Event Organisers Update May 2021 ISSUE 198 - 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

THE RIGHT DIRECTION
All who make their living from running events, and those who enjoy attending them will be cheered by the results of the government's Event Research Programme (ERP).

A total of 58,000 people were allowed to attend a selection of indoor and outdoor events in May, without wearing face coverings or social distancing, and these included an outdoor concert in Liverpool's Sefton Park for 5,000, the BRIT Awards, a snooker tournament, several football matches and two nightclub events. When tested before entry and then again afterwards it was found that a total of 15 people (0.02586%) had contracted Covid. The nightclub visits generated nine of the infections, the snooker, four and the Sefton Park concert, two. No infections were recorded from the BRIT Awards or the football matches.

Of course it is for individuals to decide whether the event they want to attend is worth this risk. Currently indoor events of up to 1,000 (or 50% capacity) are allowed with face coverings and social distancing mandatory, a requirement that remains in place until June 21. At this time it is possible that some requirements will be lifted and replaced with some Covid-status proof from attendees, such as proof of a negative test, vaccination history or presence of antibodies.

A government announcement is expected around 14 June 2021.

Sources Daily Telegraph and Access All Areas.

 

COVID CONVICTIONS

o More than 4,000 people were prosecuted last year for breach of coronavirus laws, with 3,464 paying fines totalling nearly £1.3 million.

o A teenager from Chester-le-Street was initially issued with a £400 fine for organising a memorial balloon release, in honour of a friend who was hit by a train, attended by around 200 people. On the day of the funeral he was issued with a £10,000 fine for the same offence, with Durham Constabulary claiming that the original £400 penalty, which the teenager had paid, was "an administrative error".

o Airlines have been fined a total of £1.26million for carrying 630 passengers who didn't provide proof of a recent negative coronavirus test, or a passenger locator form.

o Holidays to red-list countries are being offered despite government advice that only essential travel should be taken. British Airways are pushing the Maldives, where Covid infection rates are nearly 67 times that in the UK. Teletext Holidays are pushing Turkey, where infection rates are 22 times that of the UK, and the UAE where rates are 11 times. Turkey, under President Erdogan, is currently the subject of a boycott call, due to its government's "brutal regime" and "violence against Kurds, and religious and ethnic minorities".

 

STUDENT CONTEMPT FOR LOCKDOWN
Nearly a half of more than 1,000 students surveyed by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) from May 4-12 admitted visiting family or friends they were not living with, in breach of lockdown rules at the time.

The rules were not relaxed till May 17, allowing people to meet in groups of six, or two families, indoors.

There were 2.46 million students in the UK in 2019/20 indicating that the number breaching lockdown and potentially spreading Covid in early May was more than 1 million.

 

JOB KILLING YOU?
The first study of long working hours and the risk of strokes and heart disease has been completed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and found that those working 55 hours or more a week had a 35% higher risk of stroke and a 17% higher risk of death from heart disease. The comparisons were made against those working a 35 to 40 hour week and the study covered the 16 year period from 2000 and took in data from 194 countries.

Those most at risk are middle-aged and older men (74%) and people from South-East Asia were most affected. The deaths of 745,000 in 2016 associated with the longer working week was nearly 20% higher than 2000.

 

HYPOCRISY AT ENGLISH HERITAGE?
An English Heritage estate that welcomes paying visitors and event organisers, Wrest Park in Bedfordshire, has also welcomed groups of paying trophy hunters who bravely kill the tiny Muntjac deer and then circulate pictures of themselves on social media smirking over the corpses.

When the story, with sick pictures of members of a brave Scandinavian group, hit the national press Wrest Park management were quick to claim that they deplored the trophy hunter's disrespectful behaviour, which "shocked and saddened" them, but admitted that they allowed the culling that made it possible, permission that they claim to have revoked with a current anonymous "third party" which organised the sad and shocking killing for them.

The official English Heritage position is that they "don't allow hunting for sport at our sites" but organise "management of some animal populations", saying that "It's important to us that this is done humanely and respectfully", which rather suggests that the killing for sport will go on but the sick photos proving it will not be shared with the paying public, and event organisers who support them.

As Bedfordshire Against Trophy Hunting (BATH) puts it: "For a national charity this is really quite grubby and we should expect better from them. They may seek to protect the national heritage but there are parts of it that should be consigned to history." And as Dominic Dyer at the Daily Telegraph puts it: "talk about PR disaster".

 

SCOFF AND QUAFF ITALIAN
A new London food hall concept that could be a useful possibility for corporate hospitality, when it comes back, has opened in a former bank building in Bishopsgate, London, near to Liverpool Street station.

Eataly occupies 42,000 square feet of space, with shops offering 5,000 mostly Italian food products, though with some British mixed in. There are also cocktail bars, cafes, wine shops, and a cookery school, with two restaurants already open and a fine dining unit coming in September.

 

NEW FOODIE DESTINATION IN SHEFFIELD
The new £70 million New Era Square shopping and leisure development at St. Mary's Gate in Sheffield promises lots of choices for foodies when it opens in June. (TheBusinessDesk.com)

The selection includes the city's largest oriental supermarket, and restaurants serving Asian dishes, Taiwanese street food, Japanese cuisine, BBQ, breakfast and burgers. Also planned is a large sports bar and a restaurant specialising in Nordic and North European offerings.

MOVIE SPOT

o TIME AND TIDE 2000

Fans of Hong Kong, high-octane, wall-to-wall action thrillers will find lots to enjoy in this one, directed, produced and co-written by an acclaimed master of the genre, Tsui Hark.

Some critic's opinions include "mind-boggling and terrifically thrilling slice of cinematic chaos" and "beats every other Hollywood action film of the last five years, hands down" (Mark Savlov, Austin Chronicle) And "essentially a hyperactive showcase for Tsui Hark's ability to pile one unbelievably complex action sequence on top of another" (Roger Ebert, who also learns us to pronounce the Tsui name as "Choy Huck) For this modest critic it was a case of "Never mind the plot, feel the action".

For the plot is incredibly convoluted and confusing, but is soon outshone by all that is happening on the screen as sprays of machine gun fire to be ducked and rolled away from fly everywhere, actors crash through windows and kill each other and, in our own favourite stunt moment one desperately fleeing drops vertiginously down the side of a very high rise apartment building followed by the camera also going over the edge, which makes it feel as if we are plummeting down with him. And there's more, much more...

The two male leads are the rootless Tyler, played by Nicholas Tse, and mercenary Jack, played by Wu Bai. The two men start off working together until circumstances pit them against each other. More alpha-males join the fray in the form of a gang of murderous South American mercenaries known (surely ironically?) as the Angels, whose job is to kill both Jack, who used to be one of them called Juan, and Tyler. The Angel's second in command, Miguel, played by Joventino Couto Remotique, offers Jack the chance to rejoin them, if he kills his father-in-law, the batty Uncle Ji, played by Anthony Wong, and who runs a bodyguard business. Instead Jack kills the Angel's leader and steals a case full of money from under their noses.

One of the two female leads is Ah Hui, played by Candy Lo, who is married to Jack and expecting his baby. This arrives as she is caught up in the final conflict between Tyler and the last of the Angels, and is delivered by Tyler as the last live Angel discovers, the hard way, how useful Ah Hui is with a gun. The other female lead is Ah Jo, played by Cathy Tsui, a scowling but attractive lesbian undercover police officer who accepts a stupid boozing challenge from an unknowing Tyler, working as a barman. The couple get vomiting and collapsing drunk, and end up sleeping together, with Ah Jo becoming pregnant and then wanting nothing to do with the father, giving back money he tries to give her. When her baby is born she softens her attitude and treats Tyler, and us, to a truly beatific smile.

Time and Tide was released on Blu-ray on May 24 by Eureka Entertainment as part of its Eureka Classics range. The pack includes feature length audio commentaries from director Tsui Hark and from Asian film expert Frank Djeng and a limited edition collectors booklet (2,000 copies).

 

o THE HANDS OF ORLAC (1924)

Actor Conrad Veidt was always a big, and well-paid name in German Expressionist cinema and this silent black and white science-fiction horror classic from 1924 was one of his early films, from the 100+ he featured in. Earlier Veidt, who was bisexual, was in the world's first film (his 23rd) that sympathetically portrayed homosexuality, Different From The Others (1919), which was eventually banned by the Nazis. This was made with the same plot more than 40 years later as Victim (1961) starring Dirk Bogarde and Sylvia Syms. Veidt had also had a key role in the definitive Expressionist film that many remember him for, The Cabinet of Dr Caligari (1920) where he played Cesare, the murderous somnambulist.

For The Hands of Orlac Veidt is again directed by the director of Caligari, Robert Weine.Here Veidt, who dominates the film, plays Paul Orlac, a confident and talented concert pianist with a glittering future ahead of him, until an horrific train crash he is involved in cruelly robs him of his hands. Desperate to have him playing, and loving her again, his wife Yvonne (Alexandra Sorina) persuades a surgeon to graft two new hands onto Paul's arms, not mentioning to him that they are the hands of a convicted and newly executed murderer, Vasseur. When Paul Orlac finds out he is terrified of what the hands might do, as he believes they are out of his control. They certainly cant play the piano like his original ones used to, he discovers, as he descends into madness and the film moves towards its twisty and unexpected conclusion...

A decade later Veidt emerged as one of the principled actors in Germany and a fervent anti-Nazi as the country struggled in the grip of the Nazis in 1933 and Joseph Goebbels began purging the film industry of all anti-Nazi sympathisers and Jews and obliging actors and directors who wanted to continue working in Germany to support the portrayal of the anti-Semitism that was a fundamental part of Nazi spin. Some of those who refused found themselves, and their families, shipped off to a death camp and gassed on arrival. Veidt, who had just taken a Jewish bride as his third wife, left Germany with his spouse for good and emigrated to Britain, where he made films for director Michael Powell (The Spy in Black in 1939 and The Thief of Baghdad and Contraband in 1940) In 1941 the Veidts moved to Hollywood, after giving their life savings to the British government for the war effort, and, ironically as he observed, he played the kind of characters who forced him to leave his homeland. This culminated in the performance - you must remember this - as the sinister Major Heinrich Strasser in Casablanca in 1942, a few months before his sad and untimely death in 1943, aged just 50.

The Hands of Orlac is being released next month for the first time on home video by Eureka Entertainment in a Blu-ray format as part of its Masters of Cinema Series. The pack contains two different presentations of the film, one with original German intertitles and a score by Johannes Kalitzke and another held by the Murnau Foundation presented in SD with English intertitles and a score by Paul Mercer, along with scene comparisons highlighting the differences between the two versions. There is also a full-length audio commentary by author Stephen Jones and author and critic Kim Newman, an interesting video essay, Extremities, by film makers David Cairns and Fiona Watson and a Collector's Booklet featuring new writing by Phillip Kemp and Tim Lucas.

DOC SPOT

Fans of documentaries will remember Super Size Me, (2004) directed by and starring American film-maker Morgan Spurlock, 32, who feasted at McDonalds for breakfast, lunch and dinner for 30 days and monitored the effect on his physical and mental health. Part of the programme was if he was offered the chance to "Super Size" to double portions of fries and cola, he would, and this happened 9 times.

He gained 11.1 kilograms (24 lbs), 13% on his body mass, upped his cholesterol level to 230mg/dL (healthy level for his age would be 130mg/dL) and experienced fat accumulation in his liver, mood swings and sexual dysfunction. After filming, which included bringing up his first super size meal on Day 2 in the parking lot of one of the McDonalds in New York, and getting heart palpitations on day 21, it took him 14 months to lose the excess weight. Super Size Me highlighted some of the real dangers of excessive fast food consumption and did rather well at the box office generating $22.2 million for a budget of $65,000.

Now a 42 year old doctor, Christoffer van Tulleken has made a UK food documentary for BBC1, What Are We Feeding Our Kids?, in which the doctor included Ultra-Processed Foods (UPFs) for 80% of his diet for 30 days and logged the effects on himself, which included rapid weight gain (6.5 kilos) insomnia, headaches, heartburn, mood swings, anxiety, constipation and piles (hemorrhoids) Perhaps even more worrying, before-and-after MRI brain scans indicated that the high UPF diet had connected the reward centres in his brain to the areas that drive repetitive automatic responses, something you might see in someone with an addiction.

Commonly UPFs contain long lists of ingredients not found in homemade food and common examples include industrialised breads, breakfast cereals, sausages and other reconstituted meats, ready meals, baked beans, tinned soups, sweets, biscuits, buns and cakes, pasties, industrially produced chips, soft drinks, sauces and dressings, meat alternatives, crisps and soy and milk substitutes. The tastiness of these items, and therefore their addictiveness is no accident but something carefully built in by the ten or so large companies that make and profit from them. It is estimated that 21% of children leaving UK primary schools are now catagorised as obese.

What Are We Feeding Our Kids? aired on BBC1 at 9.00pm on Thursday May 27, and is now available for free viewing on BBC iPlayer for the next five months.

OLD GRIT'S DIARY

Tuesday
A sad, but possibly apocryphal tale reaches us from the heart of rural Bedfordshire, where infections from the Indian variant are on the increase.

A man in the front of the queue at a newsagents was standing without a facemask. The newsagent told him he wouldn't be served unless he wore one. The man then claimed he had medical exemption, whereby the newsagent asked to see proof of this. The man then claimed he had left it at home. He was again told he could only be served when wearing a facemask. Whereupon he reached into a pocket, pulled out a facemask and put it on, muttering that he "didn't like wearing them".

According to the Daily Express our Government should "trust people to assess risks and make sensible decisions".

 

Saturday
Not personally hailing from Cornwall or Devon Old Grit notes with interest the Great Cream Tea Conundrum whereby intelligent folk from Cornwall insist that the jam must go on the scone first, whereby equally intelligent folk from Devon say it must be the cream. The bakery section of a Sainsbury's branch in Truro, Cornwall showed a sign depicting, shock/horror, a scone with jam on top of the cream Devon-style and the supermarket later removed its offending sign in the wake of protests from intelligent folk from Cornwall. It's reassuring, is it not that some folk are concentrating on the serious life or death issues in the current pandemic?

Meanwhile, away from the scones and onto the tea itself the issue of whether cold milk or hot tea should go into the cup first is engaging intelligent folk in other parts of the UK. Time was the milk went into fine and expensive bone china first as boiling tea could crack the cups if poured in first since there was no milk to cool it down. Nowadays though there are still those of us, 27% reportedly, who always go milk first on the basis that the brew tastes better.

Their view is backed by that of Professor Alan Mackie, head of Leeds University's School of Food Science and Nutrition who says that this method "locks in the flavour" According to the survey done on this by Intu Boiling Water Taps 46% of us don't agree and put water in first, and 26% of us chose not to take sides. Presumably the 1% left were too busy stuffing their faces with healthy jam and cream laden, or healthy cream and jam laden scones to care?

Now you know...

 

Monday
We liked the style of Sleeping Bear Hotels when they issued an unchecked press release which contained a number of typos. The release explained that due to a large postponed booking they had a big hole in their occupancy for the following week and were offering rooms with a 70% discount at their Stanton Manor property.

When the group realised the typo problem they sent out a follow up, less than an hour later, admitting they had "pushed send too quickly" and offering anyone booking a room and a dinner a free dessert if they mentioned one of the typos when booking.

Good recovery, hope it worked for them.

 

Wednesday
It was edifying to read, in the i paper, that Boris Johnson, who has been quick to comment on the low standard of media ethics at the BBC, was once sacked from The Times for making up a quote.

Reportedly he had "an elastic relationship with objective fact".

FOODIE NEWS

o Luxury fish dishes made from lab-grown fish flesh that has never been in the seas or rivers may not be as far from our plates as lab-grown meat, where it is much harder to duplicate the taste and texture of the original.

This is the view of a small number of companies working in the sector. One is US start-up Blue Nalu which points out that using lab-growth the cells from a single fish could provide enough for thousands of meals. The company is currently working on lab-grown versions of one of the world's most expensive, bluefin tuna, as well as red snapper, yellowtail and mahi-mahi, the marketeer's exotic name for the common dolphinfish, which has nothing to do with dolphins and is called lampuka if you eat it in Malta. They say they will have these on our plates within the decade. Another US start-up, Wildtype, is developing lab-grown salmon fillets while a Singapore firm, Shiok Meats is working on shrimp, crab and lobster.

Nearer to home a British firm, Exmoor Caviar, has developed a lab-grown version of its product and is confident that sturgeon-free caviar will be available to buy in two or three years.

Could a guilt-free lab-grown foie gras be in our future?

DRINKS NEWS

 o Drinks experts Funkin Cocktails have compiled a list of 86 cocktails ranked in order of the number of online searches worldwide made for each one. The Margarita had the most searches, (546,280) followed by the Mojito (302, 840) and the Pina Colada (199,640) The top ten, with main ingredients, follow.

  1. Margarita (546,280) Tequila, Cointreau, lime juice, salt for garnish.
  2. Mojito (302,840) White Rum, sugar, soda water, lime, mint for garnish.
  3. Pina Colada (199,640) White Rum, coconut, pineapple.
  4. Old Fashioned (168,460) Rye or Bourbon whiskey, dashes Angostura Bitters, cube sugar, orange twist for garnish.
  5. Moscow Mule (162,130) Vodka, ginger beer, lime juice.
  6. Sangria (160,480) Red wine, brandy, orange juice, fruit.
  7. Pornstar Martini (141,730) Vanilla vodka, passionfruit, prosecco.
  8. Martini (135,510) Gin or vodka, dry vermouth, lemon peel, olive or pickled silverskin onion for garnish.
  9. Bloody Mary (120,460) Vodka, tomato juice, Worcester Sauce, celery for garnish.
  10. Sex on the Beach (104,930) Vodka, Peach Schnapps, Cranberry Juice, Orange Juice.

Vodka is the spirit most used in the above - four/five of the ten cocktails.

NEXT ISSUE

A businessman explains why he is still not attending exhibitions or conferences. "Just because only 15 people out of 58,000 got Covid in the government's research its not much consolation if I'm one of the unlucky 15. It's not worth the risk"... UK students are warned "It's not clever to breach lockdown rules. You all just selfishly put thousands at extra risk of dying"... Overtime and extra working becomes a thing of the past as employees demand a shorter, safer working week... A brave, fearless and courageous trophy hunter at Wrest Park tells the press: "Just because the little Muntjac is a herbivore it doesn't mean it wont sink its teeth into your throat, given half a chance, especially those tiny baby ones"... Boris Johnson is quoted as saying: "I feel sorry for anyone affected by my Covid cock-ups, unless they live North of Watford", a quote he denies making, saying "This is obviously one made up by a lying and deeply unethical journalist"... and much, much more...

ANNOUNCEMENTS

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