And so it begins. 4am alarm, kiss goodbye to a seven month pregnant wife and jump in the car down to Luton. Last time I was at this airport, a year ago, it was a similar time of day, but it had included cans on the minibus as I was on my way to my stag do. (I wonder if my travel companion/boss fancies a pint? Maybe just a coffee, for now.)
The first lady I meet asks if I’m off to MIPIM. I nod, she smiles back, “just like a stag do then”. Maybe this will be livelier than expected?
Wandering through departures, I wonder which queue is our flight to Nice. Could it be the one with 150 blokes, all in suits of a slightly different shade of grey? Probably (he says, wearing a rather fetching light grey number). Disapproving mutters in the direction of the fella wearing jeans and a bright blue blazer. Bold call.
The talk on the flight seems to fluctuate between Brexit, Boris, post-dinner drinking venues in Cannes and, of course, the most popular topic, can Leicester really do it? The consensus seems to be yes – and that there is likely to be a bit of “wait and see” over the next few months as a result of Brexit uncertainty.
Arrival in Cannes. Reports of a chaotic airport and even worse, rain, greatly exaggerated.
Spend the afternoon in a series of catch up meetings. Then off to drinks with clients, including a guy from Citygrove who was on said stag do last year. Déja vu!
The atmosphere seems cautiously optimistic, albeit that the general feeling of “wait and see” does dominate.
Dinner and more drinks. Invited along to the Citygrove boat – those guys know how to throw a party even when they are not trying to throw a party!
Walk past Caffé Roma at about 2am. This is the beating heart of MIPIM. It looks lively. A couple of quick conversations but I resist the temptation. First meeting tomorrow is at 9am. I don’t fancy it on the back of an early morning session in Roma! Not a bad first day – rain and minor hangover forecast for tomorrow. But with the prospect of some potential new clients and new business leads.
Michael Twining is director in real estate at Gowling WLG