Down the Procurement Pub – with COUP, Paul Cousins, the Awards VIP Area, and London Grammar

It's worth going to Liverpool just to talk to taxi drivers. I was there this week for COUP, the national Universities procurement conference – more on that next week. Last time I was in the city, my taxi driver discovered I was big music fan, and we ended up sitting outside my hotel at midnight, with the meter off I should say, for 20 minutes whilst he told me brilliant stories about various musicians he had taxied around the town over the years. Wish I could remember them all.. (but I seem to remember Nils Lofgren came out of it particularly well).

This time, on a ten-minute journey back to the station, we (well, mainly the driver, to be fair) covered regional development policy and the dominance of the London area in England, the impact the Liverpool - Manchester ship canal had during the industrial revolution, why some cities thrive more than others, including the effect of regional airport and rail policies... never mind the informative sessions at the conference, that was an education in itself!

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So which ex CIPS President was acting the rebel at the CIPS Supply Management Awards dinner, by letting friends into the “VIP area” before dinner? The somewhat strange VIP compound was a roped- off area outside the main bar, so everyone walked past it on their way in, and generally hurled a few insults at those of us standing inside it! So with a very simple unclipping of the rope, our hero (or villain) allowed several people in, including at least one more ex President. I’m not sure what the point of it was really, in fact it seemed harder to get a drink inside it than in the main bar, although I think the crisps might have been unique to the VIPs. And my apologies to everyone to whom I said “I’ll see you later in the evening” and then didn’t.

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It was a pleasure to meet Paul Cousins at COUP - he's now Professor of Operations Management at Manchester Business School and gave an excellent presentation, which we'll cover next week. I knew him and saw him quite often in his early days as an academic, going back 15 years or so. But I haven't seen him for quite some time - so I said hello, and explained that I spend most of my time running Spend Matters now, rather than being a CPO . "You might be a reader"? I asked, hopefully. "No, don't know it" was the answer. Somewhat depressing, but I guess it just shows we still have lots of potential to pick up more readers! (And it was good to meet other folk at COUP who are regulars).

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Finlly, a bit of music... The big shock in the Mercury Music Prize shortlist, announced this week, was the absence of London Grammar, whose debut album, also out this week, was the overall favourite to win with bookmakers Paddy Power before the announcement. David Bowie is now installed in that position, but I'm not convinced he'll win ... we'll give our views nearer the big awards night on October 30th.

In the meantime, here is what the Judges are missing - London Grammar in the Radio One Live Lounge this week, featuring the quite lovely voice of  Hannah Reid.

Voices (2)

  1. Alphabet Bands:

    It feels like the Mercury judges really did play safe this year. Each album, bar Jon Hopkins I believe, made the UK Top 20 and many of the artists have been nominated before.

    The absence of London Grammar (album review here: http://alphabetbands.wordpress.com/2013/09/04/review-london-grammar-if-you-wait/) was a shock but equaly dissapointing, in my opinion, was the omission of Public Service Bradcasting and their fine debut, Inform – Educate – Entertain.

  2. Dan:

    London Grammar is one of my new favorites – such a unique sound. Grabbed the iTunes album – great decision. http://po.st/IfYouWait.

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