Saturday, March 31, 2007
I was delighted when the House of Lords decided not to grant permission to the opening of the Super Casino in Manchester. However, I really can't understand why the government is promoting their expansion in the first place.
On the one hand the government talks about responsible parenting, looking after your health, giving up smoking, avoiding debt, etc...yet they're actively encouraging us to become a nation of gamblers. As ever, it will be the people who can least afford it who will be most affected.
I know that its all down to generating more government revenue, but surely there are more positive ways to do this. Encourage us to spend money at places and on things that are good for us instead. For example, they should promote the development of sports facilities such as tennis centres, swimming pools, footie pitches, etc. After all we are going to be hosting the Olympics in 2012 and we should all be encouraged to do more sport.
However, I'm sure Super Casinos will raise loads of easy money. Despite all the delays and debates they're bound to happen which is really disappointing.
Friday, March 30, 2007
Great brands polarise opinion and this is certainly the case with Starbucks. Do you think they've been the saviour of the High Street or are you sick of the sight of them?
Thursday, March 29, 2007
On Tuesday evening I went cycling around the Herne Hill Velodrome and it was really enjoyable. If you've got a racing bike, a spare hour or so, its one of the nicest things you can do during the week and anyone can go along.
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Went to a nice pub lunch on Sunday - the Cat's Back in Wandsworth. Small, quirky, slightly bohemian. Quite a mixed crowd and very relaxed. Tolerated 5 nosiy kids without batting an eyelid. Also right by the river so easy for a post afternoon stroll...and cappuccinno, vin santo and ice cream at Carluccio's in Putney. Recommended
Apparently they do a great Saturday brunch. Huge full English, coffee and a bloody Mary for a tenner. Sounds good.
Saturday, March 24, 2007
Its been well over a year since I decided to go it alone and a number of people have asked me for some thoughts on what its like and what I've learnt, so here's goes:
1. Work out what kind of life you'd like to lead. How much you want to earn, what kind of work life balance you want to achieve. What else you want to do beyond your paid work.
2. Figure out what you're good at and what you enjoy. Hopefully these two things will coincide. Try and summarise this on an A4 sheet of paper.
3. Your network is your most important - and only - asset. Treat it with the upmost respect and continue to nurture it. There are 3 types of people. Those who can help you develop your business idea, those who can become partners and collaborators, those who provide you with work.
4. Tell people want you plan to do. People will always try and help you if they can. Equally, be generous when people ask you for your help and support. What goes around, comes around.
5. Stay humble. Never get cocky, not matter how well you're doing. Remember who helped you out at your moment of need. Never take anything for granted. Keep delivering for every job.
6. Take responsibility for your own state of mind and stress levels. If you're too busy say no. If you need more work - look for it. There's no else to blame.
7. Keep reading and searching for advice and inspiration. Books I find helpful are:
Soloing by Hariett Rubin
The Beermat Entrepreneur by Mike Sothon and Chris West
The Elephant and The Flea by Charles Handy
How to Be Free by Tom Hodkinson
Is it better working for yourself? For me - definitely. I do work I enjoy with people I like. I'm fitter and healthier. I find time to do stuff I enjoy. I'm earning a living. (But I'm not taking it for granted - see 5. above!)
So if you're thinking about working for yourself - give up your corporate trappings - and go for it. You've only got one life.
Friday, March 23, 2007
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
So, the Conversatives are now making the NHS their number 1 priorty and the Labour Party has just reduced the income tax rate. Is this some kind of Changing Rooms / Wifeswap style experiment? Is this part of Comic Relief?
Politics used to be easy. Conservatives were selfish and evil. Labour were scruffy and leftie. Your choice. Now there's no such thing as principles or idealogy. Its all down to what you think about Gordon Brown's accent or David Cameron's hairstyle.
My money's still on Gordon for next PM. Scottishness is more forgiveable than baldiness.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Got the chance to run a workshop in Nottingham yesterday, which meant that I had the opportunity to go back home to Derby for the first time in ages.
Caught the train from St Pancras on Sunday night and was struck by the scale of the work that's going on. I've always thought it was the most attractive station in London and its going to be very impressive when its finished. Eventually arrived in the familiar surroundings of Derby which is also being reconstructed.
I'm less confident about Derby becoming more attractive. Whenever they've tried to rebuild the centre its always been a disaster. Still, fingers crossed this time round. Need to be careful what I write. Can't be seen to criticise Derby - which by the way has now got its own 'Derbyshire Flag'.
Had a quick catch up with the family in Derby and of course had dinner at my mum and dads' which was great. Nice to actually see mum on Mothers Day. Everyone in a good mood especially as Derby are still top of the Championship. Major talking point - my 15 year old nephew's new earring. Very controversial. His mum's worried that he might start hanging out with girls from Chad - which really would be unforgiveable.
Took the train from Derby to Nottingham on Monday morning and had a really enjoyable day. The people in this part of the world are genuinely more relaxed and chatty than in London. I even got free biscuits on the train journey back.
Sunday, March 18, 2007
Friday, March 16, 2007
Thursday, March 15, 2007
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
I love 5 a side football and I've recently got back into it by playing with the lads from my old agency . I tend to play quite a lot of time in goal trying to recreate the glory days of my University College London performances and because I'm so unfit. I can still remember some of the saves I made on the muddy pitches of north London. I can even remember when I used to play for St Thomas More school.
However, last night trying to sprint down the wing I pulled a hamstring muscle after about 10 minutes and this morning I can hardly walk.So frustrating. Now I know how Jonny Wilksinson feels - well sort of. Hopefully it won't keep me out of action too long. I'm still nervous about the big Italian bike ride I've committed to at the end of May and need to raise my game significantly.
Lessons learnt - warm up properly before any sporting activity.
Sunday, March 11, 2007
As you can see, Helen looked fantastic and they were such a happy couple. Both made some really heartfelt speeches and I have to admit there were times I was reaching for my napkin. Cormac's from Dublin so there were lots of people over from Ireland who were all really chatty and friendly.
We stayed in Stow -on - the Wold and met up for lunch the next day which was great. It used to be really hard to find nice places to eat outside London, so its good to see that food's getting better everywhere.
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
Had a very full-on day but really enjoyed it. Two things that I admire about Americans. Firstly, their self-confidence. They're not afraid to voice their opinions and express themselves which I find very refreshing. Secondly, their politeness. I've found that Amercians always do their best to be helpful and friendly. Even in Borat, they were never really rude to him despite his provocation.
Managed to squeeze in a bit of shopping this evening - don't have much free time. Ended up going to Niketown on the very posh 57th street where I bought Karen, Mae and Lia their Summer trainers. Hope they fit. Hope everyone likes them. Surprised to see a couple of Pret a Mangers near my hotel. Had no idea that they'd hit New York.
Caught a bit of American Idol on TV. Simon Cowell is clearly the star of the show. Plus a bit of House with Hugh Laurie. Hurrah for the Brits.
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
Within an hour, managed to see Grand Central Station - just around the corner and Time Square. New York's easy to walk around, but its very chilly so didn't stay out too late. Plus full day tomorrow.
Sunday, March 04, 2007
Have just checked the weather forecast and its going to be really cold in New York. This will be the third consecutive trip where I'll witness snow and sub-zero temperatures. Still, going to New York will be very exciting and I'll try and do some shopping if I can. The classes I'll be running will take place at an ad agency on Madison Avenue which all sounds very swish.
Managed to squeeze in a few laps of Richmond Park on the bike this morning before it started raining. I then dropped Mae off at Streatham Ice Rink for a party. It was packed, which makes you wander why there aren't more ice rinks around.
Saturday, March 03, 2007
Thursday, March 01, 2007
Its official. We're in love with the older woman. Just look at the adulation heaped upon Helen Mirren after she won the Oscar. And there's loads of others: Charlotte Rampling, Sharon Stone, Catherine Deneuve, all really attractive.
When the Graduate was made in the 60s with Anne Bancroft playing the older seductress, she was 36. When it was recently re-made, Susan Sarendon played the role of Mrs Robinson and was 58.
Is the same true for men? Are older men seen as sexier nowadays? I'm not so sure.