David Parkin on clubbing and natty knitwear

STAYING in is the new going out.

Or so I’m trying to convince myself.

Currently it is the only option for all of us – unless you are one of those arrogant prats who have convinced yourself that socialising with a few friends inside a “bubble” isn’t doing any harm.

A majority of people are adhering to the rules, but those that don’t are incredibly selfish.

A friend who did some recent shopping at the Weetons deli in Harrogate told me that it appeared every second person in there wasn’t wearing a mask.

Apparently if you say you suffer with “anxiety” you are exempt from having to cover your face.

Do these fools know how anxious they are making the rest of us feel?

Rant over.

The positives of this latest period of lockdown have been relatively simple pleasures.

Like finding a new film to watch or revisiting one you have already seen.

Last weekend I really enjoyed The Sting with great performances from Paul Newman, Robert Redford and Robert Shaw.

I know the plot back to front but enjoyed the acting, the costumes and Scott Joplin’s wonderful ragtime music.

I also watched Green Book on Amazon Prime.

When I went to the cinema to see it I remember enjoying it but not really, really liking it.

However after a second viewing I liked it much more.

It is a simple story, but the best ones usually are.

A working-class Italian-American bouncer becomes the driver of an African-American classical pianist on a tour of venues through the 1960s American South.

I liked the fact that the bouncer worked at the renowned Copacabana club in New York.

My parents went there in 1961 on a trip to New York when they got engaged.

I remember we had a black ashtray with white lettering bearing the club’s name on a shelf at home when I was growing up.

My Mum remembers that Buddy Greco was performing that night and the waiter responsible for their table introduced himself as their “captain” for the evening.

The “Copa” as it was known also featured in the classic Scorsese gangster film Goodfellas, when the character played by Ray Liotta arrives to see a queue outside the club on a Saturday night he enters through the kitchens and backstage and when he arrives in the packed club a table is carried out to the front by a “captain”.

They don’t do nightclubs like that any more.

If they did I’d never be at home.

Green Book featured great acting from Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali and the story is entertaining, funny and poignant and highlights the racial divide in America.

It is easy to believe that the country has moved on, but 60 years later some of those who invaded the Capitol building last month carried flags and placards supporting white supremacist groups and the Ku Klux Klan.


I TOUCHED on some of the simple pleasures of lockdown, but the absolute highlight for me was taking a local lady aged 93 for her second vaccine injection.

She had told me when I took her to the first appointment in early January  how much she wanted to see her great-grandchildren and was clearly elated after getting her second jab that now she might be weeks away from that long cherished reunion.

Forget superficial concerns about summer holidays and pubs being shut, the crucial thing is making sure the oldest and most vulnerable people in our communities are protected as best they can be from Covid-19.

Whether the rest of us get to spend a fortnight in Sorrento, Skegness or on a sun lounger in the back garden seems a somewhat trivial concern in comparison.


I’M really looking forward to getting back to some event compering work over the next few weeks.

First up is the opportunity to quiz Steve Parkin and Tony Mannix, the chairman and chief executive of Clipper, the phenomenally successful stock market quoted logistics group.

Steve and Tony are not the type of people who shout about their success, but Richard Cramer of Leeds law firm Front Row Legal has persuaded them to tell their story and take questions from an invited audience of clients and contacts during an online seminar later this month.

I’m fortunate enough to have been invited by Richard to chair the event.

As a journalist I covered the growth of Clipper and its float on the London Stock Exchange and interviewed Steve Parkin.

Since then I’ve probably mainly seen him at racecourses – he is a very successful race horse owner and breeder – and I always ask if he’s got any tips he can give me.

Leeds-born Steve is a huge Leeds United fan and Clipper is one of the main sponsors of the club.

He, like every other supporter of the Elland Road club, must be enjoying their return to the Premier League and I’m sure one or two of the questions may involve football.

While I’ll have to do the compering from home via Zoom, I won’t miss the rare opportunity to dress up and put a suit and tie on.

It may not surprise you to know that I’m not one of those people who wears tracksuit trousers or pyjama bottoms while doing video calls in lockdown.

Tailor James Michelsberg would never forgive me.


The UK Israel Business Virtual Breakfast Club this week was an interesting and enjoyable gathering, despite missing out on the usual fare of smoked salmon bagels and having to make do with my own microwaved porridge.

It featured Edward Ziff, chairman and chief executive of Leeds-based property group Town Centre Securities asking questions of Julian Hartley, the chief executive of The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.

The trust is one of the largest and busiest acute hospital trusts in the UK, responsible for seven hospitals including the huge St James’s University Hospital in Leeds.

Edward has worked closely with Julian for several years as he is the chairman of Leeds Cares, the charity partner of Leeds Teaching Hospitals.

Edward became involved with the charity after his youngest son Jacob was treated and cured of childhood leukaemia by hospital staff in Leeds.

Julian answered a range of questions with the kind of calm, clear and earnest approach that you would hope the man who has been leading the NHS across Leeds during the pandemic would have.

The UK Israel Business Breakfast events are always sociable affairs and the one thing missing was seeing other attendees face to face.

I have attended them since my Yorkshire Post days and, indeed, I was fortunate to be the speaker at one of the meetings at Weetwood Hall after the launch of TheBusinessDesk.com.

Coincidentally, Colin Glass, who was finance director and helped us launch that business, is now chair of UK Israel Business and he kindly gave me a mention in his closing remarks.

Colin has always been a natty dresser and many don’t know he was named C&A’s Man of the Year in 1983.

What reminded me was seeing him on screen, direct from his dining room wearing a grey shirt and blue stripey jumper that looked genuine retro C&A, circa 1983.

Have a great weekend.

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