Event Organisers Update February 2020 ISSUE 183 - 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.

NEWS

STUPID PEOPLE
It is upsetting to hear of racist attacks in the UK on Chinese people over the coronavirus .

The people can't help their government, any more than any people can, and it is their government that suppressed vital facts about the outbreak and did too little, too late

Meanwhile owners of  restaurants in Chinatown, London are suffering a current loss of business as some of their customers decide, perhaps understandably, not to take the risk of contact with Chinese people, at this time. For us it is always the sign of a good Chinese restaurant if it is full of Chinese diners.

The latest blow to Chinatown's Chinese restaurants, that they really don't need, has come from restaurant group Pachamama which is opening a restaurant, Yiu Fat Noodle in Newport Court, Chinatown later this year. To promote it ahead of opening the group saw fit to hand the area the worst possible racist insult, a claim that many Chinese chefs there use rat meat in their dishes. Pachamama's newsletter, sent out to celebrate the new Year of the Rat, stated "unlike many China Town restaurants, we intend to celebrate the rat, not catch it, kill it and mix it into a bowl of steaming noodles!"

Challenged on this by the editor of the Hot Dinners publication Pachamama backed down and issued an apology, stating that they would be "heartbroken to think we offended anyone" , that the claim was "tongue in cheek" and the product of their "fun-loving team" and that they "could understand how this might not have come across as intended" for which "we can only apologise deeply."

Sadly the damage has been done and Pachamama's founder and managing director Iska Narzi, and his fun-loving team, need to seriously look at how they might make amends, before some unfairly defamed Chinese chefs think a class libel action against his group might be a good starting point.

 

RACIST CORONAVIRUS ATTACK IN BIRMINGHAM
A trainee lawyer was punched to the ground after she tried to stop her Chinese friend being racially abused by one of  a group of Asian men.

The attacker called the Chinese woman, Mandy Huang,28, a "dirty c---" and told her "take your f------ coronavirus back home"  Meera Solenka, 28, who was celebrating her 29th birthday on Saturday February 28th at the Ana Roaha Bar and Gallery on Frederick Street, Birmingham tried to stop the abuse and the man punched her to the ground, leaving her needing hospital treatment for concussion and a week off work.

Reports of coronavirus violence have already emerged from York, Newcastle and Manchester.

 

CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) IMPACTS

o  A major conference and exhibition, the Mobile World Congress due to take place in Barcelona, Spain later this month has been cancelled by its organisers, citing fears that it could speed the spread of the coronavirus. The event, which was hit by 40 exhibitors pulling out, was expected to host more than 100,000 delegates, including 6,000 from China, and 2,400 businesses from more than 200 countries.

o  Italy has seen the largest rise in European cases with 220 infections and six deaths. The authorities there have banned gatherings and put parts of the Lombardy and Veneto regions on lockdown.

o  Trade Show News in the USA has reported that major US shows are "forging ahead amidst coronavirus outbreak" although some are taking "extra precautions."

 

NICE LITTLE EARNERS
Some BBC presenters have come under attack for the lucrative fees they command to participate in events, and the threat to their impartiality.

According to reports in the Times, Radio 4 Today programme presenter Mishail Hussain has been paid to take part in at least ten private events organised by the Norwegian oil and gas industry, working as a moderator. Another is Jon Sopel, the BBC's North American editor who has appeared as a hired speaker for tobacco company Phillip Morris International and bankers J.P.Morgan.

The concern for many, and perhaps the BBC, will be the question of what the companies booking the presenters will be expecting for their financial support, thought to be up to £25,000 a time. Will they be looking for reciprocal support, or silence, if they are attacked by others at the BBC, or in the press? And doesn't the payment to BBC presenters undermine the impartiality they will want to bring to the table?

The BBC's presenters are currently not required to declare their earners in any kind of "register of interests" to allow public scrutiny and establish transparency, despite pressure from MPs.

 

MORE SCAMS

o  Fraudsters are sending out automated phone messages advising that householders have been wrongly charged for an Amazon Prime subscription and that they should "press 1" to cancel the sale.
Doing so connects them to the fraudsters who claim they are from Amazon customer service and that they have to have access to the householder's computer to complete the cancellation.

o  Meanwhile luxury hotels in the US have been defrauded by a gang who claimed to be from rapper group Wu-Tang Clan, and Roc Nation, the record group of Jay-Z.
The gang left unpaid bills at the Georgian Terrace and the Hyatt Regency hotels in Atlanta totalling $84,000 (£65,000), and scammed two Atlanta recording studios for a total of $17,000 (£13,000). A Rolls Royce Phantom worth $476,000 was fraudulently rented with a stolen credit card leaving the rental company with a loss of nearly $60,000 (£46,000).

When the gang booked 10 rooms at the Fairfield Inn and Suites, Augusta, Georgia, using Roc Nation and the Wu-Tang Clan staff at the hotel suspected a scam and checked with Roc Nation, who confirmed their suspicions. Accordingly police officers arrested the gang when they tried to check in.

 

STAMPS UP
Those who buy postage stamps for their business, or personal use can save some money by purchasing before March 23.

On this day the second class stamps will go up from 61pence to 65 pence and the first class stamps from 70pence to 76pence.

The increases represent 6.5% and 8.5% rises respectively, well above the Consumer Prices Index inflation rate of 1.8%. Royal Mail, which was privatised in 2013, say that they are needed to maintain the quality of its services.

So not to provide higher salaries and bigger pension pots for senior staff then?

 

GOT BACK
One of the UK's most extravagant Victorian gin palaces, The Philharmonic Dining Rooms on Hope Street, Liverpool has been honoured by an upgrade to grade1 listed by Heritage England.

It joins around 50 UK pubs to be awarded the status and is the first purpose-built Victorian pub to gain the status, due to its completely over the top decor, an amalgam of Scots baronial, Jacobean, Gothic, classical and art nouveau. The famous gents loos have rose-pink faux-marble urinals. (Ladies, get a chap to stand guard if you want to take a peek).

Early fans who also played there were the Beatles and, asked if there was a price on fame John Lennon famously responded "no longer being able to have a pint in the Phil"  However in 2018 Sir Paul McCartney returned to play there.

 

GET A VIEW
SquareMeal have published their selection of the three best London venues with views over the capital.

They are the Shangri-La Hotel, which occupies floors 34 to 52 of the Shard, 14 Hills on the 14th floor of 120 Fenchurch Street and Plateau, which overlooks Canada Square in Docklands.

 

THE MIRACLE WORKER
American actresses Anne Bancroft and Patty Duke both deservedly won Oscars for their powerhouse performances in the biographical and inspirational 1962 film, The Miracle Worker.The 16 year old Duke won hers for her portrayal as the unruly blind and deaf seven year old Helen Keller, and the 31 year old Bancroft for her portrayal as the 20 year old Anne Sullivan, the inspiring  teacher who reaches her through the power of touch, linking hands and spelling out words in sign language letters. The film, directed by Arthur Penn and loved by the critics,  scored a perfect 100% on the Rotten Tomatoes critic's website, and is ranked number 15 in the American Film Institute's 100  Most Inspiring American Movies.

Keller, unruly because she is frustrated by her inability to communicate, needs help that her helpless parents are unable to give her, so they arrange for a teacher, Sullivan, to live with them and take on the challenge. This turns into a serious battle of wills, best illustrated by the intensely physical rough and tumble in which Sullivan tries to teach Keller proper table manners.Reportedly both actors wore padding under their clothes to prevent serious bruising and the nine-minute segment took five days and three cameras to film. Finally, after many setbacks, Sullivan's patience, love and downright stubbornness pays off and in an emotional finale Keller shows that the messages are received and understood.

In real life Anne Sullivan went on to enjoy a fifty year relationship with Helen Keller, becoming her governess, and finally her close companion. Keller went on to become a world famous speaker, author and advocate for people with disabilities, raising awareness of the problems faced by deaf people. Meanwhile actor Patty Duke went on to star as herself in the US TV Patty Duke Show, which had a three year run from 1963, and to take a role in The Valley of the Dolls in 1967. Anne Bancroft went on to star as the troubled wife of a faithless husband in The Pumpkin Eater in 1964, and, possibly most memorably for many, as the predatory Mrs Robinson in The Graduate in 1967.

The Miracle Worker was released last month in Blu-ray format by Eureka Entertainment as part of its Eureka Classics range, and featuring a new audio essay and a collectors' booklet.

 

SONS OF DENMARK
This violent and affecting political thriller has been in cinemas since mid-December last and is being released this month in a Dual-Format Blu-ray and DVD edition by Eureka Entertainment as part of their Montage Pictures range.

It's the year 2025 and racial tension in Copenhagen is high, with the murderous Sons of Denmark neo-Nazi terrorist group blaming Islamic immigrants for all the country's woes and attacking them, and a far-right nationalist demagogue politician, Martin Nordhal of the new National Movement,  advocating to an increasingly supportive populace, the forced repatriation of all the immigrants. A terrorist bombing in the city in 2024 by persona unknown claimed  23 lives and has increased Nordhal's populist following, and his rhetoric, resulting in an increasing climate of fear among the Immigrant population. Into this enters 19 year old Iraqi Zachariah who is recruited by community elder Hassan, and trained by his right-hand man Ali to assassinate Nordhal.

It is hard to know whether Nordhal's party is the political wing of the terrorist party, or the Sons of Denmark are the terrorist wing of the Natioinal Movement - they both have the same ends, though it's the creepy and media-savvy Nordhal whose rhetoric gets his name in the papers and his face on groveling and surely paid for TV documentaries about him. The game changes however when the neo-Nazis break into the apartment of an undercover Islamic police officer, Malik, disfiguring his wife's face with acid and shooting dead his five year old son.

Sons of Denmark is the debut film of director Ulaa Salim and stars Imad Abul-Foul as Hassan Rasmus Bjerg as Nordhal, Mohammed Ismail Mohammed as Zachariah and Zaki Youssef as Malik. Those who love Mozart's Lacrimosa from his Requiem as a beautiful piece of sacred music will find it used, several times in the soundtrack to devastating dramatic effect, ramping up the suspense.  

If there is a frightening familiarity about the scenario and outcomes depicted in Sons of Denmark it will, hopefully, ring alarm bells for politicians and their voters all over Europe and beyond. And do some real good by strengthening resolve that it must never be allowed to happen.

OLD GRIT'S DIARY

Friday
One piece of information missing from the reams of stuff about HS2 and how much it is costing the taxpayer is what the increases in  ticket prices will be for passengers taking the faster journeys on faster, more expensive trains

TheTimes has advised that the time savings, when HS2 is completed in 20 years from now will be 36 minutes on the London to Birmingham run, 53 minutes on London to Manchester, 50 minutes on London to Leeds, 45 minutes on Birminham to Manchester, 63 minutes on Birmingham to Leeds and 55 minutes on Birmingham to York. The real question is how much extra these faster sprints will cost and whether the extra cost is worth the time saved, especially for those who are now used to using train journeys to work. 

 

Saturday
Sad news from America where it seems the vile killing of lions for fun in Africa is still a lucrative business.

"Canned hunts" allow brave hunters to shoot captive-bred lions in an enclosure, and hack bits off them to take back to America as trophies, proving their courage. This year the organisers of the trophy hunting convention at the Safari Club International, Reno, Nevada, gave assurances that canned hunts would not be sold to visiting trophy hunters, only for undercover video footage to emerge of just that happening at the event.

Pathetic or what? 

 

Monday
Buggery has been rife at the Ritz Hotel, London, we hear. In a current High court action involving the Barclay brothers and various relatives it is alleged that Sir Frederick Barclay's nephew, Alistair, bugged rooms in the hotel over many months so that he and his brothers could spy on Sir Frederick and his daughter, and listen to private conversations between them in the Ritz conservatory.

Those who have had "private" conversations at the Riitz last year might now reflect on how private they really were ...

FOODIE NEWS

o The pleasant Suffolk town of Woodbridge is home, we've found, to an equally pleasant Brasserie-style restaurant, The Table at 3, Quay Street.

Welcoming informality seems to be the motto here as anything from coffee and cake to full-on meals are served to satisfied customers. We stopped off for a light lunch recently and enjoyed a fusion bowl of Shetland mussels in a warm Thai sauce with chargrilled bread for dipping. (£8 from the specials board) We also tried a £1.50 portion of the kimchi from the Korean King Prawn special (£8.50) and, being a big fan of the Korean cabbage pickled in unseemly and unsociable amounts of chilli and garlic, found the Table's version a bit sweet and mild. Another interesting starter or light bite dish on the specials was a seared pigeon breast with homous and pomegranate for £8.50  Main course specials included a chicken, mushroom and leek pie  with vegetables for £12.50, a Malaysian vegetable curry with Basmati rice and coriander chutney for £11.50, a sea bream fillet and pearl barley risotto with poached fennel and cherry tomatoes for £11.50 and a beef fillet with rosemary saute potatoes, vegetables and a peppercorn sauce for £26.

The main menu includes light bites/starters of an open bacon, brie and red onion marmalade sandwich for £7, Serrano ham, poached plums and blue cheese salad with balsamic dressing for £7.50, Goats cheese and red onion stuffed portobello mushroom, kale and miso jus for £7.50 and Moroccan spiced minced lamb with harrisa yoghurt and flatbread for £7.50. Main meals include chargrilled minute steak, fries, salad and slaw for £13.50, aubergine, spinach and chickpea stew with Turkish slaw and flatbread for £11.50, and a cassoulet of pork sausage, tomato and chorizo for £12.50.

The Table has an outside area for al fresco dining It welcomes groups who can be offered a bespoke menu. in one of the three inside rooms holding 16, 22 and 25.

Web. thetablewoodbridge.co.uk  Tel 01394 382007

 

o  One now-established local restaurant we've enjoyed since it opened just over a year ago at 50, High Street, Biggleswade is the Pera Kitchen.

This serves a range of authentic Turkish food cooked in an open kitchen (always impressive, that) and is now offering winning low cost lunches Monday to Friday. These are 2 courses for £9.95 or 3 courses for £10.95.

Meals start with soft, warm pitta bread , two dips and olives. Then there are 6 choices of cold starter, including Humus, Satsuka (oven-baked aubergines, courgettes and potatoes with tomato sauce and olive oil) and Dolma (stuffed vine leaves) There are 7 choices of hot starters, including tasty king prawns in a garlic, mushroom and parsley butter sauce, Falafel, Halloumi with tomato and cucumber, Izgara Kofte (minced beef with onion and parsley, grilled with herbs) and Sigara Boregi (Rolled pastry filled with feta cheese and parsley).

A large choice of 16 main courses follows including both meat mussaka and vegetarian mussaka, and items grilled over charcoal such as lamb or chicken shish (kebab), marinated minced lamb kebab, marinated minced chicken kebab, marinated chicken wings and salmon. There is also Imam Bayaldi (half aubergine stuffed with tomato, garlic, onions and peppers and baked in the oven) Most dishes are served with rice and a tasty mixed salad with pickled cabbage and pomegranate, but chips can also be had. Desserts, for those on the 3 course menu comprise rice pudding, baklava, strawberry or chocolate cheesecake, chocolate fudge cake or mixed ice cream.

Tel. 01767 313830 Web. perakitchen.com   

NEXT ISSUE

The Pachamama Group make a substantial payment to Chinatown Chinese restaurants as compensation for the stupid claim made ... Following a sharp drop in public trust of BBC presenters the corporation is forced into transparency and publishes a list of presenters paid for speaking at conferences, and revealing how much they earn for their services ... Hotels across the world start sharing CCTV images of scammers operating in their area ... Ticket prices for HS2 trips show that the service is only worthwhile for those on £100,000 a year or more ... guests at the Ritz hotel insist on written assurances that their bedroom hasn't been bugged ... .and much, much more ...

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