Cyprus Mail

What price entertainment?

Just a couple of months ago a friend of mine committed suicide and one of the debates at his funeral came to the conclusion it was the result of ‘money worries’.    The method of death is a rare occurrence but the reason is all too common – especially in the present financial climate here in Cyprus.

Actually, in my view, the path he was forced to take was laid down years ago.  He was an entertainer, a magician in fact, and like most entertainers of this ilk you are the sole owner of oneself.   You have no regular place to sell your wares, no passing trade and you are only good as your last show.  The only diversity you have is either entertaining children or adults.  This invidious position prevents you from creating a contract with the booker because you know they would turn to another act rather than make a commitment.

With such freedom the bookers can do as they like – change the time or date at short notice.    They can also, after the entertainers have completed their part of the deal, offer a reduced amount, claiming that this was the agreed fee.   The booker can make the entertainer wait a weeks, months for the money or worse than that – not pay at all.

This seems a regular practice through all business strata’s so what chance does the lowly have?   Then of course it doesn’t help when hotels  buy in cheap, and not very good, entertainment from abroad, just to increase their profits. Further set back is that local restaurant and bars have diminished by 50% and those remaining see booking entertainment as a service they cannot afford.

Of course the banks were ready to offer a helping hand!   During the banking boom overdrafts were no problem in fact mortgages were easy to get. Don’t worry about being a high risk or seasonal worker just enter any old job. This maybe an over simplification of what could be serious mis-selling by banks – it does make you wonder?  I know a few specialty acts that are in dire financial position and solicitors are of little help. Searching for one who is not representing the banks (I wonder why?) is like looking for needle in a hay stack.

If Cyprus is serious about allowing casinos to operate then it should know that entertainment is an essential ingredient. I doubt if the government has considered any of this.  Leaving it to the casino operators will be exactly like the hoteliers – buy in cheap entertainment from abroad to increase profits.

In my view the CTO could play an important role in helping to develop quality home grown entertainment by offering financial support to likes of Cyprus Magic Society. Bringing over professional lecturers and teachers would certainly elevate the quality and professionalism in such acts.

I have read a lot of rhetoric from owners of hotels and elected members talking about the need to change the philosophy on tourism. Unfortunately, supporting local entertainers does not appear to be part of their remit.

Peter Stammers M.I.B.M, Former Board Member, Cyprus Magic Society. Mesogi

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