Event Organisers Update January 2019 ISSUE 170

PICK YOUR COMEDIAN One useful and enjoyable annual event put on for organisers is the Speaker Drinks evening staged at the Institute of Directors venue …

SEE YOU, JIMMY Tourism chiefs at VisitScotland used a picture of a Glencoe cottage once owned as a holiday home by disgraced BBC celebrity and sex offender Jimmy …

ART HISTORY COURSE A four-session course The Pre-Raphaelite Revolution is being offered by the Leighton House Museum in Kensington…

NEXT BIG THING? Plans are being considered for The Entertainment Resort, a world-class theme park with supporting hotels containing conference space, as well …

SOME ITALIAN WINE A recent tasting of nearly 100 wines from Italy, organised on behalf of Italian wine expert Daniele Cermilli (who styles himself Doctor Wine) …

NEW FOR MANCHESTER The 187 bedroom Hotel Indigo has opened close to Victoria Station in Manchester and claims to bring its brand of “contemporary …

THE HAPPY PRINCE This is the ironic title of the latest, and arguably the best of the bios of the famous and infamous author, playwright and bon viveur Oscar Wilde …

PICK YOUR COMEDIAN

One useful and enjoyable annual event put on for organisers is the Speaker Drinks evening staged at the Institute of Directors venue on Pall Mall by speaker agency Performing Artistes.

This showcases stand-up comedians and their acts and allows plenty of time for delegates to network with, and perhaps book their chosen performer(s) The latest event presented five, four who made us laugh and one who made us laugh and think. Andy Parsons, well-known from his appearances on topical news show Mock the Week, told jokes about topical issues, including the current bad joke Brexit, (he is an activist for a second public vote on the issue) and introduced the other four stand-up specialists, including Markus Birdman, Naomi Cooper and George Lewis, all of whom went down well with the mostly female audience.

Continue reading

SEE YOU, JIMMY

Tourism chiefs at VisitScotland used a picture of a Glencoe cottage once owned as a holiday home by disgraced BBC celebrity and sex offender Jimmy Savile, to promote tourism in the Highlands.

Savile is thought to have sexually abused more than 450 people over a 60-year period, over 300 of them under 18 and some as young as eight. He owned the cottage for 13 years, from 1998 to 2011 when he died without ever being caught or charged aged 84. It was featured in a highly regarded Louis Theroux documentary in 2000, When Lous met….Jimmy. In a van on the way back from Glencoe Theroux asks why Savile had claimed to the media that he hated children and Savile told him “It’s to put a lot of salacious tabloid people off the hunt”. As the couple said goodbye Theroux claimed that he had “a new-found respect for Jimmy” though he felt he, like most other people, had never got close in the week he had lived with him for the documentary.

At Savile’s death the leader of Leeds City Council, Councillor Keith Wakefield described Savile as “Leeds born and bred, and he remained a Leeds lad all his life”.

VisitScotland have now removed the shot of Savile’s cottage from their website, “in case it caused any offence”.

SOME ITALIAN WINE

A recent tasting of nearly 100 wines from Italy, organised on behalf of Italian wine expert Daniele Cermilli (who styles himself Doctor Wine), provided us with tastings of wines from the Velenosi winery in the Marche area.

This produces an excellent medium dry white for drinking with food that the good doctor rates with a 92% score in his highly regarded “Essential Guide to Italian wine” (2019) and this is the Verdiccho dei Castellidi Jesi DOC 2017, which is also flagged as exceptionally good value and should be selling retail for around £16 a bottle.

Rather more expensive is the red Roggio Del Filare Rosso Piceno Superiore DOC 2015, not rated by Cemilli. This is likely to be £50+ to buy here but is the Winery’s “Grand Cru” and, for our personal taste delivered a lovely creamy sweetness of red berry fruit that trickled seductively down the throat and dared us to spit it out, or ruin it with food.

The importer for Velenosi is Dolcevita Wines, Web: dolcevitawines.co.uk

THE HAPPY PRINCE

This is the ironic title of the latest, and arguably the best of the bios of the famous and infamous author, playwright and bon viveur Oscar Wilde, who made up a story to tell his children, which he called The Happy Prince.

The story of Oscar’s fall from grace for his homosexuality has been well documented on film, starting with the two released in 1959 and 1960, These were the black and white Oscar Wilde, starring Robert Morley in the title role, Alexander Knox as his defence lawyer Sir Edward Clarke, Ralph Richerdson as the prosecuting counsel, Sir Edward Carson, John Neville as Wilde’s lover, Lord Alfred “Bosie” Douglas and Edward Chapman as his father, the irascible Marquis of Queensbury, who wasn’t happy with his son sleeping with Wilde and outed him by calling him a “somdomite” (sic) and sparking the libel case bought by Wilde that resulted in a win for Queensbury when he was able to call witnesses and defend his allegation as true.

Continue reading

Event Organisers Update December 2018 ISSUE 169

PUT PASSENGERS FIRST? THAT’S A GOOD ONE AT GOVIA… There was an “extraordinary complacency about protecting the interests of passengers” among …

BOUQUETS, AND BRICKBATS Impressed to note that charity Diabetes UK has just won the award from the Association of British Professional Conference Organisers …

ARE YOU AFFECTED? An estimated 500 million people who booked a Starwood branded hotel in the last four years have been affected by a massive data breach …

DRUNK PILOT JAILED A Japan Airlines pilot who was attempting to fly his Boeing 777 while more than nine times over the legal limit of alcohol in the blood has …

VENUE NEWS

o Plans are in hand for a new, 150-bedroom hotel in Church Street, Liverpool …
o The 334-bedroom Hotel Russell on London’s Russell Square “needs to sort …

TOP NOSH A Bristol restaurant has won the number one spot in the Harden’s 100 Best UK Restaurants list for this year. The food at Casamia, The General in …

OUR INDUSTRY CHANGES

o Centaur Media, publishers of Marketing Week are looking to sell The Meetings …
o After 13 years as editor of Conference News Paul Colston has left to work on …

EXCURSIONS Those involved in organising group travel are invited to attend Excursions, a free one-day exhibition at Alexandra Palace, London. This is running …

UNDER THE TREE Inga is the maliciously evil neighbour from hell in this dark and affecting cautionary tale of suburban warfare escalating out of control between …

PUT PASSENGERS FIRST? THAT’S A GOOD ONE AT GOVIA…

There was an “extraordinary complacency about protecting the interests of passengers” among rail bosses, regulators and government officials, notes a damning report on the summer railway shambles, which featured 46,300 timetable changes. Additionally there was a “collective system-wide failure” and a decision-making process that was “not fit for purpose”, one that has now decided that it’s a good time to hike up fares again for captive commuters.

Of course those who rely on the railways to do their jobs don’t need to be told this. They know and they are angry. And one deserving focus of their anger is Govia Thameslink Railway, (GTR) which axed 470 of its 3,880 daily services.

The fallout continues, with GTR, which runs Thameslink, Great Northern and Southern railways, now coming across as a disreputable firm that cannot be trusted to put its wrongs right. We say this noting that passengers completing large numbers of claim forms for Delay Repay compensation, based on the large numbers of delayed journeys they have suffered are being accused of fraud by GTR, presumably to wriggle out of payment. The same nasty taste in the mouth is left noting the claim experience of others who have had their claim forms returned by GTR instructing them to supply details for “journey 1” when “journey 1” doesn’t appear anywhere on the claim form. One victim we know of several unjustified refusals of this kind for the same claim has now been told that the claim has been denied because the delays to its processing, caused by GTR, has put the claim outside the 28-day period for claiming. Clever or stupid?

One potentially good piece of news for passengers who don’t feel their complaints are being treated with the respect due is the creation of a new independent dispute resolution ombudsman for the railways with the power to hold train companies to account and force them out of their “extraordinary complacency”.

Let’s all hope it works, especially at GTR, where the CEO is Patrick Verwer, [email protected]

BOUQUETS, AND BRICKBATS

Impressed to note that charity Diabetes UK has just won the award from the Association of British Professional Conference Organisers (ABPCO) for the best conference staged by an in-house conference team, beating the two other shortlisted teams at Renewable UK and the Royal Statistical Society. The Diabetes UK event took place at Excel in March this year and team leader Therese Dolan commented that her team “worked incredibly hard to deliver this year’s event” and that she was “so proud to see them rewarded for all their effort and dedication”.

Rather less impressive for many is the curious decision by Chris Askew, chief executive of Diabetes UK to accept sponsorship of £500,000 from Britvic, makers of the Pepsi and Tango fizzy drinks, like those that Diabetes UK has identified in the past as contributing to the diabetes explosion.

Continue reading