Annie Shaw is a freelance financial journalist
The consolation biro IF sent me made up somewhat for me not attending the IF Comedy Awards in Edinburgh this year. Nevertheless, I had a jolly good time travelling solo for three days at the festival. I confess that I preferred Tony Blair – the Musical to Tony! – The Blair Musical (I saw both) and I highly recommend Chav! It’s a Musical Innit? to anyone who gets a chance to see it post-festival as it will surely re-emerge elsewhere. Anyone wanting a chanteuse for a post-awards ceremony or industry event should look no further than Camille, who was playing at the Spiegeltent.
I was so excited to arrive back in London that I fell down the stairs – stone cold sober, since you ask – and spent a miserable afternoon in A&E. But after much tea, sympathy and bandaging, there was nothing wrong with me that a walking stick hastily purchased from a local charity shop could not put to rights.
Back on the journalistic beat, I headed to the FSA at Canary Wharf for the leaving party of Vernon Everitt, director of retail themes, and Shaun Mundy, head of financial capability. Vernon is off to transport of delights – well actually, Transport for London – while Shaun is literally heading for pastures new on a tour of rural Spain with his delightful wife.
Consumer champions were thick on the docklands ground to give the regulatory types and their colleague Marie Calnan a celebratory send-off. I was delighted to catch up with my old friend Mick McAteer, former principal policy adviser at Which? and now heading his own consultancy.
The Building Societies Association’s Adrian Coles was looking tanned and relaxed after sojourns in Cornwall, from whence his wife hails, and India, where he had been visiting Easiprocess, the Kent Reliance outsourced operation in Bangalore. Coles, a not insignificant sportsman, was chuffed to report that he had thrashed Easiprocess’s tenpin bowling champion at a social event put on by the outsourcer.
Shows seen in Edinburgh in three days: 10. Size of ankle after indecorous tumble down two stairs: something approaching the dimensions of the Gilded Balloon.
Esther Shaw is deputy personal finance editor at the Independent on Sunday
The bank holiday weekend started much in the way it was to continue – with a sore head and about three hours’ sleep – all of which seemed to catch up with me the moment I tried to tear across London to Kings Cross to catch the 9am train to Edinburgh for the annual Intelligent Finance extravaganza.
On arrival at the station, I stumbled across an equally flustered James Coney, who had already had to make an early-morning visit to the Mirror’s offices in Canary Wharf to pick up the tickets he had left on his desk the night before.
Once north of the border, we headed to the Radisson Hotel and bumped into the Guardian’s ever-dapper Patrick Collinson who greeted me with the words, “What’s this I see, Esther with a bottle of water in her hand?”.
For the record, I would like to add that it was only just after 2pm and would also like to assure you that I remedied the aberration just a matter of hours later during the champagne reception in the Linklater Suite at the Scotsman Hotel in the company of A-lister Christian Slater, no less, who was presenting the highly coveted top prize at the IF.comedy awards.
I sampled the delights of vegetarian haggis, sandwiched happily between IF’s managing director Mark Parker and another IF big cheese, the latter of whom made a bet with me that he would slip me a tenner if I were to go and pinch the lovely Mr Slater on the bottom at some stage during the evening. What a preposterous suggestion, I replied, although I was rather disappointed not to have come away at the end of the night £10 better off.
We boarded the IF fun-bus bound for The Pleasance, whereupon we chuckled away at last year’s IF.comedy nominee, Russell Howard. Waving our VIP tickets, we then swooped on the whisky cocktails as we sashayed into the awards party at the Jam House, rubbing shoulders with award-winner Brendon Burns as we went. I finally got to my bed at 5am.
Number of tabloid journalists who told me they wished the walls at The Radisson Hotel were not quite so thin after realising that a fellow broadsheet colleague was inhabiting the room next door: one.
Number of “professional friends” who accompanied Mr Slater to the IF drinks reception: one. It is a new role I am looking into in my forthcoming freelancing capacity.
Number of ex-journalists-turned-PRs who cancelled lunch on me because “they had one too many Old Fashioneds” the previous night and were still seeing double: one. “I couldn’t cope with two Shozzas,” he tells me. Few can.
Number of phones lost: one.
Sam Shaw is in Ibiza.