hard and fast – that’s the ticket. Look at the history of the last five tours Down Under – where Australia have progressively, and tediously, smashed us out of sight. Stuart Clark is a perfect example: 6ft 5in; slays England out with 26 wickets. And remember some of these guys: Bruce Reid (6ft 8in), Terry Alderman (6ft 2in), Craig McDermott (6ft 2in), Glenn McGrath (6ft 6in), Jason Gillespie (6ft 5in). And the few Poms who prospered down there? Angus Fraser (6ft 6in), Andrew Caddick (6ft 4in) and Alex Tudor (6ft 4in). See, simple. So it is nice to see, for once, an England team travelling all that way with half a chance – with three tall, quick young bowlers in the frames of Stuart Broad (6ft 6in), Chris Tremlett (6ft 7in) and Steven Finn (6ft 8in). And they are all proper, bridge-tolaundry-deck quick, too.
●● Unusually, I feel sorry for an Australian captain, even one as obnoxious as Ricky Ponting Of course, I would hate to write about this resurgent cricket team and not mention Graeme Swann, the mercurial spinner who has a real talent for getting under the skins of batsmen – especially Australian ones. It all kicks off, as usual, in Brisbane, Queensland, on 25 November. Bear in mind we haven’t won down there since 1986/7, when Mike Gatting’s side triumphed – against another downbeat Aussie side. But given that I have been absolute rubbish at tipping, I’ve asked some mates to help out instead. First up, Mark Butcher, veteran of 20 Ashes Tests and a former England captain. He reckons winning outright will be a big ask, probably too big – to retain with a drawn series is what he fancies. Australia will fight like dogs, he says. Matt Thacker & Phil Walker, deputy editors of All Out Cricket magazine say, respectively, 2-2 with the draw in Melbourne and 2-1 series win for England and Strauss to be top bat. Some decent spread-betting advice there, methinks. Obviously, any self-respecting Australian will tell you we will get beat 5-0 which last time round, sadly, was true. I was there. It was horrible. So there we go. I feel good about it all, that Santa may have in his sack something for the cricket fans, even if it is, ahem, a tall order. ■
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