Event Organisers Update May 2019 ISSUE 174 - an independent information source published by the Society of Event Organisers (SEO).
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Event Organisers Update
The newsletter for organisers of events.
INHUMAN MURDERS CONTINUE
Stoning to death in many parts of the Middle East is legal, with the stones specified to be of a size and weight that will do serious injury to the victim, without killing too quickly. Where the inhumanity is not legal, but customary it is often carried out extrajudicially, by militants or tribal leaders, something that could now happen in Brunei.
Countries where stoning is legal or customary are Mauritania, northern Nigeria, tribal areas of Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.
YORKSHIRE MAN JAILED
David Gill, 50, repeatedly shone a laser pen at the pilot of a police helicopter, forcing it to abandon its search for a car that had failed to stop for police on March 9. The helicopter crew were able to pinpoint the source of the laser light for their colleagues on the ground, and Gill was arrested.
There were 50 laser attacks on police helicopter pilots in 2018. Many believe it is only a matter of time before a passenger aircraft is brought down by this lethal stupidity.
Verity, who has headed up the agency since 2008 had been part of the team that brought the massive Depart event of the Tour de France cycling event to Yorkshire in 2014, for which he was knighted in 2015. He was also instrumental in creating the new Tour de Yorkshire cycling event. However he has now admitted making "errors of judgment" over his expenses, paid in addition to his £243,000 salary. According to staff and former staff at WTY these included using WTY staff at his sister's funeral in January this year, attending seasonal shoots once or twice a fortnight at the Duke of Devonshire's estate costing WTY up to £5,000 a day and chauffeured cars at up to £600 per day. There was also a hotel bill of £2,700 for the meals, alcohol and entertaining at a two-day race meeting in York and frequent hotel stays costing up to £850 at properties like the Connaught in London, one city where he owns a flat. Verity has offered to pay back around £40,000 of his expenses.
WTY has accepted nearly £15 million in public funds in the last five years. Reportedly the response from its board when asked to answer detailed questions from the media about Verity's expenses has been to refuse. Reportedly the board also responded to complaints from Verity's staff about alleged bullying behaviour with the answer "You know what Gary is like". Since his resignation Verity has employed one of the four reputation management specialists at London solicitors Farrer & Co, a move that some might argue represents another nail in the coffin of his reputation.
As well as his Knight Bachelor award in 2015 Verity also received the National Order of Merit, France in 2017. In 2014 he received an honorary doctorate from the University of York, for what it's worth.
TOP FOR ASSOCIATION MEETINGS
Following the USA in the country scores in the top ten were, in descending order, Germany, (642), Spain, (595), France, (579), UK, (574), Italy, (522), Japan, (492) China, (449) Netherlands, (355) and Canada, (315).
Following Paris in the city scores in the top ten were, in descending order, Vienna, (172), Madrid, (165), Barcelona, (163), Berlin, (162), Lisbon (152), London, (150), Singapore, (145), Prague, (136), and Bangkok, (135).
Best, and the cheapest was My Lounge at Gatwick North with a price tag of £24, a tenure of three hours, "excellent" food, a help-yourself bar, a games room, helpful staff and wi-fi, all of which scored 5 out of 5. Close behind, both with 4 out of 5, were No 1 at Edinburgh - £28 for three hours, good "up to scratch" food and selection of beers and plenty of reading material - and 1903 Lounge at Manchester, at £30 for two hours, wi-fi, showers and "better than average" food.
Not quite so good, but still bearable with three out of five, were the "classy" Clubrooms Lounge at Gatwick South at £38 for three hours, no showers, no flight monitors except at reception, wi-fi and an "excellent Eggs Benedict", and the TI Lounge at Dublin at £22 for three hours, "excellent" showers, wi-fi, business centre, "top-notch" service and "unremarkable" couscous salad. Just two out of five were awarded to the Causeway Lounge at Belfast International - £27.50 for two hours, wi-fi, food limited to cold meats and cheeses, no showers, limit of three alcoholic drinks, "not much to write home about" - and the Aspire Lounge at Bristol, one of 34 Swiss-owned lounges worldwide, £21.99 for three hours, quiet zone, family booths with smart TV, wi-fi "apologetic" pasta, and "judging by this one they need to be more aspirational".
Worst scores of 1 out of five went to the "hideous" Escape Lounge at Stansted, at £25 for two hours, wi-fi, scanning and printing service, and a cooked breakfast without eggs, and the "expensive" Plaza Premium on the arrivals side of security at Heathrow Terminal Three where the price was £30 for just one hour, there were showers and wi-fi but no alcoholic drinks, despite the promise of "a broad range of beverages" on the website.
THE MEETINGS SHOW
The organisers, Centaur Media Travel and Meetings have recently sold the show, along with the Business Travel Show, to US-based Northstar Travel Media UK for £9.25 million.
Centaur wanted to divest itself of its smaller businesses, and Northstar wanted to expand its event and travel segment in the UK. The US company reportedly has a portfolio of 80 events in 13 countries.
A range of free educational seminars for organisers is offered.
STARRING LENI RIEFENSTAHL
The first, The Holy Mountain, is the one that launched the career of Riefenstahl in 1926, when she was 24. It was written in three days and nights, specifically for her, and took over a year to film by German filmmaker and specialist in the popular "mountain" film genre Arnold Fanck. In this105- minute silent black and white melodrama she played a young dancer who catches the eye of two explorers who were friends, until jealousy kicked in with tragic consequences. Story aside the images of the German Alps form a fabulous backdrop to some death-defying climbing, avalanche-dodging real avalanches and fast downhill ski racing and jumping, with jumpers floating over the cameras in slo-mo.
The second, and a special feature in the pack with the first, was made in 1993 when she was 91, is directed by Ray Muller and is considered to be one of the best documentaries ever made. The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl reveals that it was Riefenstahl's freeform "dance of the sea" by the sea at the beginning of The Holy Mountain, when for non-dance fans she pranced around provocatively in knickers and negligee, that caught the eye of Adolf Hitler, who felt she was the epitome of German womanhood, and who eventually invited her to make films for the Third Reich. Interestingly for film buffs Riefenstahl was inspired to become an actress when she was waiting for a U-Bahn train on Nollendorfplatz station in Berlin in 1924 when she was 22 and saw a poster for an earlier mountain film from Fanck, The Mountain of Destiny, which she went to watch immediately, later contriving to meet its star, Louis Trenker, and director Fnack. Nearby Nollendorfstrasse was where novelist Christopher Isherwood lived and wrote his Berlin stories, which later became a film, I Am a Camera, and then a stage play that led to a better film, Cabaret, which charted the Nazi rise to power in the 1930s.
Assisting the rise was Riefenstahl, who had made the transition from actress to film director and who was paid Nazi money to make propaganda films that glorified them, and deified Hitler. The first of these was Victory of Faith, a documentary of the Nazi's fifth Nuremberg rally in 1933. This featured Hitler with Ernst Rohm, a friend and early supporter and head of the army of street thugs, the Sturmabteilung, (SA). A few months after the one-hour film was shot, Rohm, considered as a rival to Hitler, Himmler, Goebbels and Goering, was also shot, along with around 80 of his officers in the "Night of The Long Knives". And to airbrush his relationship with Rohm from the pages of German history, Hitler ordered all known copies of the film destroyed. At least one however has survived for the relevant clip of Hitler and Rohm together to feature in this documentary.
Riefenstahl's next propaganda efforts for the Third Reich were much longer lasting with her filming of the 1934 rally in Nuremberg, Triumph of the Will, and that of the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, Olympia both regarded as innovative and brilliant productions, with the filming of the high diving in the latter making the efforts of the divers look balletic. Both films used techniques such as tracking shots, slo-mo, panoramic aerial shots, underwater shots and shots from very high or low angles to create wonderful film for a very much less than wonderful purpose. Some Olympic events, however were won by African-American Jesse Owens, which didn't do much for Hitler's promotion of white Aryan superiority.
On the question of Riefenstahl's own view of Hitler she told a reporter from the Detroit News "To me, Hitler is the greatest man who ever lived. He truly is without fault, so simple yet at the same time possessed of masculine strength" This reflected her flowery and breathless declaration in 1932, after hearing some Hitler oratory that "I had an almost apocalyptic vision that I was never able to forget. It seemed as if the Earth's surface was spreading out in front of me, like a hemisphere that suddenly splits apart in the middle, spewing out an enormous jet of water, so powerful that it touched the sky and shook the earth" In 1940, as German troops were entering Paris she sent Hitler a telegram, gushing "With indescribable joy, deeply moved and filled with burning gratitude, we share with you my Fuhrer, your and Germany's greatest victory, the entry of German troops into Paris. You exceed anything human imagination has the power to conceive, achieving deeds without parallel in the history of mankind. How can we ever thank you?" Rumours flew that Leni and Adolph had found a way.
After WW2, and Hitler's suicide, Riefenstahl claimed she was disgusted that her films for the Nazis were used for propaganda purposes and that she knew nothing about the Holocaust. She was not believed by many and was deemed a Nazi sympathiser by the German judiciary, but not a war criminal. In the ensuing years she tried, without much success to make great films but her Nazi past was against her for the rest of her long life.
She did however produce some highly rated books of photographs of the Nuba tribe of the Sudan, who also worshipped bodily beauty, and several books and a 45 minute film compilation of the most beautiful underwater photography, shot mainly in Papau New Guinea, but also including Kenya, the Maldive Islands, the Seychelles, Tanzania, Indonesia and the Pacific Cocos Islands. The footage was shot in the last 30 years of her life and released as Impressionen Unter Wasser just before her 100th birthday, in 2002. Clips from it can be seen in this documentary, and the whole film on YouTube. If you want to see the best and most worthy thing that Riefenstahl did with film this is arguably the one to view. She died one year later in 2003, at the age of 101, of cancer.
The Holy Mountain (105 mins) and The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl documentary (180 mins) are being released on Blu-Ray by Eureka on June 17 as part of the UK Masters of Cinema series. The pack also includes a feature length audio-commentary and several essays.
THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW
Perhaps not so well-remembered were his more likeable roles, as in director Fritz Lang's excellent 1944 American film noir The Woman in the Window, one of the first films that gave the genre its name in 1946 when it was released in Paris, along with The Maltese Falcon, Double Indemnity, Laura and Murder my Sweet. Robinson plays a middle-aged professor of psychology, Richard Wanley who admires a portrait in a shop window of a lovely model, Alice Reed, played by the lovely and voluptuous Joan Bennett, aged 34, in one of her best-known sensuous femme fatale roles. While Wanley is admiring the painting Reed suddenly appears at his elbow, and starts chatting to him, eventually persuading him, without too much difficulty, to come back to her apartment to view some other sketches that have been made of her.
Suddenly Reed's boyfriend, Claude Mazard, played by Arthur Loft, shows up, assumes the pair are lovers and proceeds to pounce on and strangle Wanley, who assisted by Reed passing him a pair of scissors, stabs and kills Mazard. The pair then work out how to get rid of the body and Wanley duly takes it in his car and drives it to a remote country location where he dumps it in some bushes, not before inadvertently leaving lots of clues for the police to find.
Twin misfortunes then befell the pair. The investigating district attorney, Frank Laylor played by Raymond Massey, turns out to be a friend of one of Wanley's friends and Wanley meets him on several occasions as a friend to hear how the investigation into the murder he committed is going. During discussions Wanley almost gives the game away by stating facts about the murder that the police have not released. As the net closes in Reed is visited by Mazards former bodyguard Heidt, played by the specialist in villainous roles, Dan Duryea, who says he knows what happened and blackmails her, demanding $5,000 to go away Wanley gives her some of a prescription medicine he has so that she can poison Heidt's drink with an overdose when he calls to collect the money. This backfires when a suspicious Heidt refuses to drink up, insisting that Reed swallows the drink she has made for him. When Reed refuses Heidt takes the $5,000 and leaves, telling her that this was just a down-payment and there would be more demands to come.
Seeing no way out of the nightmare Wanley is seen preparing an overdose with the medication he has left, and preparing to kill himself. At that point Heidt is killed in a police shoot-out near to Reed's apartment, with evidence on him that incriminates him as the killer, and Reed then telephones Wanley to tell him the good news. Sadly we see the telephone unanswered, and Wanley slumped motionless in a chair...
We won’t spoil the controversial ending, which was specified by the production code of the time and seems to have been lifted from The Wizard of Oz, released five years earlier. The Woman in the Window was released for the first time on Blu-ray by Eureka Entertainment on May 20th as part of the Masters of Cinema Series. The pack contains a video essay, a Feature Length Audio Commentary and a Collector's booklet
One train to Glasgow subjected the journalists, dignitaries, MPs and passengers on board to "lost bookings, unmade beds, water leakages and a shortage of butter", as well as arriving at Glasgow three hours late.
Two days later Moir's train to Glasgow subjected her to taps she couldn't work in an otherwise satisfactory First-Class Double cabin for single use for the "grasping" price of £270, one way. Following her dinner of "tasty" haggis and "lumpy" vegetables "terribly served" she retired for a "lovely" night's sleep, unhelped by the once-free nightcap of whisky or brandy. And when she overslept for her booked 6.00am breakfast in the dining car she was woken at 6.10am on the kitchen to cabin intercom system by a female Scottish voice telling her that her breakfast was ready, leaving her to try for a shower in her cabin afterwards and finding a complete lack of water.
So all a bit Hi De Hi then... ?
The staging of the event, at London's Grosvenor House Hotel, drew sharp criticism from Sky Sports presenter Clare Tomlinson who criticised the use of "scantily-clad dancing girls" and the fact that there were some strong messages about racism and diversity from PFA's management, who had perhaps not heard of sexism.
Apparently Arsenal's Vivianne Miedema won the top prize in the women's game, only to find her name mis-spelt as Vivienne on her valued trophy.
Something for PFA chairman Gordon Taylor OBE to take on board?
This used to be one way the upper classes put the lower orders in their place, treating them like servants. However these days in the real world the arrogant habit has acquired a string of negative descriptions, including rude, demeaning, degrading, disrespectful and condescending.
Of course there is the distinct possibility that Middleton likes to snap her fingers on a regular basis to check the acoustics in her office...
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.
A gang of middle-aged men in Yorkshire bring down a passenger jet with laser pointers as it prepares to land at Leeds Bradford airport… a solicitor at London-based Farrer and Co reveals why their particular clients need to have their reputations managed… Management at the Plaza Premium lounge at Heathrow Terminal Three reveal how much profit they make from the £30 charged for the one hour travellers are given to consume "a broad range of beverages" which excludes anything alcoholic… the Caledonian Sleeper service to Scotland sorts out passenger problems of lost bookings, unmade beds, water leakages, lack of water, lumpy vegetables, lack of butter, poor service and trains being three hours late. One huge new improvement is the single shot of whisky or brandy nightcap now included free with the bargain one-way £270 fare for single occupancy of a double cabin… to avoid accusations of sexism Gordon Taylor OBE, chairman of the Professional Footballers Association insists on topless dancing men cavorting in tight lycra hot pants with fully-dressed women for the next PFA bash… Mrs Carole Middleton, 64 , of Party Pieces denies snapping her fingers at her staff. She tells the press "I do sometimes snap my fingers to the beat of my favourite classic rock and roll number Let's Have a Party when I play it on my personal stereo, and it is quite possible that it is this that has been mis-interpreted by staff"... and much, much more…
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