Apple Store Grand Central

Apple know a thing or two about retail.

They know how to create desire and community in a store, and also know that their stores are fundamental to their brand experience – but not the be all and end of it. And like everything else they do, their retail experience is nigh on perfect.

And the newest Apple Store to open is smack bang in the middle of one of New York’s iconic buildings – Grand Central Station. The store and the place have a symbiosis that I think would be impossible for any other brand to pull off. The design of the store is so completely sympathetic to its location that its hard to see where the store ends and the station begins.

Absolutely stunning.



Breakfast #2


No berries or flaxseeds this morning !!! Buttery mushrooms, golden fried egg, cup of splosh and bosh ready to face the day.  All served on the celebratory footy plate – get in.

The Manx Missile

It goes without saying that this has been an incredible year for the Manx Missile picking up the Green Jersey in the Tour de France and the World Road Race Champions rainbow jersey later in the year.  There was a fascinating documentary on Eurosport a couple of nights ago looking back over his season.  What was incredible for me was how he demonstrated  how he was able to think, plan, analyse and the execute moves even in the organised chaos of the mass sprint.  For example in the world championship win he was commenting that he knew the wind was coming from the right so that the riders would eventually drift to his left leaving him a gap to exploit.  In some of the Tour de France victories he again used the wind by slowing up slightly into a headwind to force other riders to come out from behind him meaning that they would also have to ride into the head wind, or of riding slightly below 100% again making riders go round him before then accelerating again.  Most natural goalscorers in football cannot explain how they do what they do they are just “in the right place at the right time”.  Cav is also in the right place at the right time most of the time but seems to have  a cold eyed calculation of exactly what he is doing when he is there.  Of course he cannot do any of it unless his team mates get him into the right position and one of the things I love about him is he always always gives his team mates credit.  As I’ve written this it sort of sounds quite straight forward but if you have never seen it then think again and watch the first few minutes of the clip below of him winning at the worlds.  The British team rode at the front for the best part of 5 hours preventing any other team from getting away thereby ensuring that it would be a bunch sprint at the end and then it was all down to Cav.  Apart from Wales’ matches at the rugby world cup nothing had me as gripped, shouting and off the sofa from a sporting event last year as this ….

The Reliance

Whenever I go to a European city I’ll inevitably find myself in a great little bar somewhere sampling the delights of wherever I happen to be.  The idea for this blog primarily came about sat in some great bars in Malaga for example and I always end up thinking why don’t we have bars like this back home.  I was reminded of this at lunchtime today when I went to one of my favs The Reliance which is everything I could want and, pardon the pun, you can rely on every time.  It’s cool, but laid back; serves great food everytime, whether you want a simple snack or something more substantial; service is attentive but not over fussy; hand pulled guest ales, wines, coffee – whatever your tipple they do it well; clientele mixed and eclectic and handily for me 5 minutes walk from work.  Could not wish for a nicer place to spend lunchtime today with friends before we go our seperate ways for the New Year break.

photo credit: phil from one of our previous visits !

Real life Star Wars



I came across a series of stunning images for the Star Wars geeks out there. Photographer Cedric Delsaux combines real life situations and Star Wars characters and vehicles to beautiful effect. They’re seamlessly produced too and it adds a powerful dimension – reality – to the Star Wars real estate we know so well.

You can see the rest of them here 

Depressed Superheroes

The alter egos of, for example, Bruce Wayne, David Banner and Peter Parker resulted in 3 fantastic superheroes with the back stories behind the characters making them so iconic.  Wayne is driven by a dark need for vengeance following the murder of his parents and seeks to take revenge on the criminals of Gotham City;  Parker is an orphan and dealing with growing adolescence and the loneliness and rejection that many teenagers face; Banner is Jekyll & Hyde reborn as he struggles to deal with his rage and emotional anger.  They, and many of the other brilliant characters in the genre, work because I feel that they allow us to look inside ourselves and to reflect that light and shade that all of us deal with at some point in our lives.  Who has never felt anger, resentment, loneliness or a need for revenge ?  Of course when we think of their alter egos clear pictures will pop into our minds of Batman, Spiderman and the Hulk as the characters have been brilliantly drawn, filmed and recreated over the years.  I was struck therefore when I recently came across an inversion of the art with a series of pictures of “depressed superhereos” produced by the artist Lora Zombie.  I really liked the  idea that after a hard days (or nights) work being a super they might need to hang up the cape and slump down.


Who’d have thought that something as simple as Rock and Roll would save us all ???

In thinking about my albums of the year there were of course many other contenders, both with great albums or simply with songs that really lifted the others around them to keep that album at the forefront of my listening.  There were others that were from 2010 but that I’ve mostly been playing this year, the Band of Horses album Infinite Arms definitely falls into that category being probably my most played album of the year.  However there was one track that was the most uplifting, put a smile on your face number and that was I Still Believe by Frank Turner in which Frank dispenses his belief in all things rock and roll.  Simply fantastic and makes me feel there is still some fire left in the old belly yet.  Here he is converting the young uns at Reading with an acoustic version.