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Kraftwerk’s Sound Investment in PMC Speakers

LONDON The Electronic: From Kraftwerk to The Chemical Brothers exhibition is set to resume on 31 July at The Design Museum, London.  

PMC Speakers, whose stellar clients include LA’s Capitol Studios and Coldplay, will  be installing a 7.1 surround sound system for the exhibition which focuses on Kraftwerk's 50-year man-machine impact on the club scene.  

The legendary electronica pioneers specifically appointed PMC to replicate the highly influential Kling Klang Düsseldorf studio sound for the public. The exhibition aims to immerse visitors in the feel of clubland  through the people, art, design, technology and photography that has captured and shaped the electronic music landscape. The surround sound system is based on PMC’s award-winning result 6 compact nearfield monitors and the exhibition will feature a 3-D show of Kraftwerk’s music and stage performances.

“Kraftwerk has been using PMC speakers for many years and compiled their audio/video documentary collection, 3-D Kraftwerk Concert, on a PMC 9.1 Dolby Atmos set-up consisting of IB2S, twotwo6 and twotwo8 monitors, with a twotwo Sub2 active subwoofer,” says PMC business development manager Chris Allen. “The system we are installing at The Design Museum will complement the signal accuracy, excellent dispersion and unparalleled level of image integrity of their main system and allow the museum to convey the clarity and transient response that Kraftwerk demand, particularly at low levels.”

Kraftwerk pioneered electronic music in the 1970s and influenced the likes of The Chemical Brothers, among many others. It’s fitting then that the Design Museum’s exhibition invites visitors to step into the visual world of The Chemical Brothers for one of their legendary live shows, and to create a new three-dimensional experience by Smith & Lyall, featuring Grammy Award-winning track ’Got to Keep On.’

The exhibition will unite dance floors from Detroit to Chicago, Paris, Berlin and the UK’s thriving scene. Over 400 items from the likes of Detroit techno legends Jeff Mills and Richie Hawtin, Haçienda designer Ben Kelly and the extreme visual world created by Weirdcore for Aphex Twin’s Collapse will be on show. Visitors will also have the chance to discover early pioneers like Daphne Oram and the seminal BBC Radiophonic Workshop.

Electronic: From Kraftwerk to The Chemical Brothers - 31 July 2020 to 14 Feb 2021.

See: https://designmuseum.org/exhibitions/electronic-from-kraftwerk-to-the-chemical-brothers

For PMC visit www.pmc-speakers.com

Image: Peter Boettcher/Design Museum


Mercedes S-Class All-New MBUX System Revealed

STUTTGART The Mercedes S-Class has for some time been going backwards. Witness the three touchscreens and myriad of control options made for rear passengers of its latest model. Going backwards, but sure to leave behind the BMW 7 Series and Audi A8 in the true luxury hallmarks of finesse and magic carpet ride comfort, when it premieres in a few months. Sat Bal    

And the back just got better with passengers enjoying the same extensive infotainment and comfort features as the front occupants. Rear controls include the just revealed MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) Interior Assist system and the voice control assistant "Hey Mercedes".

This second generation MBUX learn-capable system now makes its  debut in the new S-Class. The vehicle interior is even more digital and intelligent: OLED-brilliant displays feature on up to five large screens. OLED technology adds to the ‘wow’ and the control/comfort functions.

It's now about fewer buttons and more options for personalisation and intuitive operation. So the driver gets the new 3D driver display which allows a spatial view at the touch of a button for the first time. A real three-dimensional effect - without 3D glasses.

The voice assistant "Hey Mercedes" is more talkative and a better listener. It can work even without calling the activation keyword for some actions like accepting a telephone call or displaying the navigation map.

"Hey Mercedes" can now also explain where the first-aid kit is, or how to connect a smartphone via Bluetooth. Several microphones tell the system where the voice is coming from and flashing ambient lighting identifies the current speaker.

PIN entry is now supported by a new authentication method for higher security. New biometric and interconnected authentication functions mean security encompasses fingerprint, face and voice recognition. This allows access to individual settings or verification of digital payment processes from the vehicle.

Mercedes says the USP of MBUX is its cross-networking capacity with vehicle systems and sensor data. Thus the exit warning function in the S-Class now uses cameras to recognise that an occupant wants to leave the vehicle. If another road user is approaching in the blind spot, the active ambient lighting becomes part of the exit warning system and flashes red.

The driver's attention level is also monitored. The driver is warned by 'Attention Assist' if it detects any signs of sleepiness. If the driver says "I'm tired", an activation of its 'Energising  comfort' control begins.

Screen content can be quickly and easily shared with other passengers who can also select or change navigation destinations is from the back. The ambient lighting can be individually set by remote, even from home. And domestic systems and home appliances can also be linked to the vehicle and voice-controlled thanks to the Smart Home function

Seven profiles can now be stored in the Cloud as part of Mercedes me and used in other Mercedes-Benz vehicles with the new MBUX generation.

Two different head-up displays (HUDs) are available and the larger HUD provides augmented reality content. On navigating, for example, animated turn-off arrows are virtually projected ahead onto the road lane. Relevant information is projected into the driver's field of vision at a virtual distance of circa 10 metres.

Human-centred intuitive technology is the takeaway here. This MBUX teaser is a trailer for the S-Class's forthcoming premiere and we know that the next gen features that huge infotainment screen which dominates the driver console.

Can't wait to see the rest of the S-Class W223, scheduled to premiere in September. Nor, presumably, can Audi. Or BMW...

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Nanny State

LONDON Two high flying companies have devised a novel solution to ease travel for parents and infants. Welcome to the “world’s first, flying nursery.” Chris Page

FlyEliteJets CEO, Christopher Williams-Martin (and dad of two) saw that private flying, while great for professionals, wasn’t so great for families. His company’s  Ultra-high Net Worth (UHNW) clients often used aircraft for weekends and family holidays when the CEO realised that the jets had insufficient space and facilities for babies and young children to feed, play and relax.  

Enter award winning interior designer Jenny Allan whose company Jenny Allan  Design was enlisted to create a warm, welcoming and inviting space for UHNW parents and their kids aboard the ultra-long-range jets and VVIP airliners which frequently fly trans-continental.

The results lie here in the pictures of the Flying Nursery, claimed an industry game changer. Other private jet operators have reported high demand to Red Carpet from charter clients to whom family safeguarding is the top priority, fuelled by the Covid pandemic.

Jenny Allan Design literally filled the gap by installing child-friendly comforts into the aft cabin of jets, an area that is traditionally underutilised. By creating a dedicated space for mums, dads, nannies and children with direct access to the rear WC and baggage hold it becomes an onboard haven for children and parents alike with facilities to eat, sleep, play, relax and refresh.

Jenny Allan said: “We wanted to design something unique that’s never been done before on a private jet and to revolutionise the way clients travel with their children. In this Gulfstream G650 we added a starlit ceiling to create a wonderful sense of atmosphere in the cabin, ideal for bedtime reading.

“For more fun and whimsical details, we included embossed teddy motives on the seat headrests, a wigwam with cloud cushions that can easily be folded away during take-off and landing as well as a mini rocking horse and shelves for children’s toys andbooks. It was also really important that the space appealed to mums and dads, so we opted for a calming, tranquil, neutral décor rather than too many bold or bright colours that jar the senses.”

Other design details include a sofa that converts into a double bed, games consoles for older children as well as three TVs to create a space for the whole family to enjoy. Further aesthetic details include fabric padded bulkheads, and sycamore veneer doors with brass inlays.

Christopher Williams-Martin commented: “I was immediately taken by Jenny’s work which is cosmopolitan yet will have universal appeal with its inviting colour schemes and functional design. We needed a designer who could visualise the brief, was approachable and engaging and discreet. Jenny is all of the above and a genuine gifted talent with the accolade of Designer of the Year.”

The Flying Nursery can typically be fitted out in under two months in a private hangar, with Williams-Martin and Allan on hand every step of the way to provide a bespoke internal design space. The directors welcome the venture as simply the start to evolution in aviation.   

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Yacht Hotel Unmoors

LONDON Who says luxury and community spirit can’t mix? The Sunborn London Yacht Hotel sets course for its true calling. Sat Bal

Government policy is finally bringing life to the hospitality sector after four months of Covid closure.

The Sunborn London Yacht Hotel played its part by serving NHS staff from the Nightingale Hospital but reopens to the public from Saturday 4th July. This has helped Sunborn London the benefit of adapting its operations to  provide the very highest standards of cleaning, F&B preparation and general post Covid measures, to create an inviting environment for returning guests.

Located in the Royal Victoria Docks, Sunborn London Yacht Hotel is moored by the ExCel centre and intends to retain a warm guest welcome on arrival within the bounds of new health and wellbeing practice.

Measures include:

·  Training

  • Introducing new safety procedures for greeting guests (check in and out), cleaning of all spaces and preparing of all food and beverages
  • All staff trained in hospital grade cleaning, taking into account key touchpoints (door handles, lift call buttons, handrails etc.)
  • PPE for all staff members
  • Availability of hand sanitisers every couple of metres

·  Staff interaction

  • Digital check in facility
  • Protective screens at reception 
  • Floor markings to adhere to social distancing 
  • All seating has been adjusted to comply with government guidelines

·  Cleaning of bedrooms and public spaces

  • New PPE provided to cleaning staff for every room clean
  • Antibacterial wipes and sanitisation stations available to all guests in their room

·  F&B - all available to order through the in-room tablet

  • New ‘in room’ dining experience, with a wider menu choice to cater to all
  • Grab & Go wrapped breakfast items, as well as light bites and snacks
  • Booking system in place for the dining room, to regulate numbers of people at any one time



Bell Inn and Bramshaw Golf Club on market

NEW FOREST Family owned for over 250 years, the New Forest based business is on the market with a guide price of £4 million. Abigail Parkin

The Bell Inn and Bramshaw Golf Club comprises two 18 hole golf courses, clubhouse and pro-shop with an adjacent 28 bedroom country inn with 100 covers. The Bell Inn, The Manor Course and the practice ground are all held freehold, and the Forest Course leasehold.

The Bell Inn and golf club have won accolades including AA 4 star rating, 2 AA Rosettes for culinary experience and Golfers’ Choice 2018 Leading Courses Recommended.

Marketing agent Savills reports a comprehensive investment programme throughout.  

The property is situated in the heart of the New Forest National Park near the M27 and A31 and famous tourist attractions including Beaulieu Motor Museum and the some of the UK’s finest coastal resorts.

Kevin Marsh, head of the licensed leisure team at Savills, said: “The Bell Inn and Bramshaw Golf Club has proven to be a highly successful business that benefits from mixed revenue streams including annual golf subscription income, daily green fee income, hotel room revenue, food and beverage and functions / event revenue. The various elements to the business present genuine opportunity for growth and as assets of this type rarely come to the market we expect there to be significant interest in the property.”


Mauritius Cleared For Holidays

MAURITIUS Its government has removed sanitary containment and cleared the way for visits to Mauritius. Lucy Reid 

Mauritius is now preparing for its first visitors since the virus prompted strict containment measures and gradual border closures. It’s reported that no local instances of Covid-19 have been recorded since April 26th.

It cites the backing of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) and the implementation of compulsory measures undertaken by the Tourism Authority of Mauritius in its readiness to open the Indian Ocean’s most popular tourist destination.

Click our Mauritius review:   


A Tale of Two Airways

Lockdown continues to weigh down on people and business. A high-flying private jet brokerage and high-flying DJ tell us how they’re adapting. Abigail Parkin

Adam Twidell, CEO of PrivateFly 

For us, operating from home is a relatively easy task since we’re a tech-focused charter provider. We already used things like Zoom and are keeping things tight as a team.

Demand patterns in March have been significantly higher than we would have expected. But across the industry this was short-term demand with people repatriated home. April’s not as bad as we feared but it’s still about returning people who are out of position.

We’re not seeing normal types of private jet demand but we are seeing lots of new customers using private jets for the first time.

Talking to other providers, we’re seeing fractional ownership falling off. We don’t own our jet fleets and charter providers are busier because of our flexibility. Leisure market trips and events of the sort Red Carpet writes about would normally make this a busy time of year but we won’t see the summer peaks now.  

Future flying

Looking ahead to when border restrictions are lifted commercial airlines will still need time to mobilise their operations. Customers of ours who use both commercial and private jets have said they’d feel a lot more comfortable not being a in a shared cabin or moving through busy airports. We we will be more agile and won’t be taking weeks to resume operations like airlines, so there will be opportunities for us when we come through the other side of this.

Financial planning

We are not complacent and will cut costs and scenario plan like any responsible business. As a group we’ve taken a voluntary salary deferral scheme to defer a portion of our salaries. Employee uptake has been as high as 80% throughout our group. This is unique, certainly in our industry. The idea is to keep our loyal teams together and be able to respond effectively when this is over rather than lose people and rebuild.

Customers will ask new questions about aircraft cleansing and how crew greet passengers. The model will change but there will be a bright future again for our industry.

Aimee Vivian, DJ, Capital FM

I would say I’m coping pretty well actually. I’ve got myself a little structure so it feels as 'normal' as possible. But I can’t lie, this industry is so social, I am missing everyone like mad. Instead of popping to the pub after work, I’m popping to the back garden. It’s not quite the same as mixing with everyone at events. I’m a really social person, so I’m spending a lot of time chatting with people over Zoom, which is better than nothing (and if anything I’m saving a heck of a lot of money)! I just can't wait for the parties and holidays next year.

It's not challenging in a bad or difficult way, but it is something I’ve never had to do before so it took some getting used to. Transforming the spare room (for show broadcast) was pretty exciting to be honest! I’ve got the set up as close to the studio as possible - I am doing live links, calls with listeners, and can see all the texts which is lovely, so I still feel really connected.

 Nation’s mood  

I think every radio show has a slightly different vibe in the current climate, but we are really embracing this ‘new normal’. At Capital we are all about being positive, keeping the listeners entertained with the biggest and best tunes right now, getting listeners on to hear the unique ways that they’re keeping themselves busy during lockdown etc. It's actually a really special time to be a presenter - we feel like part of a community with our listeners. I’ve always wanted it to feel like I’m a ‘friend in the afternoon’ for my listeners, and it really does feel like that at the moment.


Everyone seems to be doing really well - we WhatsApp and chat most days. I'm really close with Will Manning, so am missing seeing his face every day (our shows are one after the other) but we, just like everyone else, are doing Zoom quizzes with the rest of the Capital gang on a weekly basis (not that I’m very good at them!)

Sanity tips

Routine is key. I’ve been getting up in the morning as if it were a normal working day and getting dressed in ‘normal’ clothes. I have this weird thing of eating ‘weekday’ breakfasts to remind myself it’s a working week - boring jam on toast or something. That differentiates between the bacon/ sausage sarnies on the weekend for me!

Keep busy and set yourself daily tasks. I’m back on duolingo brushing up on my Spanish, doing zoom Pilates classes with the girls on a Monday and having virtual drinks with my friends on Wednesdays just like we would normally.

Stay positive. It's ok to have ‘meh’ days, but when they hit, try to do something that makes you happy. Do a facemask, play your favourite album and dance around acting silly. Remember this isn’t permanent but try to take advantage of some probably much needed down time to focus and plan for the future. Positive Mental Attitude - all day every day!

Is your wine ban still in force?

NOO WAYYY - that would be expecting too much! I need a nice glass of pinot noir to keep me sane and three days off wine was enough!

Listen to Aimee from 1-4pm Monday – Saturday on Capital Fm


The Longleat Lock-In

WILTSHIRE England's cultural colour was drained by the loss of two of our great eccentrics in the past fortnight: the Marquess of Bath, and Genesis Breyer P-Orridge musician, poet and occultist. Sat Bal warmly remembers one of the defining Longleat House parties of the era.

The ‘Burleski’ bash vividly reflected the colourful chatelain of Longleat, staged at his 16th-century stately home, to celebrate the 30th birthday of son, Ceawlin. Vogue and Tatler put the party in its top 5 but we'd go higher.

Here we raid the vaults to resurrect our fabulous night, in pictures.

Raise your glasses: Alexander George Thynn, 7th Marquess of Bath, 6 May 1932 - 5 April 2020.     

Party organising supremo Danielle Nay with Viscount Ceawlin Thynn

March 15, 2020 Posted by admin in Events

Virus Tears Through Events

The global events industry has predictably been hit hard by the onslaught of the Covid-19 pandemic with incalculable repercussions. Sat Bal

Foot and mouth disease all but decimated outdoor events back in 2001 but Covid-19 is already attacking indoor and outdoor fixtures. At the time of writing we're alerted that the latest casualty is Samuel Beckett's production of 'Endgame' at the Old Vic, starring Daniel Radcliffe.

The theatre's digital pages said '... given the new travel and other restrictions in place it is nevertheless becoming increasingly impractical to sustain business as usual at our theatre.'

In the film world Disney’s blockbuster remake of 'Mulan' is the latest big major release to be pulled, as Hollywood joins the anxiety, questioning the film's scheduled opening on March 27 in UK cinemas. Disney is to revert with a new date.

James Bond has fared little better with the push back of 'No Time To Die' to November, from its expected April release.

Fresh from her Brit Awards success, teen pop sensation Billie Eilish (above) has apologised for postponement of her US tour dates as health officials warn against mass gatherings of people.

Eilish said: 'I am so sad to do this but we need to postpone these dates to keep everyone safe. We’ll let you know when they can be rescheduled. Please keep yourselves healthy. I love you.”

The Who and Pearl Jam have postponed their tours but Glastonbury Festival has held fast, announcing rapper Kendrick Lamar as its third headliner, alongside Sir Paul McCartney and Taylor Swift.

Organisers said they were “working hard” to ensure the event goes ahead in June.

Coachella, one of the world’s biggest music festivals, attracted around 250,000 attendees over its two weekends last year and was set to take place in the Colorado desert in April but has now been moved to October.

Industry giants Live Nation Entertainment and AEG Presents (the corporate behind Coachella) have suspended all tours in North America in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, say sources.

The loss of the cash generating power of live performances is likely to affect the musical community in different ways, with the spectre of loss of earnings all round.

Allen Kovac, manager of Mötley Crüe, summed up: “It’s chaotic and stressful, from agents and managers to artists, their families and their support teams.”

See you at Glastonbury, Taylor?

PwC has predicted the global market for ticket sales and sponsorship for live music at nearly $29 billion in 2020, with the lion's share of revenue going straight to performing artists. Yet recorded music is estimated at $22 billion in sales, with artists’ royalties at far slimmer pickings.

Insurance providers are already facing public opprobrium for excluding coverage of Covid-19 in new travel policies. So-called force majeure clauses guard promoters and artists against 'acts of God' to cover cancellations but coronavirus's serious risk status is seeing insurers exclude it from new policies.

This was the plight of South by Southwest. The Texan festival was cancelled and, with no insurance coverage for coronavirus, was forced to dismiss around one-third of its full-time employees last week.


Flybe 'Writing on the wall'

The Flybe administration was an inevitable result of confused business model, desultory investment and competitive pressures said analyst GlobalData. Mick Hyare

Coronavirus is being cited as a main cause for Flybe falling into administration, but the writing has been on the wall for the airline since its profit warning in 2017.

Ralph Hollister, analyst, travel & tourism at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, told us: “Flybe blamed a number of external factors for its prolonged demise such as maintenance costs, the weaker pound and rising fuel costs. However, its competitors had to deal with these issues too. The main difference is that Ryanair and British Airways possess focused business models. Flybe was caught between the two, offering short-haul flights for prices that were not necessarily low cost.

“The impact of coronavirus may have also provided the perfect opportunity for a Virgin Atlantic led consortium to stop injecting money into a business that seemed to be some way away from achieving profitability.

“Attempts by major European carriers to dominate the market have led to an ongoing price war, which has resulted in a growing list of airline casualties. One of the first was UK airline Monarch, which went into administration in 2017. This incident should have set alarm bells ringing for Flybe. Unprofitable routes should have been scaled back much sooner than they were.

“Coronavirus could determine the fate of other struggling airlines on a global scale as world-wide demand for travel plummets. Larger airlines are also not immune from the impacts of the virus. Virgin itself announced emergency measures, including cutting executive pay, and urging other staff to take unpaid leave.”