Looking forward to catching up with some ald akwentans

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

Shid ald akwentans bee firgot,
an nivir brocht ti mynd?
Shid ald akwentans bee firgot,
an ald lang syn?

Fir ald lang syn, ma jo,
fir ald lang syn,
wil tak a cup o kyndnes yet,
fir ald lang syn.

No I haven’t been at the Christmas container of Cloudy Bay again. I just thought rather than repeat the traditional year-end words of Auld Lang Syne, I should go with Wikipedia’s ‘Scots’ pronunciation’ version, especially as the song is drawn from a poem by the great Scots poet Robert Burns.

It begins with a rhetorical question (Shid ald akwentans bee firgot,
an nivir brocht ti mynd?/Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?) 
simultaneously asking whether it is right that old times be forgotten, and also saluting the value of long-standing friendships.

What better way, then, to start my Blog for 2014, gently casting off the shadow of 2013 but knowing that plenty of  those ‘ald akwentans’ will be around in this, a new year (and hopefully for many more to come).

So, in a very long-winded way, here we go again…

Today, 6 January, sees pretty much all of our industry back at work again – certainly judging by the pressure on my e-mail in-box which, after a few days of rest & recreation (I swear on Christmas night that I could hear it snoring but that definitely was the effect of the Cloudy Bay), is now back in traditional creaking at the knees mode (if in-boxes can have knees, and in the long-standing tradition of journalistic licence, mine can – after all I am the man who coined the infamous phrase on ‘Moodie Live’ at Cannes last year that Chief Operating Officer Bob Wilby was the “glue in The Moodie Report sandwich”. Our relationship immediately came unstuck).

Tonight, as Robert Burns once wrote, “I’m on the road again” (alright then, it was Willie Nelson if you must nitpick). I’ll kick start the old routine, checking in, passing through immigration (why is it not called emigration by the way?), taking my shoes and belt off in front of strangers in the curious process we call airport security; checking out a duty free shop or two; getting chased away from a duty free shop or two for taking photos; buying a duty free item or two in faithful support of our industry; stopping by the lounge for a spot of Blogging and Sauvignon Blanc, probably not in that order; waiting for Final Call and being the last one on to the plane which gives me – but not my faithful PA, perversely called Rebecca Earley – a strange kind of thrill; then flying (and writing) through the night and bouncing into the office for the morning, as fresh as a weedkiller-doused daisy. As a create of habit, mostly bad ones, I can’t wait to get started…

Last year my carbon footprint was roughly as heavy as that of a seriously obese Yeti in a snow-covered Himilayan valley and I’ve got a sneaking feeling this year may see even more of the same.

There are going to be major terminal inuagurations aplenty (starting with Mumbai T2 on Friday), a barrage of store openings, product launches and plenty of stories great and small that will keep me and my team on the road pretty much around the calendar.

I feel in my old bones a momentous year coming on. It will most likely kick off with the Singapore Changi Airport liquor & tobacco and perfumes & cosmetics awards, information on which has been guarded with absolute and admirable discipline by Changi Airport Group (CAG). If ever the contract for guarding Fort Knox comes up, CAG would be a shoe-in.

I remember addressing a TFWA conference a few years back, sometime before Hong Kong International Airport opened and, as with Changi today, everyone was eagerly awaiting the results of the core duty free tenders.

I began my speech with: “Good morning Ladies & Gentlemen, I’d like to begin by announcing the results of the Hong Kong duty free tenders…”

You could have heard a pin drop. In fact I think I did. Or it could have been a jaw. Most likely that belonging to the Hong Kong International Airport Commercial Director of the time.

“As I said, I’d like to…  but as I don’t know the results, I can’t,” I concluded. Never was an audience laugh harder (and more uneasily) earned.

So… I’d like to conclude my first Blog of 2014 with a global exclusive by announcing the results of the Singapore Changi Airport core duty free awards. And I will announce them. Probably in Blog 3 or 4.  Will some ald akwentans (incumbents DFS and Nuance-Watson) be the winners? Or will the might of Korea (Lotte or Shilla) prevail in at least one of the contracts? As I said, here we go again.

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