The Eurosatory Top Ten
A week spent covering a major defence show is rarely uneventful, as we know only too well here at Shephard Towers.
If it isn’t the usual travel disasters – ash clouds, missed flights and a certain editor being denied entry to India after misreading his visa situation – there is always the odd incident on the show floor to get the tongues wagging.
This week it has been Eurosatory in Paris, which we will take a serious look at when our show report comes out next week. But in the interest of some Friday irreverence, here’s our top ten of the week’s weird, wacky and downright stupid.
To protect professional reputations, some names have been changed. Out of respect for the truth, the rest has been told exactly as it occurred.
- The advertising manager who left his suitcase in London.
The presence of some cigar tubes in the advertising manager’s luggage was enough to confuse Eurostar security, who demanded that everything in his suitcase be separately scanned. After much furore, the advertising manager grabbed his shoulder bag and grumpily stormed his way onto the train. It was only when the train was moving that he realised the suitcase had been forlornly left back at security.
- The editor-in-chief who failed to spot a very bad corked wine
In an attempt to impress his dinner company, the star editor-in-chief made a big show of ordering and tasting a good bottle of French white. Thinking it smelt a tad funny, he gave it a taste and nevertheless gave it the all-clear. It was only when the rest of the group got a strong whiff of wet cardboard that he realised something was amiss. All the more embarrassing given his wife is a professional wine educator.
- The defence analyst who confused phone numbers
If you are going to send your girlfriend a sweet morning message, best make sure it goes to the intended recipient. That’s all we are saying.
- The junior reporter who earned herself a new nickname
Coming back from a press conference, the fledging reporter wasn’t completely sure what the news angle was and told her boss it was something about a gunship. ‘You do know what a gunship is, right?’ her boss asked with some bemusement. ‘Of course I do, it’s a ship with a gun on it.’ And the nickname Gunship Girl was born.
- The exhibitor who met a serial killer
One thing you don’t expect to hear during an off-the record chat at Eurosatory is that a serial killer was at the show with you that day. But this was apparently so, one bubbly American sales rep breathlessly informed several non-plussed Shephard journalists during a wine tasting event one evening. ‘Seriously, I know a serial killer, and he’s at Eurosatory. He’s been charged with two homicides, but they couldn’t make them stick,’ she assured us.
- The charade of security
At Eurosatory every year it’s the same ridiculous process. Metal detectors but no luggage scanners, security staff that let you pass your bag through unchecked but insisting you don’t carry any metal through the detectors. As long as that lethal weapon is in your bag, not in your pocket then everything must be fine, right?
- The appearance of a different kind of Predator
At most exhibitions there is usually something that is universally regarded as being quite cool. This show it was undoubtedly the Predator suit at the Tar Ideal Concepts stand. No-one knew why it was there but everyone took a photo.
- The communications director who confused his restaurants
We’ve already covered this one. But it’s still funny.
- The charade of security (part two)
Getting approval to attend the event was relatively painless but did require us to jump through some hoops. So one wonders how a dozen or so protestors managed to gain admittance in order to stage a brief but noisy demonstration at the Israeli pavilion. The protest didn’t last long, as Israeli security showed the French how things are supposed to be done. Which brings us to:
- The reporter accused of being a spy
A wander around the Israeli pavilion is a must at any defence show, given the sophistication of some of the technology on display. But the young Dutch journalist must have looked particularly dodgy as she was stopped by two security staff demanding to see her credentials. ‘One phone call and we can get you ejected,’ was the threat. And the response from the diligent reporter? ‘Go for it, I could use a day off.’