Last night the UK welcomed the world into London for the Olympic Games 2012, the 30th modern Olympiad, the third time in the city and definitely a once in a lifetime gig.

First of all I’ll start by saying I’m not at all comfortable with the way sponsorship works in modern life and the Olympics seem to demonstrate the worst of the power these global brands have on these events that were set up with very different ideals in mind.

But sometimes you need to put to one side those concerns, or the political games played alongside and judge the moment.

I have to say that, for me, I’ve never been prouder to be a British citizen. Danny Boyle, Underworld and everyone involved in the opening ceremony produced a unique occasion that didn’t ask remission of others. It didn’t try to compete with China, it wasn’t trying to be too ‘razzmatazz’ — it was simply a truly creative, fun and enjoyable moment.

Was the ceremony worth the money? Yes — in advertising terms alone, penny per eyeball — it showed we can do great events in a world that reminds people how a little island does still contribute to the cultural blend of the world — and it also reminded the world how much we, at least as much as any other country, are a country populated and welcoming of people from throughout the world.

It was great to see a ‘little band’ from Yorkshire playing within that space, the Palace showing they’ve changed and know how to show a lighter touch, a blend of traditional Britishness morphing into the contemporary and some amazing event design.

No, I didn’t like it all, yes there are some issues both Britain and the world need to think long and hard about but — did we put on a good show and the right show? Boy, did we!


I wrote this earlier on a Facebook post relating to an article in the gay press.

It’s taken me a few years to rationalise this but here’s what I think about the ‘gay scene/lifestyle’…

‘The Gay Scene’ is basically a collection commercial entities (often big business owned) based around profit-making interests. It panders to ‘community’ only if it fits with those aims — it also perpetuates gay ghettos and isolationism. Yes, we let others in, on our terms (or the terms of the pub owners, most likely) and we continue to make a huge thing about being different.

Now that’s the stupidest thing about ‘gay pride’ — spending so much effort being different to the people we want equality with.

Sometimes I wonder if we deserve it!

Maybe it’s time to promote pride in being oneself. That it’s good to be who you are, whoever you are — providing you apply that same pride to being understanding and accepting of who others are (and choose to do).

However, in addition to that I’ll add — there’s some important things the gay community has done and continues to do — especially around healthcare, rights and combating hate crime. And I think those bodies have a right to exist. Neither do I think ‘gay pubs’ (and clubs) etc should close. I just wish we spent a lot less time being different for difference’s sake.

Hence the title — celebrate yourself, and celebrate the fact we’re all different and have a right to be different — and think different. But don’t forget we’ve a huge number of things in common!

Peace, people!


I love Leeds loads, but there’s more than a few moments when I get bigger city envy.

Then I realise it’s more a case there’s not enough people getting off their behinds and arranging stuff here.



Today it was widely reported that the local culture and listings magazine, Leeds Guide, has gone into administration.

This prompted me to pause and think.

Having organised and attended events in Leeds for a number of years the city is sadly lacking in a really good source to turn to to find out what’s on. One that you can easily get through and is designed with the users (both reader and organiser) in mind.

I tend to find out about everything through social networks and rss feeds. Which is fine — but it relies purely on the grapevine to get that knowledge; and for me to be paying a lot of attention to them. It also means that, for an event to hit my radar, it needs a fair amount of ‘buzz’ about it.

And I’d hate for you to get me wrong — there are any number of great publications in Leeds — from the established to the most recent that have come out of the digital revolution (and plenty imbetween). But, having looked around, there’s no independent or alternate publication you can point to and say — that is putting Leeds on the map and providing a great service to a broad readership in the city.

I’m determined not to point fingers nor to apologise too much for these statements.

I’d personally prefer many of those which are out there already stay their course and continue doing their great work. What this needs is someone to put some resource into a new publication, that combines listings, along with great editorial, that maybe brings in the best content from elsewhere — while creating some of it’s own.

I’d love a publication that helps people answer questions… most immediately “What can I do this evening?” — but do it in a way that excites, involves and generates trust in it’s readers. I’m almost certain it needs some paid staff — but these may be balanced with some volunteers. I also fairly certain that it will need to be innovative and make best use of the wide variety of creative talent the city has to offer to get this right.

But — it’s not rocket science and there’s plenty of examples of great, socially aware, media services.

I’d like to hope my city is also capable of delivering one.

The original article was posted on WePublish - please add your thoughts or comments there.



[Deep Breath]

I’m 40 this year; in a few week’s time in fact.

And, until now, I wasn’t sure ‘getting to 40′ was something to celebrate — or how to do it; but just today I got an idea as to how I can record it that will reflect brilliantly where I am now; and my passions.

I’d like to commission a photograph from everyone I know.

I’d like you to take/make a single photographic image — of whatever you think I’d like to have an image of and send it to me.

The image can be of anything — write me a note, sketch or doodle, photograph yourself or something (anything) you think will excite, intrigue or amuse me. I don’t mind if your skills aren;‘t great or if it’s on a camera phone (or whatever), I care that you thought a little about it, and that you created this work just for me.

I will then take all the submitted images and collate them into a book (just for me) that will be my momento of my 40th. If you include a message with the image I’ll make sure that, and your name, goes in the book.

You can add it to the facebook page, email it —  or post it (please ask for my postal address in a private message!)

I will be celebrating my birthday (28th March) with family around the ‘big day’ and then having a more proper party a little later in the year (my March is already busy enough!)

Please do this — it will mean a lot to me :-)



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