Event Organisers Update June 2019 ISSUE 175 - 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.
ORGANISERS WIN DAMAGES
Roxanne Stewart and Melissa Biggs, both 28, worked for aristocrat Sir Benjamin Slade at his 17th century Woodlands Castle venue, coordinating incoming weddings, conferences and corporate events. Both women went on maternity leave within four months of each other, Biggs in September 2017 and Stewart in December of that year, and Slade claimed they had timed their pregnancies to "spite" him.
Judge Colm O'Rourke, in his findings, said that Slade was clearly unhappy with the situation and had decided to engineer their departure from his employment. This included refusing to pay both women their statutory dues and subjecting Stewart to "an entirely spurious and vindictive 'disciplinary' process designed to drive her from the business". Judge O'Rourke also criticised Slade's "appalling conduct" at the tribunal and his "arrogant and misogynistic" attitude.
Stewart was awarded £87,696.42 and Biggs £62,890.65, both amounts including sums for aggravated damages and injury to feelings.
On the Woodlands Castle website Slade promises: "Whatever your dreams are, at Woodlands Castle we can make them come true".
RAID THE MINI-BAR THEN?
The woman, in her 20's, was at the Chesford Grange Hotel, Kenilworth, Warwickshire when she was spotted being helped to her room by Kieran Sodhi, 30, who was attending a different event at the hotel. Sodhi then went to the hotel reception claiming to be her boyfriend, and, able to answer a security question from a conversation he had with her earlier, was able to obtain a duplicate key to her room, which he then used to enter it in the early hours.
At Warwick crown court Sodhi, of Littleover, Derbyshire was found guilty of trespass with intent to commit a sexual offence. He will be sentenced at a later date but has been warned that his crime could attract a custodial sentence.
DEATHS IN DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
The deaths have been at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Punta Cana and two Bahia Principe hotels. Families say at least three of the deaths occurred soon after the victims had a drink from their minibar.
Dozens of other tourists have reported severe sickness after visits to Dominican Republic resorts.
CHANGING FOOD TASTES
A YouGov poll just published confirms that our nation's favourite dishes, liked by more than 80% of the 6,367 adult respondents, are Yorkshire puddings, the Sunday roast, fish and chips, the full English breakfast and bacon sandwiches.
Next, liked by 70-79%, was bangers and mash, Cottage pie (minced beef) and Shepherds pie (minced lamb).
Moving down, liked by 60-69% was Toad in the Hole (Yorkshire pudding with bangers) Cauliflower cheese, Cornish Pasty, Pie and mash, Chicken Tikka Masala, Ploughmans Lunch (cheese,bread and pickles) and Welsh Rarebit (cheese on toast).
Only 50-59% liked Pork pie, Beef Wellingtom (beef in pastry), Scotch egg (hardboiled egg in sausage meat), Lancashire hotpot (Lamb and potato casserole) Steak and kidney pie and Bubble and squeak (traditionally mashed potato and cabbage fried, but can now also contain other left-over vegetables).
Lastly less than 50% liked kippers, Black pudding (made with pig's blood and fat) Steak and kidney pudding, Liver and onion, Haggis, Faggots, Laverbread and Jellied eels, with only 6% liking this traditional oily fish cooked in aspic jelly and eaten cold.
Now you know.
NEW 10,000 VENUE FOR MANCHESTER
Depot has capacity for up to 10,000 and will comprise space for performance, studio and community. The first event will be this year's Manchester Pride Live, on August 24/25.
SELL-OFF AT MACDONALD HOTELS
The 27 hotels are:
MUSIC TO SOMEONE'S EARS?
We ask this because last year's line-up included Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, whose appearance there was somewhat questionable, given that it's supposed to be a music festival.
This year the organisers had booked a punk band called Killdren, who's slogan, incorporated into some of its sophisticated song lyrics, is "Kill Tory Scum". Following strong criticism Glastonbury's organisers have belatedly cancelled the booking.
SOROLLA AT THE NATIONAL
The first in the UK and the largest outside Spain the exhibition gives a good flavour of the artist known to many as a Spanish Impressionist and to Claude Monet as the "Master of Light", no small accolade given Monet's own mastery of the same. Sorolla painted more than 4,000 pictures and favourite subjects were incandescent beach scenes of Valencia, with the light reflecting off the nude bodies of wet young boys, and girls and women dressed in blinding white. The brilliant white was also present in sails, whether billowing out in boats or being mended, white horses being washed in the sea, white bodies of freshly caught fish, white uniforms of sailors and white clothes for his portraits of his wife and children.
Fish also featured, with social criticism, in his painting of a young boy, badly injured by a fish hook and being tended to by two colleagues, with the ironic title "And they still say fish is expensive!" Also in this category was the picture of crippled children on a beach, entitled "Sad Inheritance", the crippling a result of their parents having syphilis.
Sorolla: Spanish Master of Light runs at the Sainsbury Wing till July 7. Standard admission Monday to Friday is £14, £16 at weekends. Visitors can also view an excellent 10-minute film about the artist and his work. For those unable to attend there is a comprehensive presentation on You Tube "Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida: a Collection of 555 paintings".
SINK THE BISMARCK!
Sink the Bismarck! stars Kenneth More CBE, who died at 67 in 1982, and who had already established credentials as a British hero type in playing amputee Douglas Bader in Reach for the Sky (1956) and hero of the Titanic disaster Second Officer Lightoller in A Night to Remember (1958) so the 1960 part of the fictional uptight Admiralty Chief of Operations, Captain Jonathan Shepard, fitted right in. More played him against type as an unlikeable, stiff-upper-lip stickler for discipline, and a man with more hang-ups than stripes on his sleeve, keeping a wary distance between himself and his colleagues. One colleague he gradually allows to get closer, as he increasingly relies on her, is the briskly efficient WRNS Second Officer Anne Davis, played by the tall, dark and lovely Dana Wynter, once hailed as "Hollywood's oasis of elegance" Dana, she pronounced it Donna, Wynter was also highly regarded for her role as the elegant wife of Kevin McCarthy in the top sci-fi shocker Invasion of the Body-Snatchers from 1956.
As the chase to catch and destroy the Bismarck before she can reach the sanctuary of Luftwaffe cover quickens there are a number of severe satbacks, as HMS The Prince of Wales is badly damaged and HMS Hood is blown up and sunk, along with her crew of 1,500, by Bismarck's guns. Then the torpedo-carrying Swordfish aircraft from HMS Ark Royal, one of which is piloted by Shepherd's fictitious son, mistake one of their own ships, HMS Sheffield, for the Bismarck and attack, though their torpedoes, fortunately, malfunction and explode on hitting the water. The second attack, concentrated on the Bismarck, is more successful as one torpedo badly damages the warship's rudder, slowing her down and causing her to steam in circles. Meanwhile, back at the Admiralty we learn that Shaped is still suffering the loss of his wife in an air-raid and that the commander in charge of the German fleet, and aboard the Bismarck, Admiral Gunther Lutjens, is the man who had previously sunk Shepard's ship when in charge of the German battleship Scharnhorst. Thus Shepard has some insight into the mind of Lutjens, played by Karel Stepanek, and is better able to predict Bismarck's likely movements.
British ships stripped from convoy protection close in for the kill of the crippled Bismarck. One destroyer, HMS Solent is sunk by shelling during a night-time attack but the next morning HMS King George V and HMS Rodney rain shells down on Bismarck, one of which hits her bridge and kills Lutjens. Another new arrival, HMS Devonshire is ordered to finish off the Bismarck and fires four torpedoes that strike the hull, causing it to sink faster than the German sailors can abandon it, a speed accelerated by the fact that her scuttling had been ordered. The captain on the HMS King George V lowers his head in respect as the Bismarck slips below the waves, leaving just 114 survivors out of 2,000 men to be picked up from the water. Meanwhile, back at the Admiralty in London and when the first news that Bismarck is sinking is heard it is WRNS Second Officer Anne Davis who shows some compassion, saying "I thought I'd be cheering at this point, but I'm afraid I cant".
If there is one serious fault in this otherwise excellent documentary-style film, apart from some other historical inaccuracies, it is in the portrayal of Admiral Gunther Lutjens as a demented Nazi, hence his speech to his crew, rising to the time-honoured shriek "Never forget that you are Germans. Never forget that you are Nazis. Heil Hitler!" However this demeans the real Gunther Lutjens, who refused, along with some other colleagues, to give the Nazi salute when Hitler visited, giving the naval salute instead. And the real Lutjens was on record as disagreeing with Nazi policies, such as the anti-semitic brutality visited on the Jewish community on Kristallnacht, the "night of broken glass". Not all Germans were Nazis. And not all Nazis were German.
Sink the Bismarck! also contains fine performances from a sizeable group of talented actors supporting the leads including Lawrence Naismith, Geoffrey Keen, Maurice Denham, Michael Horden and John Stride, with Ed Murrow playing himself as CBS London Radio Correspondent in 1941. It was released on Blu-Ray by Eureka Entertainment in March this year as part of their Eureka Classics range, and the pack includes an interesting and informative interview with film historian Sheldon Hall.
THE COCKLESHELL HEROES
The film is an exciting fictionalised account of the real Operation Frankton, a daring raid by the Royal Marines in December 1942 on German cargo ships moored in the harbour in Bordeaux, and known to be carrying supplies essential to the German war machine. The commander of the raid was Herbert Hasler and the plan was to travel with eleven other men and six inflatable kayaks by submarine to the mouth of the Gironde estuary, and then by kayak up the river, only paddling by night to avoid detection, to cover the 70+ miles to the port at Bordeaux. Once there they were to attach limpet mines to the ships, below the waterline, and blow them up, a plan which worked as six ships were damaged. Tragically there was human price to pay. After one kayak was damaged on the submarine the remaining five, with ten men, set out. but only Hasler and his No2 Bill Sparks survived the raid after two died of hypothermia and six were captured by the Germans and executed on the orders of Adolph Hitler, by firing squad.
The film, produced in Technicolor introduces some fictional notes of comedy, amd entertaining tension between officers. Leading the team of volunteers is just-promoted Major Stringer RM, played by Jose Ferrer, who also directed. Stringer is a new-breed officer who wants his men to think for themselves, and this does not go down well with his resentful and old-fashioned veteran second in command Captain Hugh Thompson,(Trevor Howard) who believes volunteers must be licked into shape by discipline and plenty of close order drill on the parade ground, delivered by his bullying Sergeant Craig RM, convincingly played by Victor Maddern The trio are ably supported by the volunteers, which include Anthony Newley as Marine Clarke (and Dora Bryan as his put-upon partner, Myrtie) and David Lodge as Marine George Ruddock, whose own partner, the unfaithful Mrs Ruddock is played by Beatrice Campbell. Marine Ruddock goes Absent Without Leave (AWOL) during his training and Captain Thompson RM, goes out to find him, guessing correctly that he is bent on beating up his wife's fancy-man. Finding Ruddock RM in a local pub Thomson drives Ruddock round to his house and waits while he goes in sorts out his differences, during which time a sympathetic I'll-just-look-the-other-way-then-sir policeman, played by character actor Sydney Tafler, turns up and quickly moves on.
Also contributing, in the kind of stock cameo role that was his lot for the first ten years of his career, is Christopher Lee as a man of few words captain of the submarine, Lieutenant-Commander Dick Raikes. Lee, who featured in more than 200 films before he died in 2015, had worked with Ferrer before, when the latter strapped on knee pads so that he could walk on his knees as the crippled bohemian Impressionist artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec in the 1952 production of Moulin-Rouge. Lee had a small and uncredited role as the pointillist artist Georges Seurat Six years later, and his 44th film, Lee's career took off as he convincingly played the red-eyed vampire in the Hammer Horror Dracula films. Another cameo came from singer Yana (Pamela Guard) who was a household name at the time, being deemed by Bob Hope as having "a beautiful voice, and she's Britain's answer to Marilyn Monroe" In the film Yana's beautiful voice preceded an unruly brawl between Stringer's team and some other sailors in the pub where she was singing.
After the kayaks are launched at the mouth of the Gironde the comedy stops as things start getting serious, and more in line with what actually happened to the heroes of Operation Frankton.
Two interesting factual notes - after the film was premiered with the Duke of Edinburgh and Lord Mountbatten present, producer Cubby Brocolli claimed that he was told by the two men that the cargo the Royal Marines were so keen to destroy included secret radar equipment, so a scene was shot that had one of the German commanders at Bordeaux telling his men that fact, and why the Royal Marines therefore had to be stopped at all costs. And, as director, Ferrer reportedly shot a lot of scenes with himself centre-stage, ignoring some of the other actors. Apparently Brocolli then ordered some scenes to be secretly shot that didn't include Ferrer, who subsequently found out and walked off the set. That's showbiz...
Whilst it is estimated that the fraud cost railway companies £18 million in lost revenue we cant help thinking that the actions of the railway companies in continually pushing up prices and supplying a seriously shoddy service, made it easier for many to salve what conscience they might have had and illegally buy the fake tickets.
It's sad but true that there is a significant dwindling of public trust in UK rail companies. According to watchdog Transport Focus just 22% of passenger survey responders said they trusted Southern Rail, with 24% trusting Great Northern and 27% trusting Thameslink. The owner of these three failures is Govia Thameslink Railway which claims to have paid £17 million in compensation to passengers but neglects to mention, as we personally found out, that it untrustworthily ducks paying some passengers with a valid case by making demands for information on its forms for compensation that it knows will be impossible to supply.
And that, in our book, makes them as bad as the fraudsters.
This is the view of TV chef Nigella Lawson, 59, who says she has always assumed that decisions on noise levels in restaurants were made by people who felt uncomfortable without it. Chef Richard Corrigan, who has piano-playing in his eateries agrees that loud music is especially irritating to older diners who "look for a bit more solitude".
Meanwhile the other noise irritation for many, the mobile phone, is being discouraged at the 7 Sins restaurant in Montrose, Angus. Owner Scott Learmonth is actively encouraging diners to talk to each other by giving them 10% off the bill if they agree to have their mobiles put in a locked box for the duration of their meal, a move that has reportedly been welcomed by his customers.
All sounds good to us.
Now we hear that Heathrow airport, with others expected to follow, is to bring in powerful £50 million scanners that can detect whether the liquid in a passenger's hand luggage is explosive or Evian.
Not before time?
Two venue event planners confirm: "Dreams really do come true at Woodlands Castle. We dreamed of getting substantial damages from our employer, and it happened"... New signs in hotels warn guests: "Watch your drinking - someone might be watching you"... The next Glastonbury Festival proudly presents the Cool Corbyn Combo performing a cover of Kill Tory Scum, with an additional crowd-pleasing verse featuring rabid anti-semitism... Govia Thameslink Railway admits that defrauding its passengers has resulted in an abyssmally low level of trust... Airports look for new ways to screw the public after sales of exploitatively priced bottles of water airside plummet, as travellers can bring through their own, thanks to the new scanners... and much, much, more...
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