Event Organisers Update June 2020 ISSUE 187 - 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

BEWARE THE MAYORS OF AMITY
Those who have seen Steven Spielbergs 1975 blockbuster film Jaws (has anyone not?) will recall that a giant three-ton Great White shark is attacking and killing swimmers at the fictional seaside resort town of Amity Island, Massachusetts, actually a fishing village called Menemsha on Martha's Vineyard Island.

Because of the dangers to life pressure from the police chief is put on Amity Island's mayor, Larry Vaughn (Murray Hamilton) to close the beaches and save lives, but Vaughn refuses, citing the economic importance of tourists to the local economy, who will be arriving in large numbers on July 4th for the opening of the beach at the start of the economically important summer season. He has to change his mind when the shark attacks and kills a young boy and then a boater in full daylight on July 4th.

Any of this ringing any warning bells?

 

DEATHS FROM EVENTS
The staging of the Cheltenham Festival, and the Liverpool footbal match against Athletico Madrid, both held in March this year before the UK lockdown, "caused increased suffering and death that would otherwise not have occurred".

This is the conclusion of Professor Tim Spector from Kings College, London, who says that both the Cheltenham and Liverpool areas become coronavirus "hotspots" two weeks after the events took place.

There is now concern that large public protests in UK cities and towns by the Black Lives Matter movement a few weeks ago could have a similar effect on future infection rates, as could the dangerous overcrowding on Bournemouth beach a few days ago.

 

CORONAVIRUS SCAMS
Fraudsters are posing as NHS contact tracers to trick victims into giving them money or confidential information.

Some things that genuine tracers will never do, according to the police, are: -

  • Ask you to call a premium rate number to speak to them, e.g. those starting 09 or 087. NHS tracers all work from 0300 013 5000
  • Ask for payments for a product or service.
  • Ask for bank account details.
  • Ask for social media IDs, or log-in details, or those of contacts.
  • Ask for passwords or PINs, or to set up these over phone.
  • Give medical advice.
  • Ask for personal or medical information.
  • Ask to download software to your computer, or ask you to hand over control of a PC, smartphone or tablet.
  • Ask you to access any non-NHS or non-government website

Those who have experience of this scam are encouraged to report it to the police on phone 101 or to web actionfraud.police.uk

 

BAN THE BUGGERS
Former Ritz Hotel owner Sir Frederick Barclay has called for a legal ban on "sophisticated spying devices" following his allegations that one of his nephews planted microphones in The Ritz to record private conversations between himself and his daughter Amanda.

Sir Frederick has released a video purporting to show his nephew, Alistair placing a recording device in the hotel's conservatory.

 

ZOOM AHEAD
With conference attendee levels due to drop, even when things slowly crawl back to a new normal, now is the time to master the art and science of staging virtual events.

This is the view of motivational speaker and author Keith Abrahams, who recently presented a free Speaker Taster Session from a studio in Australia, on behalf of speaker agency Performing Artistes. This was a one-hour session which presented accessible material for corporates on goal-setting and focus for success, and in the process demonstrated how to stage an effective Zoom presentation. Certainly the importance of preparing the studio, having speakers adjusting from the big stage to the small screen, getting audience response with questions typed into a chatbox and keeping it succinct (one hour maximum) all came across strongly, as did Abraham's relaxed and personable style.

For more information about upcoming free taster sessions contact ask@performingartistes.co.uk for log-in details.

 

TITANIC HOTEL REOPENING
The Liverpool hotel at 30, James Street, formerly run by Signature Living and now in receivership, is to be operated by Legacy Hotels. (The Business Desk)

The building was the former offices of the White Star Line, the owners of the ill-fated RMS Titanic, which sank on her maiden voyage in April 1912, killing more than 1500.

It was opened as a four-star Grade 11-listed hotel with 63 nautical themed rooms in 2014.

Its distinctive banded red and white striped brickwork facade has branded it the "streaky bacon building" amongst locals.

 

EXHIBITIONS PLANNED

  • September 22/23 2021 Venues and Events Live London
  • September 28 2021 Venues and Events Live Manchester.

 

A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE
It was a pleasure to watch a seriously good performance of Tennessee William's most famous and most performed play, part of the National Theatre at Home season, free on YouTube during the lockdown.

This one starred the very talented Gillian Anderson as Blanche DuBois, the middle-aged, neurotic. Southern belle high-school English teacher for whom a chequered life had become too much and pushed her to the edge, And to the steamy French Quarter in New Orleans, where she rides the streetcar named Desire to enjoy the comforting company of her sister, Stella, well played here by Vanessa Kirby. Spoiling the cosy reunion, and the fantasy world that Blanche inhabits is Stella's brutish and violent husband, Stanley Kowalski played with very watchable sneer and swagger by Ben Foster, who makes it very clear he is not taken in by Blanche. One of Stanley's friends who is initially fooled is Mitch, who is the kind and dependable type, convincingly played by Corey Johnson, as he is flirted with and then rejected.

Back in 1951 Elia Kazan directed the brilliant and definitive black and white film of the play, with the part of Blanche played faultlessly by English actress Vivien Leigh, who had portrayed a flighty Southern belle twelve years earlier as Scarlett O'Hara in another classic, Gone With The Wind. Her quieter sister Shella was played by Kim Hunter, who gave a smouldering performance just walking down some stairs with a triumphant expression on her face as she realises that a very drunk Stanley screaming for her after assaulting her, cannot actually do without her Stanley was unforgettably portrayed by Marlon Brando in his film debut, reprising the role he previously had in the 1948 Broadway production, along with Kim Hunter as Stella and Karl Malden as the decent Mitch, both also reprising their roles for the film. The original Blanche on Broadway was Jessica Tandy, who won a Tony award for her work but who lost the film role to Leigh.

Meanwhile unforgettable moments from Leigh come when she exposes Blanche's alcoholism, her obsession with her fading looks - manifesting in never wanting to be seen in strong, bright light -and the attraction for her of very young men. This is shown when a young collector for a local newspaper comes in and she tells him how beautiful he is, offers him a drink of Stanley's liquor, gets him to light her cigarette and kisses him on the lips before telling him "Run along now. It would be nice to keep you, but I've got to be good and keep my hands off children" Brando plays Stanley as another drunk, prone to sudden violent outbursts, and a cynic who is not taken in by Blanche's airs and graces, especially after he makes enquiries around her former home town and discovers her stay in a hotel known for prostitution, and her affair with a 17 year old boy student at the high school where she taught. There is nevertheless a deal of sexual tension between him and Blanche and this culminates, towards the end with him raping her while Stella is in hospital having her baby.

Stella and Stanley have a demonstrably physical relationship with Kim Hunter showing early on that it is his looks that she most admires, along with his occasional violence that she admits she finds "thrilling" And the dependable Mitch, played by Karl Malden shows how limited he is by showing Blanche his cigarette case with a sonnet inscribed in it, twice, and banging boringly on about his weight, and physical fitness.

The finale to all this is simply heartbreaking as Blanche, expecting in her fantasy world that a millionaire former admirer is going to come and take her away for a world cruise on his luxury yacht is instead visited by a kindly doctor, and not so kindly nurse, who have come to take her to be committed to a mental hospital for treatment. After a struggle, during which the doctor tells the bullying nurse that a straitjacket is not necessary, Blanche eagerly takes the doctor's offered arm, saying "Whoever you are - I have always depended on the kindness of strangers".

A Streetcar Named Desire won four Oscars in the 1951 Academy Awards - for Vivien Leigh as Best Actress, Kim Hunter as Best Supporting Actress, Karl Malden as Best Supporting Actor and Best Art Direction, Black and White for Richard Day and George James Hopkins. Of seven other nominees Elia Kazan was nominated for Best Director, but lost to George Stevens for A Place In The Sun, and Marlon Brando was nominated for Best Actor but lost out to Humphrey Bogart for African Queen.

Highly recommended.

(Note. Copy of DVD bought second-hand from CEX for £2 plus £1.99 p&p)

 

A FOREIGN AFFAIR
One thing that many top-rated films from 1944 - 1960 had was being directed, and written or co-written by Billy Wilder.

We are talking about the film noir Double Indemnity from 1944, considered a classic of its genre, and The Lost Weekend (1945) about an alcoholic writer, which won Best Picture at the Oscars, and Best Director and Best Screenplay for Wilder, who shared the writing honour with co-writer Charles Brackett. We are also talking about the Sunset Boulevard film noir (1950) for which Wilder, along with co-writers Charles Brackett and D. M. Marshman Jr won the Best Story and Screenplay Oscar, Stalag 17 (1953), Sabrina (1954), Witness For The Prosecution (1957) and Some Like it Hot (1959), considered one of the best comedies of all time. And another comedy, The Apartment (1960) which Wilder directed and co-wrote picked up an Oscar for Best Picture, and another for Best Original Screenplay, an honour he shared with I. A. L. Diamond.

One other not so famous comedy from Wilder was A Foreign Affair (1948) a black comedy in black and white about American troops in decadent Weimar Berlin in 1947. Much of it was shot on location in the Russian occupation zone and features a Berlin mostly reduced to rubble, its inhabitants having to confront the "wretched and terrifying problem of repairing the ravages of war" In the centre of all this is the fictitious Lorelei nightclub where sultry singer Erika von Schlutow, played by Marlene Dietrich, performs nightly with numbers like "Black Market", "Illusions" and "The Ruins of Berlin" and has captured the hearts of many, including a Captain John Pringle of the United States Army, played by the rarely seen John Lund, who is having an affair with her. Problem is that she is a former Nazi reputed to have been the mistress of either Hermann Goring or Joseph Goebbels, or perhaps both.

Into all this flies an upright, uptight congresswoman, Iowan Phoebe Frost played by Jean Arthur, who is there with a group of congressmen to investigate the morale, and morals, of the American military. Frost enlists the help of a horrified Pringle, a fellow Iowan, to investigate Erika and discover the identity of the American officer who is having an affair with her and protecting her. The screenplay then becomes farcical comedy as Pringle does all he can to obstruct the probe, including faking a romantic play for Phoebe. This becomes too successful as Phoebe falls for him and complicates his life even further.

As noted by Channel 4 this is "One of Wilder's great forgotten films" and "worthy of rapid rediscovery" It is being released by Eureka Entertainment on June 22 in Blu-ray format as part of its Masters of Cinema Series. The pack includes an audio commentary, a video essay, two radio adaptations of the film, (featuring the voices of Marlene Dietrich, Billy Wilder and John Lund), an archival interview with Billy Wilder and a collector's booklet.

OLD GRIT'S DIARY

Tuesday
One firm we were especially sorry to see collapse recently was coach and hotel company Shearings, with whom we enjoyed dozens of short, cheap breaks by coach over the last few years.

Shearings owned a fleet of coaches and more than forty hotels in England, Scotland and Wales, all of a three-star standard and most located in prominent sea-front positions at coastal resorts. Winter prices, less than half that of summer rates, ran out around £30 per person per night for half-board a price that included, for us, coach transport from our local town centre to the resort and back. One could also self-drive, and there was the option of some entertainment of evenings. Some deals even included four free drinks from the hotel bar, and the food was nearly always a highlight.

We enjoyed some excellent and relaxing breaks in Eastbourne, Sandown IOW, Bournemouth, Exmouth, Paignton, Ilfracombe, Berkeley, Llandudno, Morecambe, Blackpool, Windemere, Harrogate and Scarborough, and were looking forward to more of these and some new ones.

We'll miss them.

 

Thursday
Expected silver linings from the Covid clouds are causing much gleeful hand-rubbing at banknote printers De La Rue.

The company expects demand for polymer banknotes, which can be washed, to increase as governments seek "cleaner" currency. Apparently around 85% of the world's 150 billion banknotes are still printed on paper, thought to be more likely to carry harmful viruses than the plastic, washable versions.

Could give a whole new boost to money laundering…

 

Friday
Sad to see that our much-loved PM Boris does not cut the same dash with the thinking electorate that he used to, maybe a result of all the cummings and goings of some of his buddies.

Opinion pieces in the media about him headed INCOMPETENCE PERSONIFIED can't help, especially when they go on to describe "evasive waffling" and "mumbling and bumbling" and "floundering" as well as his team's "dire response to deadly pandemic".

FOODIE NEWS

o Another ready-meal option for the lockdown, delivered nationwide, is the range of 60 main courses, 7 sides, 3 soups, 3 desserts, 11 bakery items of cakes and slices and 8 wines in 187ml bottles, around a quarter of a bottle.

The manufacturing company, Parsley Box, cooks the dishes and then vacuum packs them in trays ready for the microwave, where they cook in 2-3 minutes. Another real convenience is that, being vacuum packed they don't use fridge or freezer space - they can just be stored in a cupboard for up to six months.

We tried their special introductory offer, advertised widely, of 10 of their £2.99 main courses and 2 bottles of their £2.99 wine, a value of £35.88, for £19.99 delivery inclusive and can report, after eating it all, that it is a real bargain. What we got for our money, as well as one red and one white wine in quarter bottles, was 2x beef mince cottage pie topped with mashed potato, 2x lamb hot-pot topped with sliced potato, 2x lasagne, 2x beef stew and 2x sweet and sour chicken with a microwavable pouch of boiled rice. We personally found all the food we had was tasty and very easy and quick to prepare. Alll came in portions of 270 gms (Approx 9.5 ounzes) which for us, with reasonably large appetites meant adding some vegetables to make a satisfying meal, or doubling up, still a reasonable cost at these reduced prices.

Seven chicken main courses offered at normal price of £2.99 include coq au vin, hunter's chicken, chicken supreme with potatoes and chicken casserole with dumplings. Higher priced chicken dishes include chicken a la king with rice and chicken with lemon and ginger sauce with rice, both at £3.49, and chicken filllets in cognac and cream sauce and chicken in cider and bramley apple sauce, both new to the range at £3.99, the top price. Beef dishes at £2.99 include minced beef hotpot, mild chilli con carne, beef and mushroom stroganoff, slow cooked beef, root veg and basmati rice and savoury minced beef and potatoes, with £3.99 beef dishes including a roast beef dinner, and two new dishes, beef bourguignon and slow cooked beef in diane sauce. Lamb/mutton dishes include shepherd's pie and Irish stew, both at £2.99, and a Lancashire hot pot (new) at £3.49.

Tel 0800 612 7225 Web parsleybox.com

NEXT ISSUE

The movie Jaws heads a list of "Prescient Films"... It emerges that the Black Lives Matter protests in UK cities have caused a spike in the number of Covid 19 infections amongst the ethnic population... A survey of day trippers on the overcrowded Bournemouth beaches last weekend indicates that nearly half of them made the journey to test their eyesight... More rooms at the Ritz are found to have been bugged with microphones and cameras... Boris Johnson tells the press "Contrary to popular opinion I really do know my Rs from my elbow"... and much, much more...

ANNOUNCEMENTS

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Publisher's Note
The above is an example of our new Announcement advertisement. If you have a product, service, venue or event of interest to event organisers you can promote it as above for £30 for up to 150 words. Contact Peter Cotterell on 01767 312986 or peter.cotterell@eou.org.uk for details and to book.

 

Event Organisers Update (EOU) is an independent information source published by the Society of Event Organisers (SEO). EOU is FREE and circulated monthly to more than 9,000 selected organisers and others interested in keeping abreast of development in the event industry (includes conferences, incentive travel, training events, etc.)

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