This jumble of images gives some sense of the blur that has been our January to date. The first one I took as I walked to a lunch with Iqbal Wahhab and Charmian Love on 4 January, at the restaurant he co-founded, Roast. Really great food and ambience. And he gave me a copy of his beautifully produced book, Charity Sucks.
I had almost gone to Covent Garden, seeing that the restaurant was in The Floral Hall – not realising that the old Floral Hall had been moved from Covent Garden (where I had been left unconscious by an Indonesian driver back in 1975 as I cycled to get papers from King’s College, ahead of a flight to Cairo), stored in a Welsh cavern, then bought for £1 and installed here in Borough Market.
So, slightly weirdly, I was sitting on the other side of the facade in front of which I nearly departed this life 40 years ago, but now on the other side of the Thames.
On 9 January, I took Molly March (who I grew up with in Cyprus in the 1950s) to lunch at the Great Court Restaurant in the British Museum, followed by a dinner that same evening hosted by Ambassador David lane, who now runs the Annenberg Trust at Sunnylands.
The second image was taken unsteadily from the apartment window of Lorraine Smith’s home in Manhattan, during a party she and her husband Christopher kindly hosted for me – with some fascinating people.
She and I had been in Washington, DC, where Volans co-hosted an event on 11 January with the World Resources Institute (WRI and the UN Global Compact (UNGC) on how to push towards breakthrough outcomes (our focus with the UNGC) in tomorrow’s markets (WRI’s focus) in the era of President Trump. Will post more details once the summary is cleared by the participants, but very timely and productive.
The event coincided with the Senate’s grilling of former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, Trump’s choice for Secretary of State.
We then went by Amtrak to NYC, to see a range of people, including the UNGC, Citi (whose tower block is the blazing lump seen across the river from Lorraine’s window), the Harvard Business Review and Pearson. The next image is from the plane window as we came in to land at Heathrow. There was snow outside and DC and now snow here, too.
The next five images are from Düsseldorf, where we spent several days (in my case, 17-19 January) with Covestro – with teams converging from Futerra, the Future Fit Foundation, Innovation Arts, SystemIQ and Volans. Focus was on carbon productivity, and the spirit is captured in the final image of the sequence of five.
On the last day, I had been meant to travel to Davos for a dinner co-hosted by the World Economic Forum and the UN Global Compact. Them thank god, Klaus Schwab said he didn’t want me there, so I could spend some sensible time with people doing things rather than simply talking about them : )
Then this week, Sam and I spent a couple of days in Lausanne, with a somewhat controversial company that is planning a major transformation. Fascinating, but the ethical dilemmas had me in a spin at one point.
Then the final image shows Tim Peake speaking at the Science Museum, at the launch event for a new exhibition featuring the Soyuz spacecraft he used to travel to the International Space Station. Went with Richard Johnson.
Volans is really building momentum now, which is immensely exciting, though it’s taxing at times, for all of us. Am on statins now, too, which I hadn’t expected. But always ready to experiment …
Keep thinking I should get back on my bike, which has stood forlornly in the office since my sixth accident, in Oxford Street, a couple of years ago – and which left me with a damaged elbow that took fully a year to heal properly. It’s some sort of toss-up between exercise and extinction, it seems.