Twelve years ago this month, we were all set to host one of our first ever venue showcase events at St.Paul's Cathedral (a venue we still work with to this day). Following the huge success of our very first (the very first) industry showcase in 2001 at Lincoln's Inn Fields (1,000 guests showed up!), which we aptly named 'The Great Summer Showcase', such events were considered an exciting, peripatetic (look that up, it's a great word!) alternative to trade shows. I still believe that a fun, dynamic and fully immersive event experience at a different venue each time, with different suppliers showcasing their wares, is the best way to source the 'ingredients' for your events. Even better if you've used Londonlaunch.com for your initial research! So there we were, with the challenge of upstaging our Great Summer Showcase firmly on the agenda on our first site visit to Sir Christopher Wren's masterpiece. The meeting went well. Until I had a great idea.
In order to grab the attention of the corporate market and dispel any prejudice against the ecclesiastical venue for being either too pious or 'stuffy' in any way (it's actually anything but) I decided I would dress up as Lord Nelson (complete with wooden leg) and, amidst copious amounts of swirling dry ice emanating from the crypt, I would rise out of Nelson's tomb and welcome the guests to my home. I thought it was a great idea but in the embryonic years of boldly opening the crypt up to live corporate receptions, it was clearly a resurrection too far!
I mention this because, after all these years, I've taken to hosting our events in theme. Having been a retro pilot and even a Victorian Ringmaster in recent months, I will be hosting our next event on the 16th July as George Shillibeer, the inventor of the first school bus! Seemingly random, it is, in fact, wholly appropriate as the warehouse-style urban venue we're launching used to be his 'bus works' back in the early 1800's! If you dont already know Angels, the world's leading authentic costumiers, then you need to check them out - they're incredible and I believe that every event host should have the balls to stand out! Shillibeer's really is a fascinating place and we hope to see you there!
It seems that I've been on a tour of iconic places this week - from Home House to Broadway House, The Kensington Roof Gardens to Henley on Thames and (naturally) lots of less salubrious places in between!
My week started with a series of in depth meetings relating to the 'Chinese Dream Ball'. This event is set to be an incredible charity dinner, showcasing stunning China and introducing UK businesses to Chinese captains of industry - sort of a spectacular trade mission in the most dramatic of settings (details to be revealed soon). As a little taster, one of the auction prizes is rumoured to be a Mayfair Apartment! We're already getting a great gang of Londonlaunch.com accredited members involved and it'll certainly be a spectacular event.
Tuesday 25th June was a snowy Christmas Day. Inside the Hippodrome Casino, of course! The first proper Christmas showcase event was a no holds barred, rat-pack (and Champagne) fuelled festive full-house where I finally learned how to card count. That doesn't mean I can do it though - its seriously bloody difficult. Especially when there are six decks of cards involved in every Blackjack game. It's all about giving ranges of cards a mathematical 'value' (eg. 2 to 5 is worth plus 1, whereas 6-9 is worth '0' and 10-Ace is worth minus 1) and then counting the total. For a long time. Apparently, once you reach a total of plus 8, you bet big - but I can't remember how or why! It was a fascinating lesson though. I know how to play Roulette now too - but that didn't stop me losing every single chip without winning a thing. I thoroughly recommend the Hippodrome's 'learn to play' evenings though. There aren't many mainline casinos who are happy to teach their guests in such a friendly, non-pressured and relaxed atmosphere...
The following morning was a real treat. I had an extensive tour of one of Londons most beautiful and prestigious venues. Incorporating three gigantic town houses, Home House is one of the world's best known and most prestigious private member's clubs, with a myriad of fabulous entertaining spaces - from Georgian staterooms, to super hi-tech private reception rooms, from the beautifully decked out cellars and bars to a sensational (and enormous!) garden, complete with atmospheric Bedouin tent and a huge outdoor grill. The morning I was there, so was Fearne Cotton (coincidence?) launching her new range for very.co.uk. As the 'very' (very.co.uk) latest venue to be featured on Londonlaunch.com, numbers 19, 20 and 21 Portman Square, collectively known as Home House are available for all sorts of corporate events, however big or small, however high profile or discreet. Check it out. Seriously.
No sooner had I left Home House, that I found myself at another iconic and simply stunning, world-class venue. This time it was the Kensington Roof Gardens, where I joined their amazing events team for a scrumptious lunch in Babylon, set within what can only be described as a magical, almost surreal setting. In fact, the meal was so breathtakingly brilliant that I did that really annoying/embarrassing thing where you actually photograph your starter! Check out the photo though and you'll understand why! And it tasted even better! The Roof Gardens is unique. Where else can you dine amongst 50ft, 75 year old Oak trees a hundred feet above London's bustling streets? It strikes me that there's no way anyone would attempt such an improbable feat in the present day. Well, certainly not with nature! Lucky they were crazy enough to plant what feels like an entire London park on the roof of a department store (which was only a coffee area) all those years ago! And its all on just eighteen inches of soil, dumped on the roof of the building below. Amazing.
We've had a brilliant week. I know this because my last meeting was with the bank, and even they were happy! With a superb array of world class new venues and suppliers who can now be proudly found on Londonlaunch.com, you must use us to help you expand your event horizons (one of my favourite astronomical terms, referring to the point where even light is sucked in by a black hole!) - your event would be hugely memorable and a great success if you were to go to either of the venues I've highlighted above, that's for sure and we've got loads of ideas on Londonlaunch.com!
P.s Awesome Christmas Venues for 2016 here.