I got into the events industry because I had been working in TV for around 11 years and the shine was beginning to fade. Any sense of creativity or risk was continually being dumped in favour of celebrity. Working for Chillisauce was a chance to be thoroughly creative and take risks. If I see another celeb earnestly tell me how much the Lake District/dogs/engineering means to them whilst fighting back faux tears, I think I’ll be sick on my shoes.
I have worked here since March 2011, although I have been a shareholder in the company since it was set up 10 years ago, so I kept a very healthy interest in its development.
I was attracted to this particular role because I could be as creative and free thinking as I wanted to be. There are no precedents for a lot of the things we’re being asked to do, so we can put ideas together without constraint. I was offered the role on the CEO’s stag do and by that point in the evening I would probably have agreed to become a professional morris dancer.
Not many people know that I learnt to do the dance to Kylie Minogue’s ‘Can’t get you out of my head’ before Kylie did. My wife danced for Kylie and had to teach her the dance so I helped her out. I was amazing, seriously, put a great big plastic bin on my head like the other dancers and you wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference.
My worst experience at an event was actually one where I was a participant. It was the bi-centennial celebrations of French independence on the Champs Elysées in 1989. A lot of us had been viewing the entertainments from the roof of McDonald’s and a large crowd had gathered to watch us. I was only 18 and thought that the best way to help a young lady down from the roof was to support her bottom with my hands. The crowd went ballistic and I very nearly got a slap, but I was only trying to help.
If there’s one thing I’ve learnt it’s to get everything in writing and double check with each supplier precisely what they think their input is. Things can get lost in the mix and in this business you can’t afford things to slip through the net.
The best event I’ve been involved in was the making and rigging the world’s largest bra for Vanish. It took around five months to organise but came together brilliantly thanks to some incredible efforts from all concerned, particularly the abseiling team who were still hanging off the building at 11pm the night before it was unveiled. It was unlike any other event we’ve ever done.
If I could do it all over again I would probably reconsider changing all my A levels overnight after thinking that I should become a helicopter pilot. I’ve been reaping the whirlwind from that one ever since.
The one thing I can’t stand is limp handshakes. If you’re going to shake my hand shake it like you mean it, but don’t overdo it, if you crush my fingers then I’m guessing you’re a bit insecure.
Outside of work I spend my time mucking about with my kids. Nothing beats it.
If money were no object I would really like to buy a car with less than 100,000 miles on the clock. Each time I bring a ‘new’ one home I have to run my wife through the list of things that don’t work on it. But I’m keeping it real, there’s something too gangster max about a new car.
The one event I will never miss is St George’s Day. Everyone forgets about it, but it’s the day before my birthday, so it’s a handy warm up.
The next 12 months will probably be pretty hectic as always. We’re working on some really interesting projects for some great brands, so I’m looking forward to it.
If I could switch places with anyone else in the industry it would be with a lion tamer, but I’d never be totally convinced that the animal would trust me, not coming from a wildlife background. So it would probably be Keith Prowse, worth billions from tickets.
If I ruled the event industry I would absolutely completely and utterly ban people from sitting on other people’s shoulders whilst watching music based entertainment. I’d have security with massive nets fishing them out of the crowd. It’s not extreme, it’s all about manners.
Comment below and let us know what you think.
For more in-depth and print-only features, showcases and interviews with world-leading brands, don't miss the next issue of Event magazine by subscribing here.