You've just gotta let me know, should I stay or should I go...

SO, tonight the European Championships start.... and England's first game is tomorrow night, which means I have around 24 hours more optimism time before reality is hammered home by the Russians...

It's always interesting to be in Sirane Towers during a major sporting championships. We're well represented... as well as the English, we've a smattering of Poles, a small collection of French (not sure what the collective noun is for the French or Poles, although I am sure Nigel Farage has a few suggestions up his sleeve) and a token Welshman. Somewhat suprisingly perhaps, no-one Irish, not even anyone that I am aware of who claims to be descended from Irish immigrants. Nearest we've got is James, our medical sales guy, because he drinks Guinness... oh how stereotypical.

Speaking of which, earlier this afternoon I gave him the good news from the office sweepstake. Told him he'd drawn out Argentina. Seemed very pleased, as they're a strong team... well, if Australia are allowed to enter the Eurovision Song Contest, who knows what crazy arrangement might have been come to with regards the Euros...

Anyway, as it's impossible to move without hearing about the referendum - the annoyingly branded Brexit - here's what I think. I think it is impossible to not walk around without The Clash's Should I Stay Or Should I Go in my head. And did they? Stay or go I mean? What was the conclusion of the song? And should that carry any weight in this decision making process?... Hang on, "if go there will be trouble".... okay, so that's a remain then. "But if I stay it will be double".... ooh dear. Don't like the sound of double Brexit trouble. The Clash think we should go... but apparently East 17 think we should stay another day.

I'm being flippant. Obviously. I wouldn't cast my vote on the basis of the lyrics to a 1970s or 1990s song. Or would I? But the point is, no-one on either party seems to be offering any logical, rational argument for voting either way. I just want someone somewhere to sit me down and say right, here's the facts, forget the bulls**t rhetoric and scaremongering, this is what actually matters. I tried to watch the ITV referendum debate last night, but it was no help. It has like children in a playground. Nicola 'Remain' Sturgeon's entire counter-argument to Boris 'Leave' Johnson seemed to basically be "we're better staying, and anyway you just want to be Prime Mininster. You're only in it for David Cameron's job". How insulting is that? I'm no fan of Boris Johnson, other that as a figure of fun on Have I Got News For You, but to suggest he wants the UK to leave the EU in order to become PM? Seriously... But that was just the tip of the iceberg, there were equally ludicrous suggestions flying in both directions, from all six panellists.

But ludicrous seems to sum up the whole Brexit debacle to me. The whole thing is a series of ludicrous lies from both sides, with the truth somewhere in between the two. And how many voters will bother to disseminate the truth from the lies, the facts from the fiction. Which means the country could end up making the wrong decision (whichever that is).

Anyway... here's my predictions (not necessarily what I want to happen, just my predictions. Brexit vote: leave. Euro2016: Belgium.... you heard it here first. As for Argentina...

MARK LINGARD, MARKETING

IFFA: A meaty-old trade show and a bit of a fleisch fest....

SO we've just returned from IFFA in Frankfurt, where Sirane exhibited for the first time. IFFA is held every three years, and it is - to be frank - something for a behemoth of a show. IFFA, for those not in the trade, is a meat show. It may as well be called Meat Fest. Viande Fest. In fact, seen as it is in Germany, lets call it Fleisch Fest.

It doesn't matter where you are positioned within the meat trade, there's something for you... well perhaps not the farmers, but certainly everyone else. When there's signs pointing to the 'slaughtering and dismembering halls' you get an idea of which point in the meat journey the show begins... and it contains right through the chain. If sausage casings is your thing, you'd be in your element.

For Sirane is was a very international show. On the first day we had visitors from as far flung places as Papau New Guinea... quite possibly the first time we've ever had a visit to the stand from someone in that neck of the woods. But every visit seemed to be bring a new nationality.... but strangely few Germans.

Maybe it was because I was there at the weekend, and it was sunny outside. Maybe they were all at Eintracht Frankfurt versus Borussia Dortmund (we did consider hitting play on the video and going ourselves on Saturday afternoon....). Or maybe they already know all there is to know about fleisch. But IFFA's own statistics seem to back up the international flavour the show seemed to have.

Predicatably our headline product generated the most interest... anti-microbial absorbent packaging particularly good for poultry. It's a great leap forward for the market, an effective means of delivering anti-microbial technology into the heart of the problem, by using the absorbent pad as a means of delivery. And it is 100% natural, made from fruit extracts.

But also we had plenty of other inquiries, including many for Siralon, our nylon food packaging range.

'Fleisch Fest 2016' brought to an end a run of shows - Fruit Logistica, Packaging Innovations, Seafood Expo Global and IFFA all fell within four months. And now we have a reasonable gap until the next show (the next planned show is currently Fruit Logistica 2017, although things change....). We will have a presence at some shows in the meantime via our agents or Sirane's international teams - RosUPack in Moscow is one that springs to mind, and our team at Sirane Mexico have a fruit show in the country lined up. But it's a good time to take stock of how they went, and what we should be doing differently for next year.

Frankfurt itself seemed a nice enough city. Great food at the traditional Salzkammer restaurant - I can thoroughly recommed the farmhouse platter there although it was not for the faint-hearted. Anything that's served in a frying pan has to come with a health warning but it was worth experiencing once (okay, twice!).... it was basically spiced mince, salty bacon, cheese and potatoes fried in a pan with an egg on top. Fine dining it wasn't, tasty it was.... with just about enough room left for an apfel-strudel. 

We also learnt one thing, courtesy of Ben Pope, our Liverpool-supporting sales executive.... and that is that Jurgen Klopp is seemingly hated in Frankfurt and is the easiest way to end any conversation on football with a local. Think raising the subject of Alex Ferguson in Liverpool. Who knew Klopp was disliked so much in Frankfurt...

MARK LINGARD, MARKETING

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