Orgasms, Theatre and Mountains - All In A Day's Work

The latest edition of Professional Manager magazine ran a profile piece about a day in the life of me!

08:00 The day begins in an outdoor pool. I swim an awful lot and I love swimming outside.

10:00 I attend a somewhat sombre meeting to discuss how London and the UK stage state events such as royal funerals and the like, focusing on how they can be approached from a management point of view.

11:30 Jump to the other end of the spectrum, I take a brief from a pharmaceutical brand that wants to stage an event to promote a sex aid. One of the ideas I float is choreographing searchlights in the sky to the soundtrack of an orgasm. This is a contrast to the previous meeting!

13:00 Lunch is a sandwich on the move. I then spend a lot of the afternoon working on a project I'm producing in Brazil. It involves projecting large imagery for a brand on to the side of Sugarloaf Mountain and other mountains across Rio de Janeiro. There are all kinds of hurdles and red tape to negotiate; mainly trying to find ways around regulatory issues and negotiating with the military there. I find that, even when challenges get thrown in our way, with the right determination and tenacity there's always a solution. I enjoying finding ways around problems, I've never failed yet.

16:00 Alongside my day job, I have the privilege of mentoring several people and organisations. While working on the Brazil project, I spend about an hour taking calls from a grass-roots sports organisation and a small theatre group. Enjoyable, I get to help them with various things such as business management through to their events.

19:00 I have a quick dinner with a friend in town then head home. I spend the evening writing, which I do quite a lot of. I'm working on my second book and have articles going out in various publications such as the Huffington Post, about once a week or so. I write on things like major events, how they're stage, how to overcome problems and how to structure them. I find writing enjoyably therapeutic.

Should Opening Ceremonies Be Unleashed From Stadiums?

As the Commonwealth Games approaches later this year in Glasgow, the Opening Ceremony has been receiving its fair share of attention. Controversy aside, I'm of the view Opening Ceremonies need to fundamentally evolve. I wrote a comment piece in the Herald Scotland newspaper articulating my thoughts.

Read the full article here.

Is The FIFA 2014 World Cup Just One Big Circus?

I wrote a piece for The Huffington Post today: with yet more casualties in Rio - getting stadiums built, is it time that the travelling circus of mega-event reappraise how they award the rights for and oversee mega-events?

Read the full article here...

End the Needless Suffering When Creating Live Events

20 years. That’s how long I’ve been involved with live events.

I won’t lie, the first 10 or 15 of those, I spent a lot time suffering. I, like many others, suffered with things like: long hours, high risks, high costs, budgets evaporating, frustration, ideas getting watered down, sleepless nights . . . the list goes on.

To a greater or lesser extent everyone else I met seemed to be suffering with the same issues, so I thought it was just part of the game. An occupational hazard if you like. Sometimes these issues were relentless, people would be questioning whether it would never end! They'd be holding on for dear life until for the event to happen and then be over.

Eventually though, I got frustrated with all this nonsense and thought there had to be a better way. Were these problems really inherent hazards when working in or around live events, or could they be avoided? I took a step back and started to look more forensically at the world of ‘events’.
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Create Great Organising Committees For Great Economic Impact

I've been involved with and worked for all manner of organising committees, these have primarily been in the sports sector, though some in the arts, and a few in the corporate (business to business) sector too. From the Olympic / Paralympic Games, Tour de France, the London 2012 Festival and more besides.

Organising Committees are typically formed to organise, create or deliver large events. This is all well and good, but how much organising do they actually do? Is a committee the best tool? And does an organising committee actually make a large event more expensive and more complicated than it needs to be?

Organising Committees should be great super powers, however I see so many people who are either supporting or working in organising committees struggling and suffering. Why?
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The Biggest Orgasm Ever?

Towards the end of 2013, at Allium, we were approached by Virgo Consumer Health & Wellbeing and their client: Durex to help promote their latest product: Durex Embrace Pleasure Gels around Valentines Day in 2014.
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Tour de France 2014 Budget Woes

I was invited onto BBC Radio Leeds today for a live discussion about reports of the Tour de France's budget having a £2m shortfall. Is £2m a lot of money?
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The Live Event Procurement Paradox - Sound Familiar?

Picture the scene: you’ve got a product to sell, a message to get across or some entertainment to put on. You want a live event.

You decide you want to put out a tender to find (procure) the best company or solution - maybe with the best ideas or offering the best value.

Your tender, in summary, says:

1. We want a live event that achieves x,y,z.
2. Please send us a picture and plans of what you propose to help us achieve x,y,z.
3. Please tell us what it will cost.

You then get all the tenders back, pick the one you like and award the contract. You’ve a specification of what will be delivered and a price. Done.

Well . . . almost.
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Will Sochi's Security be a Tipping Point?

The new IOC president, Thomas Bach, made a bold statement today: "We have full confidence in the Russian authorities." He was referring of course to the security risks, and issues, surrounding the soon-to-begin Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

From people protesting about Russia's anti-gay laws to religious fundamentalists - this major event, like any other, is a ripe target for attacks.

Thomas Bach went on to say: "Security is the responsibility of the host country and we know the Russian services are working closely with different international services to ensure that participants and spectators in the Games feel safe and secure."

Now that's a statement that clearly says two things...
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Do Mega Events Need Megabucks?

skynewsEarlier this week I was invited onto Sky News briefly to discuss the, possibly unofficial, decision to move the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup mega event from a toasty summer to the significantly cooler winter. This was met with outcry from some footballing quarters; there are eight years to work out how to get around the problem in my view though. Far better to host a world-cup without players, spectators and the (literally) thousands of other people working on the event melting. People melting isn't great for the atmosphere or PR.

This discussion coincided with a piece in the Guardian by Simon Jenkins. In summary he calls for or predicts an end to these mega events given their proven ability to bankrupt a city and turn perfectly acceptable locations into military forts for a few weeks.

Other commentators, including David Owens of debate the merits of the IOC and FIFA considering a single location for these mega events. I would argue that this might happen automatically given these events are being increasingly awarded to cities with the most money. A trend evidenced by Sochi 2014 and Qatar 2022. There will soon only be a handful of cities with the cash required to win.

Is there not another, far easier, more palatable solution? I would argue there is.
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