Sunday, 9 June 2013

Guess who's back?

The Grand Poobah is a minor character in one of Gilbert and Sullivan's finest musicals - The Mikado.

As a kid, I used to go to the theatre with my beloved grandad (Poppy) who was one of the most supportive and significant figures in my childhood. He was born at the beginning of the 20th century, too young to fight in the First World War, too old to fight in the Second (thank god). He was from a poorish family (part of the huge migration that came into Manchester as the city industrialized) and left school at 14. From this unpromising start, he became the embodiment of a self made man: trained as a cost accountant, joined the Masons, pillar of the church etc etc. He was present at the O'Connell Street GPO uprising. He married his wife, an immigrant German woman, whom he met when he stopped a gang of lads bullying her and her sisters on the street, as they thought (mistakenly) that she was Jewish.

He was smart, hard working and had ten tonnes more moral fibre than most. We used to fight like cat and dog (as is not untypical of someone of his age, he had "interesting" views on Empire, people of different ethnicities and so on) but, still, I miss him terribly (he died, at the ripe age of 92 nearly 20 years ago). I like to think that he's sitting upstairs, cup of tea in one hand, probably watching a test match and, broadly, approving of what I'm trying to achieve.

Which is what, exactly?

Well, the Grand Poobah is the epitome of a puffed up, ego driven, largely talentless but professionally often successful and high ranking character. You know, the type you come across all the time in businesses. And life in general. And she's now my alter ego, and a reminder that, in my personal and professional life, the best people, the most effective and generally the nicest are those whose egos are in check, and who don't need the security of a huge title and letters to bolster their confidence.

I am a free lance talent advisor and Executive Coach, and, believe me, the Poobahs that you meet in this world are many and vocal. I'm on a one woman mission to bring the voice of reason, balance and simplicity back into the fold. Because there's nothing too complicated about the theory of it - as with many things, it's getting the practice right that matters.

So, watch this space, follow this blog and, above all, don't be afraid to call the Emperor on his new clothes.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Meet, Play, Shove – self discovery in the real world.

There is something truly magical about Sri Lanka: lush and bursting with life like other beautiful tropical islands, yet set against the gritty reality of rebuilding after a tsunami and civil war. The contrast serves only to enhance the magic.

What better setting then, to embark on a week long “yoga ‘n’ ayurvedic for beginners” holiday. As I entered the Barberyn Beach Resort., I wondered if I was turning into a 30-something clichĂ© - professionally successful, personally happy, but still looking for fulfilment in the absence of Mr Right.

After seven blissful days of meditating on Weligama beach, yoga in the open air and ayurvedic treatments on tap from the endlessly smiley staff, it was time to explore my physical surroundings.

True to the brochures, I planned whale watching from picture perfect Mirrisa beach, luxury eco tourism courtesy of Kulu Safaris and a couple of days chilling out at the old fort city of Galle.

What I hadn’t expected, however, was to fall in love.

His name was Frank, German, with an unfortunate fondness for speedos and ponytails. We met in Mirissa at one of the many beautiful beach restaurants. Chilled beer, simple, local food, and, on this first night together, a symphonic electric storm that lasted for hours before gracefully giving way to a blanket of stars that rolled out across the inky black sky.

We talked about life, the universe and everything. He seemed centred, honest and thoughtful. We shared our hopes and dreams, the journeys that had brought us to Sri Lanka and after two days of mooning over each other like a couple of teenagers, I was smitten. I stayed true to my plan of seeing the elephants in Uda Walawe (a ludicrously fertile, beautiful national park) whilst looking forward to our next rendez-vous in Galle.

We’d chosen to stay in the Fort Printers, an exquisitely restored building in the middle of Galle’s old fort and the perfect location for a romantic tryst. The staff were discreet, the hotel deserted apart from us. We frolicked in the plunge pool at midnight, before sloping off to our luxuriously appointed room, oblivious to just about everything apart from the wonder of having found someone whom you could lose yourself in.

We wandered around the narrow, twisting streets, enjoying sun-downers at the Galle Face Hotel and the Amangalla. We giggled at the dreadfully realised new national Museum. We didn’t even get frustrated at the gentle touting and selling that followed us around town.

We parted at the airport without tears or fanfare. We would, of course, meet again. How could something so perfect not be pursued? Five months of emails, IM and skype later, we met in Istanbul. Where it only took him two days to drop into conversation the surprising news that he had a girlfriend (and had had all along).

Meet - play - shove.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Is anybody out there?

GP has been taking a self imposed break from the blogosphere, after the unwelcome discovery of her blog. You know who you are, and if you are reading this I would prefer that you weren't. But then, that's the rule with blogging - you have to put stuff out there and cannot control who comes across it. So tentatively, back into the fray, on the pitch and playing and all those other cliches...

On a more serious note, it does make me think about how inadvertantly exposing the web can be. Solipsistically, one can type away thinking that what gets sent out there disappears into nothingness, where as in fact it's available to all sorts of punters (I was surprised to see someone from the Ministry of Finance in Dubai reading the other day). The part that surprised me was that anyone with an ounce of computer literacy can track URLs (I don't believe the bollocks about finding this from a google search - even people who know me can't do that!)

So - motto for today, anyone who's thinking of sharing intimacies, posting semi nude photos or launching a major confessional, just think twice. GP isn't watching you, but you don't know who is........

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Money, money, money, it's so funny, in a rich man's world....

Buyer beware!

One of the defining qualities of HK is its sheer accessibility - there's none of the mucking around of commuting to get in the way of doing stuff, and there's an awful lot of stuff to do here. Hence a lot of people run around like blue arsed flies. cramming their days full, truly human doings rather than beings.

Anyhow, for me this has meant pitching up to lots of talks and lectures. Being a bit of a nerd I enjoy learning new stuff. The longer I stay here though, the more my bullshit detector goes off and filters out some of the true crap that people have the cheek to peddle.

Which leads me to a salutory tale. I was invited to an "exclusive" breakfast, hosted by the XL foundation which markets itself as a social entrepreneurial organisation. Their founder is the charismatic, dishy Roger Hamilton. After an, admittedly nice, breakfast, Roger stood up to gave his spiel, which rapidly deteriorated into the crudest sales pitch for XL. I left early.

Imagine my surpirse to find that he's back in town, speaking at this event. A quick google search reveals that he's now banned in Singapore, but somehow not in HK. Needless to say, if you've been invited then I wouldn't bother.

Apologies for lack of smut and gossip - however, I am off to a Valentine's Day party tonight so you never know :-)

Friday, 13 February 2009

Home, home on the range......

An acquaintance of mine in HK is a property agent. As you can imagine, this isn't a pretty profession to be part of right now. I went along to a couple of events where expensive properties are sold off plan to eager, cash rich Asian buyers. I am now very glad that a voice of reason and caution got in the way and prevented me from ever, ever investing in them.

I saw her recently, looking slightly ashen faced and drawn. Funnily enough buyers are defaulting left, right and centre on these properties (or more accurately, the option to buy a completed property at some time in the future...) as they don't have the readies to fund it. In turn the developers are threatening to sue. She's stuck in the middle. Fun and games.

Anyhow, given this background I was astounded when this piece of marketing puff turned up in my inbox today. Do they not, I ask myself, read them before they get sent out? Would this be the same Australia that has been ravaged by a toxic combo of fires, droughts, rains and god knows what else? Who in their right minds would be in for investing of a piece of this right now??? Answers on a comment please...

Friday, 28 November 2008

I remember, I remember when I lost my mind

You may have noticed that I have a thing about green issues. You may also have noticed that I'm not all that impressed by the approach our great leaders are taking to these matters in Hong Kong.

Two small examples. This week there was a laughable article in the SCMP (again....) where a drop in energy consumption in HK over the past few months was somehow spun into a problem....Er, hello??? Isn't energy reduction and conservation something we're all gunning for these days? As a pertinent follow up, I've just collected my electricity bill. Due to the government's decision to subsidise electricity to the tune of HK$300 per month, I now pay nothing for electricity.

Complete lunacy. Mind you, if anyone would like to pop over and charge up phones, ipods, cameras etc and watch TV, all courtesy of our benign and generous leadership then please feel free.

Monday, 24 November 2008

word up! it's the code word....

and another thing....

my word's arrived early this year. It's "kindness". Nice huh?