It is not the critic who counts

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Martin Moodie
Martin Moodie is the Founder & Chairman of The Moodie Report.

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Down by the white of Lauder
He wears no necktie but a Panama hat
His passport shows a face
From another time and place
He looks nothin’ like that
And all the remnants of his recent past
Are scattered in the wild wind
He walks across the marble floor
Where a voice from the duty free store is callin’ him to come on in
He smiles, walks the other way
As the last plane flies and the moon fades away
From Heathrow today

– With (serious) apologies to Bob Dylan

I am turning into Bill Murray. In fact I’m combining his roles. Mainly Groundhog Day of course (set partly in Heathrow T5 and, for fans of horror movies, the Admiral’s Club at Miami International) but with more than a passing reference to the jet-lagged hero in Lost in Translation (but with the conspicuous absence of Scarlett Johansson).

I’m back at T5, about to cross the Atlantic again (albeit this time to New York JFK instead of Miami – I will fly back from the latter though), en route to Haiti to check out progress on the travel retail industry-funded Hand in Hand for Haiti school in St Marc, together with Estee Lauder’s travel retail boss Olivier Bottrie, the driving force behind this remarkable project.

London-Miami-Panama-Miami-London-Basle-London-New York-Haiti-Miami-London within the space of a few days. I wonder if I can buy a London Transport-style weekly travel card to save money?

Behind me in the picture below is one of the main World Duty Free Group stores at T5. As I passed I gave a nod to a very great man in the sky, the recently deceased Fraser Dunlop. Earlier in the day I joined a lovely celebration of his life at a church a few miles up the road, attended by his wife Carolyn and many World Duty Free colleagues and suppliers. Oh Fraser, you got taken too soon.

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The Whisky Shop’s Andrew Torrance gave one of several poignant readings at the service. His was entitled ‘The Main in the Arena’ from a speech by Theodore Roosevelt. It begins, “It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles , or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust, and sweat, and blood.”

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I thought about that a lot today. Sometimes I have criticised WDFG’s confectionery offer; I know that must have irked Fraser (though he never mentioned it), who was so closely involved with and committed to the category. I always try to be balanced in my criticisms, sometimes sharp but never forgetting that there are people out there every day trying their best to do well what can so easily be criticised by the casual observer. Today I saw the beating heart of those WDFG people, who celebrated (the right word) a man who was always in the arena.

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