The woman on the next table, rather the worse for wear, started up a conversation in broken English with my dinner guests.
Give me business cards, she said. Ah, she said, to one of my guests. You make coffee, yes? I’m not sure that the eminent female QC she was addressing has been trained in the art of the barista but maybe she’s missing a trick.
Another restaurant, another set of stories. For someone with an unhealthy interest in food, MIPIM is a bit frustrating. There are some really great restaurants dotted around the area but I can’t go to them, destined as I am to exist within the Bermuda triangle between Auberge Provençale, Gaston Gastonette and Le Voilier. I never want to see a piece of steamed sea bass again.
But it’s busy here and the sun is shining and everyone is taking about interest rates and what it will mean for the market. It certainly means that everyone is really keen to explore the resurgent lending market and the banks really are out here in force.
Lloyds are partying again. Words I wasn’t expecting to write for some time yet. So we’re expecting to be busy. Any real estate finance lawyers out there who fancy a change of scene from the City? We’re hiring.
And what about the big Boris bombshell, the Mayoral Concordat? Have you even heard of it?
“We (the undersigned) commit to market the homes in our developments first or first equal to Londoners. New homes on every development by the undersigned companies will be available for sale to Londoners before, or at the same time as they are available to buyers from other countries.”
“Or first equal” is very interesting. So there will be a London marketing campaign simultaneously with the one out in the Far East? I’m fascinated to see how that will work and whether it boosts domestic sales.
And the lawyer in me is wondering how we define Londoners. Born within the sound of the Bow Bells? I’m from Manchester. Do I qualify?
Politically motivated, I suspect we may not be talking about it in a years’ time.
But no-one is spending too much time worrying about the detail. The London stand is packed to the gills, those big yachts are out there in force and the champagne is flowing. It’s noticeably busier than last year, to the chagrin of most of the stalwarts, who prefer a tightly focused #austeritymipim; but I’m quite happy to enjoy the optimism after the misery of the last few years.
And the card woman? We left her with her face in a plate of spaghetti. Asleep.
Nicky Richmond is managing partner of Brecher