Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Retro and Guinness for London Boat Show fight

Last year at the boat show held at Excel a friend obediently slipped off his new Church's loafers as he went aboard to nose around some new plastic palace (for those who've never 'done' the boat show, you can't enter the gleaming vessels on display without taking your shoes off). He returned on deck to find that someone had taken his loafers and left him a rather grubby pair of trainers. Do mosques have the same problem, I wonder? Apart from the opportunity to acquire a better pair of shoes, most boat show regulars enthuse about an old show fixture, the Guinness Bar. Never mind that it's £3.60 a pint served in a plastic glass, or that this is the only day of the year that you actually drink the stuff - of such moments are show memories made.

One conversation over the frothy stuff at Excel has been repeated ever since the show moved there. "It was much better at Earl's Court. This is the middle of nowhere. They don't care about us any more." In January, a rival organisation to National Boat Shows (the Excel people) announced a competing boat show to return to the old Earl's Court venue this winter. Now we are to have two London boat shows; the Earl's Court one from 1st-9th December and the Excel one from 11th - 20th January.

The gloves are off and the Earl's Court people have just landed a heavy blow; Guinness have announced they're sponsoring the central London event rather than the wasteland dockland one.

And the footwear sales stands will no doubt be looking forward to a profitable time too; last year my friend shelled out £130 for some shoes to walk home in.

8 comments:

Ed said...

It was only a matter of time!

Excel is an amazing venue but it's hard to get to even if you live in the East End!

Newmania said...

Not sure I know where Excell is. You seem to live a glamorous life R . A member of the wet set ?

Never seen the appeal myself, they look rather splendid though .

hatfield girl said...

Is it only glittering fibres at these boat shows or do they do wooden boats? I wanted to buy a gozzo for aimless floating in the Golfo di Follonica and swimming in cleaner seas than from the beaches, but was sneered at by boat friends - trust you to want to go to sea in an antique bureau, do you know what it's going to cost every year you take it from the water - so I lost my nerve (and I was all kitted out with white linen and straw sun hat, picnic basket and portable drinks chiller).
What is best for picnicking at sea in inland waters?

hatfield girl said...

Or do I mean just offshore waters?

Ed said...

ps why didn't he walk home in the scruffy trainers?

Raedwald said...

Glam? Moi? Ha! Raedwald is an old angling boat of some 3.5 tonnes and 7kts max speed and guests are invited to keep their boots ON whilst on board. She's built like a panzer. I often have to be restrained at the boat show for making comments such as "That hull's as thin as an eggshell! Look - you can see the light through it" or "Fat lot of use a surround sound system will be when you're on the Outer Knoll in a Force 8"

Most of the boats sold at the show, I supect, never ever leave the marina.

HG - Inshore waters are generally up to 7 miles out, offshore beyond that. Picnicking isn't much in vogue in the UK; most boaties seem to eat only tinned Fray Bentos pies, and only then as a prelude to the pub. Nice image, though

Raedwald said...

ed -

too posh.

hatfield girl said...

Thank you R. Inshore waters. I mean the bit between Elba and the continente. Fray Bentos is the best corned beef and makes fine sandwiches with mustard. I shall go to sea in a chest of drawers, and they will be clamouring to join me, just wait and see. or sea.