Postcard from LA

Oh, so THAT'S why it's called Sunset Blvd...

I’ve been in LA for nearly a week now and it’s been fairly intense; working solid from 10am through ’til 4am most days (while my body tries to adjust to the time difference) and generally trying to keep on top of things. We wrapped project one on Sunday morning and project two wraps tonight; it’s been a helluva ride.

Fortunately, thanks to the timings of both projects, I was able to take Sunday night and Monday morning off to catch up with my friends Matt and Jen. The former introduced me to Ryan Penagos, aka Agent_M, the editor for (so much geekery was had!), and the latter took a colleague and I down to Dog Beach for a midday stroll in the Sun.

Sitting in the sunshine two weeks from Christmas is a very odd feeling indeed.

What else is new?

I’ve decided to take up dance again and I’m writing a truck load more these days too. A friend got one of my pieces published recently; non-trade, in-print and actually out there in the real world, so that’s quite exciting. I have a couple more I want to submit, so we’ll see if that leads anywhere.

Thing is, you know that bit in Star Trek where Spock tells the rest of the crew how everything has changed? That now, thanks to Nero’s actions, they’re all living in an alternate reality…?

Yeah. That.




Things are different now.









New York, New York

Freeway NYC

Moleskine entry: September 18th, 2009

Six hours ago I was landing at London Gatwick, fresh from the Lucozade Challenge of Yacht Racing around the Caribbean. Now, as I write, I’m on a flight back out to New York (from London Heathrow mind, that was interesting) with my darling girlfriend and I am happy. Tired. Exhausted. Travel weary. But ultimately, for the first time in such a long time, truly happy.

You might scoff if I were to tell you “it’s been a long, hard summer” given the adventures I’ve been on, the places I’ve seen and the things that I’ve done but really, as much as all that that has been awesome, it’s the bits inbetween that have been hardest.

Being away from home every other week for just shy of ten weeks creates a strange instability around things. Plans are harder to make, promises harder to keep. A constant state flux one might say.

Not counting the stress and strains that places on any kind of loving relationship, there was the whole work mess to deal with too. Halfway through the challenges, all that additional…. worry was not helping the situation at all. The time I was actually at home, I was spending the whole time working. Leaving me tired. So so tired.

Rest soon. And sleep. Sleep, beckoning so sweetly.


Hello Texas!

Dealing with delays at the airport...

Today I fly to Texas, 1000heads are sending a small team out to the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival to provide support to Nokia and a group competition winners who found out on Monday (!) that they’d won a rather sweet all expenses trip to join us.

It’s going to be awesome.

If you’ve never heard of SXSW before then don’t worry, I hadn’t until a couple of years ago. It’s a ten day event that’s broken up across three (relatively independent) parts; film, interactive and music. The second one is the bit we’re headed out for for – the interactive aka – SXSWi.

Although, it must be said; if I ever return on my own dime then it’d be amazing to attend all three.

I’ve always loved film and a few influences in my life of late have also helped me rediscover a healthy taste in music.


At the time of writing I’m somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean, about halfway between London and Chicago (our first port of call en route to Austin, Texas). This is my first time at SXSWi. A bunch of my friends have been several times before however I am still a Texas virgin. I literally cannot wait.

Did I mention that it’s going to be awesome? 🙂


Ten days back in time

Moleskine entry: August 5th, 2009

Today’s date is August 5th but I need to go back a bit and write up some things that have happened since July 24th. Friday July 24th to be precise. I woke up at the Upper Hideout, some 8500ft up in the Big Horn Mountains in Shell, Wyoming. I’d been without internet and mobile signal for the best part of four days and I was very much looking forward to getting back to civilisation.

I love my girlfriend very much and, aside from Sam making sure that she was cc’d into an email that he’d radio’d back to base, she hadn’t heard from me and of course, as anyone might be, I thought there might be a certain amount of worry. I had work to do; photos to upload, videos to edit, posts to submit but the emphasis, the excitement was all about speaking to my love.

So, at 10am that morning we saddled up for the last time and headed down the mountain. Taking in valleys, hills, canyons and viewpoints like such we had yet to see.

But the ride down is not why we’re here. It was the arrival back down below that is of interest. I dropped my steed at the barn and raced back to my room to jump online and get to work. I’m not entirely sure what order things happened but, upon opening my MacBook it became very clear that something had definitely happened.

But my plane is coming into land, damn. I’ll have to return to this another time.
Short entry I know, but I need to get a move on.

Being up in the Mountains

Moleskine entry: July 25th, 2009

It’s been kind of invigorating. Refreshing.


I’ve been up in the Big Horns trekking, riding and herding as part of challenge two of the Lucozade Energy Challenges, although (I’m certain now), this much you know. What you probably don’t know however is that the powers that be have gone ahead and equipped me with some rather spiffy kit.

Including, amongst others, a sat-phone.

This thing worked FINE in Namibia. In fact, the photo above was taken and uploaded on the spot in the middle of the Namibian desert, this place in fact.

However, for some unknown reason, in the good ol’ US of A, it failed. Nothing. Nada. My glorious sock-rockin’ sat-phone, was… useless.

Which meant in turn, I was non-contactable for four days.
Say it again. Four days.
Say it one more time, and this time say it with me – out loud: Four. Days.

‘Liberating’ doesn’t quite do it justice.

At one point, we were sat by a lake some 10,000ft up, the air was thin, the horses were thirsty and the winners were discussing going for a swim. The sky was clear, the water freezing and the surrounding landscape, breathtaking.

Just pausing – for a moment – to take in what I was experiencing.

Four days with no signal. Four days in the mountains. Riding horseback every day, we rode down from 8500ft on the last day, Friday, and it took five hours.

I couldn’t tell you the total of how far we travelled or for how long. All I know is every day we were saddled up by 10am and we only got out again for lunch and then again at the end of the day for dinner and rest. I never thought I’d enjoy it so much.

Incredible really, incredible.

I wrote every day, trying to keep a personal journal as well as an official, Lucozade one is no easy task. But when there’s nothing to distract you except maybe the odd passing moose, you’d be amazed how one can focus the mind.

Perspective is a wonderful thing… and the view from here, is amazing. I know what things are important to me now. Not that I didn’t know before I guess.

But as I said, being up here sure does focus the mind.

1000heads: Some of the old IN-N-OUT

So here I am at 1000heads (or ‘a thousand heads’ – depending who you ask) and I’ve been charged with becoming a regular contributor to the this here 1000heads blog page.

Does it have a name?

Is it front page?


About that whole 1000heads thing, we’re the Word of Mouth people don’t you know. We teach brands and people, big or small, how to talk to other brands or people, big or small. By using that most ancient and naked form of communication, word of mouth.

Astonishingly simple when you write it down like that but in the main, relatively difficult to achieve by comparison. Or so you’d think…

One of my personal favourite word of mouth (or WOM) thingy wotsits of late is that of In-N-Out Burger.

Sorry, who?

Who exactly?

The WOM hasn’t really worked here has it? Well it kind of has, but locally. The thing with In-N-Out, is that it’s a Western US-exclusive burger bar. The menu is made up burgers, cheeseburgers and fries… and that’s it. Yes there’s the usual array of soft drinks, fizzy and milky in equal measure, but in the main the overall offering available for your delectation is somewhat lacking,

Or so you might think.

In-N-Out have a ‘secret menu’ (not so secret that it’s not on their own website – but still), that is only available if you know what to ask for. Animal Fries for instance. Can you see it on the menu? I can’t. The 4×4? Nope, not there either…

In INO’s own words (on the secret menu page):

“Ok, you’ve heard the rumors, wondered what was on it, maybe even felt a little left out of the loop. But in reality, we don’t have any secrets at all. It’s just the way some of our customers like their burgers prepared, and we’re all about making our customers happy. So here are some of the most popular items on our not-so-secret menu…”

Yes they’re up front(ish) about it, but notice how they only give away ‘some’ of the most popular items on the secret menu. There be gold in them there hills. Oh yes…

There’s something inherently cool about being ‘in the club’ and ‘in the know’ – and reaching those lofty pinnacles of whispers on the beaches of Los Angeles betwixt one surfer and another is – as I stated earlier – no easy task.

But one small chain of burger bars in the US has managed to do just that.

Now tell me you’re not hungry…

Waking up in New York

Cross-posted with my new Posterous website, set up purely for #ClimateVoice.
Normal service will return shortly.

(I have many more Moleskine travels to write up and, fingers crossed, I’ll have some other things to talk about by the time I get back too)

In the meantime, here is the first post from said Posterous.

Please remember: I’m not deserting My Happy Place, I just felt that for this one week-long gig, I should take my work elsewhere. I guess when you read some of the things we’re getting up to here, you’ll see.

See you when I get back.


PS. A few commenters have remarked upon the irony of yours truly helping out with the #ClimateVoice project, given the amount of traveling that I’ve done this Summer and my continued response to them has been: I was asked to help and, after my Summer of travelling, I felt it was the least I could do.


So, the Lucozade Challenges are at an end and I find myself not at home, in London…

But here, in New York.


Back in February I was part of the team that helped the G20Voice blog get up and running through my work with SpinVox; working with Alfie Dennen of Moblog we were able to set up phone lines all over the world that allowed anyone, anywhere to call up and put their question to the G20.

When Oxfam heard I had some free time at the end of the Lucozade project, they asked if I’d like to tag along and assist with their livestreaming of the event; interviewing attendees and bloggers and generally doing what I do, but for them.

So a trip to NY, working with a charity I love?
Oh go on then..

So for the week that I’m here, I’ll be blogging at this new posterous blog, just for this one project, as a container for all my Oxfam/G20/ClimateVoice content.

Let’s see how it works out.

Thanks for reading,