David Parkin on going clubbing and celebrating a lack of lawyers and WAGs

I’VE found the secret to eternal youth.

It’s called the Bradford Club Annual Dinner.

I was invited by long-standing member Craig Burton, who runs The Works Recruitment firm.

The thick shag pile carpet at the impressive club in Piece Hall Yard saw me trip as I walked through the door.

It makes a change, I usually trip up when I’m leaving a dinner.

We ascended the stairs, adorned with busts of Gladstone and Cobden, glancing into the snooker room, with five full size tables.

When the pair of us walked into the drinks reception we must have brought the average age down by about 40 years.

I think if I keep going to the dinner every year for the next half century, I’ll still be younger than most of the attendees.

There were a couple of chaps with bushy mutton chop whiskers that looked like they had stumbled straight out of a Fast Show sketch.

But I’ve always said, with age comes experience.

The massed ranks of former Bradford wool men, aldermen and women and other local dignitaries were a welcoming bunch and fascinating company.

As several people pointed out, at least Bradford can still sustain a members’ club, something Leeds can’t do any more.

The beautiful former home of the Leeds Club has been acquired by pub group Marston’s and is set to be turned into a bar and restaurant.

Chicken in a basket and gammon with pineapple all round.

Back in Bradford among the dinner jacketed ranks of guests I spotted a few familiar faces.

Baroness Eaton, the former leader of Bradford Council and now the Conservative life peer in the House of Lords, was there with her husband John, a lawyer at Lupton Fawcett.

John is a very accomplished and witty public speaker. He once was speaking at a dinner at the Queens Hotel in Leeds and, looking along the top table, he spotted me on the dais.

“It is lovely to see David Parkin, business editor of the Yorkshire Post here tonight. What many of you here won’t know is that David got a blue at Oxford.

“He then went on to pot the pink and black.”

I asked later what the husband of someone who is honoured as a baroness is called.

“Nothing”, was the answer.

That seems a little unfair, given that the wife of a duke will be a duchess and the spouse of a lord is a lady.

But I can’t get very worked up about it.

It was nice to bump into Richard Wightman, a former president of Bradford Chamber of Commerce and Lord Mayor of Bradford.

The dinner had been sponsored by longstanding member Dr Keith Howard to celebrate the first 50 years of his company, Emerald Group Publishing, which the former mining engineer who once worked for the National Coal Board founded in 1967 and has grown into one of the world’s leading academic publishers.

The guest speaker was retired judge His Honour Peter Benson, the president of Ilkley Golf Club, the only place I’ve lost three balls on one hole.

He introduced himself to the audience and told them he would be relatively brief so that no one “would miss the Saga express home – aka the last train to Ilkley”.

He told about an old Bradford legal figure who lived by the adage that whisky hardened the liver while gin softened it…so he drank a bottle of each a day.

Peter Benson said he had been the second baby born in the city’s Duke of York maternity hospital.

“If I had been the first I would have got fame by being featured in the Telegraph & Argus.”

The former judge reminisced about some of the famous Bradford wool dynasties.

Apparently the Kasapians were heading from Armenia to North America but never got past Baildon.

I wonder if they could be featured in their own Yorkshire-based reality TV show called “Keeping Oop With t’Kasapians”?


I WAS at a business event the other day when I walked past a very earnest character from a firm in the media sector talking earnestly and rather loudly into his mobile phone.

“Yes, one million of equity and 250k of venture debt,” he said.

I hadn’t heard of venture debt before, but he seemed pretty pleased with the offer.

Whether you call it a loan or something more impressive, it will still need paying back.


THE drinks reception to celebrate the opening of law firm Addleshaw Goddard’s new office at Sovereign Square in Leeds saw office head Tim Wheldon reflecting on the firm’s history in the city.

Apparently Addleshaw Goddard can trace its roots in Leeds back to 1775.

“In those days the lawyers used to arrive on horseback and the firm employed grooms. To tend to the horses, not the lawyers,” Tim explained to guests.

As I sipped a fine chilled flute of Pol Roger one of the guests told me I would be pleased about the event as not many accountants were there.

“And lawyers from only one firm – double bubble!” I replied, before pulling myself together and restoring my professional persona.

When Addleshaws moved into their previous office 20 years ago, the area, beside the River Aire, was less salubrious than it is now.

In fact it was a red light area.

“You used to get accosted by prostitutes when you left the office,” one guest confided.

“I suppose it’s better than being accosted by a lawyer,” I replied.

The discussion turned to how the red light area of Leeds moved across the river to Holbeck, but that former hotbed of the Industrial Revolution has been revived as home to many creative businesses, bars and restaurants.

“Where is the red light district now, David?” asked one of the guests.

“Well…I have no idea,” I replied swiftly and professionally.


“I know you are a chauvinist, but I thought using the word ‘Wags’ in your blog was a bit much,” one reader told me last week.

I was mystified about why the word wags would be deemed sexist?

“Wives and girlfriends – it is a bit of a dismissive word for the partners of footballers,” he replied.

I explained that I used the word wag as a noun, which means means “a person who makes jokes” according to the Oxford English Dictionary.

He said he’d never heard of it before.

As a consequence I have considered dumbing down this blog in future.

But can it get any dumber?

I’m working on it.

Have a great weekend.


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