Thursday, 20 December 2012

Our Best Evening Ever


The last event for a Master Marketor is the Court Dinner where members of the Court and their partners, together with some other guests, gather for a final celebration of the Masters year. On this occasion it was at the delightful Watermans' Hall, a beautiful Georgian building set in the heart of the City. While the Company of Watermen was established in 1555 the present hall dates back to only 1780 but is the only original Georgian Hall in the City of London.    

So the setting was perfect for the forty six guests, a small intimate hall with narrow corridors, stone staircases, oak panelled rooms and a Dickensian atmosphere - perfect for the Christmas season. The dining hall had a large table laid out in a "U" shape. But what was the large object covered in a cloth and why the secret setting for a further six in another room?

The event started, as usual,with a reception, which is where we discovered that we were 46 and not 44 as thought. Fortunately the caterers, The Cook and Butler, took it in their stride and we were all soon sitting down to a seasonal dinner of goose. The Grace too was seasonal and also entertaining, but then it was one of Cannon David Meara's which I had taken from our Graces in Favour volume.

Following the meal and the Loyal Toast the Senior Warden, Sally Muggeridge, made a presentation to me of a beautiful engraved vase and then the Middle Warden, Roddy Mullin, presented an engrave bowl to the Mistress. Both depict views of London and both are wonderful memento's of an excellent and eventful year. Thank you to my Wardens.

And so it was my turn. Firstly I welcomed the guests and then our newer Court members, who were sitting either side of us on the top table. Then I offered thanks to a few key people. Firstly our Junior Warden, Michael Harrison, who had supported me so much through out the year and also managed so many major projects; and then our Assistant Clerk, Doreen Blythe, who had done so much even before the Clerks departure. (For those that want to read the whole thing, the presentation and script is at the end of this blog).

Now for the big surprises. My final thanks was to Brenda, the Mistress, who once spoke the words "in sickness and in health" never guessing that 44 years later they would come back to haunt her. During this year she has brought a new meaning the the phrase "stand by your man", and she has also stood by the Marketors. Her first surprise was the entrance of our two sons, Porter and Ben, laden with champagne and roses. They were followed by Ben's partner Amy and the producer and good friend Danielle Torento.

Now it was getting emotional, but there was more to come. The mysterious covered object was unveiled and the pianist Simon Beck sat at the keyboard. It looked like I was going to sing but no, Norman Bowman, our leading man in Mack & Mabel appeared at the door singing "I won't send roses" to Brenda, and the cabaret had begun. "Till there was you" from Music Man was followed by "Who's the man" from Witches of Eastwick, concluding with the "Soliloquy" from Carousel. A brilliant performance, which came as a complete surprise to all except the secret six and me.

Next followed a stirrup cup for those who did not have to dash off, and another chance to mingle. And so the revellers slowly drifted away, and we walked home in the rain, very happy.

This was truly the most memorable evening of the whole of the year. It was a heady mixture of good friends, close family and tremendous music. The perfect end to a very eventful year. A very sincere thanks from both of us to all who were a part of it.

John Flynn
Master Marketor

Presentation and Script


Alderman, Wardens, Liverymen, Guests

Firstly, as this is the Court Dinner  I would like to welcome our special guests who include Jane Wharam, our Marketor publisher, and John Wheen our Chair of Events together with Barbara. I also welcome our newest Court members Leo Addis with Raffaella, and Richard Christau with Tasoulla who are beside us.
Marketors please stand and raise a glass to our guests. 
What a year. As someone I met recently described a previous year, annis horibalus, but mainly in our case it was an annis fantasticus. It has been a great honour, for both of us, to represent the Marketors. During our time we have learnt that this is not something you do alone.  Whether it is sub editors, committee members or your partner in support - you need others.

It would be invidious to select one or two of you for a mention  - so of course I will.  First to someone who is not allowed the special service award but is up there with the winners. In addition to giving me amazing support throughout the year, there was also the responsibility for the Lord Mayors Show, the inter livery Golf Tournament, Sponsorship, CIM Relations…. Can you guess who it is yet? Yes its Jeanne and Michael Harrison.

Then there is the Clerks office. At this point I would thank the Clerk but she is no longer with the Marketors, but deserves no less thanks, she would have been here but is in Spain with her husband and daughter. Which leaves me with the person who has never been just the support act; and certainly is not now - our Assistant Clerk Doreen Blythe.     

When Brenda spoke the words “in sickness and in health” she had no idea it would take 44 years for that to come back to haunt her. As you will have read in the Evening Standard, throughout March I was either in a coma or coming out of a coma.  During that time Brenda brought a new meaning to the phrase “stand by your man”. And so Brenda, your Mistress, stood by me, and indeed the Marketors, throughout the year.  This is such a big thank you, and I am not particularly good at presents, I felt I needed some help..

Gentlemen please.

(Our sons Porter and Ben enter with champagne and roses)

And the ladies… 

(Ben's partner Amy plus the producer and our friend Danielle Torento then enter)

 (ask Brenda to stand)

…..some times I am a little thoughtless, sometimes forgetful, there are even times when….

(Enter Norman singing "I Won't Send Roses" to Brenda)

The Script

Ladies and gentlemen Norman Bowman or as some of you already know him the marvellous Mack from
Mack and Mabel, together with the equally talented pianist Simon Beck”

I have prevailed on Norman to stay a bit longer. However when I tried to think of a number for him to do
there were so many that I got confused. So the next part is going to be a surprise for me.

So Norman, what did you go for

 “Well John, if you remember you gave me a choice

     “There was “Till There Was You” from Music Man the first show you played opposite each other.
     "She's To Far Above Me" from Half a Sixpence - Bea's first lead as Ann
     "Younger Than Springtime" or "Some Enchanted Evening" from South Pacific where she missed the
      lead because she couldn’t wash that man out of her hair several months pregnant.
     Or "Stars", "Drink With Me" or "Bring Him Home" from Les Miserables  just because you all love the

(Norman chose to sing "Till there was you" from Music Man) 

N “John, you are sitting in a big chair and wearing bling. You want to explain that.”

J I have the honour of being this years Master of the Worshipful Company of Marketors, and Bea is the

N “Oh. So you’re the man”  

J Well yes… I suppose you could say that, but I do have a Court I have to report to

N “So who’s the man?”

J Oh wait, no, you can’t do that number. I mean firstly it is about the devil, and some might object, next it is
   a bit risqué – or in fact a lot risqué, and so ….  

   (Several of the guests insist (yes planted))

J Alright, but be it on your own heads – but it is not about me!

(Norman sings "Who's The Man" from Witches of Eastwick)

Finally there is one number I would love to hear for no special reason other than it is a tour de force for a leading man and I just want to hear it from Norman. Billy Biggalow’s big number from Carousel

(Norman sings "The Soliloquy" from Carousel)

Ladies and Gentlemen

Norman Bowman and Simon Beck

To close may I thank you all for coming and wish you a safe journey home

And for those that can delay the journey there is a stirrup cup awaiting you in the next room


Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Committee Thanks


The Committee Thanks is an annual gathering of those who have supported the Company throughout the year. This time it took place in the Court Room of the Plaisterers, right next to our office. Although a modern building, one wall of the room is lined with the names of the Master Plaisterers dating back to 1501.

My first duty was a sad one in that I had to announce the departure of our Learned Clerk, Adele Thorpe, who had decided to move on to pastures new. In recognition of her excellent support for five Master Marketors, and her work in such projects as achieving the Royal Charter, I announced that the Court had voted that she should receive an Honorary Livery from the Company at the next Installation.

And so to my, or our, thanks to those who have kept the wheels of the company turning. Some were involved with membership, livery, court nominations, and the almoners, covering all aspect of the individual members involvement in the fellowship of the company. Then there is the professional side with the Think Tank, Marketing Law and our relationship to the profession bodies, all of which served to position us better in the marketing community, while also supporting our members.

There was also our relationships with outside organisations, particularly via the good works of Outreach.  But then there are also those supporting our alliances with the likes of 151 Regiment, HMS St Albans, and St Brides Church and its various activities. And then there are those involved with, and supporting, The Trust and particularly its Awards programme. 

The hard work of those involved with Comms & PR and, of course, Events with its team of Event Directors relate in part to the other activities. And of course we must not forget Heritage which has done so much throughout the year on the important task of Archives.

Outside of this there are those who are involved in developing our relationship with the City Corporation, the Lord Mayor and other Livery Companies.  This year such activities have gone from strength to strength with many other Livery Companies seeing us as a benchmark. 

None of this would have happened without the hard working committees, so thanks to all from the Company, and from me, for all your support in 2012. As for 2013 this work will, of course, continue but, because of our new Aims strategy, it should be in a more structured way enabling us to have an even more effective approach to strengthen the Marketors for the future. 

Finally thanks must go to the Mistress who, single handedly, stepped in at the last minute to provide the excellent catering for the event. Definitely a beyond the call of duty moment.

John Flynn
Master Marketor.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

The Beginning of Christmas


The service of carols, music and readings for the Communications industry at St Bride's Church in Fleet Street has marked the beginning of Christmas for me for many years. However, this one was special in that it was the turn of the Marketors to lead, which meant that I had the privilege of speaking, and indeed writing, the Bidding which is the welcome at the beginning of the service. For those interested, the full text appears at the end of this blog. I was later followed by the broadcaster Chris Tarrant who delivered the Christmas Message which ended with an hilarious poem about turkeys.

As always the music was excellent from the choir and rousing from the congregation, and I was delighted to find that the church was crowded with an unusually large number of Marketors with family and friends. My own party included the Mistress, who sat beside me by the alter, and my two sons Porter and Ben plus Amy. The service was, as always, a truly memorable occasion. Our thanks to all at St Brides.

Next, on to the Marketors' Annual Christmas Dinner. This was held at the award winning Lutyens restaurant located in the former Reuters building right next to St Brides. With our own section in this art deco influenced environment, the excellent food and wine was enhanced by large helpings of fellowship and bonhomie. Our thanks must go to Liveryman Sue Ash who was the Marketors Event Director for this whole evening. It was a truly delightful occasion and a very special way to start the Christmas festivities.

John Flynn
Master Marketor

The Bidding
St Brides Carol Service,
10th Dcember 2012

A very warm welcome to St Brides Church and to this the 47th Communications Industry Carol Service. While St Brides of course dates back to the early sixth century, this particular tradition started in the sixties when the Publicity Club of London brought together the various strands of the Communications Community to celebrate the Christmas message. It was of course a time when the printing presses could still be heard to thunder the length and breadth of Fleet Street. While thundering has been heard this year it has tended to be about the communications industry rather than in support of it.

Whether justified or not, sadly such noise tends to divert attention from the enormous good which our collective professions contribute to the community.

The festive season has traditionally been the time to look back on the year, to take stock and to plan for the future. In doing so, let us not forget those in need of our prayers; some of whom are remembered in the Journalists Chapel to my right.       

What ever tradition you come from, this is a time to step away from our hectic lives and consider what is truly important to us: our faith; our family; our friendships.

For many of us, this service, with its familiar readings and much loved carols from the excellent St Brides Choir, marks the beginning of Christmas. We trust that the good fellowship we enjoy this evening may extend throughout the festive season and into the New Year, and that the joy and peace of Christmas fills our hearts and minds for the year ahead.  

Friday, 7 December 2012

A Southwark home


To quote Noel Coward, we have been to a marvellous party - again. However, when we received an invitation from The Reverend Andrew Nunn to an "At Home" at The Deanery at Bankside this didn't seen likely. But we were so wrong. The location was the 1712 grade II listed home originally called the Provost's Lodging. Located between Shakespeare's Globe and the Tate Modern, this 5 bedroom house was recently up for sale for £6.5m but they finally decided to keep it. Having frequently walked by this building and dreamed of living there, to actually go inside was amazing.

The gathering included an interesting array of Livery Masters, partners and clergy, the purpose of the occasion being to develop bonds between the communities of the North and South bank of the Thames while encouraging Livery Companies to recognise the activities of the South Bank. This was somewhat wasted on us in that we live in Southwark and those from the Glaziers have their Hall at the South end of London Bridge. However, the rest seemed very impressed and will almost certainly be visiting Southwark Cathedral, as will we all.

Having started the day in Cranfield Business School where, the evening before, I had again been on the advisory panel for the MSc Marketing Strategy programme (followed by an excellent dinner) and then on my way home, being involved in numerous calls relating to important Marketors issues; this was an excellent counterpoint to an intense day.

John Flynn
Master Marketor

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Victoria, Albert and Music


Having completed an eventful Master & Wardens meeting, unusually in black tie, it was a dash across to South Kensington to the Victoria and Albert Museum. This was a magical place for the Royal College of Music to host their Soiree d'Or, their annual fund raising concert and dinner in the aid of the RCM Scholarship Fund. While not an official Marketors event, there were links and it was a splendid occasion and so I believe worth a mention in my blog.

We were guests of Anastasia and Richard Christou, Anastasia being on the Soiree d'Or working committee and Richard not only being one of our Liverymen but also a newly appointed member of the Court and Chair of our AFC Committee. With over 400 guests, the occasion was awash with famous faces. Much to our surprise and delight our table included a Past Master of the Chartered Accountants and also Sir Peter Gershon who is, amongst many roles, Chair of Tate & Lyle. However our link is that he was my boss about 40 years ago.

The proceedings were enhanced by both musicians and singers from the RCM, the most memorable being Sir James Galway who was described as the living legend of the flute. His performance, including a composition based on Carmen, certainly proved this description. The Mistress recalled that the last time we heard him at an event was 33 years ago, the year he received his OBE. The auction followed, conducted by Sotheby's, and as we expected it was a little rich for us, but as you might expect there were other ways in which guests were able to contribute to the fund on the night. And so an excellent evening.   

John Flynn
Master Marketor

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

The Golden Sweet Spot


The magnificent Goldsmiths Hall was the location for the Marketors' Annual City Lecture. This superbly elegant building at the junction of Foster Lane and Gresham Street is on the plot which the Company has occupied since 1339, this being their third hall on the site. For us to present such an occasion in their great hall surrounded by the wealth and splendour of the Goldsmiths was indeed an honour, but one which I feel the Marketors more than lived up to.

The invitees included forty Masters and Clerks from other City Livery Companies, so a lot of meeting and greeting during the reception, particularly by the Mistress who worked her magic ensuring no one was left out. In addition there was a party from the event sponsors, the Chartered Institute of Marketing, and St Dunstan's School, and 151 Regiment all of whom were joined by over sixty Marketors. The subject for the evening was "Hitting the Sweet Spot: How to Achieve Lasting Organic Profit Growth" and was opened by the new Chief Executive of the CIM Anne Godfrey who introduced our speaker for the evening. Emeritus Professor of Management and Marketing at London Business School and Chair of Which?, Patrick Barwise is not the usual academic despite ove 30 years at LBS; his interest is in what works in practise rather than theory hence him being the first academic to present our City Lecture and my first choice as guest speaker. That I also lectured for ten year at LBS, if only as a visitor, may also have had something to do with it.

Not surprisingly an excellent speaker, Patrick introduced us to the subject of achieving sustainable profitable growth and, by way of a warning , also to how companies fail. With examples ranging from B&Q and NTL through to Tide and Apple he both educated and entertained us. The key message for me was that customers rarely buy a product or service because it offers something unique - they simply want something that is better. The Q&A session was very lively with questions covering a vast array of topics including the City, local government, pickles, confectionery and branding - all handled expertly by Patrick. My theme for the year of Marketing: the Business Driver was more than proven.

And so to Supper which was a somewhat casual affair for Goldsmiths in that, while seated at tables for ten, they were un names and service commenced once a table was full. In this relaxed atmosphere discussion and debate continued. It would seem that a good time was had by all while several of the Masters told the Mistress and I that is was the best City Lecture all year. Another successful piece of positioning for the Marketors.

John Flynn
Master Marketor 

Monday, 3 December 2012

A Wardmote


Having surrendered his office of Alderman of the Ward of Tower in the City of London, Sir Paul Judge, a Past Master of the Marketors, offered himself for re election and was accepted unopposed. This process was undertaken to ensure that he could accept the role of approved Aldermanic candidate for Sheriff when the election takes place on Midsummer's Day next year. This is a post that could lead to the role of Lord Mayor of London in a few years. The ceremony is called the Wardmote and is presided over by the current Lord Mayor. While less than twenty minutes long this was, never-the-less, crammed with historic references.
This ceremony took place in the charming church of St Olave's in Hart Street, one of the few surviving medieval buildings in The City of London and the burial place of Samuel Pepys. St Olave’s survives as a rare example of the medieval churches that existed before the Great Fire of London in 1666. The flames came within 100 metres or so of the building but then the wind changed direction, saving a number of churches on the eastern side of the City.

Following the departure of the Lord Mayor, the next step was for the congregation to be transported by people carriers to the Guildhall for lunch in the Alderman's Dining Room, a bright but decorative location which buzzed with bonhomie.

Lest you think it was all fun, the event was preceded and followed by a working session in the office.

John Flynn
Master Marketor