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BUSINESS FIRST June\July 2012


05


BUSINESS FIRST LONDON’S BUSINESS MAGAZINE FROM THE EDITOR


This is the summer London has been waiting for, ever since that moment of immense elation in Singapore five years ago when it was announced that our city had won the staging rights for the Olympic Games. The awful counterpoint to that announcement one day later on 7/7 is a grim reminder why such overwhelming security measures are being taken this summer, even if they seem excessive.


The London Games have their critics, most notably for their escalating cost, heavy commercialisation and questionable legacy. Nobody could have quite foreseen on that July day in 2007 that London in 2012 would be in the grip of economic malaise and, from some quarters, outrage at the austerity allegedly being inflicted on the populace by the government. In that regard, we have little sympathy for the rhetorical double-bind the government finds itself in, having boasted of its economic rigour when in fact spending and borrowing remain high. When the cuts really do take effect, true austerity may well kick in, although Lord knows it will not be the same kind of post-war austerity London lived through 64 years ago when it last was Olympic host. In this issue we question whether the Games will deliver London's businesses a gold medal or a tin cup. Our hope is that it is


a peaceful celebration of global competition and proves to be the long term commercial shot in the arm London has been promised and really needs.


Our cover story illustrates the new overseas markets being discovered by Britain’s comedians, who have found adoring audiences across Europe and, as the leader of this new export drive Eddie Izzard is hoping, across the rest of the non-English speaking world too. Watch out Kathmandu, one of the stops on his 2013-14 world tour. As Mick Perrin, the promoter who goes out and wins these markets explains, Izzard is something of a phenomenon, who reflects that ringing phrase of Robert Kennedy’s, ‘I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?’ It is people like this who truly disrupt markets. People like Douglas Chadwick, who we profile:


a retired businessman who believes the financial services industry has failed Britain’s private investors and who is now encouraging people to take responsibility for their own investments – and giving them the tools to do it.


Following the Portas Review, much has been made of the need to attract retailers back to our high streets. On page 22, Nick Barron says retail did not actually leave the high street because nobody was prepared to spend money, it was just the wrong kind of retail. He believes that if London people and communities are given the freedom to experiment with new ideas, a new kind of high street will emerge. If he's right, it is a positive sign amidst the gloom.


We also meet two successful women who have shifted gear from their high- powered careers to launch a web-based service that helps men buy presents for their partners, where otherwise they might and, apparently all too frequently do, struggle. Rachael Ogilvie Robertson and Kate Rider say they are not playing to stale stereotypes about men being useless at this sort of thing, oh no,no, no, just giving them a gentle hand. You make up your own mind.


Nick Peters Editor


nick.peters@businessfirstmagazine.co.uk


LONDON'S BUSINESS MAGAZINE June\July 2012


BUSINESS FIRST


The future is much brighter than you think


The comedians breaking into new markets across the globe


COMEDY TO KATHMANDU


SALTY DOG How the City is failing investors


MAN BUYS PRESENT... NOT VERY WELL


The startup that's fixing the missing male gift gene


OLYMPIC COUNTDOWN...


...to chaos, or a legacy we can be proud of?


LONDON'S HIGH STREET REVIVAL


www.businessfirstmagazine.co.uk


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