As MIPIM draws to a close, it is time to reflect on the biggest event in a property lawyer’s calendar
Bruce Dear, Head of London Real Estate, Eversheds LLP
March 11th, 09:00
Day Three – Part Two
On the way back from dinner in rue Lecerf, I pass a shop offering Foot and FISH Massage.
Now I am old and I have been around quite a few blocks (ask my friends)-but a FISH Massage? What on earth is that?
I look in the window in search of answers. I see-what!?
Yes, (however implausibly) it’s actually a tank of small, lively little silver fish and they look very hungry and extremely energetic.
Frankly, (it comes to me suddenly) they look like they are swimming around in search of ladies’ feet.
I know, you probably think it’s just me, but please read on…
Closer inspection of the pictures in the shop window reveal that this massage parlour’s main business proposition is as follows:
(1) elegant, beautifully manicured lady (this is the South of France) comes into massage parlour,
(2) she sits on any one of a number of cream leather seats,
(3) she inserts both feet into the welcoming fish tank, and then (brace yourself)
(4) the very helpful and willing little silver fishes eat all of the said elegant lady’s corns, hard skin and generally unattractive pedical extrusions.
Frankly, you couldn’t make it up…though it occurs to me that the fishes look very content with their job.
Then, perhaps unsurprisingly, I start to walk towards Cafe Roma…
But I decide to walk along the beach as this is the last night of MIPIM.
All the gin palaces that have illuminated the harbour with gaudy disco lights for the last week (including an enormous one bannered “Now Brazil”), have now gone.
Day Three: Part Three
Now a lot of colleagues have been taking the mickey out of my pompous talk of L’Affable and it’s perfect soufflé.
And, OK, you probably agree with them.
But the soufflé isn’t always perfect.
Today’s menu at a nameless restaurant proved that (trust me, you don’t want its name).
This was it:
Very watery guacamole (I tell you, our guinea pigs would not have eaten it-and they are partial to a bit of old avocado),
An entrecote that looked like it had been carved using a particularly vicious grenade launcher and then very quickly camouflaged with mud and twigs (apparently this covering was “onion gravy”).
It reminded me of one of Baldric’s dishes (Blackadder fans will remember his ingenuity with things found in trenches).
A “rum baba” that looked (and felt) like one of the grenades that had done for the poor main course.
It was sitting underneath that final touch of all the very worst restaurants-a ridged blob of aerosol “cream”.
Serves you right Bruce, I hear you say, swanning about at MIPIM, expecting to eat really nice food, when the rest of us are fee earning.
Maybe a fair point.
But I don’t think even I deserved to wake up at 330 am (when I am writing this), dreaming that my entrecote had come to life and was strangling me.
Even my Finance Partner, David Watkins, who has asked me to account in detail for the souffle, wouldn’t want me to go through that, would he?
OK, don’t answer that David.
March 11th, 09:05
Iain Thomas, Real Estate Partner, LG
In the words of Magnus Magnusson…
I’ve started so I’ll finish. Today was a test of stamina. Kicking off with a 9am breakfast meeting and ending with drinks aboard a client’s boat well after midnight following a sumptuous meal at the Moulin de Mougins, 16 hours of solid networking has finally taken its toll on Team LG. Nick Turner’s white sequined disco creation with integral chest wig remains untouched in its suit carrier, eschewed in favour of a couple of Rennies and some comfy jimjams. Shapes remain un-thrown. The distant sound of throbbing dance beats is drowned out by the gentle sound of snoring.
Nick and I worked out that we have a combined 34 MIPIMs between us which I guess primarily qualifies us as old farts, but which also gives us a good sense of perspective on how moods and sentiments have fluctuated over the last 17 years. The overriding impression left with us this year was one of a still embattled, somewhat punch drunk sector desperately seeking positives from a set of economic circumstances which are screaming “double dip” at us but which we are manfully trying to keep at bay.
As ever the Brits are leading the way in the stiff upper lip stakes and those who are making the trip back to the UK today and tomorrow will be assiduous in their follow up of leads and opportunities.
And what of the lawyers? What is in it for them? Is MIPIM just a four-day, gratuitous junket? All good questions and here are a few answers:
1. MIPIM is the biggest real estate conference in the world, and therefore the biggest networking opportunity. If you are serious about real estate business development, you ought to be here.
2. Pretty much all of the UK (and indeed global) property industry’s main players have representation here. Which means that your clients are probably here. If you are not schmoozing them, someone else will be.
3. MIPIM acts as a barometer for the real estate industry – where else can you meet and mix with representatives from all of the component sectors over such a short period and in such a small area? You can meet more people over the four days at MIPIM than you would in four months in the office.
4. MIPIM has internal benefits too – spending four days eating, drinking and living with your colleagues is a great way to get to know them (especially if like me you are still the relative ‘new boy’).
Anyway – That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Now learn this by heart and keep repeating it as you hand in your expenses claims…
Hope to see you again in 2012!
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