Duckers & Diving: Full of the Christmas spirit

THIS week our dishevelled diarist risks life and liver to bring readers up to date with the latest festivities taking place within the Birmingham business community.

It’s a tough job but someone’s got to do it. This week your intrepid correspondent has undertaken an onerous task… doing the rounds of the Christmas parties.

Yes, it can be a hard life in the media sometimes…but please, save your sympathises. I am prepared to sacrifice myself and cover these events so you don’t have to!

First up, the Deloitte Christmas bash at St Martin’s – one of about six happening on the same night.

Pouring myself out of an excellent Press Club jolly at the Vaults in the Jewellery Quarter, I am lucky enough to fall into bad company – no reflection on well-known property stalwart  Phillipa Pickavance.

In fine form – embarrassingly she offers to go and get a drinks refill, like some sort of waiter, and then never gets one for herself.

Still, before anyone alleges anything untoward, I have got my own personal lawyer, Alan Jones, of Averta and ex of DLA.

He tells me: “We have got the perfect rural retreat on the Packington Estate. Hard to find any better. Normally we get a few clients ringing in lost – they describe their problem, invariably they turn out to be 200 yards away and we talk them in!

“We have never truly lost one yet.”

Good oh!

I banter with Tony Elvin, general manager of Hotel du Vin, another venue on the festive tour list.

Called on for help by the St Martin’s staff, he manages to open a stubborn bottle of champers and ‘rescues the night’.

I bump into Mike Loftus … or at least his moustache. He has been ‘smuggled into’ the event by a mate. Turns out he is off to Vietnam for Christmas … as you do.

The Chinese fixer sadly reckons there is ‘most unlikely’ to be turkey on the menu.

Trevor Foster is still going strong from the Lord Taverners lunch bash presided over by Gary Newbon. Foster claims the wife was along to keep him in order, hence still lucid.

Not something I could have managed!

The KPMG event produces something of a Rolling Stones tour – Jerry Blackett, boss of Birmingham Chamber, developer Gary Taylor and Argent executive Rob Groves.
More like the Lady Gagas of the Midlands.

Jerry rocks to Roxy Music – he even reckons he is the spit image of Brian Ferry. Dream on Jerry!

Rob claims he is into adrenalin music, whatever that is.Duckers and Diving

Gary, Argent development adviser, prefers football. Evidenced by first love, West Bromwich Albion.

Actually Gary claims to be into running – cycling too. He has a spin bike – whatever that is – in the garage which he never uses. Rob has a cross-trainer in the garage which he does use … and cycles on Sundays.

Meanwhile, Jerry has a once a week date with the gym – 30 minutes on the cross-trainer and an hour of palates with the girls, now that’s my sort of exercise!

The party, always one of the best, has been moved from the ICC to KPMG’s new Snowhill premises.

Fewer numbers this year – well, we are supposed to be in the grip of austerity.

Peter Earp, of English Braids, the yacht twine specialist (business going crazy after Britain’s Olympic successes), ropes a dope – me!

“So, you’re stringing me along,” I jest badly.

“I’m afraid knot,” is his dire riposte.

On which silly note it all begins to go downhill in a surfeit of champagne.

Hic! Pass the port.