Event Organisers Update November 2020 ISSUE 192 - 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

TOUGH CALL
Boris Johnson has said that business events will be allowed to run in most areas after December 2, the date when national lockdown finishes in the UK

The exception will be in those places where the Covid risk is classified as "very high alert" and deemed as Tier Three. These areas include the North East, North west, excepting Liverpool, Yorkshire, East and West Midlands, Slough and Kent in the South East and Bristol, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset in the South West. The tiers are due to be reviewed on December 16, and every two weeks thereafter' which might leave some areas worse off and some better off.

Limits on size of events are 4,000 outdoors and 1,000 indoors in Tier 1, and 2,000 outdoors and 1,000 indoors in Tier 2. No events are permitted in the Tier 3 areas above.

All this of course makes it well-nigh impossible to plan an event, which might be due to run in a Tier 2 area, which then switches to Tier 3. So, paying delegates to conferences find their event cancelled and the organiser, understandably, expected to give all the monies back, something that no insurance companies will be willing to underwrite. Those organising exhibitions that have to be cancelled will, understandably, be expected to reimburse their exhibitors. And all this assumes that delegates and exhibition visitors will be happy to take the risk of attending.

Rather like the millions of prudent people who will not be nixing socially with family over Christmas, just because our government says they can, it will be sensible for event organisers to hang in there and bide their time until mass testing and vaccines have the effect of getting us all back to some kind of normality, likely Spring/Summer 2021.

It's a very tough call...

 

MORE COVID ILLEGALITIES
o A man has been fined £10,000 after police in Manchester were called to his two-bedroom flat and found up to 60 people attending a party there, none wearing face masks or social distancing.

o More than 40 people have been fined after they tried to cross the Channel to take a holiday in France.

o Two wedding organisers have each been fined £10,000 after police attended at the Chaudhry's TKC restaurant in Southall, West London and found a reception for 100 guests taking place in a back room, behind a curtain.

o In South Australia a state-wide lockdown was imposed because a man with Covid 19 told the authorities that he had caught it while buying a pizza. The authorities imposed the lockdown assuming that the virus caught during this very brief exposure was a particularly contagious strain. In fact, the man had lied and had been working at the pizza takeaway.

o Take-away drinks from pubs could be banned in Ireland after videos appeared on social media of large crowds gathering for drinking in the streets of Dublin and Cork.

o West Midlands police have issued a £10,000 fine after discovering a lock-in at a Birmingham pub.

o Students who party against the lockdown rules should be expelled, as a deterrent. This is the view of Nottinghamshire police chief Craig Guildford, following his officers breaking up at least ten parties in the county over one weekend, and issuing fines totalling more than £26,000. One student party organiser was fined £10,000 and the 38 guests £200 each. 

 

O ' BLARNEY AGAIN
Analysis of 12,000 complaints from consumers about airline refunds by consumer group Which? show that 40% of them were about how they had been treated by Ryanair.

Complainants stated that they were still waiting for refunds requested for cancelled flights, due to coronavirus, from up to six months ago, despite recent claims made by Ryanair's chief executive Michael O'Leary that all passengers who had requested a refund had received it. O'Blarney said that Ryanair passengers suffering cancelled flights were automatically issued with vouchers that could be used to claim refunds.

In fact, many airlines, including British Airways and easyJet, are not, according to Which? following EU guidance on vouchers and not making it clear what happens to their customer's money if they are unable, because of coronavirus restrictions, to use the vouchers for flights before the vouchers expire. EU law, still applicable in the UK, requires that airlines refund customers on request within seven days of their flight from any EU airport being cancelled due to coronavirus restrictions. Vouchers should not be issued automatically, but only on a written and signed consent from the customer.

 

REOPENED IN BIRMINGHAM
The Grand Hotel, Colmore Row, Birmingham has made a limited opening after being closed for 18 years (TheBusinessDesk.com)

The 141-year old Grade ll listed building has had a £45 million restoration and offers 185 rooms and suites, as well as a ballroom for up to 250 theatre style, sunken rooftop garden terrace, two new bars, a restaurant, a gym, five event spaces for up to 56 theatre style and three boardrooms for up to 7.

 

NEW FOR LIVERPOOL
Due for completion by the end of 2022, Liverpool's Grade ll listed Municipal Building on Dale Street is being converted into a 180-bedroom boutique hotel at a cost of £35 million. (TheBusinessDesk.com)

Formerly the administrative offices of Liverpool City Council the building features grand pillars, decorative vaulted ceilings and marble fireplaces. As a hotel it will offer an all-day brasserie, tea room, cocktail bar and spa with pool, jacuzzi and treatments.

 

THE BRIDE WITH WHITE HAIR
Fans of the Wuxia genre of Oriental cinema will be interested to know that Eureka are offering this month a brand-new colour graded restoration of the classic 1993 film of the martial arts novel The Bride With White Hair, which now joins their Eureka Classics range.

Like all Wuxia films ( the name means "martial heroes") this one features the adventures of martial artists in Ancient China, and here the plot concerns the rebellious but talented swordsman Zhuo Yihang, played by Leslie Cheung, who is part of the Wudang Sect, aka the Wu-Tang Clan.. When still a young boy Zhuo witnesses, and is nearly a victim of, a grisly massacre involving decapitations, impalements and people chopped in half.by mounted marauding swordsmen from a rival clan. This is led by an evil pair of brother/sister Siamese twins called Ji Wushuang and played by Francis Ng as the male twin and Elaine Lui as the female Zhuo’s young life is saved by the intervention of a mysterious martial arts fighter, actually a beautiful female assassin for the Siamese twins called Lian Nichang, played by Brigitte Lin. An orphan, Lian was brought up by wolves before being adopted as "wolf girl" by the cojoined Ji Wuschuang, to do their killing.

Lian quickly disappears after saving Zhuo's life but reappears when he is much older and fighting for his clan. When the two meet they fall in love, consummating the fact with much erotic writhing under a waterfall, for some a welcome change from all the bloody fighting with swords. As a result, Zhuo persuades Lian to leave her evil clan and join him, a decision that brings her a savage beating and torture with hot coals, ordered by the brutal twins.

When Zhuo returns to his clan he finds many of his fellows have been murdered, by Ji Wuschuang as it turns out, but the remaining clan members blame Lian for the murders and attack her when she comes to meet Zhuo. This is an attack in which Zhuo feels forced to side with his clan against his lover, who tells him the truth about the murders. However, her lover's betrayal causes the devastated Lian to morph into the white-haired killer of the film's title and she murders more members of his clan before joining forces with him to murder Ji Wushuang, after which she vows never to forgive him and walks away. 

The Bride With White Hair, which plays as an operatic fantasy was directed by award-winning Hong Kong director Ronny Yu, and released on Blu-ray by Eureka on November 9th. The pack includes audio commentaries, five brand new interviews totalling nearly four hours and a collector’s booklet for the first 2,000 copies.

 

WAXWORKS
This 1924 silent German expressionist three-part horror and comedy film anthology, directed by Paul Leni, concerns a young, un-named poet, played by German born actor and director William Dieterle, who is hired to write a story about each of three figures in a waxwork’s museum. Each story puts the poet into the narrative, and the German actress Olga Belajeff into the three strong female parts and the parts of the three figures featured are played by three well-known German actors. 

Firstly, Emil Jannings plays what is really a comedic role as a lovelorn and randy Baghdad Caliph, Harum-al-Rashid who hits on Assad the baker's pretty wife. (Olga Belajeff) The Caliph has already ordered the death of the pie- baker (William Dieterle) after smoke from his oven has billowed into the Caliph's palace and caused him to lose a game of chess. After some fun farcical moments there is finally a happy ending to this 40-minute segment.

Very unlike it is the tragic 37 minute tale of the cruel and sadistic Russian, Ivan the Terrible, played by Conrad Veidt, who had his enemies poisoned and then inverted a giant hour-glass in front of them so that they could see their life ebbing away as the sand trickled into the bottom, their lives ending when the sand had stopped flowing Poetic justice is visited on Ivan when he himself is told he has been poisoned and has to helplessly watch the sand, and his life trickle away, like his victims had to. However, Ivan realises that if he inverts the hour glass back he can live a little longer as the sand runs out again, but is then driven mad by the thought that he will have to keep turning the hourglass downside-up till the end of his days.

For the last story Werner Krauss plays the killer Spring-Heeled Jack (aka Jack the Ripper) for a very short six-minute sequence in which the un-named poet (Dieterle)) is menaced and stabbed, although this turns out to be a bad dream had by the poet, who had fallen asleep and stabbed himself with his pen.

Originally Paul Leni had intended to feature a fourth character, to be played by Dieterle, the robber captain Renaldo Renaldini, who can still be seen in his tall black hat in the original artwork for the film and in the scenes in the waxworks. However, this was dropped to shorten the film, thought to be because of financial problems caused by the raging hyper-inflation in Germany at that time

In real life Dieterle got out of Germany in 1930 sensing the coming catastrophe, emigrated to the US and carved out a successful career as a director in Hollywood, which included being awarded a Best Picture Oscar for The Life of Emile Zola (1937) Conrad Veidt, who had appeared as the murderous somnambulist in the classic 1920 horror film The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari,  was fervent anti-Nazi and left for Britain with his new Jewish wife in 1933 

Staying behind in Germany, and getting involved in the real-life horror of the Nazis was the unapologetic Werner Krauss, who had played the evil and mad doctor in The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari. He happily took parts in the infamous, anti-Semitic Nazi hate film Jud Sus (1940) in which director Veit Harlan portrayed Jewish people as rats, to please the Nazis  Equally unapologetic was Emil Jannings, who had enjoyed great popularity in 20 years of acting, which had included him winning the first-ever Best Actor Oscar in 1929 for his performances in The Way Of All Flesh (1927, now lost) and The Last Command (1928)  He also deservedly gained  great acclaim for his impressive performance as the elderly and naive professor who tragically falls for sensual nightclub performer, Lola Lola (Marlene Deitrich) in The Blue Angel (1930) Despite this Jannings was happy to lower himself and act in Joseph Goebbel's propaganda films which attacked the British and promoted Nazism, aspects that understandably made him unemployable when the "1,000 year" Third Reich finished rather sooner. 

Waxworks is a restored print made from some originals and with new English intertitles, and has been released on Blu-ray by Eureka Entertainment as part of their Masters of Cinema Series. Included in the pack is a choice of two new scores, an interview with Julia Wallmuller of Deutsche Kinemathek detailing the progress of the restoration, an audio commentary, an interview with Kim Newman on the legacy of Waxworks, an example of Paul Leni's Rebus-Film cinematic crossword puzzles - clues screened before the main feature and answers after it -  and a collector's booklet with new essays on the film, notes on the restoration process and rare photographs.

 

CATCH UP TV
It isn't so often that something on the box really cuts deep but Honour, a drama-doc about an "honour" killing of a 20-year-old girl by members of her own family, now streaming on ITV Hub, did just that for us.

This is not pretty - you have been warned. Banaz Mahmod was born in Iraqi Kurdistan in 1986 and came to South London, England with her family in 1996 when she was 10 years old. In 2003, at the age of 17, she was married to a 27-year-old man in an arrangement made by her parents. Reportedly the man was abusive, and told her family that he only beat her when she was disrespectful and only forced her to have sex when she said no, which satisfied her family. In less than a year Banaz was asking for a divorce and had fallen in love with a younger man, Rahmat Sulemami.

Spotted kissing her lover outside a Tube station Banaz was reported to her father, Mahmod Mahmod who told her that her behaviour bought shame and dishonour to the family and confined her to the house, beat her and forbade her to see Rahmat. Escaping, she went to the police, the first of five occasions, to tell them that her life was in danger from her own family but no-one listened. One inspiring female police officer even considered charging her with criminal damage to a window she broke in the act of escaping. In 2005 Banaz left her husband.

In January 2006 Banaz was tortured, anally raped and strangled to death, this reportedly on the orders of her father, Mahmod Mahmod, and her uncle Ari Mahmod.Two cousins, Mohammed Saleh Ali and Omar Hussein, and a third man, Mohammed Hana carried out the murder, with Hana pulling on the cord around her neck. After one and a half hours of rape and torture she took a long and agonising half an hour to die by strangulation. When dead her body was stuffed into a suitcase, this done by another cousin, Dana Amin, and driven up to be buried in a back garden in Alexandra Road, Handsworth, Birmingham.

Finally the police made a right move and started investigating the disappearance of  Banaz, under the caring leadership of DCI Caroline Goode. Mohamad Hana had admitted being present in January when Banaz and Rahmat were threatened with death and had been remanded in custody awaiting trial. Whilst in prison Hana made a number of telephone calls that were covertly recorded, calls in which he described what he had done, boasted of his manliness and given away clues that led police to the back garden in Birmingham, and the body in the suitcase.

For his part in the crime Mohamad Hana got a minimum jail sentence of 17 years. Banaz's father Mahmod Mahmod got a minimum of 20 years, and his brother Ari Mahmod, the family head, got 23 years. Banaz's cousins, Mohammed Saleh Ali and Omar Hussein had fled to Iraq, but eventually became the first ever to be extradited out of Iraq. Brought back to the UK they both received life sentences at their trial in 2008. Tragically Banaz's love, Rahmat, who was living unhappilly under police protection took his own life in 2016.

It is estimated by the UN that 5,000 people, mostly young women, die in "honour" killings every year, with most happening in North Africa, the Middle East and South Asia. In the UK the figure is thought to be one per month.

In Honour the part of DCI Caroline Goode is played by the excellent Keeley Hawes, supported by a strong cast of the good and the bad. Watch it and weep.

OLD GRIT'S DIARY

Sunday
 Fraudsters are quick to exploit any crisis and the current one has not been spared.

Three men in their 30's and 40's have been arrested in London on suspicion of defrauding the government's recent generous Eat Out To Help Out scheme whereby meals out for all were subsidised by up to 50%, to encourage us to start eating out again and financially help the sector of the hospitality industry hard hit.

And three more people have been arrested in Birmingham accused of fraudulently obtaining coronavirus bounce back loans totalling £145,000.

If such schemes don't happen again, because of the defrauding, there's some fraudsters who will be really popular.

 

Tuesday
Spare a tear, caring readers, for our PM's most protected advisor, one Dominic Cummings.

Our ducking and diving Dom, some may remember, has been cruelly mocked just because he flouted the rules on travelling during the first Covid lockdown and drove around the country with the perfectly reasonable explanation that he was testing his eyesight. Despite this being totally accepted after painstaking scrutiny by our top  investigative police officers, poor Dommy Baby has had to put up with a good deal of intolerable mocking, including a vicious suggestion from satirical emailed newsletter the daily mash that he was running a countrywide tour for "Lockdown 2" and would be making available branded merchandise, including an exclusive Lockdown 2 2020 T-shirt printed with his tour dates.

Let sadness be unconfined, as since then our Dombo has left his high office, and left less deserving political celebs for us all to take the p*** out of.

 

Wednesday
Meanwhile there seem to have been three cabinet members at Coventry City Council doing a Dom and flouting Covid rules, although they have all had the decency to accept their actions as lousy leadership during the pandemic and resign. (TheBusinessDesk.com)

First out in September was John Mutton, who broke Covid quarantine rules, followed in the same month by Tariq Khan, who was filmed breaking social distancing rules at a large local gathering. Now Rois Ali has resigned after being photographed sitting with friends from different households at what he said was a business meeting in a local Indian restaurant.

Wonder who's next?  

FOODIE NEWS

Every year the foodies at Good Housekeeping magazine have the task of tasting hundreds of Christmas foods and scoring them out of 100, publishing the results in Mid-November. This year we were especially interested in their results for our own favourite food, smoked salmon, so we took five of their recommendations, added seven of our own and tasted and personally scored the twelve out of 100, as below, in descending order.

Yorkshire smokehouse Bleikers were offering free delivery on orders of £40 or more and a "buy six, pay for five" promotion. So, the prices were £4.50 for one 100 gm. pack, plus a £7.50 delivery charge = £12.  Six packs charged as five totalled £21.60, and with a £7.50 delivery charge = £29.10 = £4.85 per pack. Twelve packs charged as ten with free delivery = £43.20 = £3.60 per pack = best price. All other prices in price per kilo.

1 =  Bleikers Gravadlax. This was not included in the 25 smoked salmons tasted by Good Housekeeping but delivered a lovely balanced dill-enhanced flavour which scored it 80 points when we tasted it without the sweet honey and mustard sauce, and 90 points when the sauce was drizzled over. It is cured to a Scandinavian recipe with Scottish farmed salmon, dill, brown sugar black pepper and salt and tied with our next entry, also from Bleikers Lowest price £36/kilo.

1 =  Bleikers Yorkshire Peat Smoked.  We loved the very light and subtle notes of peat in this one, the natural oiliness of the Scottish farmed fish and the lack of salt. Good Housekeeping gave it 87, their highest score for traditional smoked, and we gave it 90. Lowest price £36/kilo.

3 =  Asda Extra Special Mild and Delicate.  Does what it says on the pack and delivers some excellent subtlety via smouldering oak and applewood chips. This was God Housekeeping's runner up with 84 points and we agreed with 85. Price £33/kilo

3 =  Asda Extra Special Rich and Intense. Not tasted by Good Housekeeping this was top Scottish farmed salmon cured in salt and brown sugar and smoked over a lovely mixture of peat, with oak a cheerywood chips. We enjoyed it as much as the last entry and gave it 85. Price £33/kilo.

5 =  Sainsbury's Taste the Difference Smoked Hebridean. Good Housekeeping gave this lovely creamy-tasting Scottish salmon, smoked over oak and whisky cask chippings, an 81 score and we gave it 80 A good smoke hit - close your eyes and you're in Scotland's beautiful Hebridean Islands. Price £40/kilo

5 = Bleikers Oak Smoked. Not tasted by Good Housekeeping this, for us, was equally good as the Sainsbury's Hebridean, with the same good oak smoke hit in the Scottish farmed salmon, hence our placing of it as 5th equal with an 80 score. Lowest price £36/kilo.

5 =  Bleikers Oak Roast Salmon Flakes. Not tasted by Good Housekeeping, and really in a category of their own, these oak-smoked and lightly roasted flakes of Norwegian farmed salmon are really for those who are not so keen on the traditional raw stuff and prefer their fish cooked. We enjoyed them nevertheless and gave them another 80 score. No discounts - £3 for 110 gms = £27.30/kilo.

8  =  Asda Extra Special Muscovado Sugar and Sea Salt. This rich and interesting Scottish farmed salmon,enhanced with lemon zest, is smoked for 24 hours over hickory and mesquite chips and then given a generous sprinkle of cracked black pepper, the taste that for us lingered on. Good Housekeeping liked this slightly more than we did, giving it a 78 score to our 75 Price £33/kilo.

8 = Bleikers Gin, Juniper and Dill Marinated.  Not tasted by Good Housekeeping. Despite it being infused with Marston's award-winning Yorkshire gin, and crushed juniper berries, we struggled to get much gin or juniper flavour from this one, though the overall taste was pleasant enough to earn it a 75 score. Lowest price £36/kilo.

10 = Bleikers Scotch Whisky. Good Housekeeping liked this more than we did and gave it an impressive 82 score to our slightly less impressive 70. Perhaps the solid whisky and smoke in the Scottish farmed salmon tastes better for us coming out of a bottle of something special from Islay? Lowest price £36/kilo.

11 =  Regal Fish/John Ross Jnr Scottish Smoked Salmon. Not tasted by Good Housekeeping. We gave this a 65 score for the big salt aftertaste. We'll try their roasted flaked product next time. £43.70/kilo.

11 =  Aldi The Fishmonger Gravadlax. Not tasted by Good Housekeeping. We gave this a 65 score after we'd added the sweet sauce provided. The fish on its own, with what for us was a very high salt hit, scored 50. However it was a bargain at £16.60/kilo.

BOOZY BREWS

o We kick off our first Boozy Brews section with a tasting and evaluation of five beers from Sharps Brewery, Rock, Cornwall. Our tasters, with thanks, are Malcolm and Owen Cotterell and their comments follow. Scores are out of 10. Cheers....

Sharps Coconut Stout 5.2%
Malcolm:  "Smooth, slightly sweet flavour. Would be nice with a meal, perhaps a spicy meal. Slight coffee flavour. Not particularly strong coconut. It's growing on me!" Score 7
Owen:   "Had to park my general dislike of stout. Easier drink than lots of stouts. Enjoyed the coffee-like notes. Couldn't drink more than a couple in one go.  Could be good with a warm winters meal in front of the fire...." Score 6

Sharps Sea Fury 5.0%
Malcolm:  "Impressive. Reddish with subtle berries. I could definitely have a few of these in a nice warm pub on a cold winter evening. Would provide a good beer coat." Score 8
Owen: "A deep and layered ale. A lively brew that definitely benefited from being well-chilled. Would be great with a chessboard - and pretty much anything else!" Score 8

Sharps Pilaster Offshore 4.8%
Malcolm:  "Not gassy (or is it flat?) Light. Refreshing. Would be brilliant to cool down with on a hot day. Not strong on taste but maybe that's the point of it" Score 5
Owen:  "Quite refreshing. Not at all gassy - in fact it felt like it was missing some! Evoked memories of drinking lager on a plane. Sorry!" Score 5

Sharps Atlantic Pale Ale 4.5%
Malcolm:  "The Rolls Royce of pale ales. Perfectly fills that space between a lager and darker ales. Crisp, refreshing, sweet-tasting loveliness" Score 9
Owen:  "Already a big fan. Really beautiful light pale ale with some adorable citrus notes. Close your eyes while drinking and you are thousands of miles away on a tropical island without a care in the world. The biggest compliment I can give it is that it is the type of drink that gives late 20s/early 30s drinkers permission to finally move on from lager. It's a beautiful introduction to the world of ales...." Score 9

Sharps Doom Bar Amber Ale 4.3%
Malcolm:  "As comforting as a Sunday roast with all the family round and with plenty of second helpings available" Score 8
Owen:  "OK, so park the fact that I'm already an addict....genuinely the best tasting amber ale on the market, in this author's humble opinion. It was the drink that introduced me, and many others, to Sharps brewery” Score 10

 

o Good to read that our English sparkling wine continues to give the prestigious French champagne houses a run for their money. According to the results of this year's International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC) our Langham Wine Estates in Dorchester, Dorset picked up the gong for the world's best sparkling wine, its white-grape blanc de blanks being praised for its "creamy nose, freshness and elegant finish"

Buy direct from the producer at £31 per bottle, free delivery on three or more bottles.

NEXT ISSUE

As events resume in December so too do rises in infections and deaths in the New Year... Laws banning any drinking outside the home are introduced in Ireland, and quickly copied in England, Scotland and Wales... Flight bookings plummet even further as passengers realise they will never see their flight, or their money again... Fraudsters beg to go into a police protection scheme when they get out of prison... Boris asks the press "Dominic who?"... Ladbrokes open a book on who will be next to fall on their sword at Coventry City Council... and much, much more...

ANNOUNCEMENTS

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Publisher's Note
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