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The dwindling case for living in London

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The recent debate around ‘levelling up’ may be missing something. I would argue that there is another way to consider geographical inequality – and, by this alternative measure, a levelling has been under way for more than 20 years.

I’ve spent three decades working in advertising, so it’s unsurprising that I tend to view economic life through the lens of consumption. By contrast, mainstream economists tend to view disparities through the medium of earnings or wealth. To me, measures of wealth should include not only the quantity of money you have but the breadth of worthwhile options available in choosing how to spend it.

Let’s put it another way. If you live in a boring village, and suddenly a great pub or café opens on the high street, then by my measure you have become richer; by the economist’s measure you have not.

Things that would once have been available in London decades before the provinces now appear everywhereat once 

There was undoubtedly a time when you were richer in London in two ways. You had more money, but you also had a far more exciting range of ways to spend it. Now not so much.

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London is a great city but, in terms of consumption quality, it has not improved markedly in the past 20 years. Over the same period, many smaller cities and even towns have advanced rapidly, significantly narrowing the gap. The kind of things that would once have been available in the capital decades before making it to the provinces – like sushi – now appear everywhere at once. Consider Turkish barbers, who seem to have taken over the country in only five years. (I can remember a time when it was enough just to get a haircut without having burning methylated spirits flicked in my ears. Back then I just didn’t know any better.)

This levelling is especially true of anything in the digital world: Amazon gadgets, Netflix films, Asos fashions and PlayStation games hit Aberystwyth the same day they hit Islington. But it also applies to the physical environment, as anyone over 50 can attest. I went to Manchester and Sheffield for the first time in 1989. Compared with London, they were then, let’s be honest, utterly rubbish. Now, when I visit those same cities, I experience mild ‘northern envy’. There are interesting places open everywhere. Northerners have better cars, because they have more money left over after paying for housing. And they are much better-looking, because they can nip home to get changed before going out.

Relatively speaking, London has improved far less dramatically than these provincial cities have. (New York, many aficionados argue, has got worse.) OK, the Tube is better than it used to be. Uber is a handy addition. But some things are awful – the last pleasure of driving in London ended when they put speed cameras on the Westway. Accommodation costs for the young wipe out any salary gains.

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By my measure, high property prices won’t just hit Londoners once – they’ll hit them twice. Not only do high rents wipe out what you earn, they also put at risk London’s once unassailable advantage as a great place to spend what money you have left. Creative businesses of any kind require space at a price which allows them to take risks. For a time, London found this space by moving its heartland from west to east. But suppose the people supporting what Douglas McWilliams calls ‘the flat white economy’ flee altogether? In my own experience, Kent suddenly seems weirdly full of fascinating restaurants founded by London exiles. If more of these people leave, the case for staying weakens further.

Londoners always say things like ‘Yes but there’s the theatre’. Let’s face it though – even Shakespeare left London for Stratford in his mid-forties. As he no doubt found, the theatre is all very well, but it’s nothing like being able to park outside your house.

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Sales and Marketing Director (EMEA) – London

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We are working closely with a leading international publisher of licensed children’s books to recruit an experienced Sales and Marketing Director for EMEA. This is an integral leadership role responsible for some of the world’s most recognisable and prestigious book brands.
What it takes:

A demonstrable track record of building both sales and margin growth, with a commercially minded approach
Experience in successfully managing and motivating teams located across international borders
Extensive knowledge and understanding of the co-edition and rights markets in licensed and/or children’s publishing
A complete understanding, beyond sales headlines, of margins, cost management and budgeting
Being capable of creating and executing sales and marketing strategies
Thriving in fast-paced work environments and being able to manage multiple high priority projects simultaneously
A strong leading voice across sales strategy, market development and marketing activities
An agile and strong communicator both internally and with licensors
Extensive EMEA or directly relevant experience

The right person is comfortable as a leader, with commercial experience managing a team to deliver successful business units, going beyond just a ‘sales department’.
With flexible working options, a very competitive salary and bonus structure, this role offers incredible opportunities for an ambitious and proven sales leader.
At Wonderful Recruitment we provide opportunities for candidates to discover some of the most interesting and dynamic roles in the entertainment industry. For more information about this role please send your CV and salary expectations to Dean@wonderfulideasproject.com and Dan@wonderfulideasproject.com.
 

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Paris, Madrid, Barcelona among candidate cities to host ICE from 2025 – IAG

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Clarion Gaming, organizer of ICE London, says it has narrowed the shortlist of potential future hosts of the hugely popular industry trade show to four European cities, with its current London home joined by Barcelona and Madrid in Spain as well as Paris, France.
The decision to explore a potential move comes amid pressure from some industry representatives, with Clarion working alongside specialist consultants Equimore to establish the finalist shortlist. The successful candidate will be announced in 3Q23 following a competitive bidding process and will host ICE for a period of five years between 2025 and 2029.
“This robust process is customer-centric and the decision will be taken in the best interests of our stakeholders and of the global gaming industry,” said Alex Pratt, Group Managing Director of Clarion Gaming.
“iGB Affiliate London is very much part of the process and we are engaging with iGB Affiliate stakeholders in order to identify their preferred strategic path.
“The four short-listed cities will progress through a selection process with the help of the experienced and knowledgeable team at Equimore which is overseeing every aspect of what is a robust program.
“In addition to the suitability of locations in terms of capacity, facilities and the ability to accommodate projected future growth the process also encompasses dateline availability, transport connectivity with the rest of the world as well as the broader hospitality infrastructure including accommodation costs.
“By pursuing all due diligence we will identify the city that’s best equipped to not only host an event which continues to play such a central role in helping to create opportunity and prosperity for gaming businesses of all sizes, across every vertical and in every global jurisdiction, but also demonstrate its leadership in the sector.
“In the interests of transparency Clarion will not be making any further comment during the official process.”

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ICE London 2023 to feature exhibitors from record 68 nations – IAG

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Industry trade show ICE London will feature exhibitors from a record 68 nations, topping the previous best of 65 set three years ago, according to organizer Clarion Gaming.
ICE London returns as a full-sized show for the first time since 2020 from 7 to 9 February, with the total 623 exhibitors representing everything from Argentina to Australia and Macau to Mexico.
“No other exhibition in the gaming space can come anywhere near the internationalism of ICE,” said Clarion Gaming Managing Director, Stuart Hunter.
“To have 68 nations represented by our community of exhibitors means that visitors are immediately part of what is a global experience with unique access to the smartest gaming innovators drawn from every corner of the world. There are very few exhibitions of scale in any industry sector which are able to compare with such international representation and legitimately lay claim to being a ‘global’ or a ‘world’ event.
“Once an event is recognized as being genuinely international, stakeholder groups including brands, regulators, trade associations, media groups and strategic industry-wide bodies focus their activities accordingly.
“Research that we’ve undertaken has shown that for many people ICE and iGB Affiliate London actually start on the Sunday preceding and finish on the following Saturday. In that week we estimate that over 100 gambling industry events will take place outside of the show hours providing a new and compelling perspective on why ICE and iGB Affiliate London are so influential and important to the world industry.”
IAG will have a team of four at ICE London next week. Visit us at Stand ND7-C.

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