Sunday, 30 November 2008


I never used to read books. I don't know why? In my younger days I was too busy playing sport or climbing trees. Then I got to High School and they made us read set books and the teachers set exams on the books and asked questions like 'What is the deeper meaning of a man hiking through a sweltering jungle with a block of ice?'. That just totally put me off books.

Then I started reading autobiographies/biographies and got inspired by the real-life stories and experiences and how those experiences shaped people's lives. And through reading these type of books I realised just how much I had missed out by not reading and how my spelling, vocabulary and general knowledge really did improve with every book. (So the teachers/mom/dad were right!)

Anyway, for my birthday, the girlfriend bought me a book. Shantaram. It's quite simply 933 pages of brilliance. It's by far THE best book I've ever read. Based in Bombay (now Mumbai) it makes me want to visit the city and its inhabitants. Even with the horrible terrorist attacks that have recently taken place, I'd still go tomorrow if I had the money. Watching the news reports on the attacks, it feels like I know every street and building they're talking about, as if I'd already visited.

Gregory David Roberts has the ability to make slum life seem appealing. And it's easy to forget that he's a convict on the run, at times wishing I could meet someone like him on the street.

Clearly I don't have the right to be a book critic but take my word for it. His book will change the way you see and hear the world. Whatever you do, don't Google or YouTube his or the books name. It will ruin the story. Just buy the book NOW, you won't be able to put it down.

Monday, 24 November 2008

Rapha CC

My relationship with Rapha is one of love and hate. I love Rapha for what they are. The pure passion for the sport of riding a bike. Their simplicity, subtlety and focus. And never settling for second best, no matter what. Hate because of the power they have in making me want part with my hard earned cash to buy more of their products.

I was given a gift voucher from work mates for my birthday. I added £25 to the voucher and all I could get was a gilet (I got the white one shown here). A gilet that cost £75. My bike only cost £400! But it's no ordinary gilet. I have to admit their clothing is awesome. Made from fabric that lasts, looks stylish and makes me want to ride more. And in this weather climate, anything that gets me on the bike more often is worth its weight in gold. Or platinum in Rapha's case.

It's one of those brands that make their own rules. Aspirational and boundary pushing but not aggressive or in your face with huge logos and brand statements everywhere. They're dedicated to the art and grace of bike riding and everything else is secondary. They're the type of brand that could I afford to, I would only wear their clothing. Their photography is breathtaking (including product photography) and makes me revisit their site almost daily just so I can dream about climbing the roads they have. Their images really do speak a thousand words.

Reading the stories allows me to feel like I'm sitting in the slipstream on one of their rides, hearing my lungs bursting for more air and legs aching with lactic acid. (Read the stories here.)

So, in all honesty, I don't hate them, I guess I just need to earn more or work harder. If I was a brand, I'd want to be Rapha.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008


Yum! I never really used to like sushi. It's kind of one of those foods that's grown on me. And it's absolutely grown on me. I can't get enough of the heathly stuff.

Every now and again, the girlfriend will surprise me and bring home a few trays of sushi. She gets it from the Japan Centre near Piccadilly Circus and it's super tasty and never overpriced. We sit at home, squirt some soy sauce over it and eat until our tummies hurt. Well at least I do.

In the summer (lasts for about 2 weeks in August) we'll often get some, grab a picnic blanket and head to the park. Zero hassle.

The other day, I had to take Apple (our MacBook) to the doctor in Regent Street. Afterwards, I met the girlfriend outside her work and we took a stroll to the sushi shop. As usual, we bought more than what we should have and then ambled to Piccadilly Circus where we sat at the bottom of the statue looking up at the iconic neon lights. It felt so good to feel like a tourist.

If like me you've just thought 'Why the hell is it actually called Piccadilly Circus?' have a look here.

And next time you're in the area, go fill your face with sushi!

Monday, 10 November 2008

howies DO Lectures

A few months ago I sat down and wrote a hand written letter to Alison from howies. You see, in order to be invited to the lectures I had to tell the wonderful people at howies why I wanted to attend the DO. I wrote what came to me and didn't try edit or analyse what I'd written. Far too often I think about stuff too much and all that does is whittle down the rawness of what I need to get across.

I hear you asking 'What ARE the DO Lectures?'. Well, it's a project/initiative started by howies (read about howies here) that involves inviting 75 individuals down to a lovely location in Wales (fforest), to listen to some amazing people talk about stuff they're DOing or have done. And in listening to these people it will hopefully inspire the 75 attendees to get out there and DO their own DO.

I could honestly go on for hours about the talks. It was absolutely inspiring, motivating and just down right fun. At times it felt like my head was going to explode as I've never had so much to think and challenge my brain about before, especially in the space of 5 days!

The best bit is that all the talks were filmed so that others (you) could share in the inspiration. Aside from the lectures there were also workshops on how to forage for edible food in a forest, starting a fire with only your hands and what nature has to offer and last but not least, how to create your own documentary.

So, DO yourself a favour when you've got some free time and watch a few of the lectures. You may not love them all, but it will make you think about things differently and in some cases, take your blinkers off. Ultimately it could get you DOing too.

Should you be interested, my favourites were (in no particular order): Andy Kirkpatrick, Alistair McIntosh, Andy Cummings and the creative duo of Matt Jones & Russell Davies.

One of the many positives was that I got to meet some really awesome people whom I'll definitely be staying in touch with. (Maybe not Tamsin, she scared me.)

Make yourself a brew, choose a lecture and enjoy, The DO Lectures.

Photos from the DO here.

Saturday, 8 November 2008


It's been a HUGE (possible understatement) week. I've never been big into politics but I couldn't help getting swept up in the whirlwind US elections. We've witnessed history. It's going to be so intriguing to watch what happens.

BO is a likeable character. I think it's one of the best qualities to have.

Turn this up and buy one of these!

Friday, 7 November 2008

What do you actually do?

Working for an integrated marketing agency, I often get asked by friends and family 'So what do you actually do?'. Recently a client sent me this and it sums up perfectly how most of my days are spent.

So there you have it. I do heart my job. Genuinely.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008


I came across this on a blog I regularly read and I love the idea - The Wisdom Project.

This is what the concept's about (take from the site):

'Inspired by the idea that one of the greatest gifts one generation can pass to another is the wisdom it has gained from experience, the Wisdom Project, produced with cooperation from Archbishop Desmond Tutu, seeks to create a record of a multicultural group of people who have all made their mark on the world. Presented against the same white space, all of the subjects are removed from their context, which not only democratises them, but also allows for a clear dialogue to exist between them. In an attempt to create a more profound, honest, and truly revealing portrait of these luminaries, the project encompasses their voices, their physical presence, and the written word. This comprehensive portrayal of such a profound and global group is an index of extraordinary perspectives.'

I can't help but heart the number of South Africans that have left their mark on the world.

A great site that once again proves - less is more.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Mountain Biking

Not your normal, around the park or common type mountain biking but the muddy, technical, single track type stuff. My bike, Pelagia, doesn't get enough attention. Since I've been doing triathlons, it's only my road bike, Big Rig, that gets any love. Yes the road has the smooth ride, the speed and the satisfaction of covering many miles, but I have to admit, it's no where near as much fun as a proper MTB ride. I made a last minute decision to do a MTB race today, on the recommendation of a work mate. With the non-stop rain yesterday and the cloudy conditions today, I knew it was going to be an absolute mud bath. Well, I've never experienced such an amount of mud (I guess they don't call the UK the Mud Island for nothing!). The course was super technical with lots of big drops, short sharp climbs and nasty little ankle high tree stumps waiting to take me out. I nearly bought a plot a few times! Being a race that consisted of laps was awesome as I got to 'perfect' the errors I made on the previous laps.

I've made a promise to myself to do more of these races and to go off-road more often.

Race organisers, Gorrick, have another event on 18th January. Let me know if you're keen to join me.

(Yes I know I've got funny toes.)