Industry blacklist emailed to conference attendees

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We are in receipt of the industry blacklist recently sent to the Meeting Association Conference attendees.

Entries include a “’holistic events consultant’ whose website looks like it was designed by a five year old”, a “greasy haired, morbidly obese woman and her Scottish sidekick”, a “loopy and deluded nutcase who claims to be a journalist”, and a “’weasely looking man in a wrinkly beige suit’ and his ‘dull, slightly retarded partner’ from a non-existent company with an ‘under construction’ website.”

More predicable are the inclusion of a certain “bow-tied gentlemen” who claims to be a “wealthy Chinese businessman” and the sandwich shop owner who is “certifiably crazy and in immediate need of being recommitted to the asylum.”

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Each entry contains names, aliases, photographs, contact details, and attendance history of the worst industry offenders who have crashed, blagged, mooched, and defrauded hundreds of organisations out of thousands of pounds of food, drink, transport, and accommodation. These frauds have had a good run, but their time is up.

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Some have argued that the “name and shame” list is unprofessional.  We’re in two minds. To publish or not to publish, that is the question? Do we tip off these freeloaders that the industry is on to them, or let them slink away into the night, tail between their legs?

Shevey

Weekly Ligger: Gordon Owen

Following on from last week’s post, another name has been suggested by readers: Gordon Owen.

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There’s definitely something wrong with Owen as anyone who’s seen his absolutely hideous outfits can testify to.   He’s another one who loves to drink and gets the shakes when he’s not plastered.

Through GoCo Mice and Messrs G Owen & Co, Owen claims to be an “International Events Management Consultant” which is a fancy way of saying “will freeload in any country.” He also claims to write children’s books though I wouldn’t let him near my children.  Owen describes himself on Twitter as a “dynamic, multi-faceted, and proactive individual with an experienced strategic holistic approach.” What a load of tosh!

Having been identified at “Frankenstein’s Monster” via our earlier Blind Item, Owen is best kept away from the buffet and the bar . . . especially at closing time, as he’s apparently been caught stealing half drunk bottles of beer.

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Many thanks for the reader who sent us this snap of Owen and an accomplice (no doubt hiding more beer).  At least we now know where he puts it.

Well known in ligging circles, Owen is part of a larger group of liggers, though even the completely batty Sandra Shevey seems to be distancing herself from his gang of gatecrashers.

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When even the craziest liggers want nothing to do with you, you know your time is up! Time Mr Owen was retired.

 

 

 

 

Weekly Ligger: Sandra Shevey

A new feature, one suggested by some of our more active readers, was a weekly post highlighting a particularly menacing London ligger. We think this is an excellent idea and after reviewing your submissions, one name stood out: Sandra Shevey.

Sandra Shevey

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Shevey first came to prominence on Twitter for her extreme(ly) bizarre views and downright banal rants. Since then, she’s become a fully fledged member of London’s ligging scene showing up to every event you can think of, provided there’s food, and has perfected the art of eating and talking non-stop, without taking so much as a breath.

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The ultimate canapé chaser, Matthew Steeples has termed her the “Turbo Ligger” which is very appropriate. Please be vigilant and keep a lookout for this crazy lunatic. Don’t believe us?  Here’s a sample of today’s missive.

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Blind Item

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Here’s a blind item received from an obviously inside source.  Can you name these freeloading blaggers?

Little & Large

From various descriptions of this pair, we gather the following: The taller of the two (“Large”) is the shaggy haired, lanky, darker one, who’s always dressed in a crumpled blue linen jacket, while the shorter of the pair (“Little”), is lighter, with a short, professional haircut, but an equally offensive, cheap shiny blue suit (no tie). Little apparently “works” in the City and Large is his “artistic” freeloading companion. Some have said they’re a couple, as they almost always arrive together and can usually be found outside the kitchen door ready to pounce on the canapes as they come out. Please help put faces to these fearless food snatchers!

The Homeless Welshman

Many have emailed us a description of a smelly, bearded, homeless looking man who has a habit of showing up to all kinds of events uninvited, carrying his worldly possessions in a plastic bag. Scottish, Irish? No, we think Welsh, but he’s not traveling from there and so must have help navigating the London guest lists. Who is he and who is helping him? Time to shut off access to his free food and drink, though those offering a free shower might be appreciated. Just don’t expect to get the towel back.

The Old Lady

Descriptions range from “an odd looking white haired shrew like woman” to being “always dressed in black” and “smelling of mothballs.” Not to be confused with the “Belle of Christies” or “The Queen”, this softly spoken woman can usually be found hunched over a bowl of food in a corner, trying desperately to blend in. Who is she and what does she do? Is she the famous Conde Nast con artist with the Tesco bag or another freeloading ligger, yet to be unmasked?

The Trader

Possibly a banker, possibly a trader . . . various reports have him accompanied by a woman (wife, girlfriend, concubine?), yet others claim him to be a loner. Some have suggested he’s one of those “dangerous liggers” who helps others crash events, particularly in the wine sector. The description we’ve managed to distil is of a middle aged, white, medium built, smartly dressed and bespectacled “City gent type”. Could this be the famous underground facilitator, a veritable ligging legend? Several names have been suggested, but for the moment, we’re keeping this one as closely guarded as his circulation database.

The Three Stooges

Or is it the Marx Brothers? This trio are easy to spot as they always arrive together or in quick succession. We’re told the ringleader works in the city and is responsible for securing the invites and handling the RSVPs, while freeloaders Moe and Curly follow behind like hapless puppies dancing to their master’s tune.  So notorious are these three blind mice for following the food trail, everyone in the industry knows who they are . . . including the city ligger’s bosses. That should put an end to his ligging ways.  The freeloading Moe and Culry will soon disappear without access to invites.

Frankenstein’s Monster

Well there’s a description if we’ve ever heard one. Tall, old, gaunt, and maybe even having neck bolts, is how this scary looking character has been described. Others have variously stated that he’s a homeless alcoholic, a shaker, a spitter, or just a creepy old man, dressed in ill-filling suits with stripy suspenders and horribly patterned ties. Some have him down as being an author, while others have claimed he works in the charitable sector, though details are as sketchy as Rolf Harris’s defence (though some have claimed a parallel). Any idea who this drunken sailor is?  Time to name and shame this jailhouse rocker.

Wine Liggers of Cork Street, your time is up!

Wine Liggers of Cork Street, your time is up!

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Here’s the email that went out to all wine professionals who regularly attend events.

“[Name of PR Agency redacted], and many of my colleagues, regularly host wine events on behalf of our clients.  These are networking tastings, lunches and dinners which are aimed at full time, wine trade professionals and the press.  We increasingly find that some people attending these tastings are not active in the wine trade and therefore not eligible to attend.

 

I have been given the special task of updating our mailing lists and would be grateful if you could provide me details of your company, your position, a link to your company’s website plus any special wine interests.  If you are a member of the press, a copy of a published article within the last three months would be appreciated.  If I don’t hear from you by the end of next week, I will assume that you are no longer active in the industry and we will remove your details from our database.

 

As soon as I hear from you, I will circulate your professional status to my colleagues.  Please note you must be employed full time in the wine industry to qualify (wine clubs are no longer eligible).

 

Your name:

Company:

Email address:

Website:

Special interests (e.g. France, Spain etc):

 

Thank you for your kind cooperation.  Please reply to [email of PR Agency redacted] before 15 April.”

 

In response, a blacklist has now been circulated to all PR and marketing agencies and professionals in the wine and spirits trade.  Once we have the final list, we will be posting it for all to see. It’s about time these freeloading liggers were stopped once and for all!

 

 

 

 

Liggers of London

 

There has been a lot of speculation and innuendo over the past few months about London’s legendary liggers, and the enhanced interest in these serial gatecrashers has spawned several anonymous blogs, as well as interest from both niche and mainstream media.  Separately, there has been much head shaking and finger pointing amongst the liggers themselves over the fact that some of their own have apparently outed them so publicly. Add that to the spate of heated, colourful, email exchanges doing the rounds and it’s been a whirlwind six months for the arts and events industry.
But things are about to get worse, much worse. Liggers of London, watch out, your time is up. In her book Liggers & Dreamers: Tales from the London Art SceneJosie Demuth chronicles the freeloading antics of London’s most picaresque, outrageous characters.  The cover art by Jason Gibilaro  is undoubtedly inspired by the legendary David Pun, whose exploits have been well documented for many years.
Many pages have been devoted to him, particularly in the Steeple Times.  There’s even a dedicated Twitter account “Where’s the Pun?” where people post their David Pun sightings, and though at the time of writing it hadn’t been updated since March 2014, Mr Pun or his fan seems to have returned to Twitter with a flurry of updates in recent days.  So I suppose the saying is true: There’s no party without the Pun.
By way of an introduction, this short story by Demuth follows the extraordinary lengths a trio of con artists go to in order to crash an exclusive art gallery event.  Posing as somebody else is a known ruse often employed to blag entry into high profile events.  It happens several times a day across the City. From art galleries to air shows, product launches to press junkets, lecture theatres to libraries, no event or industry is immune to the lure of leeching liggers.  And as for Peter, Mac, and Debbie, you know who you are!
For those unfamiliar to the art of ligging, here a primer, some general background, and a semi-humorous how to guide.  Perhaps in direct response to the Guardian article, eventbrite published this guidance on how to avoid liggers at your event.  And maybe this was worth writing, as strange as it might seem, there are in fact people whose lives revolve around lukewarm Lambrusco, crusty crudité, and soggy vol-au-vents and you can read about many of them here.
Victoria Coren-Mitchell was somewhat of a pioneer in this field and since then, people like Matthew Steeples of the Steeple Times,  Phoebe Hurst at Vice, and the Secret London Agent have taken the baton and run with it.
And now there’s Josie Demuth’s brilliant roman à clef detailing the serial liggers of the London art scene.  Funny, evocative, and with more clues than Cluedo, readers will be guessing the identities of the characters; a veritable garden of Hieronymus Bosch.  We all know who you are and it’s only a matter of time before your kind are permanently banished from all events.  Let the true account of how the Jolly Gang’s very own gatecrasher Alan Macdonald choked to death on a canapé at the Dorchester be a lesson to you all!
Finally, for those needing a little help identifying these trolls, here are a few mug shots to get you going. Liggers, super liggers and even turbo liggers!
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