Just like Oscar Wilde, Bruce Dear finds he’s gone to Cannes to forget
DTZ’s dinner at Gaston et Gastonette is a MIPIM institution. I sat with a banker who commutes to London from St Tropez and another who commutes weekly from Menton. Popping down the Piccadilly Line from Southgate suddenly seemed so parochial!.
The man from Menton, a Brit by birth, had intriguing theories about our French stereotypes: “The English think the French are mercurial, full of flare, a little disorganised.” (I tried to pretend that’s not what I thought at all) “In fact, they’re rigidly ordered, love a plan and respect bureaucracy. When a French sports team doesn’t perform, it’s not because it’s moody; it’s because the plan isn’t working. The real French are far more like our idea of Germans.”
Far away in Munich my beloved Arsenal were trying to answer a question. Can you come back from 3-1 down against Bayern Munich? Turns out you can’t, though they made the bravest effort winning 2-0 in the Allianz Arena. Regular text updates were swapped with my son James, but no ‘3-0!’text appeared, though I tried make it materialise by obsessive checking. How rude you say, but Champions League football is the new rugby; it stitches many a property dinner together.
And St Tropez? Wonderful skiing and mountain walking apparently, but a cultural desert. My dinner companion needed the London commute to keep her sane. Some wouldn’t.
Later, I seem to remember sitting in a circle on a yacht and waving my arms to Sit Down and shouting along toDon’tLook Back in Anger with 200 other Mojito-powered people. This is the Legal & General party. Less a party, more a pop festival. The best beano I can remember in a dozen MIPIMs.
After Reading jail, Oscar Wilde came to Cannes, to drink absinthe with Sarah Bernhardt – and to forget. Their spirits would have been smiling last night.
Bruce Dear is head of real estate investment at Eversheds