Like most of the rest of the events industry, our previously full order book for 2020 disappeared literally overnight due to the pesky little microbe doing the rounds. Like all of our compatriots in the industry we sat and wondered if we would ever work again, and if so when. So when we suddenly started picking up bookings for August it was both a godsend and a worry.
A godsend obviously as we would be earning again. A worry about how things were going to be under the ‘new normal’ as it is being called. The first of the jobs to arrive was for a previously regular client, Amazon. Usually through the year we do a mixture of work ranging from handing out catering goodies during Prime and peak periods, to providing a full fairground for their summer barbeque.
The first job was giving popcorn out at one of the Northern fulfillment centres. We had done the same thing a number of times over the years at the same centre so usually this would be a nice easy repeat job. However after talking with the client and doing our own research we put together a package of anti Covid-19 measures.
The first change was to install clear polycarbonate screening on the carts we use to separate our staff from the guests. Although we could still interact with them to a degree, it did feel weird and somehow strangely disconnecting. Usually we engage in a bit of banter and joking, but this felt more ‘institutionalised.’
Zoono Anti Microbial
After researching most of the sanitisation options, we settled on Zoono. Not a cheap option, this bonds a film to the surface of whatever you spray it on that lasts for upto 30 days. The product actively kills virus molecules after application, rather than just during the cleaning process. For complete safety our standard operating procedure is to apply it at the start of each job. We also use their hand sanitiser, which creates a similar barrier on your hands, this time lasting for 24 hours.
Boris Says, Hands – Face – Space
The carts have a hand sanitiser mounted for the guests to use. We also built a number of portable units that can attach to hand rails, counters, carts, rides etc. This means that even when we are using sub contractors we can ensure that all the attractions we supply come with approved sanitisation facilities for the guests and staff.
To round off our anti Covid activities, we supply all of our staff with full face shields to help protect them and the guests from each other. These are far more comfortable to wear for extended periods of working than the little face masks that we tried. Well and truly back in the saddle
Like everyone in the country, or indeed much of the planet. We are all sat here in isolation. But that got me thinking, imagine if this pandemic had occurred say 20 years ago. How much different would things have been without modern technology.
We all had phones 20 years ago granted, so we could talk. Now however look at the options. From video calls on your mobile, to Skype, Portal, Echo Show, zoom, numerous methods of larger screen face to face communication. Sometimes for the isolated just seeing someone as you talk to them can make all the difference.
One of our Photo Booths is a Del Boy Trotter 3 wheeled van. The props for the booth are all themed around the series, so we have Grandad’s hat, Triggers broom etc. We also have a couple of the original Motorola ‘Brick’ phones. You know the ones, size and weight of a house brick, battery lasted a week, put them in your trousers and the weight would pull them down. And if you were ever mugged you could use it to beat the attacker senseless.
Anyway we did a couple of days at a shopping centre in West Brom. Kids and their dads would rummage through the props box. When they came to the phone the kids would ask ‘Whats this dad?’
When told it was a mobile phone it was like, ‘What, no way, where’s the screen, how do you look at Facebook.’ Now phones are that small you can slip them up your left nostril. Though I can remember when this brick phone was modern technology, the original mobile phone came with a separate battery that you could just about lift.
Besides Google and the other search engines, we also have the NHS 111 number. Checking if your symptoms could be Corvid-19 is only a phone call or search engine away. At one time none of this existed. Instead you would have been calling your local GP. Or more accurately trying to. With thousands of people all worried and panicking, how long would it be before the local health services had to take their phones off the hook. They wouldn’t have a hope in hells chance of coping.
Not connected to the current situation, but think of the way some of the other sources of information have changed. We all had telephone directories, and Yellow Pages. Both of which were a struggle to lift they were that big. You try looking for something in the Yellow pages, it meant hours of wading through adverts trying to find what you wanted.
Now, you type it into Google and the information comes to you. Modern technology at its finest.
I had the misfortune to avail myself of our medical services recently. A burst appendix meant emergency surgery. I now have 4 tiny little puncture marks across my abdomen, 2 for the keyhole surgery, and 2 from the drains fitted to remove the poison. It wasn’t that long ago when I would have had a large scar across my body where they would have opened me up to remove it. Indeed at one time even an operation such as an appendicectomy would have carried a high risk. I made the mistake in hospital when talking to the surgeon, of calling it an appendectomy, only to be told off because evidently that is an American term.
It is forecast that, like Italy etc we are going to see a lot of deaths from this terrible pandemic. But imagine if this was 20 years ago, how much higher would the death toll be. It seems that ventilators are going to be one of the key items to save lives. A consortium of tech companies are ramping up to massively increase our supply of the device. Could we have really done this twenty years ago, heck could we have done it ten years ago in the same timeframe?
At one time we had the 5 terrestrial channels. Sky, and a few cable services, if you wanted a particular film you needed to walk to the local Blockbusters and hire it. Now we have the massive list of freeview stations, Amazon Prime channels, Netflix, Youtube, Spotify and so on. There is an unbelievable amount of entertainment that can be accessed, streamed downloaded. Fair enough much of it is crap. But amongst it all there should be enough to keep everyone entertained to some degree.
We are all spoilt with access to almost any movie we wish on demand. At one time you visited your local video tape store, where hopefully they had the film you wanted in stock. If it was a popular one then the chances are you would struggle to get it. Once hired you fetched a tape like the one below back to play on your video machine. What you then got was a sometimes grainy fairly lowish resolution picture, with garbage sound. If the tape you had hired had been well used then the picture quite often would begin to degrade and become grainy, or have bits of the dialogue drop out. None of this 4k or 8k super hi res, with Dolby surround sound processing.
Working From Home
With the country in lock down, we have been told to work from home where possible. Now obviously a lot of us can’t. You would find the wife kicking a stink up if you tried to build cars in her front room. And most gardens aren’t going to be big enough to fabricate wings for Airbus.
For much of the service industry and creative media industry however its a different story. A multiplicity of conference software, and collaborative office and design software mean that this is a real option for a lot of people. Fast internet speeds are the secret sauce facilitating this. The dial up speeds of yesteryear just would have had us working at the speed of a British Leyland worker in the 1970’s. Instead some parts of the global economy are still ticking over, and hopefully can hit the ground running once we are released from lockdown.
Part of the lockdown is that all non essential shops are closed. But how much of an inconvenience is this in practice. Unless we need something, like, now, we tend to buy online. The mighty Amazon stocks an awful lot of what we need. With its Prime service, delivery tends to be overnight, or indeed on some items same day.
Almost anything else you want can be ordered online, with rapid delivery, and in many cases for less than what you would pay in a bricks and mortar store.
Indeed my daughter has a steady stream of deliveries from various fashion and beauty outlets. So much so that a recent delivery driver remarked that ‘your daughter must have come back off holiday’, ‘How do you know shes been on holiday’ I asked. Dead simple was the reply, ‘Our deliveries dropped by 50% whilst shes been away.’
Sat here locked down, like everyone else, I am looking through the window at a beautiful day. This is turning into one of the nicest years weather wise we have ever seen and the full funfair industry is non existant.
I know some that are struggling with the lockdown, it’s not just financial, but the mental strains are starting to tell, after a friend took his own life at the start of the year, a lot of friends actually started talking more about mental health. What became clear was just how fragile some people are, with an awful lot of friends I know personally on anti-depressants to control their moods. The strain of the lock down is starting to open some cracks up and its worrying.
6 Years Of War
With it being VE day I have sat and thought about what they suffered. Almost 6 years of being at war. Nutcase German pilots visiting nightly with the express intention of dropping a bomb on your head. Loved ones serving in the forces, away from home sometimes for years at a time, and you had no idea from one minute to the next whether they were safe, or some crazed little Japanese man was trying to stick a sword up their harris.
Don’t forget, we didn’t have email, Whatsapp, Facebook or mobile phones then. A husband or father could have been killed, and it might well have been weeks, if not months before you found out. I should imagine every knock on the door, or visit from the postman became a psychological ordeal.
Funfair In The War Years
To a large extent the funfair started the war as it is now, closed. Eventually the government came up with the idea of holidays at home to boost morale, and allowed some limited operations. Some enterprising operators managed to set up inside buildings and operated throughout the period.
In many ways it was actually easier for them than dealing with the virus. With radar and air raid sirens you did have a bit of warning that Franz and his Heinkel were coming to get you. The virus doesn’t afford us the same courtesy.
This should have been one of the busiest days in our calendar, not just the traditional funfairs, but the corporate hire market was well booked up to boot. Obviously nothing will actually go ahead, and for a change we will all be sat doing very little on a bank holiday.
I saw an interview on morning television the other day where the gentleman being interviewed had a clear acrylic ‘Tommy’ sat on his desk. He was asking people to put them in the window for VE day, the funds raised from making them directly supports ex armed forces. Unfortunately it was too late to order one for today, but we have placed an order and will put it in the office window in tribute. As bad as this virus is, I don’t think it can compare to charging into machine gun fire on the beaches of Normandy, or trying to hold Japanese Banzai charges back in Kohima.
They were a tough breed then, woman keeping the family together, little more than kids taking to the skies in Spitfires and Hurricanes to face overwhelming odds in the sky. Sailors on Arctic convoys, braving the twin terrors of wolf packs and weather.
I think in the news recently, Captain Tom, sorry, as he has now become Colonel Tom, exemplifies just what Hitler was facing, poor simple silly sod to think that he had a chance against men like that.
A debt of gratitude is owed to all who served 75 years ago. As the NHS front-line are our hero’s today, they are our hero’s of then. VE Day and VJ Day should never be forgotten.
For the Fallen
With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children, England mourns for her dead across the sea. Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit, Fallen in the cause of the free.
Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres. There is music in the midst of desolation And a glory that shines upon our tears.
They went with songs to the battle, they were young, Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow. They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted, They fell with their faces to the foe.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning We will remember them.
They mingle not with their laughing comrades again; They sit no more at familiar tables of home; They have no lot in our labour of the day-time; They sleep beyond England’s foam.
But where our desires are and our hopes profound, Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight, To the innermost heart of their own land they are known As the stars are known to the Night;
As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust, Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain, As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness, To the end, to the end, they remain.
Showmen Thank The NHS. Like many business’s at the minute, the funfair industry has pretty much ceased to exist. With events cancelled up until the middle of the summer and beyond. Indeed some Christmas events are now being cancelled, we are not sure when we will be allowed to operate again.
The common opinion is that it will be next year before events start to come out of the lockdown. We can’t see all the sacrifices made during the lockdown period being swept aside by letting major festivals go ahead. And rightly so. The important thing at the minute is saving lives, hard as it sounds, business will need to take a back seat.
Showmen are an enterprising breed, many have rapidly started small food delivery business’s to keep some income rolling in. There must be a massive market in home delivered fruit and veg. If the amount of showmen who have turned greengrocer is any indication.
Saying Thank You
The showmen however, in the midst of seeing their livelihoods disappear, and with no real idea when they will be allowed to work again, have found time to say thank you to our heroic front line NHS staff and key workers.
We have all stood and clapped to let them know how we feel, but around the country, groups of showmen have raised funds to show their appreciation in a practical way.
Many hospitals put calls out for toiletries and such like. As patients were ending up on Corvid wards, with no supplies. Because of the current visiting rules, their families couldn’t come to see them and bring what they needed.
In short order groups of showmen have raised not inconsiderable sums to purchase toiletries, bottled water, things like pot noodles and other snacks to help alleviate the hospitals shortage.
In my native North East, the funfair trade body made a donation to start the ball rolling. A number of showmen also took it upon themselves to raise funds.
One member donated a vehicle to be used for delivering the items. Another who runs a small sign making business, lettered the vehicle up free of charge.
They made delivery runs to a number of Northern hospitals. Other showmen added to this and covered smaller centres such as care homes.
The whole world is toiling under this awful virus. We are all sat waiting to see just how bad things get. And just how much the NHS buckles under the strain.
One of the most vital bits of kit we are told, is the ventilator. Crucial to help patients keep breathing, as it seems to be the lungs that are the main focus of Corvid 19’s attack.
Current medical suppliers just aren’t able to ramp up production of their existing designs, as obviously their production facilities just aren’t built to meet the worldwide demand coming in.
The government decided to ask industry for help. The upshot is that 3 approaches have materialised. Dyson, the revolutionary vacuum cleaner company have designed a quite sophisticated machine, compact and capable of operating from battery power.
Gtech, again a vacuum company have designed a quite primitive looking system, which runs purely off the oxygen supply in the hospital. I don’t mean to demean the design by calling it basic, that very fact may mean that it can be produced quickly and cheaply to meet the demand.
The third leg is a consortium of companies such as McLaren, Airbus, Mercedes, who are working with existing suppliers to replicate their design. The benefits obviously being that an established design should be easier to get regulatory approval passed.
Dyson’s machine above looks sleek, compact and quite hi-tech. It needs to garner medical approval, but its reported that initial tests have proven the concept. What really stands out here I think. Is the fact that from being asked, to delivering this prototype was a mere 10 days. Dyson are claiming that if approval is forthcoming, they can ramp production up in early April.
If we have engineers and designers capable of pulling this off in such a time frame, imagine what the country could do if it can work like this when we don’t have a global pandemic to content with.
Gtech’s offering is probably as far removed as possible from Dyson’s and indeed standard models. But that could turn out to be a blessing. Looking at the individual components, this looks like it could be so simple and quick to assemble. This might be just what the world needs.
Whatever model, or combination of models are eventually chosen. Its nice to know that industry can respond so well in such an emergency.
Coronavirus, another Chinese import. They say that every cloud has a silver lining. Well, its hard at the minute to see just where the Corvid-19 virus is going to present any advantages. There is talk of cancelling outdoor events throughout the country. This will devastate not only the funfair industry but also large parts of the outdoor events industry.
The virus itself is undoubtedly liable to kill large numbers of people. The NHS and other public services are predicted to be overwhelmed. The economy is going to talk a major hit.
Now we have the great British prats, opps, sorry, public panic buying things like toilet roll. WTF, as far as any of the reports suggest, the virus doesn’t give you diarrhea. So why the hell is everyone buying massive amounts of toilet paper?
Nevertheless, in the spirit of free enterprise, there are people taking advantage of the opportunities offered.
On the fairground, and seaside amusement arcades, the crane or ‘grabber machines’ have long been favourites. Basically, you have control of a 3 pronged grabber that you maneuver around the machine full of soft toys, then when you think its lined up you press the button. The grabber drops, grabs at the toys and hopefully manages to snag one for you. If you are lucky it carries the toy to the exit slot and drops it out to you.
In reality it tends to grab the toy and then drop it, the reason being the electromagnet controlling the grabber is set to be too weak to hold the weight of the toy. After the machine has taken a certain amount of money, it turns the magnet on full power and you will have a winner.
With the panic buying of bog rolls, a number of enterprising operators have removed the soft toys from the machines and fill them with, yes, toilet rolls.
Who would have thought that one of the consequences of a worldwide coronavirus pandemic would be a shortage of toilet rolls.
Britain the nation of hot fresh popcorn Lovers! In fact most say it’s the only treat worthy to indulge in at the cinemas along with a tango ice blast slush. I mean what’s better than hot fresh popcorn…salted or sweet or if your adventurous maybe even toffee popcorn washed down with a mixed slushy.
Subsequently however many hot fresh popcorn lovers will also
be able to tell you how annoying it is to get popcorn pieces stuck in your
teeth and just how stubborn the curved shell can be to remove from the
residence they seem to take upon your mouth. In fact I think it’s fair to say
some popcorn shells try to take up squatters rights.
One man who lives to tell the harrowing tale of having a hot
fresh popcorn piece stuck in his tooth is 41 year old Adam Martin from
Cornwall. Adam a firefighter and farther of three managed to get a piece of popcorn
stuck in his teeth after watching a film one evening in September with his wife
and kids. Martin’s used a number of tools for around three or four days to try
and dislodge the popcorn including items such as a tooth pick, pen lid, piece
of wire and even a metal nail. After dislodging the popcorn Adam carried on his
day to day activities forgetting all about the popcorn fiasco.
Less than a week later…
Less than a week later Martin began to suffer from the
typical symptoms of flue, fatigue, constant headaches, body shivers and sweats,
however when these symptoms had yet to subside months later he took a trip to
the doctors who diagnosed him with a mild heart murmur and sent him home. When he
continued to feel unwell he went to Cornwall Royal Hospital where he was there
diagnosed with Endocarditis which is an infection of the endocardium which
affects the lining of the interior chambers of the heart. According to
specialists the infection is brought on when bacteria enters the bloodstream
especially from the mouth and skin
Adam himself stated that he felt there was something
seriously wrong, and that he was sleeping all the time and had aches and pains
in his legs. He was admitted the same day to the hospital for more tests and to
see the extent of how serious this infection was. The tests and scans showed
that his heart was severely damaged and he had to undergo an emergency 7 hour
open heart surgery to repair the mitral valve and replace the aortic valve.
Moral Of The Hot Fresh Popcorn Story
If Adam had gone to the dentist in the first place to remove
the hot fresh popcorn piece safely then this near death experience may never
have happened. Even though it wasn’t proved that the popcorn led to all that
had gone wrong Adam stated that was the only thing he could think of to cause
an infection. The infection could also have been handled sooner if he had of
got antibiotics sooner.
Don’t let this story put you off enjoying the hot fresh
popcorn at the cinema! This is such a trivial situation that lead to an
unfortunate but rare situation. So guys the moral of the story is if you get
popcorn stuck in your teeth go to see a professional and don’t use any old
object laying around.
Edible coffee cups are a new green innovation being trailed
by Air New Zealand; a leading national airline. The Cups made from vanilla
flavoured biscotti are made by a local New Zealand company Twiice. When first
hearing about this trial my first thought was no one wants a leaky coffee cup! Imagine
sat minding your own business and before you could finish your coffee the
biscotti gives way and hot frothy coffee leaks all over your lap staining your
clothes and making you uncomfortable for the rest of your flight! However after
further research I have been informed these cups are apparently ‘leak proof’.
Numbers Don’t Lie
Statistics show that 99.75% of coffee cups are not recycled,
the UK alone are estimated to throw away 2.5 billion coffee cups away each year
and only 0.25% are recycled. Air New Zealand are responsible for serving more than
8 million cups of coffee a year and said that they want to reduce the amount of
waste that the company sends to landfills. This is just a small step on a large
scale global issue. Many people have said that a change in cups is not a big
enough environmental commitment for a company that size to make however in a
statement released by Air New Zealand said that these new cups was being trailed
both on the ground and in the air and was a small step into finding new
innovative ways to meet sustainability challenges.
The cups have been a big hit so far with customers and they
have also used the cups to serve desserts in rather than plastic dessert bowls.
The cups are said to have a really good impact on the environment especially if
it catches on to other companies around the world. The switch is from compostable
cups made of paper and corn that is used in most of Air New Zealand’s lounges
and aeroplanes, these cups are environmentally friendly however still fill up
the landfill sites and take years to decompose. The plant based bio degradable
cups have still been made available for consumers that may have a food allergy
as the cups may contain traces of nuts, dairy and eggs.
Edible Coffee Cups Saving Reputations
Air companies and travel companies come under a lot of
scrutiny when it comes to the environment. Flights produce a lot of greenhouse
gases from burning fuel which contributes largely to the world’s global warning
issue when the fuel is released into the atmosphere.
All companies no matter how big or small can take steps to help reduce their carbon footprint… if these new edible coffee cups literally take off and become popular than we may have to look into them for our coffee cart events.
Three drinks in life that are guaranteed to keep you awake all night long , to make your heart race, your palm sweat your senses alert and your hair stand on edge, red bull, coffee and jaeger…normally drinks you take separately, maybe a vodka red bull to start your night, a cold jager shot to help you party through the night till the early hours of the morning and coffee to kick start your hungover day. Imagine two of them mixed together…a revolutionary new drink guaranteed to keep you awake all day! Jaeger coffee is the new drink on the scene.
Jägermeister has launched a new alcoholic line to their already popular spirit. Cold brew coffee with 33% alcohol by volume guaranteed to keep you awake all night long. Each shot of cold coffee brew contains around 10% of caffeine similar to a standard serving of coffee from your local coffee shop, the new drink is designed to be served as the normal jager at an icy -18 degrees Celsius.
Blend guaranteed to keep you awake all night
Don’t fancy the taste of a Jägermeister coffee mix Here is a
snippet of the drink from the official Jägermeister website which I think may
just change your mind;
‘Jägermeister cold brew coffee is the perfect blend of our
classic herbal liqueur with a generous helping of strong roasted Arabica coffee
and a hint of chocolatey cocoa. Distinctive aromatic spicy notes leaf to a
delicious, sweet and rich finish. Crafted exclusively with all-natural
ingredients, every element comes together to create a taste of the unexpected.’
This is the first permanent addition under the Jägermeister belt in over 50 years. The drink will be available to buy in Morrison stores around the UK. As well as Greene King pubs, beds and bars outlets in London. A gift set can be purchased direct from the website for £24.99. I think this drink will be a sure hit over the years with party goers who are willing to try new drinks and want to keep up to the party animals on the scene and make it through the night.
Cold coffee has been dominant on the shop floor for years just as jager bombs have been in the club and bar scene. So a mix together may have just filled a niche in the market because who doesn’t love a drink that’s practically guaranteed to keep you awake all night long.
We offer both coffee and jaeger carts for any event! I think that cold jager coffee will go down a treat at most parties, weddings and university events. So watch this space as we may offer it soon.
We’ve heard of some wacky ideas for types and flavors of drinks but this one really takes the biscuit, Atomik Vodka!
33 years after the worst nuclear energy disaster in the world scientists have used crops from the waste area to create a new atomic vodka. The science team behind the drink have assured tasters that the drink is radioactive-free and that it could ‘possibly be the most important bottle of spirits in the world’. Scientists from both the UK and Ukraine who spent over 24 months researching the area and looking into the scientific transference of radioactivity the local area of crops.
Locals to the area
Locals hope that this new product will help the region to
recover economically as if crops and land can now be used without any
radioactive side effects. They also hope to start a new enterprise launching a
spirit company producing the Chernobyl vodka and selling it on.
A professor from Portsmouth University who worked on the project said that he hoped this would be the start of something brilliant for the local area and that he is hopeful that these special bottles of vodka which is made from grain local to Chernobyl will make a path for future endeavours. Describing the spirit as the most important in the world due to the help it could give to the recovery of the economic in the local areas in and around the abandoned areas of the Chernobyl. He plans for over 70% of the profits to be given back to the local community
Scientists behind this product explained the process. They took
the rye that was slightly contaminated in the contaminated area and water from the
Chernobyl aquifer and they then distilled it. Although some radioactivity was
found in the grain the process of distillation reduces the impurities which
means that this spirit is safe to drink matching other brands of spirits also
avalible on the shop floor. The main exclusion zone is a wild life reserve area
and therefore shouldn’t be used as an agricultural site however there is areas
around the area that could be used.