BLAZE KILLS TWO AT CAMERON HOUSE
Two people have died in a fire at the five star Cameron House resort, Loch Lomond, one at the scene and one in hospital.
The fire and ambulance services were alerted early on the morning of Monday December 18 and more than 200 guests were evacuated, with three being taken to hospital, and others treated for smoke inhalation at the scene. Dozens of firefighters attended the blaze, which reached the roof of the main building and caused extensive damage. No cause for the fire has yet been named.
The resort offers 136 bedrooms, including 26 suites, 115 luxury lodges, a golf course, a number of meeting rooms and a number of dining options, including a Michelin-starred Martin Wishart restaurant.
An announcement posted on the resort's website on Monday read :- "Due to an ongoing incident please be aware that Cameron House will remain closed to arriving guests for at least the next 72 hours. We would ask all guests and customers to remain patient as we work with the emergency services to establish the extent of the damage and ascertain when we will be able to reopen. More information will follow in due course"
GO DO LIKEWISE?
Money-grubbing at our universities that sets the young a bad example still fills the pages of our national newspapers, though unsurprisingly doesn't get much play in our plucky little trade mags that run advertising and PR for the sector.
o Following months of calls for Dame Glynis Bakewell, £468k vice-chancellor for the University of Bath to stand down she is finally doing so, after first grabbing a six-month sabbatical on full pay (Headline SHAMELESS TO THE LAST) Meanwhile her University has suffered a 6% drop in applications from new students, thought to be not unconnected to Bakewell's greed.
o Sir Christopher Snowden, the £423k vice-chancellor of the University of Southampton has announced he will be axing 75 academic staff to "save money" (and help fund his "bloated salary"?)
o Former vice-chancellor of the tiny Bath Spa University, Christina Slade took a package worth £800,000 in her final year, which included a £429,000 golden goodbye.
Universities have also been accused of "mis-selling" low-quality degree courses to students, with the head of the National Audit Office, Sir Amyas Moore saying that if universities were banks they would be under investigation.
UNIVERSITY AND NHS FINED FOR DEATH
Imperial College London has been fined £70,000, and an NHS Trust £80,000 for health and safety breaches after a 32 year old scientist died in a laboratory in a building the university shared with Chelsea and Westminster Hospital.
Damian Bowen was working alone in the laboratory in 2011, using liquid nitrogen to test blood samples for HIV and was unaware that the ventilation system had been switched off. Escaping nitrogen displaced the oxygen in the air and he suffocated...
The university and the hospital both pleaded guilty to two charges of breaching a general duty to an employee and were both ordered to pay costs of £23,000.
WATCH WHAT YOU ARE EATING
Some large contract caterers serving food in UK event venues have admitted including on their menus species of fish on the red at-risk list compiled by the Marine Conservation Society (MCS). Species are red-listed because of over-fishing endangering their survival, because they are produced unsustainably, or because some part of the supply chain involves slavery.
Caterers admitting to serving red-listed fish are Compass Group UK and Ireland, ISS and Sodexo, and the survey was carried out by food charity Sustain.
The MCS recommend that caterers avoid 63 varieties, including yellow fin tuna, king prawns and eel.
MORE HOLIDAY FRAUDSTERS
Another couple from Liverpool have been found submitting a fraudulent claim for holiday food poisoning.
Craig and Lisa Boyd claimed £2,000 in compensation from holiday firm TUI, claiming that the food in their Mexican resort hotel made them too ill to leave their room, both in 2015 and 2016. Despite this they had booked the same hotel for the third time this year, and their Facebook posts showed them abseiling, sailing on a yacht and necking cocktails when they had claimed to be violently ill in bed.
Faced with this the Boyds withdrew their claim, saying they had been pressured by a tout paid to drum up business for a no-win no-fee solicitor. They then had to pay the £6,000 costs of the case and hear the judge brand them as "fundamentally dishonest".
This follows the recent jailing of another Liverpool couple, Paul Roberts and Deborah Briton, for a fraudulent claim of nearly £20,000 against Thomas Cook. (See Event Organisers Update, November)
The owner of a Magaluf nightclub where a young female teenager performed an oral sex act on 24 men there in 2014 to win what she thought was a holiday (it was a £4 drink) is being investigated by the authorities there on suspicion of being the ringleader behind the escalation in fraudulent claims for food poisoning.
Laura Joyce, 37, was fined, along with Carnage, the organisers of the pub crawl during which the above took place, £43,500. Joyce closed her club after the fine, reopened under a new name but has now closed that too.
IN AND OUT COMING
The old In and Out club on Piccadilly is being developed into a luxury hotel after planning permission was granted to the billionaire Reuben brothers, David and Simon.
One notable feature for events will be a 2, 360 ballroom, and there will also be a restaurant, bars, a spa, a pool and a gym.
Those who haven't seen Fritz Lang's famously ground-breaking Expressionist sci-fi feature film, Metropolis from 1927 have missed a real treat.
Silent and shot in black and white the film is set in a fabulous futuristic city where it's utopia upstairs for the rich and powerful rulers and dystopia downstairs, deep underground, where a subhuman species shuffle along to punishing ten hour shifts of hard labour. They are led by the beautiful and saintly Maria (Brigitte Helm, 21, in a stunning debut) who promises them that a mediator is coming to bring the working and ruling classes together.
Meanwhile Freder, (Gustav Frohlich) the playboy son of Metropolis master Joh Frederson (Alfred Abel) meets Maria and, smitten, goes underground to see for himself the hardships faced. This shattering experience for him includes an hallucination where a terrifying statue of Moloch, a god demanding human sacrifice appears and workers are hauled up to its gaping mouth and thrown into the raging fires within. This sickens him and he rushes to tell his father, who is indifferent to his worker's suffering, has heard about a possible rebellion underground and has ordered a mad inventor, Rotwang (Rudolf Klein-Rogge) to produce a robot in the likeness of Maria, to ruin her reputation. This backfires when the robot, a very watchable, bad-ass Maria, also played by Brigitte Helm, incites the underground have-nots to murder and rebellion while also entertaining the upstairs haves with some wild party animal antics and some sleazy erotic dancing. (They say the devil has the best tunes) And so it all builds towards a dramatic climax, and the epigram that the mediator between the head and the hands must be the heart.
Most will have seen the 118 minute version of the film, which is all that was believed to have survived. However in 2008 a full print of Lang's original film was discovered in a museum in Argentina and it is the fully restored 150 minute version, in Blu-Ray format, which is offered as part of a 90th anniversary boxed set, limited to 2,000 copies worldwide by Eureka Entertainment as part of their Masters of Cinema series. Also in the set is the 118 minute version, the 1984 re-imagining of the film Georgio Moroder presents Metropolis, (with music from Freddie Mercury, Adam Ant and others) a selection of audio commentaries and documentaries and a 100-page book.
Reportedly Metropolis had a total cast of 37,383. They just don't make them like that any more...
OLD GRITS DIARY
It is fascinating to read that 85% of the 40,000 members of the British Hospitality Association (BHA) have been the victims of malicious and/or fake online reviews intended to harm their business, some being used to blackmail the victims into giving refunds.
BHA chief Ufi Ibrahim has said that "More must be done to tackle these fake and malicious reviews" which is fair enough. But what is the current percentage of BHA members who pay PR companies to write fake positive reviews for their establishments, surely another of the fastest growing areas in the hospitality sector?
One restaurant Old Grit's brother, Old Gannet wont be rushing in to try any day now is sushi specialist and three Michelin starred Araki in London's New Burlington Street.
This is despite it being voted this year's best restaurant by un-named users of the trusted Hardens guide who describe the "world class" experience of eating chef Mitsuhiro Iraki's "incredible" sushi as "worth every penny" and ask, rather pathetically we think, "Can heaven be far away?" (pass the sick bag)
A rather more balanced view was expressed by Mark Palmer, writing in the Daily Mail who headlined his review piece "21 courses, £900 for two and I STILL went home hungry", and admitted that each of the 21 mouthfuls of seafood and shellfish on rice were delicious but that the eye-watering bill made it highly questionable value for money. And, he said, he made himself some toast when he got home.
Old Grit was thrilled to read the uplifting story of the management of a five star hotel, which opened in October last year, who tried to get rid of a burger van that has traded outside the hotel site for 22 years, and failed.
Apparently Montcalm director Clare Glass has been complaining to Islington council that the long-established van run by husband and wife team Peter and Ann Carter has breached the terms of its street trading licence, and is a threat to public health and safety. At a licence review meeting at Islington Town Hall Montcalm's lawyer Jeremy Bark snarled that "Enough is enough" and claimed that "smells that come from the van go into the reception and the restaurant" and that his valued client had "got complaints from customers on social media and Trip Advisor" Bark also growled that "the nature of this area now has completely changed".
Mr Carter, representing himself, said that the nature of the area had not changed, that he was not in breach of any parts of his licence agreement and that the hotel was just trying to "bully the small man" and "the ordinary working guy". The Carters sell their £3 burgers mostly to cab-drivers, as well as to staff at the Montcalm.
In the event the council renewed the Carter's licence for another year, and attack-dog Bark left with his tail between his legs.
Now there's a happy story for Christmas, everybody.
o A recent few days on the Devon coast provided some positive food experiences in Rockfish, a small chain of specialty fish restaurants owned by restaurateur, chef and author Mitch Tonks and established in Brixham, Dartmouth, Exmouth, Plymouth and Torquay, with one in Exeter coming next year.
At the Brixham Rockfish we tried a side dish of battered pickled onion rings (£2.50) as a starter and found the pickling added a welcome sharpness to the oil in the batter, though we wouldn't have objected if the onion had been pickled in balsamic vinegar, like their pickled onions in sweet balsamic vinegar (£2.50) Also available as starters from a list of ten are fried calamari with sweet chilli sauce (£8.50), crispy fried devilled sprats (£6.95), half pint of shell-on Norwegian prawns with cocktail sauce (£6.95) and six Jersey rock oysters, served with lemon or a ginger and fresh lime dressing (£12)
The big plus at Rockfish is that the price of the mains includes unlimited freshly cooked chips, or a salad, unlimited cold still or sparkling water and home-made tartare sauce. As well as basic battered fish and chips (haddock or cod, £12.95) the list of nine items includes chargrilled Australian king prawns (£19.95), a fritto misto of fried prawns, sprats, monkfish, cod and calamari (£15.95) and fried soft shell crab roll (£12.95). Also available was our favourite fish, a whole oven-roasted sea bream with lemon, rosemary and olive oil (£16.95). However we were persuaded to consider the list of seven local fish available that day which were gurnard, hake and red mullet (all at £13.95), skate wing at £14, lemon sole at £16.95 and monkfish or brill at £17. We opted for the brill, which we'd never tried and, after rather a long 20-minute wait, tucked into two large fillets grilled in butter. This highly prized flatfish is a member of the turbot family and the firm flesh tastes like sole. We'll go back for the bream sometime.
o The next lunchtime found us in Dartmouth, and, following a recommendation from a helpful chap on one of the boat trip companies there that we should try the Seven Stars gastropub we turned up looking forward to another good meal we could write about. Sadly they'd run out of the local mussels we first fancied so we settled for some belly pork on mustard mash with black pudding, mushroom gravy and green beans, (£16 - pre-paid) which the friendly staff assured us was a good choice. Sadly our meal wasn't to be, as we waited for around 30 minutes and then patiently inquired how much longer it was going to be and were told "ten more minutes". We really didn't want to wait any longer and asked for our money back. As this was being sorted out at the till someone came out of the kitchen and told us "We've given you priority. It's coming out right now" So we sat down and waited, and waited, another five minutes and concluded that a Seven Stars "right now" wasn't the same as our understanding, so we went back to the till and asked for, and got our money back.
Afterwards we found out from other customers there that they had a large private lunch upstairs, which had caused pressure on the kitchen and the food service, so the mistake the nice folk at the Seven Stars made was not telling us we might have to wait a long time for our food, like they do in Weatherspoons. However the menu looked interesting so we'll probably go back and try something, after checking the likely wait for it of course.
Fortunately Dartmouth has a Rockfish branch, as above, and November is a very good time to eat mussels, so we went there, explained we were short of time and ordered the moules mariniere, in white wine, garlic and parsley, with unlimited chips, sourdough bread, unlimited water and some anti-social aioli garlicky mayo, for £13.95. Two other sauces available were a spicy green curry and a sweet one made from their own cider with leeks and thyme. Our half kilo bowl was on the table within five minutes and the mussels really were among the best we've had, with no empty shells and each shell containing a large, fat, succulent and perfectly just cooked bivalve, apparently rope-grown at Brixham.
Like we said, we'll be back.
Note. Unless otherwise stated all visits to restaurants are made anonymously, and food and drink paid for in full.
We are starting an ongoing survey of problems reported to us that organisers have with their use of speakers. Some common examples are listed on our website Please check the ones that you have experienced and add any others not on the list. No identities of anyone contributing to the survey will be revealed and speakers will not be named.
Click here to take our survey.
Student registrations slump as university vice-chancellors continue to set bad examples… Fillet of prehistoric coelacanth appears on upmarket caterers menus… A non-Liverpool couple are found guilty of food poisoning fraud… Research by the BHA reveals that 95% of their members have paid for positive fake reviews… Management of the Montcalm make their peace with the Carters and fund vouchers for free burgers for staff and guests. Director Clare Glass comments :"If I'd had known their double cheeseburgers with extra onions and sweet chilli sauce were so yummy and delicious I wouldn't have tried to get them closed down. Can heaven be far away?"... and much, much more…
Text only ANNOUNCEMENTS can be run once for new products, new venues, venue refurbishments, new packages, organiser's trips, and industry showcases, receptions, seminars, conferences and exhibitions likely to be of high interest to event organisers.
Sizes, when printed out on an A4 page, and prices of ANNOUNCEMENT boxes available are:
One fifth page, 45mm x 170mm £200
One quarter page, 60mm x 170mm £250
One third page, 85mm x 170mm £325
One half page, 120mm x 170mm £400
To book email email@example.com
MORE FREE NEWSLETTERS
This is published in every issue of Event Organisers Update and the cost to suppliers, based on a headline, forty words of text and contact details, is £95 for one year (twelve issues) or £65 for 6 months (six issues) Costs are being kept low to encourage small suppliers to participate.
If, as an organiser you know of any good suppliers you feel other organisers should know about please forward this issue on to them, or refer them to the SEO website at seoevent.co.uk
SEO SUPPLIERS DIRECTORY
o AUDIO VISUAL AND IT COMPANIES
EXHIBITIONS & LIVE EVENT AUDIO VISUAL SUPPLIER COVERING UK & EUROPE
Located in London and Birmingham, Computec AV cater for all your rental requirements. Equipment available includes LCD/Plasma screens, PA systems, Projection Equipment and Lighting. Also in-house we have our Set Creation company specialising in staging, bespoke set design and build. Tel 020 8807 2002, Fax 020 8807 3818, email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: computecgroup.com
o EVENT CATERING
Quality event catering services for private & corporate functions using the finest ingredients in delicious & creative menus that can be tailored for any occasion, taste & budget. We work with quality venues in & around Warwickshire, inc. Compton Verney. Telephone: 01926 409579 Enquire in-store at Aubrey Allen, 108 Warwick Street, Leamington Spa ,CV34 5DB Email: email@example.com Visit our website: aubreyallenevents.co.uk
o EVENT TRAINING
EVENT TRAINING - WITH A QUALIFICATION
The Society of Event Organisers, SEO, offers a four-day qualification course, the Certificate in Conference Organisation (CCO) running in Central London three times a year, and which can also be presented at your premesis - dates by arrangement. Contact Peter Cotterell Tel. 01767 312986, email firstname.lastname@example.org visit seoevent.co.uk
TOP CLASS MAGIC AND ILLUSION ENTERTAINMENT FOR CORPORATE & PRIVATE EVENTS
Specializing in cabaret shows and close up Magic for galas, charity events, weddings, & corporate events Le Magician Dean Metcalfe is a master manipulator perfector of his own spectacular close-up Magic, performances worldwide, see website for live showreels and more details visit lemagicianilluminaire.com
o MEDIA COMPANIES
Newsletter, promotion, event invitation or just staying in touch? We can provide a low-cost, effective solution, tailored to your needs. Our bulk rates are 0.3p per email, or £3 per thousand. Tel: 01462 896679 email: email@example.com web: sg7.biz
MOCHA:IDEAS, FILM AND MOTION CONTENT THAT CONNECT
Mocha offer a complete film and motion design service to corporate, association and charity event organisers, venues and others in the event sector. Mocha also offer a 10% discount to readers of this publication and visitors to seoevent.co.uk - just quote "SEO". Tel: 0151 706 0761 email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: mocha.tv Vimeo:http://vimeo.com/user4995482/videos
o MEDICAL AND SECURITY COMPANIES
OUT OF HOURS SUPPORT GROUP provides MEDICAL COVER and SECURITY SERVICES for the full range of events.
Based in Hampshire, but covers events across the country. Experienced staff include doctors, Emergency Nurse Practitioners & Paramedics working with vehicles equipped to NHS specification, including an ambulance, 4x4s and all-terrain quad bike. Mobile medical centre available. Reliable and versatile staff are fully screened in line with enhanced DBS requirements with separate Disclosure and Barred list check.
Out of Hours Security teams work separately or alongside the medical teams. Security staff are registered and licensed by the SIA. All staff wear visible ID at all times. Contact Leo Burdock at email@example.com or visit outofhoursmedics.co.uk Tel: 07904033828
For all those who associate. associationnews.org.uk
For those working in charities. ezinematters.com
For those working in marketing. ezinematters.com
o VENUES. LEEDS
CONFERENCES & MEETINGS UP TO 90 DELEGATES
LCI offers conferencing with an ethical edge in Leeds City Centre. Five Rooms (Max 90 people) with Smartboards, loop systems, WIFI. Disabled access. LCI supports community/voluntary groups by offering significant discounts. Very close to railway & bus stations. Contact Moira or Wendy on 0113 245 4700 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
o VENUES. LONDON. NON-RESIDENTIAL
BOARDROOM OFF CITY ROAD
Our pleasant boardroom is available for full or half day meetings. It seats 14 people, boardroom-style, or can be arranged to suit your needs. Catering and equipment is available on request. We are conveniently located just off City Road. Call Claire/Nora on 0207 324 0750; fax 0207 324 0760; email: email@example.com; address: 27, Corsham Street, London, N1 6DR
BEAUTIFUL ARCHITECTURE. BEAUTIFUL INTERIORS. HEART OF LONDON
The classical regency terrace at Park Crescent, near Regents Park includes number 16, which offers seven beautifully appointed meetings rooms, all with natural light and modern facilities, for up to 60 delegates, and a dedicated team to ensure event success. Tel. 020 7612 7070, Fax. 020 7612 7078, email. firstname.lastname@example.org visit 16parkcrescent.co.uk
o VENUE TRAINING
VENUE TRAINING, WITH A QUALIFICATION
The Society of Event Organisers, SEO, offers a four-day qualification course, the Certificate in Conference Venue Marketing (CCVM) running in Central London once a year, and which can also be presented at your premesis - dates by arrangement. Contact Peter Cotterell Tel. 01767 312986, email email@example.com visit seoevent.co.uk
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