All-powerful PROs party on down to celebrate the new Power Book

Last night was the party for the launch of this year's PRWeek Power Book, which took place at the Hotel Rafayel in London's Battersea. Fueled on champers, the UK's most powerful comms people celebrated... perhaps a little too much...

Power Book: PROs party at 2011 event
Power Book: PROs party at 2011 event

In the lift, Flack stood next to a rather shabby-looking gentleman. Assuming him to be a member of hotel maintenance staff, or a builder, no conversation was offered. It was only once Flack left the lift that the penny dropped: Mr Scruffy Lift-Man was no other than The Corporation’s Gary Farrow...

Farrow was highly amused by Flack’s faux pas, revealing that despite appearances he was actually an official Lord. ‘My wife bought me the lordship of somewhere in Leicestershire for my birthday,’ he explained, showing Flack his Coutts card which is indeed in the name of Lord Gary Farrow. So now there are three Lords of PR...

Everything Everywhere's comms boss Stuart Jackson made a sterling effort to get to the party. Having been out partying the previous night - until 5am - with his colleagues, he was nevertheless propping up the bar - or was it the other way round? - until late in Battersea. Flack was concerned that Jackson was attempting 36 hours without sleep. These mobile guys have legendary stamina.

...and so do their agencies. Matt Neale, chief of Golin Harris and long-time consultant to Jackson, was planning his schedule next month. It involves flying directly from the Cannes Advertising and PR Festival to Glastonbury, with only a change of clothes en route. From previous form, expect both Neale and Jackson to be partying until late in the hedonistic Shangri-La area Glasto.

Neale was clearly in the mood to enjoy himself, ordering endless champagne from the bar once the free fizz had run out. Unfortunately Flack happened to notice that Neale’s black Amex card was declined – twice. We assume he did find a way to pay for his bubbly however, as he was still propping up the bar sipping on champers at long past midnight...

They weren't alone in their post-midnight vigil – Ogilvy’s Ross Cathcart was in the thick of the party and very much enjoying himself. In a somewhat ‘tired and emotional’ fashion he confided to Flack that he was deeply in love with fellow WPP agency Cohn & Wolfe’s boss Scott Wilson. ‘I kiss him!’ Cathcart proclaimed, ‘when my wife isn’t looking!'

When the champagne ran dry, one thirsty PR boss refused to be defeated. Weber Shandwick corporate and public affairs chairman Jon McLeod developed a cunning plan of walking out and then back in again. 'It's the only way to do it,' he was overheard telling fellow lobbyist John Lehal of Insight Public Affairs. Now that's what we call good advice!

One guest was heard reminiscing about his ‘brilliant’ days at an agency back in the eighties that featured a ‘bowl of cocaine’, and where the bosses would entice employees into brainstorms by putting £50 notes on the boardroom table...

The ever-elusive Downing Street spokesman Steve Field made an appearance, a man so behind-the-scenes that not a single photo of him seems to exist in the media. And what was his response when Flack suggested we take a photo of him celebrating his status as top public sector PR man? A rather nervous side-stepping...

Field, who partied into the small hours with similarly energetic Downing Street and Cabinet Office colleagues Vickie Sheriff and Jenny Grey, ended up being accosted by people demanding to know more about him and his boss. ‘Don’t you get sick of his face?’ one PRWeek staffer demanded. The ever on-message Field, er, fielded the question diplomatically with: ‘I like David Cameron’. Someone’s got to, Steve...

Lexis CEO Margot Raggett revealed that she’s had a good week – she’s not only in the Powerbook but has also just started a three-month sabbatical and has received a lovely bunch of flowers from Deliberate PR who work for Scrabble, thanking her for her glowing review of their recent PR campaign in PRWeek’s Hit or Miss...

First-time Powerbookers Brando bosses Shelley Morrell and Paul Lucas – also a couple – were celebrating doubly as they announced at the party that they are expecting their first child together. Lucas revealed that they are hoping for a top spinner...

Flack wonders if some attendees had an ulterior motive for their presence? Flack lost count of the number of comms chiefs that let slip they were ‘open to the right opportunity’ if a new job just happened to come along. It looks like it’s going to be a busy summer for headhunters...

The Power Book, launched this week, names Matthew Freud as the most powerful operator in UK PR.

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