Tag Archives: Moulin Rouge

An Inappropriate Visit To The Moulin Rouge

“That is the Can-can. The idea of it is to dance as wildly, as noisily, as furiously as you can; expose yourself as much as possible if you are a woman; and kick as high as you can, no matter which sex you belong to. There is no word of exaggeration in this. Any of the staid, respectable, aged people who were there that night can testify to the truth of that statement.”                                               Mark Twain – ‘The Innocents Abroad’

Between 1995 and 2000 I worked for a French company called Onyx UK and they used to take us away frequently for management meetings and we stayed in expensive hotels and hung out in bars and nice restaurants but what was best was that once a year we all assembled at Waterloo station and they put us on Eurostar train and took us through the tunnel to Paris for an annual conference.

One year when they were really showing off after buying out a competitor they took us to the Moulin Rouge for a special treat and we had champagne to drink and an extravagant stage show to watch.  Although they would have negotiated a group discount on account of there being about eighty of us someone told me later that this demonstration of extravagant folly cost the company over £8,000 which was about the equivalent of the annual salary of one of the street cleaners that it employed.  To his credit my friend Mike Jarvis refused to go because he didn’t consider it appropriate to accompany female colleagues to what he described as a strip-club but I did not share his lofty moral objections, declared it to be an up-market strip club and happily accepted my ticket for the meal and the show.

The Moulin Rouge opened on 6th October 1889 in a building at the foot of the Montmartre hill. Its creators were savvy businessmen who understood perfectly what Parisian society wanted and they created a nightclub to allow the very rich to go legitimately to the fashionable but seedy district of Montmartre where they could demonstrate egalitarian virtues and mix with workers, artists, prostitutes, the middle classes, businessmen, elegant women and foreigners visiting Paris.

By day the exterior of the Moulin Rouge is rather disappointing and the red windmill looks ridiculous and out of place on this Paris Boulevard but by night it is something completely different with glitzy lights, the whiff of gauloise on the evening air and a sense of anticipation as people turn up for the show. We arrived in two buses and were ushered through the lines of people waiting behind barriers who would gladly buy our tickets from us if we were prepared to sell and past ladies of dubious employment who would gladly accompany anyone who had a spare.

Walking along the corridor and through the doors into the interior was an awesome experience, like stepping back to Belle Époque turn of the century Paris into a room decorated in lavish red with rows of table lamps flickering like glow worms and columns adorned with Toulouse Lautrec posters and other appropriate memorabilia.  My first open–mouthed impression was that this was a magnificent venue with authentic mural paintings and columns with the original posters of the big name stars that have appeared here, somewhere that epitomised the golden age of peace, extravagance and optimism that was perfectly captured here in a sort of time capsule.  It isn’t especially big inside which gives it an intimate ambiance and this was emphasised when we squeezed into out allotted tables about half way back from the stage in between two rows of decorative gold fences that separated the eight hundred and fifty diners into convenient corrals for the waiters to serve tables.

The Galop from Jacques Offenbach’s ‘Orpheus in the Underworld’ is the tune most associated with the famous can-can dance which is a prominent feature of the entertainment and this played repeatedly in the background as the room began to fill and until the buzz of anticipation eventually drowned it out. Once everyone was in their seats the lights went down, the music exploded into the auditorium and the dancers in lavish costumes opened the two hour show with the iconic high kicking dance.

During the show there was an average three-course corporate entertainment meal and for our table of eight there was cheap champagne and a bottle of red and white wine which proved completely inadequate and was soon consumed.  We considered buying more but it was prohibitively expensive because the management doesn’t want tables full of boozed-up louts acting inappropriately, leering and wolf whistling at the women on stage so we stayed dry for the second half of the show with the intention of making up for it later back at our hotel.

After the show the room emptied quickly as guests were efficiently whisked away to the street for waiting taxis and transportation.  Our coaches were there and took us directly back to the hotel where Mike was sitting in the bar and over a drink or two remained indignantly uninterested in out tales of the evening’s entertainment, he didn’t want to know about the mime artist or the acrobat who balanced on chairs and he especially didn’t want to know about the half clothed dancers and on reflection, although I enjoyed it, I have to say that I agree with him.

__________________________________________________

More tales of incompetence, waste and extravagance:

Cory Environmental, Blunders and Bodger

The Tendering process

First Weekend as a Refuse Collection Contract Manager

Disorganising the Work

Cory Environmental at Southend on Sea

Onyx UK

An Inappropriate Visit to The Moulin Rouge

Onyx UK and the Dog Poo Solution

The Royal Ascot Clear Up Fiasco

An Unexpected Travel Opportunity

__________________________________________________

Onyx UK, SABU, FUBAB and Swan Upping

Onyx UK Dennis Eagle RCV

Onyx UK no longer exists as such and has been renamed Veolia Environmental Services (sounds impressive doesn’t it?) and its website claims that it ‘currently delivers refuse collection services to around five million residents in the UK… Working with Veolia Environmental Services means Local Authorities can be assured of receiving an efficient, reliable and responsive service.’  Well, things must have changed dramatically there as well because they turned out to be just as hopeless as Cory Environmental.

The main reason for this I put down to the fact that they were a French Company who came across the English Channel without any sort of useful business plan to try to exploit the privatisation of English council services without really understanding them.  This was a shame because before this the English had effectively kept the French out for over a thousand years but now Margaret Thatcher and her Tory cronies had simply invited them in.  As well as Onyx,  Sitaclean, also from France,  came as well and it wasn’t only the French because the Spanish company Focsa also turned up, the first time Spain had had a go at England since the Armarda in 1588.  By 1995 there were simply too many players in the game, which was driving prices down and as well as the European challenge there was BFI from the USA and the home grown companies of BIFFA, Cleanaway and Service Team.

Onyx House

This is Onyx House on the Mile End Road in east London.

The foreign companies sent over their up and coming senior managers and all of the trainee draft-dodging clever-dicks to come and try to tell us how to be better at something we had been doing rather well for a long time before their unwanted intervention.  Our Managing Director was a man called Edouard Dupont-Madinier (Ed knows best) who was a really agreeable and pleasant man and obviously cultured and intelligent but, to me anyway, never seemed especially comfortable managing a waste management business in England.

This by the way is a typical French business management model.  If a company is in trouble, it will parachute in a graduate of one of France’s Grande Ecoles, someone who has studied business theory and economics for ten years or so but who has never set foot in depot or done a day’s work on the factory floor.

The important thing to the French is leadership not experience and for that the day-to-day running of the company was actually undertaken by a loveable rascal called Percy Powell and while he was there it was a really good place to work.  You couldn’t tell the French anything of course on account of the fact that they were exactly that – French.  There is something uniquely arrogant about them which means that even when they are so obviously stupidly wrong they are always convinced that they are right!  And, what on earth made the French think that they could keep our streets clean when they can’t even deal with the dog waste problem on the pavements in their own country?

Clueless Moments at Onyx UK

Working for Onyx resulted in a lot of head scratching!

When I moved to Onyx I swapped my clapped out Peugeot 405 (which had been driving up and down the M1 and around the M25 for three years) for a brand new Citroen Xantia and was based at Maidenhead and for a while just concentrated on making my new contract a success.  I found myself in unusual circumstances because this contract actually made a profit so there was no longer the day-to-day pressure of trying to improve the finances and explaining reoccurring monthly failure to the bosses.

The money was rolling in and the French really liked my contract because it was Royal and special and the Queen lived at Windsor so they kept bringing dignitaries and potential clients to visit and they always wanted to show off so we used to go to lunch at the Roux Brothers Michelin Star Restaurant on Monkey Island at Bray which must have cost a fortune in hospitality.  My friend and manager Mike Jarvis used to visit regularly and we would do a bit of work  in the morning and then have a nice lunch together at the White Hart in the nearby village of Holyport.  In the evenings we used to go to the Old Swan Uppers pub in  Cookham and after a meal and a few drinks stay overnight at the Company’s expense.  I was rarely under any pressure and life was good.

I didn’t complain of course but the French were equally as unfathomable as Cory Environmental when it came to spending unnecessary money.  Just as with Cory we stayed in expensive hotels and hung out in bars and nice restaurants but what was even better about Onyx was that once a year we all assembled at Waterloo station and they put us on Eurostar train and took us through the tunnel to Paris for an annual conference which was much, much better than Torbay and the IWM conference (even though we still went there as well).  One year when they were really showing off after buying out a competitor they took us to the Moulin Rouge for a special treat and we had champagne to drink and watch a variety show.  And they called this work!

With all of this extravagance you would have thought that the company was making a fortune and all of the contracts were highly profitable but not a bit of this was true and just as Cory Environmental the thing they really excelled at was getting tenders wrong, under pricing to win the work and then losing money in dramatic style.  Councils up and down the country from Berwick-on-Tweed in Northumberland to Teignbridge in Devon were all taking advantage of cut-price services and the French were subsidising council tax payers all over England by hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Another surprising thing was that although financial performance was woeful every April we all used to get a generous annual bonus of two or three thousand pounds each.  This was very nice but ridiculous because the company was going down the financial plughole fast.  I have to confess now that I contributed to that because I was part of the tendering team that successfully bid for the Wycombe contract and have to accept my full share of the blame.  Angela Sives, was the tendering manager, who, in a delicious twist of fate, later went on to work for Wycombe District Council as the Procurement Manager because presumably they thought she could do a great deal like that every time?

This one was a real shocker and although not quite on the Cory Environmental Southend scale, lost significant amounts of money from day one.

Onyx UK Wycombe Refuse Vehicles

Thinking about this reminded me of the Onyx management method of assessing mistakes.  Basically there were two, a SABU and a FUBAB.  A SABU is a ‘Self Adjusting Balls Up‘ and not particularly critical, the sort of mistake that will put itself right with a bit of adjustment and covering up but a FUBAB, ‘A F*** Up Beyond All Belief’ is much more serious, impossible to cover up, requires lots of work to straighten it out and can be a potential career wrecker.  Well, believe me the Wycombe tender was a monumental FUBAB and one that cost hundreds of thousands of pounds and was never put right.

In my opinion, the explanation why tenders were so consistently underbid was down to two reasons.  First the tendering team always assumed that the operational teams would be able to deliver everything according to plan and always in the most efficient way and sadly this was rarely the case.  Secondly because each tender went through a review process and at each stage as it travelled up through the company hierarchy someone would take something out here or reduce  resources there or make unrealistic assumptions about the whole bid and by the time they were signed off they were always another potential financial liability.

Imagine my surprise that despite my contribution to the Wycombe fiasco I was rewarded with an annual bonus just the same and shortly after that a promotion to Regional Manager of the North.  This was a huge region stretching from Berwick on Tweed on the Scottish border to Derby in the Midlands and from Boston, in Lincolnshire, on the east coast, to Copeland in Cumbria on the west.  In all there were thirteen contracts in the region and except for Trafford in Manchester they all made a loss.  The downside was that the regional office was in Derby and I had to live at home for a few months.

Luckily, being such a large region naturally involved huge amounts of travelling and being away from home meant more time in hotels and more hefty bar bills.  Eventually the company rented me a nice house in Richmond in Yorkshire and I had a very enjoyable year living in the Yorkshire Moors at their expense.  It was like being on a permanent holiday and disappointing therefore when Colin Whitehead, the previous Regional Manager (who had left and gone to work for Service Team, a competitor) decided he didn’t like it there after all and wanted to come back.

Being a mate of Percy he was reappointed and given his old region back and I was sent back to Windsor and Maidenhead with the compensation of a new Central Region, which unfortunately included the financial millstone of Wycombe.  And not just Wycombe because I also inherited a lot of unprofitable contracts from a man called Peter Clint who had cleaned out all the reserves and all the bargaining opportunities on the way out.  Peter was a bit of a crook, a chancer and a rogue and he stitched me up good and proper and later on was to gang up on me with others to lose me my job.

The real shocker however was that Windsor and Maidenhead was also beginning to lose money through the loss of profitable bits of the contract and the addition of new work that didn’t make any money at all, there was  a new council client manager who rather unreasonably expected us to do all of the work in the contract specification and Mike was too busy in another failing contract at Westminster to drop by and visit.

This is the Swan Uppers in Cookham.  Swan Uppers is a strange name don’t you think?  Well, here is the explanation:

Swan upping is a means of establishing a swan census, and today also serves to check the health of swans. Under a Royal Charter of the fifteenth century, the Vintners’ Company and the Dyers’ Company, two Livery Companies of the City of London, are entitled to share in the Sovereign’s ownership. They conduct the census through a process of ringing the swan’s feet, but the swans are no longer eaten.

Swan upping occurs annually during the third week of July. During the ceremony, the Queen’s, the Vintners’, and the Dyers’ Swan Uppers row up the river in skiffs and literally ‘lift’ the birds – hence ‘upping). Swans caught by the Queen’s Swan Uppers under the direction of the Swan Marker are unmarked, except for a ring linked to the database of the British Trust For Ornithology.

_________________________________________________

More Waste Management Tales:

Cory Environmental, Blunders and Bodger

The Tendering process

First Weekend as a Refuse Collection Contract Manager

Disorganising the Work

Cory Environmental at Southend on Sea

An Inappropriate Visit to The Moulin Rouge

Onyx UK and the Dog Poo Solution

The Royal Ascot Clear Up Fiasco

An Unexpected Travel Opportunity

___________________________________________________

Hospitality Budgets

I have written here before about my ten year career in waste management (1990-2000) with Cory Environmental and Onyx UK but I don’t think I really mentioned the Chartered Institute of Waste Management Annual Conference that used to be held every June in Paignton in Devon.

The Institute of Waste Management is a sort of professional trade union.  When it started almost anyone could join but over the years it has become an exclusive club that you have to pass pointless exams to get in. Let me put this into some kind of perspective – this is not about being an architect, a journalist a solicitor or a teacher, waste management is about picking up other people’s rubbish and chucking it into the back of a smelly dustcart!

In June 1991 the company (Cory Environmental) made arrangements for all the managers to attend the conference and exhibition and we stayed at the Maycliffe Hotel in St Luke’s Road in Torquay.  I had already started to become accustomed to uncontrolled drinking bouts at the expense of the company whilst staying in hotels but the annual IWM conference was the equivalent of the FA Cup Final or the Eurovision Song Contest because at this event everyone went crazy.

We were there for three nights and as well as the ludicrous extravagance of the company with people simply drinking themselves stupid there was unlimited hospitality because all of the big supply companies were there and wanted to impress and sell and were prepared to pay for it.  The big event and the one everyone lusted to get a ticket for was the Dennis Eagle banquet because this promised good food and high class entertainment but there was also plenty of food and drink from their competitors Jack Allen and the street sweeping vehicle manufacturers Johnson and Scarab.  As well as the big events there were lots of fringe companies trying to impress, wheelie bins, plastic sacks, protective clothing and tyres and they all hospitality budgets that we were eager to help them spend.

I went to the exhibition five times with Cory and then continued to go after I had left and moved to Onyx UK.  When we weren’t hanging around suppliers looking for free hand outs we would spend lunchtimes at the Inn on the Green and consume more beer and charge it to our company expense accounts.

I didn’t complain of course because Cory and Onyx were equally unfathomable when it came to spending unnecessary money.  We stayed in expensive hotels and hung out in bars and nice restaurants but what was better about Onyx was that once a year we all assembled at Waterloo station and they put us on Eurostar train and took us through the tunnel to Paris for an annual conference.  One year when they were really showing off after buying out a competitor they took us to the Moulin Rouge for a special treat and we had champagne to drink and watch an entertaining stage show.  And they called this work!

Even with poor financial performance the Company kept spending unnecessary money and one day in February 1997 my boss Percy telephoned me to tell me that he had heard of a new type of refuse collection vehicle with impressive labour saving innovations that offered huge operational savings and that he was interested in finding out more.  He asked me if I would be prepared to visit the factory where they were manufactured and give him my opinion.  To be honest I had very little interest in bincarts or how they are made but fortunately, before I could decline, he happened to mention that the factory was in Phoenix, Arizona in the United States of America and as quick as a flash my lack of interest transformed into complete and total enthusiasm.  Did I want to visit Phoenix to see some dustcarts?  You bet I did!

I couldn’t believe my luck and enjoyed four days in the United States where as well as having to visit the Heil refuse collection truck factory, which quite frankly was a bit of a bore, I also got to visit the Grand Canyon and enjoy some top class hospitality.  This was a really good trip and on reflection I decided that refuse vehicle manufacture was actually rather interesting after all.  We posted the report of our visit (missing out the drinking bits of course) and offered our availability for any similar official trips in the future.  This was a good move because the following year I was sent to La Rochelle in France to look at Semat refuse trucks and later in the same year I went to Milan to see the Brivio factory.  It’s amazing how interesting refuse trucks can suddenly become when there is an all expenses overseas trip involved.

Later the Company set up a centralised procurement unit under a greedy little man called Rob Stubbs that saved the best gigs for themselves and that was the end of the factory visits and the overseas travel but believe me I enjoyed it while it lasted.

I continued to go to the IWM conference and exhibition even after I left Onyx UK but to be honest without the heavy drinking at someone else’s expense and the hospitality which wasn’t really extended to local authority delegates it all began to lose its appeal and the very last time I went was 10th June 2003.

I don’t think the IWM has a conference and exhibition any more but they were extremely good fun while they lasted.

A Life in a Year – 6th October, An Inappropriate Visit To The Moulin Rouge

Between 1995 and 2000 I worked for a French company called Onyx UK and they used to take us away frequently and we stayed in expensive hotels and hung out in bars and nice restaurants but what was best was that once a year we all assembled at Waterloo station and they put us on Eurostar train and took us through the tunnel to Paris for an annual conference. 

One year when they were really showing off after buying out a competitor they took us to the Moulin Rouge for a special treat and we had champagne to drink and watched pretty ladies dancing on stage.  Although they would have negotiated a group discount on account of there being about eighty of us someone told me later that this demonstration of extravagant folly cost the company over £8,000 which was about the equivalent of the annual salary of one of the street cleaners that it employed.  To his credit my friend Mike Jarvis refused to go because he didn’t consider it appropriate to accompany female colleagues to what he described as a strip-club but I did not share his lofty moral objections, declared it to be an up-market strip club and happily accepted my ticket for the meal and the show.

The Moulin Rouge opened on 6th October 1889 in a building at the foot of the Montmartre hill. Its creators were savvy businessmen who understood perfectly what Parisian society wanted and they created a nightclub to allow the very rich to go legitimately to the fashionable but seedy district of Montmartre where they could demonstrate egalitarian virtues and mix with workers, artists, prostitutes, the middle classes, businessmen, elegant women and foreigners visiting Paris.

By day the exterior of the Moulin Rouge is rather disappointing and the red windmill looks ridiculous and out of place on this Paris Boulevard but by night it is something completely different with glitzy lights, the whiff of gauloise on the evening air and a sense of anticipation as people turn up for the show. We arrived in two buses and were ushered through the lines of people waiting behind barriers who would gladly buy our tickets from us if we were prepared to sell and past ladies of dubious employment who would gladly accompany anyone who had a spare.

Walking along the corridor and through the doors into the interior was an awesome experience, like stepping back to Belle Époque (French for Beautiful Era) turn of the century Paris into a room decorated in lavish red with rows of table lamps flickering like glow worms and columns adorned with Toulouse Lautrec posters and other appropriate memorabilia.  My first open–mouthed impression was that this was a magnificent venue with authentic mural paintings and columns with the original posters of the big name stars that have appeared here, somewhere that epitomised the golden age of peace, extravagance and optimism that was perfectly captured here in a sort of time capsule.  It isn’t especially big inside which gives it an intimate ambiance and this was emphasised when we squeezed into out allotted tables about half way back from the stage in between two rows of decorative gold fences that separated the eight hundred and fifty diners into convenient corrals for the waiters to serve tables.

The Galop from Jacques Offenbach’s ‘Orpheus in the Underworld’ is the tune most associated with the famous can-can dance which is a prominent feature of the entertainment and this played repeatedly in the background as the room began to fill and until the buzz of anticipation eventually drowned it out. Once everyone was in their seats the lights went down, the music exploded into the auditorium and the dancers in lavish costumes opened the two hour show with the iconic high kicking dance.  During the show there was an average three-course corporate entertainment meal and for our table of eight there was cheap champagne and a bottle of red and white wine which proved completely inadequate and was soon consumed.  We considered buying more but it was prohibitively expensive because the management doesn’t want tables full of boozed-up louts acting inappropriately, leering and wolf whistling at the girls on stage so we stayed dry for the second half of the show with the intention of making up for it later back at our hotel.

After the show the room emptied quickly as guests were efficiently whisked away to the street for waiting taxis and transportation.  Our coaches were there and took us directly back to the hotel where Mike was sitting in the bar and over a drink or two remained indignantly disinterested in out tales of the evening’s entertainment, he didn’t want to know about the mime artist or the acrobat who balanced on chairs and he especially didn’t want to know about the half clothed dancers and on reflection, although I enjoyed it, I have to say that I agree with him.

More tales of incompetence, waste and extravagance:

Cory Environmental, Blunders and Bodger

Cory Environmental at Southend on Sea

Onyx UK

An Unexpected Travel Opportunity

The Tendering process

A Life in a Year – 10th June, Institute of Waste Management Annual Conference

I have written here before about my ten year career in waste management (1990-2000) with Cory Environmental and Onyx UK but I don’t think I really mentioned the Chartered Institute of Waste Management annual conference that used to be held every June in Paignton in Devon.

The Institute of Waste Management is a sort of professional trade union.  When it started almost anyone could join but over the years it has become an exclusive club that you have to pass pointless exams to get in. Let me put this into some kind of perspective – this is not about being an architect, or a solicitor or a teacher, waste management is about picking up shit and chucking it into the back of a smelly dustcart!

In June 1991 the company (Cory Environmental) made arrangements for all the managers to attend the conference and exhibition and we stayed at the Maycliffe Hotel in St Luke’s Road in Torquay.  I had already started to become accustomed to uncontrolled drinking bouts at the expense of the company whilst staying in hotels but the annual IWM conference was the equivalent of the FA Cup Final or the Eurovision Song Contest because at this event everyone went crazy.

We were there for three nights and as well as the ludicrous extravagance of the company with people simply drinking themselves stupid there was unlimited hospitality because all of the big supply companies were there and wanted to impress and sell and were prepared to pay for it.  The big event and the one everyone lusted to get a ticket for was the Dennis Eagle banquet because this promised good food and high class entertainment but there was also plenty of food and drink from their competitors Jack Allen and the street sweeping vehicle manufacturers Johnson and Scarab.  As well as the big events there were lots of fringe companies trying to impress, wheelie bin, plastic sacks, protective clothing and tyres and they all hospitality budgets that we were eager to help them spend.

I went to the exhibition five times with Cory and then continued to go after I had left and moved to Onyx UK.  When we weren’t hanging around suppliers looking for free hand outs we would spend lunchtimes at the Inn on the Green and consume more beer and charge it to our company expense accounts.

I didn’t complain of course because Cory and Onyx were equally unfathomable when it came to spending unnecessary money.  We stayed in expensive hotels and hung out in bars and nice restaurants but what was better about Onyx was that once a year we all assembled at Waterloo station and they put us on Eurostar train and took us through the tunnel to Paris for an annual conference which was much, much better than Torbay, even though we still went there as well.  One year when they were really showing off after buying out a competitor they took us to the Moulin Rouge for a special treat and we had champagne to drink and watched pretty ladies dancing on stage.  And they called this work!

 

Even with poor financial performance the Company kept spending unnecessary money and one day in February 1997 my boss Percy telephoned me to tell me that he had heard of a new type of refuse collection vehicle with impressive labour saving innovations that offered huge operational savings and that he was interested in finding out more.  He asked me if I would be prepared to visit the factory where they were manufactured and give him my opinion.  To be honest I had very little interest in bincarts or how they are made but fortunately, before I could decline, he happened to mention that the factory was in Phoenix, Arizona in the United States of America and as quick as a flash my lack of interest transformed into complete and total enthusiasm.  Did I want to visit Phoenix to see some dustcarts?  You bet I did!

I couldn’t believe my luck and enjoyed four days in the United States where as well as having to visit the Heil refuse collection truck factory, which quite frankly was a bit of a bore, I also got to visit the Grand Canyon and enjoy some top class hospitality.  This was a really good trip and on reflection I decided that refuse vehicle manufacture was actually rather interesting after all.  We posted the report of our visit (missing out the drinking bits of course) and offered our availability for any similar official trips in the future.  This was a good move because the following year I was sent to La Rochelle in France to look at Semat refuse trucks and later in the same year I went to Milan to see the Brivio factory.  It’s amazing how interesting refuse trucks can suddenly become when there is an all expenses overseas trip involved.  Later the Company set up a centralised procurement unit under a greedy little man called Rob Stubbs that saved the best gigs for themselves and that was the end of the factory visits and the overseas travel but believe me I enjoyed it while it lasted.

I continued to go to the IWM conference and exhibition even after I left Onyx UK but to be honest without the heavy drinking at someone else’s expense and the hospitality which wasn’t really extended to local authority delegates it all began to lose its appeal and the very last time I went was 10th June 2003.

I don’t think the IWM has a conference and exhibition any more but they were extremely good fun while they lasted.