Down the Procurement Pub with Social Enterprise UK, Basware, the Garden Bridge and Heather Nova

Here is a photo from this week’s Spend Matters strategic review meeting, as we ponder on the future of our enterprise, life, the universe and everything. The entire team* congregated in the Old Hatchet, near Ascot, a pub I have not been into for years – it used to be a regular haunt to meet friends, back in pre children days. It is Fullers owned now, and very pleasant in terms of beer, food and brilliant background music (Al Green, Marvin Gaye etc). We got talking to the barman, Callum, who is off to Kansas on a college soccer scholarship next month - good luck Callum! This isn't Callum though, should have taken his picture really. This is Nancy.

* Me and Nancy


We were in the Speaker’s Apartment in the Houses of Parliament on Monday at the reception for Social Enterprise UK. We may have more on this event generally but it was an enjoyable event and it is good to see that the social enterprise movement appears to be growing in strength, although I didn’t get any free samples from my new friend who runs a social enterprise beer company!

Social enterprise speakersIt was also interesting to talk to an executive from the sales side of a huge engineering firm who was looking to see how her firm’s bids for work on the HS2 programme could be strengthened by including more around social value, including potentially the use of social enterprises. This is increasingly how large suppliers to the public sector are thinking, which is a genuine shift in attitude.


This is a final reminder for the Basware event at Silverstone next Friday. A number of good speakers – and me – talking about the whole process of implementing purchase-to-pay systems and processes. Not all dry and techie though; you get everything from developing the business case to managing the human and change sides of things. I suppose we should mention the chance to do some driving in the afternoon around the circuit too … I don’t know how many places are left but you can enquire through that link above!


So much going on this week politically and in our procurement world. The National Audit Office produced their review of the disastrous UnitingCare health contract in Cambridgeshire. We’ll have more on that next week, and also on the reports that Coupa are moving towards an IPO – great article here from Jason Busch if you can’t wait! So lots of interesting content here next week even if we are moving into summer holiday time.


It was good to see that our advice to the Conservative Party in last week’s Down the Procurement Pub was taken up and Andrea Leadsom will not be leader. Many congratulations to Theresa May, who we’re sure will be a great supporter and advocate for public sector procurement (he said, ingratiatingly).

So our "political" advice this week is to Sadiq Khan, London Mayor, who is expressing some doubts about the Garden Bridge and how much funding it will need from the public purse. Our advice is – can the whole thing now. It was a dodgy procurement to begin with, as we have said a number of times, we don’t need another bridge, and remember the “sunk cost fallacy” is just that – a fallacy. You can’t take the money already spent into account when looking at the decision at this point in time and looking into the future. However much has been wasted / spent already, that is totally irrelevant to the decision and the cost / benefit analysis now.


We were talking to Callum (see above) about best ever cover versions, because the pub was playing Second That Emotion by Smokey Robinson and I mentioned the excellent Japan version, an all-time great cover. Callum suggested Ed Sheeran doing Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here at the Olympics closing ceremony, which Nancy and I think is … OK …. whilst I went with Heather Nova and Springsteen’s I’m On Fire.  A very nice version although there is a better word than “nice” that we’ll let you fill in. See below.

So over the summer, when less new music is released, we’re going to feature some all-time fave cover versions in this slot, and we want your recommendations please. By email or as a “Comment” is fine. Don’t go for the super-obvious ones (Jeff Buckley and Hallelujah, for instance, much as we love it, or I Fought the Law by the Clash, or anything that has a 100 million views on YouTube). Think a bit more creatively please, and focus on those that are a bit different from the original too.

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Voices (5)

  1. Catherine:

    Nick Cave did a fantastic cover of Pulp’s Disco 2000

    and in a similar vein of taking high-energy original and finding the depressive or seedy in them, how about The Divine Comedy’s cover of MGMT’s Time to Pretend?

    I’d link, but then I’d have to listen and it’s too early to be sucked down that rabbit hole!

  2. bitter and twisted:

    Geburt Einer Nation – Laibach

    the Kingsmen’s Louie Louie is the greatest single of all time
    all the Byrds’ Dylan covers

    1. RJ:

      Can Dylan himself be nominated for “covering” his own songs as they change so frequently and drastically? I’m particularly loving his reworking of Desolation Row on his MTV Unplugged session at the moment.
      Kirsty MacColl has two classic covers of A New England (Billy Bragg), although I’m not actually sure that’s better than the bitterness of the original, and Days (The Kinks), which in my view definitely is.
      … and for sheer hilarity value Frank Sidebottom’s version of Bohemian Rhapsody is worth a nomination.

  3. Alex Kleiner:

    Some of the covers I like that have have a different spin:

    Time/Breathe – Greensky Bluegrass
    Hurt – Johnny Cash
    Gold Digger – The Automatic (double cover)
    I Will Always Love You – Me First and the Gimme Gimmes (all their songs are punk covers)
    Nessum Dorma – Turin Brakes (XFM Live session)
    99 Problems – Hugo
    Here Comes the Night – David Bowie
    Rock N Roll Suicide – Camille O’Sullivan
    VCR – The Antlers
    Heart Shaped Box – Asgeir
    Just Can’t Get Enough – Nouvelle Vague (also all covers)
    Mad World – Gary Jules
    Whiskey in the Jar – Metallica
    Running Up That Hill – Placebo

    Regards, AFK3

  4. Alphabet Bands:

    Incredible (& unusual) cover versions:

    Tears & Marble – What Is Love (Haddaway)
    Avec Sans – Running Up That Hill (Kate Bush)
    Barefoot – Born Slippy (Underworld)

    As a starting point 🙂

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