Whilst tidying the other day I came across this photo of my father in, er, a business meeting in Japan. Probably around the late 1980s. I think the participants are drinking warm sake. There’s quite a lot of averted eye contact and on an awkwardness scale of 1-10, I would give it a 12. Actually I’m not quite clear under what circumstances the photo was taken as it seems a clear breach of D-Notice rules. I, of course, am permitted to publish under the 30-year rule. But enough of rules and procedures: I’m proud to report that the tradition continues – removing one’s clothes purely for commercial purposes ( with no money changing hands other than an eventual design fee ).


Not that long ago, our first meeting with a prospective client was held in his sauna in the forest. The roll call consisted of : the client, German shipyard representatives x 2, the male half of a mixed sex broker combination and myself and Mr Fraser. Mr Rowell had fled, professing a sudden interest in trees of Eastern Europe. We were naked and wore grey felt hats to stop our hair combusting in the excoriating dry heat. There are no photos I am pleased to confirm ( unless there were devices concealed in the birch twigs ). As sauna diehards will know, the protocol also required periodic saunters high speed sprints to the iced plunge pool. Dignity was there none but I guess the client assessed our commitment to the cause and 36 months later we stood, fully clothed, on the dock in Bremen as his yacht was launched. All names, except those of the B&R team, have been withheld for decency’s sake.

Others may shoot, or drive cars at reckless speed, or simply ply fine wines in the quest for new business. But until you stride onto the level playing field which is complete nakedness, anything else barely counts.