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  • Writer's pictureSimon Deen

Vanilla Ice

The summer of 1990 is one that will live long in my memory.

The beautiful game was born in England. Mastered in Brazil. But it’s in Italy where it discovered its passion. If you’ve ever seen the Italian football team sing their national anthem, you’ll know exactly what I mean.

Italia ‘90 was the first World Cup that I remember watching on television, and it had everything.

The BBC chose Pavarotti’s Nessun Dorma as the opening music for each of its broadcasts. England had a brilliant team, equal parts spirit and flair. The latter encapsulated perfectly by the mercurial talent of Paul Gascoigne

Of course, it all ended with defeat on penalties. To the Germans, naturally.

But this week’s blog is not about football.

Back in Blighty, it was one of the hottest summers on record. Temperatures in early August soared to 98 degrees, beating the previous record set in the summer of 1911.

I was nine years old.

My cousin, who is six months older than me, was already ten. And far, far, cooler than me. Which wasn’t that hard. Some 32 years later, it still isn’t.

Back then, vinyl was still a thing and I can remember being at her house on a warm Saturday in late summer. She was playing her newly purchased copy of Robert Van Winkle’s latest musical release. On repeat.

Robert is better known by his stage name, Vanilla Ice.

His breakout record, Ice Ice Baby, was the first Hip Hop single to top the Billboard Hot 100, and the standout work of his short lived, and much ridiculed career.

I know what you’re thinking, this is abstract even by my standards. But don’t worry, I haven’t been on the Christmas Sherry early this year.

A couple of weeks ago I was talking to a friend, and he said something which brought memories of that summer flooding back. Including its accompanying soundtrack.

More specifically, the lyrics.

I’m pretty sure I’m not the only person of my generation who can still recite them. Almost word for word. Three decades later.

It starts like this:

All right stop. Collaborate and listen

And then, later:

If there was a problem, Yo, I'll solve it

Which only goes to prove that if you look hard enough, there’s a potential blog post in everything. Even dubious Hip Hop songs with stolen baselines from Queen and David Bowie.

As the end of 2021 approaches, I’ve been thinking about the past twelve months. It was my first full year in business, and there were some highs and some lows. But most of all, it’s been an incredible learning experience.

It’s been a year in the London property market where selling family homes has largely taken care of itself. Win the listing, and barring a disaster, the sale was yours.

And whilst everyone loves those kinds of deals, they don’t always teach you a huge amount, or really make you better at your job.

Rather, the properties and the clients that improve you as an agent are the ones which really push you to the limit of your capabilities.

The ones where there’s not an obvious solution. So instead you’re forced to listen. To look for the issues and focus on the ones you can affect. And devise a strategy that’s going to get you where you need to be.

The ones where in order to reach a desired outcome you need to collaborate with interior designers, architects, videographers, digital marketers, buying agents and sometimes even your erstwhile competitors, other estate agents.

The ones where you have to be diligent about communication. Even when sometimes, there’s very little to communicate.

But most importantly, the ones where you need to be utterly relentless and single minded in your pursuit of the goal.

If you can find clients who are committed, open minded and who trust you, it can create brilliant working relationships.

And it’s those relationships that have really made this year special for me.


Property News

A few weeks ago I was discussing the changing face of Grosvenor Square. Mostly in the context of the ever increasing £’s per square foot values in prime central London.

Earlier this month, plans were submitted for the redesign of the garden square itself, and it’s as impressive as it is ecologically driven.

The transformation of No.1 Grosvenor Square into luxury residential homes is well underway, and No.20 was completed in 2020.

Plans to turn the Grade II listed former US Embassy building into a David Chipperfield designed five star hotel are also in the pipeline.

It’s great to see one of London’s best locations finally being returned to its former glory.

Grosvenor Square, Mayfair - The Simon Deen Real Estate Blog
Grosvenor Square, Mayfair


Things That Have Inspired You This Year

Committing to writing a weekly blog can lead to frequent moments of anxiety.

So I am very grateful to those of you who have respond to one (or more) of my posts to say that you’ve enjoyed it, or that something I’ve said has resonated.

Christmas Eve is just a week away, as is the prospect of some much needed downtime.

Although, I’m not great at doing nothing. I end up hoovering Fir needles, or encouraging the cats to leave the Christmas tree alone. Obviously, the two are inextricably linked.

So I would love for people to share the interesting things that they’ve read, listened to or watched over the past twelve months.

I wasn’t planning on writing a blog next week, but if there’s enough suggestions then maybe I’ll publish them.

After all, Christmas is a time for giving!


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