Sam Shaw is a reporter on Money Marketing
The night after the awards dinner of the other financial trade title with the initials MM should have left me with one night to pack before I headed to Money Portal’s conference in Alicante. As usual, I did it the morning of my flight. A comedy sequence of misfortune saw me arrive at the hotel exhausted and stressed. Cut to that evening, with a veal-packed menu (much to Alan Easter’s horror), a bar called Coyote Ugly, the first youth club I have been in since about 1990 (purely by accident, I was assured) and a vast quantity of spirits. Suffice to say, a good time was had by all.
My sloping off from the gala dinner at about 1.30am (after a packed few days of conference speeches, panel debates and late nights) seemed a smart move, given that I have it on good authority that Andrew Clamping and several members of Sage were still going at 7am.
I flew back from Spain, literally ran into the Millennium Hotel to meet NU with a very late entrance to the ABI awards. Erstwhile colleague Jimmy ‘the Fish’ Salmon and I were pipped to the post for life insurance/investment trade journalist of the year award by none other than the editor of the other pink trade newspaper. At the same time, MM once again missed out to its rival pink for best trade title. I suppose we’d better try harder next year although my editor has another view.
Awards missed out on: two. Inter-industry embraces witnessed in Soho’s Little Italy: quite a few, none of which I was involved in, luckily.
Annie Shaw is a freelance financial journalist
At risk of once more sounding like Kent Reliance’s publicity machine, I learn that the savings and loan merchant has been raising awareness of all things carbon neutral with a “green day”. While staff in both the Chatham and Bangalore HQs were required to wear something green, and most chose something along the lines of a sage coloured cardie or lime-coloured T-shirt – chief executive Mike Lazenby and his deputy Rob Procter went the whole hog. Lazenby arrived at work clad as a lizard. I am assured his attire was more garden gecko than Gordon Gekko. Procter, not one of life’s “little people”, was transformed into the biggest leprechaun ever to sit on a four-leafed clover. The photographs have arrived in my inbox and I am open to offers.
To the ABI media awards as the guest of Aegon. I was delighted to find myself shoehorned between press persons Adrian Cammidge and Jon Atkins. Also on the table was Money Marketing’s Helen Pow and Aegon’s Mark Locke, who told me that his missus is about to make him a father.
During a break in the festivities I ran into Matt Williams, erstwhile former personal finance writer for PA who is now on general news, chatting to Charlotte Sjoberg, spokesman for Nationwide. He pointed airily over her head and said: “What do you think of that?” I could see some textile artefact decorating the far wall and remarked: “It looks like a carpet.” “I meant Charlotte’s new hairstyle,” shrieked Matt, as I suddenly remembered I needed to retrieve an empty champagne glass from the other side of the dining room. The hairstyle was lovely, by the way.
Number of bruises on my arm: five (caused by vicious punches from Simon “Whinger” Read in revenge for earlier remarks about his soccer skills). Award winners escorting me home: one (neighbour Tony Hazell of the Daily Mail, in whose taxi I shared a lift back to Hertfordshire)
Esther Shaw is deputy personal finance editor at the Independent on Sunday
After a week of pre-Budget madness, it was time to let my hair down at the ABI awards at The Millennium Hotel, Grosvenor Square. On arrival I ran into a rather flustered Tony Levene from the Guardian who was concerned about his late arrival – which he blamed on the fact he’d had a taxi organised by the Post Office.
Over dinner, I found myself happily sandwiched between the Mail’s fraud guru Tony Hetherington and Liverpool Victoria’s smooth-talking Nigel Snell. While Mr Hetherington regaled me with stories of fighting for justice and righting readers’ wrongs, Mr Snell talked about golf. “A good round of golf is better than er…” he said, tailing off a little. Better than writing a great piece on IHT, I wonder?
As the evening progressed, a little more wine was sunk, as I reminisced with Hargreaves Lansdown’s Tom McPhail about awards do’s of days gone by – including the memorable Headline Money awards where I “borrowed” Money Marketing’s trophy and had to be carried out of the venue by poor Mr McPhail.
This year, I am pleased to say I needed no such assistance although Aegon’s ever-caring John Atkins took it upon himself to check I got safely from the Millennium to the “post-ABI awards party” on the second floor of Soho’s Little Italy. Suffice to say the evening ended with a merry gath-ering of PF’s finests dancing in a big circle to the Proclaimers.
Gin and tonics consumed: far too many. Number of times I came into close contact with the dance floor at Little Italy: several. Men’s ties I still had tied around my neck when I woke up on Thursday morning: one. Owner unknown.