David Parkin on mingling with the glitterati, Jigsaw’s puzzle and finding a new hobby

THE latest restaurant to launch in Leeds opened its doors this week.

Issho is part of the D&D stable, the London-based chain that acquired the Conran group and already operates Crafthouse and Angelica in Leeds.

The new venue is in the Victoria Gate shopping centre and boasts a restaurant, bar and roof terrace with sweeping, majestic views of the city’s open air market and bus station.

If you crane your neck enough you can just about see the dancing tramp on Vicar Lane.

At Tuesday’s grand opening the group welcomed guests with a free-flowing supply of Laurent Perrier champagne and appetising samples of its unique Japanese-style cuisine.

The glitterati of Leeds were out in force.

For the record, that’s two blokes from Emmerdale and a Look North weather girl.

I got an idea of what kind of do it would be when a chap in a tight leather jacket and slicked-back hair who I vaguely know, shook my hand but looked over my shoulder, hoping he could spot somebody more trendy or interesting to engage with.

Donald Trump might have suggested putting solar panels on his proposed wall between the US and Mexico, but if Leeds City Council could have tapped into the energy produced by the collective hair flicking of the many pouty, sullen guests then I reckon they could have powered 1,000 council houses for a week.

That was the women, the men were clad in tight T shirts and looked like their hair had been painted on.

It looked like a casting call for the next series of Love Island.

I bumped into my old Yorkshire Post colleague Jason Taylor.

I like Jason, not just because he is one of the few people who is impressed by my stories of interviewing Arnold Schwarzenegger.

I’m worried he’s not going to look up to me for much longer though.

He’s just taken up a new job running a jewellery business and last week got a selfie with former Baywatch star Pamela Anderson at a dinner at the Althorp stately home.

Issho, which means ‘together’ in Japanese, is, unlike some of the colourless recent venues to have opened, a welcome addition to the Leeds eating scene and I do plan to return to sample the food and atmosphere when it is not quite so full of people.

I found Tuesday’s opening so busy that I was quite pleased to slip away and buy fish and chips on the way home.

Well, it’s not the same experience if you haven’t got any hair to flick, babes.

U ok hun?



WHEN I met Yorkshire-based clothing entrepreneur Simon Berwin last Friday morning in Harrogate I felt reassured from the moment I sat down in the booth in the West Park Hotel.

Simon complained about the fortunes of Leeds United and said business was tough.

It gave me confidence that all is well with the world.

Well, he moans about both every time I see him.

What I can understand him complaining about is the mess that Brexit has brought to the economy.

Even the politicians that backed Brexit, like Boris Johnson, David Davis and Iain Duncan-Smith struggle to highlight the benefits we can look forward to.

Simon recently wrote a blog for clothing industry bible Drapers (it used to be called Drapers Record).

He could probably be termed an industry veteran but is certainly not a man that lives in the past.

When he joined the family firm as the fourth generation in the early 1970s, it was making 800 suits a week in Leeds.

With production in China and Eastern Europe, it is now producing about 16,000 high quality tailored suits a week for a range of well known brands.

He had seen the photos of me in my new Michelsberg suit and said it made me look about 32.

Well that’s saved me the cost of some cosmetic surgery.

I asked how his father Malcolm is doing.

Malcolm has always read my columns and used to drop me a line with his observations.

Simon said his father celebrated his 90th birthday earlier this month and showed me a picture of Malcolm Berwin, well dressed and looking fit as a fiddle (he still goes to the gym three times a week) with a guest at his recent birthday party.

“The lady in the photograph is aged 101 and was sharp as a tack and extremely well dressed,” Simon told me.

“I asked her where she had got her jacket and she said it was part of Jigsaw’s autumn collection that she had bought last year,” he said.

So Simon texted the photo to the chief executive of Jigsaw, Peter Ruis, telling him he was pleased to see that the high street fashion chain was hitting its target age demographic for shoppers.


I SPENT two hours in a pub this week and didn’t have a drink.

No it wasn’t part of my bail conditions.

I was invited to watch the British and Irish Lions’ final warm up match ahead of tomorrow’s first test against the All Blacks.

The match against the Chiefs was being shown at the Editor’s Draught pub in Leeds, a boozer that has changed its name countless times since it used to simply be called the Wellington and be a refuge for downtrodden Yorkshire Post and Evening Post reporters and sub editors many years ago.

It was a place you went to commiserate with colleagues after getting a rollicking from the editor or missing out on an elusive exclusive story.

Or in my case, somewhere to drop in to at about 3.30pm if I’d finished a business lunch early.

Financial recruitment business FDYL Woodrow Mercer hosted a breakfast at the pub for clients and contacts in partnership with law firm Ward Hadaway and Santander bank.

Some hardy souls were tucking into pints, despite the 8.35am kick off time.

Given I’d got a couple of meetings afterwards, I stuck with coffee, however when mountainous plates of bacon and sausage sandwiches and hash browns arrived, I realised I could have probably had a few pints, soaked it up with the food as well as having plenty left over to feed the city’s homeless population.

Neil Muffitt of FDYL Woodrow Mercer heads out to New Zealand tomorrow with rugby club pals to follow the Lions and attend the final two tests of the three match series.

I know several other people who have embarked on such a trip and the thousands travelling from the UK and Ireland will help create a fantastic atmosphere at the matches.

We can only hope the Lions’ performances will justify the significant outlay made by their supporters to follow them Down Under.


STAYING with rugby, I was back in Hull last Sunday for the match between Hull Kingston Rovers and Dewsbury Rams in the Championship.

It seemed odd to be watching rugby league on the hottest day of the year so far, but odder still that Hull’s two professional rugby clubs were both kicking off home matches at the same time on the same day.

The cup match between Hull FC and Castleford Tigers attracted an attendance of almost 12,000 despite being televised live on BBC1 while there were another 6,000-plus at the Hull KR match.

I enjoy rugby league because of the honesty and enthusiasm of the players which is mirrored in equal measure by the supporters, with often two, three or even four generations of the same family attending matches together.

I was a guest of Shaun Watts and Clive Ferris of Chameleon Business Interiors, a growing firm which refurbishes, relocates, re-designs and fits out offices and business premises.

In recent years the company has expanded its work from Yorkshire across the UK and to Canada.

Chameleon was the man of the match sponsor and so they asked me to present the champagne to the chosen player.

I couldn’t work out whether it was because they thought I had the gravitas to carry out such a role or so that they could take the mickey out of me when I was up there for wearing a crumpled linen shirt.

H K R v Dewsbury Rams Craven Park
64 11

If it was the latter then I didn’t mind as being there saw me discover a new favourite song in Hull KR’s signature tune, When The Red, Red, Robin Comes Bob, Bob Bobbin’ Along.

I duly handed over the bubbly to young New Zealander Mitch Clark, chosen as the best player in Hull KR’s easy 64-11 victory.

I got a shirt signed by the players for my efforts and some barracking from the audience.

I’ve always worried that I don’t have enough hobbies.

A glance at the match programme on the train home provided me with a new one.

Clark’s team-mate Danny Addy was interviewed in the programme and listed his hobbies as: golf, PS4 and drinking coffee.

All together now:

When the red, red robin, comes bob, bob, bobbin’ along, along

There’ll be no more sobbin’ when he starts throbbin’ his old sweet song

Wake up, wake up you sleepy head

Get up, get out of your bed

Cheer up, cheer up the sun is red

Live, love laugh and be happy

Have a great weekend.

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