In mid-November, events and hospitality operators in the UK were gearing up for a healthy Christmas and were looking forward to building back their businesses after almost two years of minimal activity. “Time to live with COVID, like the flu” was the messaging. That changed suddenly with news that a more virulent variant of the virus, ominously named ‘Omicron’, had been identified in South Africa and had reached the shores of the UK. The experience of South African medical professionals was that this new variant seemed to be as deadly as bad cold and in most cases produces mild symptoms. That didn’t stop the UK government making a sharp u-turn on their opening up policy to re-impose mask wearing, COVID passes, limits on sizes of gatherings, recommended work from home and closing of nightclubs in Wales from 27 December. These announcements came just after it was discovered (and photos produced) that parties took place at the premises of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, No 10 Downing St, over the Christmas period in 2020, while at the same time police were issuing 10,000 Pound fines for people doing the same.
Alan Miller set up TogetherDeclaration in the UK to bring people together to pushback against government overreach in its response to COVID-19.
He started his career staging music events all over the world, including Australia, a country close to his heart. In 1993 he co-founded the Old Truman Brewery in London with the Vibe bar at its centre – a 10 acre site that became a hub of venues and 200 companies, all anchored around creativity and events. It significantly helped regenerate the area
He is the founder of the Night Time Industries Association in the UK, set up to raise the profile & value of the night time industry (night clubs, music and events), which is worth 70 Billion pounds in the UK. He has sat on the Arts Councils London Board and produces & directs TV and film. And he writes and has spoken to audiences in Stockholm, New York, Mumbai, Vienna, Zurich, Berlin, Sydney, Melbourne and many more cities around the world
Alan kindly agreed to talk to give us a view of the impact on life and business in the UK, of its government’s response to COVID-19. He also provides an insight of how current life in Australia is perceived by those living out-side of it.
He took part in a protest in London the day before this interview, then took an evening flight to New York, where he gave back-to-back interviews with media.