When the invitation from top people’s estate agency, Hampton’s International, dropped in the email inbox at Holyrood Partnership, Raymond and I couldn’t believe our luck.
Enjoy a six course dinner a t the renowned Rhubarb restaurant, part of James Thomson’s Prestonfield House Hotel? Yes please! (It’s also the venue where disgraced Labour peer Lord (Mike) Watson came a cropper by trying to torch the curtains – a stunt which landed him a jail term in Saughton Prison).
When another lucky invitee revealed how he’d been assured there would also be “enough booze to sink a battle ship”, our acceptance notes were in with indecent haste.
Needless to say the evening didn’t disappoint. The hotel was opulent, the champagne and canapes (while being serenaded with the gently wafting strains of a group of classical musicians) were excellent and the meal itself was everything you’d expect from a restaurant of such repute.
So a very big thank you indeed to Nic Spaulding and her team from Hamptons for organising such a fine bash – then inviting a couple of PR reprobates to make up numbers. Credit due as well for a top guest list. Certainly we enjoyed the chance to catch up with a few familiar faces – and make the acquaintance of a few news ones.
First I’d like to mention Matthew Gray. Not a bad lad for a Hibby. Matt was pretty much responsible for giving us one of our biggest breaks when Holyrood PR was the new kid on the block. At that time he was property director with Hunters-PSM and with his backing we were taken on to provide PR.
It was a lucrative partnership – we got a high-profile client and introductions to all sorts of useful people, while PSM got a Rolls Royce service and we racked up headline after headline for the company at a time when it was growing exponentially.
<>Matthew was smart enough to see the writing on the wall and made a timely exit before thePSM Law Group imploded in fairly spectacular style. As you’d expect from such a smart operator, he landed on his feet and is now Property Services Director with Pagan Osborne, an impressive and ambitious law firm.
<>Not only did Matt play a pivotal role in the early development of Holyrood PR he also sold me my house, where I’ve been living very happily for five years. So respect due. Just to cap it all, he was also looking remarkably fresh and youthful for a man with three kids under five. Not bad going.
<>It was also good to catch up with David Forsyth, an old colleague from the Evening News. When I turned up at the paper as a plooky 19-year-old, it was David who took me (and fellow new start, Barbie Dutter) under his wing.
David eventually went on to set up Benchmark PR and is now best known as the PR man for Hibernian FC and was on his usual sparkling form.
Adding a touch of glamour were the I-On girls, Laura Wood and Jo Morris. Anybody who hasn’t caught I-On magazine is terminally untrendy. It’s been a huge success in Edinburgh since its launch almost two years ago – and the pair have gone on to launch in Glasgow.
When Laura and Jo – who’d worked together on a magazine in Spain – gambled everything on launching the Edinburgh magazine, they asked Holyrood PR to do a wee bit of PR for them. Nice to see some of the results are still on show at their website.
Interesting to hear their views on the launch of Trend magazine in Aberdeen, which seems to have ripped off the I-On template wholesale. Still, at least they had the good grace to come up with a different name.
Another familiar face was Ross Haddow, boss of H&A Design, the man who put together our first website. Even though the site has been updated since then, we remained true to Ross’ original design concept. Business is booming for Ross and he’s not yet 30.
Meanwhile it also provided a chance to catch up with occasional clients Kenny Dyer and Kit Walker of Treetops Development Company. They’re close to completing their Axis development at Craigleith and were unwinding – and telling funny stories about the hair-raising antics of their helicopter pilot friend. I won’t repeate the stories here, but I would certainly think twice abuout getting into a whirlybird any time soon.