Thursday, 25 October 2012

Drugs and the Law


The Tom Olsen Lecture at St Brides Church in Fleet Street is an annual event in memory of the journalist Tom Olsen. It usually reflects issues of the day and on this occasion was no different in that the topic was "Drug Laws in Britain: a waste of time, or an essential barrier to grave danger". However the format had changed. This was no longer a lecture but a debate between Brian Paddick, the former Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner, and Peter Hitchens a Daily Mail columnist and author. While both were of the opinion that something must be done, their approach was quite different. Paddick had a pragmatic approach suggesting that the target should be the traders and suppliers rather than the users, while Hitchens seemed to feel that all involved, and particularly the users, should be punished.

The question of the legality of alcohol and tobacco, and the illegality of the lesser drug cannabis, did arise, as did the tax which could be raised if we legalised certain drugs. However the overall view of the audience seemed to be that the law was at best inadequate. My view was that with street dealers earning less then they could by working at MacDonalds, and there now being millions of recreational users in the country, the only way of addressing this was to cut off the source - a difficult, but not impossible task. It would just take the political will and the diversion of resource. We should spend time and money cleaning up this country and then we would be in a better positon to police others.

So, a good event followed by a reception laid on by Kaizo, the communications company, at which the Mistress and I, together with the rest of the audience, were able to continue the discussion. Interestingly we, the Marketors, have our own debate at St Bride on the 8th November on the topic of "Ethics in Marketing", the first Question Time style debate we have held. The panel will include our own Sir Paul Judge and it will be chaired by Ray Snoddy.

John Flynn
Master Marketor        

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Regimental Curry


The Regimental Curry Night is an annual event at which 151 (London) Transport Regiment invites twenty Marketors, including partners, to an evening of comradeship and fellowship. As usual there was an excellent choice of curries together with all the trimmings and, of course liquid refreshment with which to wash it down. On this occasion it was held at 240 Transport Squadron's TA Centre in Barnet, the other end of London from Croydon where 151 started in 1801 as The Royal Waggon Train Company.

Our host for the night was Lieutenant Colonel John Kerner and their special guest was Major-General Mark Poffley OBE. As is traditional they both addressed the gathering and, as always, gave some interesting insights into both the life of a soldier and the life of a regiment in the British Army.

This was Lt Col Kerner's first meeting with the Marketors but some how there was instant affinity. He had gone to Cranfield where I am on the advisory panel (admittedly Marketing  not Logistics) and where we offer a Trust Award, he is a member of a Chartered Institute as are most of us, he was recently supporting stakeholders and delivering corporate communications and providing PR in support of development objectives (admittedly political and military ones) but this all took place in Helmund province, Afghanistan. As I explained, when I chose marketing as a career it was with the assumption that it was a zero risk profession. This was truly heroic marketing.

I assume that the discussions which followed the meal went on into the night, as for the Mistress and I we got the last train home. This excellent evening was proof, if needed, of the very close relationship we continue to have with the people of 151 Regiment. Finally our thanks to Event Director Hugh West for making all the arrangements, and to Richard Cristou and his Armed Forces and Cadet Committee who nurture our relationship with 151 and other military groups.

John Flynn
Master Marketor

Friday, 19 October 2012

Bonhomie and the Bowden


To paraphrase Noel Coward "I've been to a wonderful dinner". It was our Bowden Charter Dinner which took place at Clothworkers Hall. Almost 140 guests passed through the wrought iron gilded arch of Dunston Court into the vast art deco reception area of the Hall to be serenaded by a jazz band of the period. The evening started with the Ceremonial Court where we admitted seven people to the Freedom, three to Livery and one to the Court. There was however one person not in attendance at the Court, the Clerk Adele Thorpe, the person who had organised the whole evening. Regrettably she was ill, and so her place was taken at very short notice by Valerie Boakes, Liveryman and Past Master of the City Livery Club. Plus Assistant Clerk Doreen Blythe took on the mantle of organiser. Well done, and our thanks to both.

And so to the reception where all were greeted by the Master, the Mistress, the Wardens and their partners. Following a time for everyone to meet and greet we then all moved into the Great Hall for dinner. An excellent meal of duck and venison was followed by the Sung Grace, the Loving Cup and an address from our guest speaker Keith Weed, the Global Marketing Officer of Unilever. Addressing both the importance of marketing to the growth of an organisation, and the real global issues surrounding sustainability, his was both an informative and thought provoking presentation which was a call to action for all our community. 

And so to the end of this my final Great Event which concluded with a Stirrup Cup, an opportunity for a final moment of fellowship. As the Senior Warden remarked, there was a real spirit of 'bonhomie'. So my thanks to all who were there for making this one of the most memorable events of my year.

John Flynn
Master Marketor

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Vince Cable and Cass


The Sir John Cass's Foundation Lecture this year had the topic of "Accelerating Social Mobility: Improving Life Chances". It was delivered by The Rt Hon Dr Vince Cable MP Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills. It took place in the Auditorium of the Cass Business School in Bunhill Row to an audience of about 250 including myself and the Mistress, plus the Chair of the Marketors Trust, Trevor Brignall. The basic message was that the key to mobility was education and there was an outline of the Governments educational policy.

After the lecture there was a reception followed by a dinner for a select few at which I had the opportunity  to present a cheque from the Marketors Trust to the Dean of Cass Business School, Richard Gillingwater CBE for the Marketors bursary. The Award is to be presented to the student at the Bowden Dinner tomorrow. It was refreshing to mix with a different group of people with different interests and over dinner to also to discover that of our four immediate neighbors, three either lived or worked close to us in Bermondsey. And so it was back home and on to writing my presentation for tomorrow.

John Flynn
Master Marketor  

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Finance and Wizardry


This was going to be one of those hectic days. It started as usual early in the morning by responding to a load of emails, and then onto the Hall of the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists, my other company. This was for a meeting of the Financial Services Group, an organisation of twelve livery companies which together support the Lord Mayor during his year with background knowledge of the financial services sectors and updates on the countries he is vitising. The Chairman was our very own Liveryman and Chair of the Marketors Trust, Trevor Brignall wo did an excellent job. On this occasion the FSG Lunch was hosted by the Marketors and so we two plus our Clerk Adele had pride of place. The Guest of Honour for the lunch was Mark Field MP and previously a professional in the City. He gave an excellent insight into the condition of the City and the political perception.

A dash back home to more emails and a few calls, and then onto the Events Committee at the Guildhall in the quirky Alderman's Court which seems to float on the side of the Guildhall. Unfortunately I could only be there for an hour but did manage to hear about the booking system and next years events. And so to the  Worshipful Company of Turners of London's Wizardry in Wood Reception at the magnificent Carpenters' Hall in Throgmorton Avenue. There I met the Mistress Brenda and the Clerk Adele and we view the craft in action and saw amazing pieces which were on display throughout the Hall, many of which were on sale. It reminded me of school and woodwork classes, although I am sure that I never producing anything like this. Our host was the Master Turner Peter Gibson, while the Guest of Honour was Alderman Fiona Woolf OBE who formally opened the proceedings. A delightful event at which we met many old friends and made a few more.

John Flynn
Master Marketor

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Surveying a Hall


It is always an honour to be invited to the Installation of new Master and it was a delight to be a guest at Clothworkers Hall for the Installation of Roger Southam as Master of the Worshipful Company of Chartered Surveyors. While an ancient skill, and one which my father in law practised, the company was only formed in 1977 and is number 85 to our number 90. Clothworkers Hall, located in Mincing Lane, was most impressive, but then they are one of the Great Twelve companies. This event was particularly important as this is where our Bowden Dinner is to take place on Thursday, and it gave me the chance to research the place. However I was distracted not only by the company I met, but also the speakers which included  Olympian Steve Backley and Dr Philippa Malmgren who restored our faith in the UK and its future in the global market.

An so, following a stirrup cup, it was home which, of course, was just across London Bridge, and as it is only Monday, the anticipation of another four events this week.

John Flynn
Master Marketor 

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Paynters and Steyners


The earliest reference to "Paynters", those who decorated, gilded and coloured solid objects, was in 1283.  By the middle ages they had formed the Painter's Guild, and in 1502 joined with the "Steyners", who applied colour to fabric, to become the Painter-Stainers. They received their Royal Charter from Queen Elizabeth I in 1589 having been bequeathed their Hall in Little Trinity Street in 1532. The building suffered in the Great Fire of London in 1666 and during the Second World War but here we were, standing in Painters Hall, the home of the Worshipful Company of Painter-Stainers, and on the original site in Little Trinity Street.

The occasion was the reception for the opening of the annual "Art in the City" exhibition run by the Painters' Fine Art Society. With 21 artists represented and over 200 painting on show this was indeed a sight for sore eyes. Almost all paintings were for sale with prices ranging from £45 through to £25,000. There was an artist in residence, Ann Bowen, who displayed her skills as a calligrapher and heraldic artist; and we were entertained by David Shepherd who is not only one of the world's leading wildlife artists but also turned out to be an extremely amusing speaker. As always, delightful company and excellent hospitality. Our thanks to the the Painter-Stainers.

John Flynn
Master Marketor


Thursday, 4 October 2012

An Enchanted Evening


The Marketors have our Annual Lecture, in fact I was with our speaker only yesterday discussing the details, while other Companies have their own special annual events. In the case of the Worshipful Company of Arbitrators it is their Annual Recital which this time was at St Mary-le-Bow in Cheapside. Timing was an issue in that I had to hot foot it from a Master & Wardens meeting at Plaisterers while others scurried from St Paul's where they had been attending the Musicians Annual Evensong. We all arrive on time, me to be greeted by the Mistress and then many old and new friends from other Liveries.

The concert was an interesting mix which started with Michael Gitkin on the magnificent Tickell organ playing the "Arbitrators Theme" followed by Handel and Bach. Next came two original piano compositions from the composer Alla Sirenko, and then a broad selection of mainly duets ranging from Mendelssohn to Hammerstein sung by soprano Ruth Holton and counter tenor Nicholas Mitchell. On rendering "Some Enchanted Evening" Nicholas reverted to tenor.  An excellent choice by the Master Arbitrator Hew Dundas which was aided by the near perfect acoustics at St Mary le Bow.

This was of course followed by the usual hospitality and a chance to mingle with the rest of the audience. A pleasant evening following an intense Master & Wardens in the afternoon. I now look forward to the meeting of the Marketing Law Group tomorrow, particularly as this will be my first since I formed it.

John Flynn
Master Marketor    

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Breakfast, Election and Lunch


Every year since 1189 a new Lord Mayor has been elected in the City of London. A comparatively solemn  ceremony, it takes place in the magnificent Guildhall in the presence of over 900 people all of whom serve the City in some way. For me, and other members of Livery Companies, this was not just about the election but an opportunity to meet with others involved in the City.

The day started at 8:00am with breakfast at the Carpenters Hall in Throgmorton Avenue which was provided by The Cook & The Butler, a catering company to the City. This was a chance to meet some of the new Masters and to bid farewell to those whose term ends shortly. An so on to our office in London Wall and then to the Crypt of the Guildhall to be robed prior to processing to the 850 year old church of St Lawrence Jewry next Guildhall which, as you will have guessed was close by. An excellent service with an impressive choir, the Sermon was delivered by the Chaplain to the Lord Mayor.

And so back to the Guildhall to process in with the Masters of the other 107 Worshipful Companies together the Aldermen, Sheriffs and Officers of the City plus, of course, the existing Lord Mayor, Alderman David Wootton. The election only being attended by Liverymen, we were given a choice of three candidates, and so the assembled throng, on a show of hands and a cry of yes, elected Michael Gifford as Lord Mayor for the forthcoming year. Before he is formally enrolled he will have to undergo the Silent Ceremony, in which the power is transferred from the current  incumbent, and the Lord Mayors Show, which ensures that he is recognised by the City.

Next a short walk past St Paul's to the Stationers Hall where there was held an Election Luncheon. This was a chance to catch up with other Marketors, and indeed the Mistress, and enjoy an excellent meal of trout and guinea fowl together with fine company. And so back to the office and then home by 5:00pm. A very pleasant day.

John Flynn
Master Marketor