I thought about dedicating this blog to tomatoes on the basis that there are 10,000 known varieties before realising that someone beat me to it. They wrote a lovingly crafted article on the ease of growing your own in Dubai but failed to mention my tips; don’t buy Dutch tomatoes or fertilise tomatoes with the stuff that dogs do. More good news on the tomato front; the ones my wife bought from the newly opened organic farm shop in Umm Suqeim are brilliantly delicious. Bravo and more please. Growing up in England I used to love seasonal fruit and veg. except for fresh pineapples – they were nowhere near as good as the tinned variety.
Having fruit at the top of the agenda allows me to return to one of my favourite subjects; everyone in business is out to make a fast buck. Remember Ben & Jerry and all of that homespun, local-sourcing, community-building, dog-loving, hippy nonsense they shouted from the rooftops. Bizarrely I fell for it and actively sought out Ben and Jerry’s ice creams to strike a blow for David – and then what happens? – they sell out to Unilever, that’s what. Lesson learned? Unfortunately not. I then switched allegiance and championed Pret A Manger. What a great ethical company and a fantastic product. What happened next? Mc’Donald’s, that’s what. Now I was really beginning to question my naivety, yet I was still caught out by Innocent selling out to Coke. The only Innocent person was me and I’m ashamed to have been mugged by yet another gang of smooth operators. Here is what Richard Reed one of the founders had to say, “I respect different opinions. But for me it’s not about whether it’s a large or a small company, it’s about whether it is a good or bad one. And we think Coke is good.” I hope what Richard meant is Coke is good because they just gave me squillion pounds. Sorry for whining but it needs someone to take the lead.
Once upon a time I thought it would be great to be a politician (JFK springs to mind, maybe that was who Tiger was trying to emulate) before quickly realising that it’s a mug’s game. Take the British government, they take dog’s abuse about binge drinking with the Daily Mail leading the charge. ‘How can we stop kids drinking so much? Ahh, I know the answer, what about making it too expensive, let’s put a tax on cider, we can even build a hospital and school on the back of the revenue raised?’ Very smart idea, especially as we Brits all start our drinking careers on illicit flagons of cider in the local park and then acquire a taste for lager before rediscovering it 20 years later at music festivals where it’s easy to sneak in past the sniffer dogs (tip of the day). Bizarrely the Daily Mail hated this idea – destroying lovely apple orchards, decimating the local economy in Somerset and upsetting my friend Skidders. Heads you lose, tails you lose and it’s a night in the dog house for being too clever for your own good. A cheaper way of raising money could be to bring back the dog licence.
While on the subject of drinking it gives me the opportunity to heap special praise on the merry men at MMI who recently gave up their time and effort for a charity edition of Whose wine is it anyway? Expertly compered by the Mighty Marek and including a panel of wine gurus led by the knowledgeable and highly erudite Nick Midwood ably supported by Chris Charters (a wine expert from Manchester!) and David Knott; a great time was had by all. Watch out for MMI’s 2009 En Primeur offer and if you can get your paws on any first growths go for it – Latour, Lafite Rothschild, Mouton Rothschild, Haut-Brion and Margaux are the ones to look out for.
In doing a blog I’ve come to the conclusion that it should include a public service function as well as being a platform to say whatever springs into your head. This week my gem is how to look after your shoes should you be unfortunate to step into something created by a waggy-tailed friend or indeed should the aforementioned friend chew them.
One of the most frustrating things about my job is that whenever I hand out a hard copy of a presentation people skip all of the good stuff and head straight to the end to look for what it is going to cost them. I’ve countered this by hiding the budget in the middle of presentations. I’m beginning to feel the same way about my Top 5s as despite raising some of the big topics of the day they seem to be the only bit people are interested in. The debate about my punk top 5s is still raging with a culchie friend of mine refusing to accept that White Riot tops London Calling as the ultimate Clash song. Sorry Gez but London Calling is a soppy love song compared to White Riot.
Inspired by a bad day at the golf office when I was taken to the cleaners by a hotter-than-hot pro taking a week off from the US PGA tour and his ex-tour pro dad, here are my top five beatings of all time. It was Talker Cup week at Emirates Golf Club and our team, magnificently led by Ted the Baker Brigg, won the day and I played my assigned role of making the score a bit closer.
- Rugby; 2007 England 62 – 5 Wales
- Football; 1961 England 9 – 3 Scotland
- Ryder Cup; 2006 Europe 18½ to 9½ America
- Cricket; Location Headingly, Year 1981, England beat Australia by 18 runs after following on (Denis Lillee and Rodney Marsh won a car boot full of money by betting on England!)
- Rowing; 1978, Cambridge sunk, 1961 Oxford sunk (2010 Cam and CB sunk)!
To all of these noble losers remember it’s not the winning it’s the taking part that counts and remember don’t let the tail wag the dog.