Joyce's Column: February

    Before I give you my chat from EAG I am sorry that we have recently seen the passing of yet another senior member of our industry Ray Elston. Ray was an operator of machines for many years in the industry and the founder of the company Selectomatics and he always had a cheeky smile, a glint in his eye and a tale to tell, and now I am going to tell you a tale about him that shows his kind heart and thought for other people. Ray took all the senior citizens for many years from the village he used to live in Cheshire for Christmas lunch at the local hostelry, and he paid for everything for them, where they all enjoyed themselves and often this meeting would be the only one over the festive period for some as they lived alone, and Ray got such pleasure from this to see them all enjoying themselves. I would like to extend my condolences to his wife Jayne and their family, and say Ray will be missed by many in the industry and all the senior citizens he used to treat.

    Now to continue with chat from the recent EAG, which I have to say appeared to be an excellent show, well attended and well organised by BACTA’s Nicola Lazenby, pity that the Excel organisers couldn’t do the same. Due to Google having some event on at the same time as EAG we were as visitors at the East End of Excel entrance treated like children at school on the first day, we all had to line up and then be escorted to the EAG and instructed to put our phones away as no photos were allowed until we got to the hall of EAG, and it was the same coming back at night after the show. The second day well this was a performance, again we had to queue but this time we were taken down4 flights of stairs and there were 2 men amongst us that had large suitcases so it wasn’t easy for them, we were then led through the rather smelly underground car park and finally transferred to a large people carrier, so what should have been a quick walk from the Excel East End entrance to EAG turned out to be close on 30/35 minutes with all the time wasting of queues, escorts, stairs, smelly car park and people carrier, just hope they manage to get something sorted for next year, bad planning I think on behalf of Excel.

    Sorry that my old mate Peter Murphy fell on the set-up day of the show, and poor guy he fractured his skull and had a bleed on the brain, but speaking with his wife and daughter they said that he might not need an operation for the bleed and of course as we all know a fractured skull heals itself. I understand that Peter is on the road to recovery and is not hospitalised any longer and is back home in the bosom of his family. I am sure all of you that know Peter and that will be many would like to join me in wishing him a speedy and safe recovery, and hope to see him soon.

    On the other hand it was lovely to see John Stergides Junior on the stand at Electrocoin after his cancer illness, and I have to say he looked very well considering what he had been through, and he was back in full flow selling and chatting.

    Poor Nicola Lazenby after all her wonderful organising of EAG didn’t get the reward she deserved as she fell ill on the Friday after the show and spent Saturday and Sunday either in bed or on her sofa with a fever, but at least it was not Covid that is something to be grateful for, hope you are fighting fit again now Nicola, as we all know you can’t keep a good woman down.

    Whitehouse Leisure’s Carl Crozier always seems a spritely and fit young man to me, but the hotel the company personnel stayed at EAG obviously thought different, they put Carl in a disabled room, well I suppose someone has to have them Carl, but I am surprised they gave you one, maybe they thought it was an experience for you for the future!!

    Congratulations to E-service on the celebration of 20 years in business and thanks to Paul Scott for ensuring I enjoyed some ‘Bubbles’ I mean Prosecco of course, maybe at the forthcoming Irish Show we might do the same, I do hope so, that will give me something to look forward to more ‘Bubbles.’

    Clacton Pier’s Alan Walker is celebrating 50 years in the industry this year, and I have to say Alan you looked well and it was nice to have a chat with you. Alan seems to like the piers as of course he was at Brighton Pier a few years ago when he was with the Noble Organisation.

    Sound Leisure’s Chris Black travelled to the show on Tuesday for the day and in his 7seater vehicle he brought with him his wife Cath, his dad Alan, friends Doug Hession, Tony Garlick, John Tilburn and Stuart Keane, I’ll bet that was some noisy journey. It was all worth it though as Alan, Doug, Tony, John and Stuart enjoyed catching up with friends they knew, plus they had the odd pint or two in the bar, well they weren’t driving so they could. Alan was also presented with a BACTA Award at the Awards Ceremony following the show, and he felt very humbled to receive this, and he made a very interesting speech about his life, and he still can’t believe he won this award. The photo shows the gang together including Cath and Alan’s Grandson Edward, and the other photo is one Alan asked me to take of him and David Snook, I have to say they both look very serious.

    John Tilburn was trying to find Stuart Keane at the show and he thought he had gone to the toilets, so he set off after him closely followed by Alan and Doug, and when he couldn’t find Stuart in the Gents he thought he would try what he thought was the Disabled toilets, but what a mistake he made. It was not the disabled toilets he was trying but the Ladies toilet and both Alan and Doug were shouting to him that it was the Ladies and not the Disabled, but he didn’t believe and was on his way into the Ladies, until a lady came out of the toilets. Good job she did John otherwise you might not have been going home to Leeds that night you might have been at a police station somewhere in London being interviewed thinking you were a pervert, and John all of us that know you know that you are a true gentleman, and it was just a mistake, but maybe you should take notice of Alan and Doug when they are telling you things in future!!   

    I enjoyed a lovely lunch with Karen Codd the ex organiser of EAG and Karen and myself have known each other since she joined the industry, but this is the very first time either she or me have taken time out for lunch, but then again she is now a free spirit and I freelance so we are own boss so to speak. What was going to be an hour lunch turned out to be closer on 2 hours as we were joined by Karen’s husband Billy and Steph and Kath from Amusement Network, so needless to say we had to have another bottle of wine, so it all takes time.

    Following the lunch that evening I attended the Press gathering for dinner in the Chinese restaurant at Excel, and it was a fun evening with lots of chat and laughs, and BACTA’s Martin Burlin got himself so excited he actually broke a glass on the table when he banged with his hand on the table. Gosh Martin you really must have some strength in those hands.

    I also left the Press gathering with something extra, a man’s flat cap, this belonged to Chris Jones of SJC, and when we were leaving, I tried the hat on, as I do love hats, and everyone said it suited me, and Chris being the gentleman that he is, he agreed it did suit me and gave it to me. I do hope your head was not too cold on your journey home Chris, I can assure you that mine wasn’t I had a lovely hat to wear. Thanks anyway, I do appreciate the hat.

     There will be more from EAG next month plus some chat from the Irish show in Dublin.

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    21 February 2024

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