25th January 2007

Something to keep the cold out

John Spain braves the cold for a visit to Olympia

You’ve got to feel sorry for the organisers of the Event Show. In what has been the warmest winter on record they awoke on the show’s first morning to find London covered with an economy-sized layer of snow, something that around the country is seen as an occupational hazard but which in London signals an almost complete breakdown of infrastructure.
I was meeting someone from Birmingham who managed to complete his journey in a little over two hours. While he was enjoying his coffee and Danish on the train from Brum, another colleague was taking over an hour to get to Olympia from only four stops away on the District Line.
All this came the day after we celebrated, if that is the right word, the fact that the 2012 Olympics were 2012 days away. Broadly speaking I remain hugely excited by the possibilities offered by the games, there are so many positives about it and we certainly don’t have the space to discuss them all here.
However, all of us in the events industry need to press for all the promises to come true by the time the games open and one of the major considerations is transport.
Yesterday a thin sheet of snow managed to mess up everybody’s day. Let’s hope that in five year’s time there won’t be some sort of unforeseen hiccup that messes up London’s Olympics. Fair enough, it won’t snow in summer but I’m sure that last year the heatwave resulted in buckled tracks or something equally avoidable.
I was thinking of Ian Allchild yesterday. Many of you will know Ian and his impeccable record of running show in the promotions sector, he’s a real exhibition man and it’s always a pleasure to hear his views on the industry.
Ian believes that when the temperature drops below a certain comfortable level, the visitors should be given a warming drink when they arrive at the hall, it’s an unnecessary but nevertheless thoughtful gesture.
I thought about that yesterday. It would have been so simple to have a table with hot drinks available for visitors when they came in from the cold, especially if they had the same kind of journey on the District Line as the person I mentioned earlier. It certainly wouldn’t cost much but the warm glow it would give the visitors, both physically and spiritually, would surely have benefited the show.
Then again, we live in the age of concession food outlets and there’s probably some agreement between them and the venue that prevents such magnanimous gestures taking place.