Change Your Coffee Shop Now

The same, yet different.

 

by Simon Lord at Flickr
by Simon Lord at Flickr

I meant to write about coffee last week when it was on my mind. There was a day, Monday – I think, where I had some time to kill before meeting PY after work. So I went into Cafe Nero and ordered myself a regular Latte. Nice, warm coffee. Then I wandered around some shops and then went into Costa Coffee and ordered another Latte. This time the taste was totally different. Unfortunately, I don’t have the words to hand to describe quite how different the two drinks were. There was a startling difference between two cups of coffee. The Costa drinks was much less bitter and had a much fuller flavour. I was blown away as I have never noticed such differences between two coffees before. I blame the thick stuff we drink at work for dulling my taste buds. Anyway, the leaflet in Costa says, ‘Others think their beans are fine after a 7-minute blast. Our beans need a full 18 minutes at precisely 230 degrees to bring out every bit of flavour – and we always make sure they get it’. It appears to be true. My regular coffee shop has just changed.

Modern Life Is Rubbish

Modern Life Is Rubbish, at least that’s what Blur thought back in 1993.

Modern Life Is Rubbish, at least that’s what Blur thought back in 1993. I can tell you some Modern Life things still aren’t what they should be. The Modern Life Expo at London’s Business Design Centre was supposed to be and event ‘Combining entertainment and an exhibition we aim to provide suppliers for everything you need in your life from gay wedding planning, health, fashion, home, travel right through to the law & finance’ [site] but it was such a mixture of things (mainly property overseas and wedding invitations) that it didn’t have any focus. Sadly, there weren’t that many people there when we first arrived and we were directed, immediately, to the coffee place rather than the event.

Events like this are kind of weird anyway. They invite people to take stands so that companies can promote their wares. The people attending want to look round with out constantly being pounced on by salespeople. And the two do not go together well. Still, maybe next year …

Admonished By A Snack Food Wrapper

I’m a crisp packet who’s about to fine you £50.

I love Anna’s writing. Captain Crisps and FagEndBoy is one of my favourites:

It’s got to take the shine off your manhood, being publically admonished by a snack food wrapper.

Little Red Boat certainly has a way with words, she makes me laugh almost every day.

Nokia E61

Nokia’s new messaging phone comes complete with QWERTY keyboard but doesn’t have the treo-style annoying aerial.

Dear Palm

Please take note:

Nokia Announces Eseries for Business (Phone Scoop): E6 -: A slim (0.55 inches) messaging phone to compete with the Motorola Q. Features a landscape 24-bit QVGA display, QWERTY keyboard, and a miniSD slot. Supports quad-band GSM/EDGE and WCDMA 2100.

With no annoying sticky-up aerial to jab you when it’s in your pocket.

Thanks in advance
Me

A New Beginning

In news … Minardi sold to Red Bull Racing.

On Friday, I mentioned that The Guardian was getting its new look tomorrow. You can follow the paper’s editors as they plan prepare tomorrow’s paper at The Editors’ Weblog that has launched on the site.

In tomorrow’s sport section I hope they cover Formula One in some detail. It’s been announced that Red Bull Racing will take over the Minardi team from November. Minardi’s boss, Paul Stoddart, told BBC News “Small privateer teams are probably phasing themselves out … it’s hard to imagine a truly privateer team can break into F1 again”. I think that’s sad for the sport really but the who really has got that much money?

A Giddy Schoolgirl

Times, they are a changin’. Actually, Guardian. It’s a changin’.

My favourite newspaper is changing. No, I don’t know what Berliner means either but that’s not a problem. No longer will I be hitting old ladies with a newspaper, or getting tangled in a iPod hub’s cable or stopping a City gent scrolling his Blackberry. Smaller, neater, lovely. Danm, it looks hot and it’s only a newspaper!

The Guardian: Berliner preview edition

Catherine Tate

The Catherine Tate show has just ended its run on television. Sob.

I am so sad right now. The Catherine Tate show (which follows Extras on BBC2 on Thursday nights) has just come to the end of it’s pitifully short run. It’s by far the best comedy sketch show there has been for a long, long time. I love all the characters but the ‘I d’know’ couple make me laugh before they open their mouths. Foul-mouth Gran, Lauren (Am I bothered? Am I bothered though?) and Derek (How Very Dare You) just make me smile the whole time. What a shame this is ending. Please, BBC bring it back soon.

UPDATE 30 August: Amazon have the Catherine Tate Show Series One DVD on sale now.

Memories Of The Walkman

I was a avid singles collector at the time and the little Walkman unit wasn’t ever going to play vinyl 45s. So, at this point in my life I became a compilation tape wizard.

When I was younger my Sony Walkman was one of my favourite things. Today, you would probably think of it as a first generation device but I think this was 1982 and it was a WM-4 (or the like). There’s a picture of it on this page. My brother and I were at an age where we wanted to listen to our own music all the time so I suspect my parents thought it would be a good idea to get us one each so we could listen to our music in the car while they had Radio 2 on. And it stopped the arguments.

I was a avid singles collector at the time and the little Walkman unit wasn’t ever going to play vinyl 45s. So, at this point in my life I became a compilation tape wizard. I would spend hours putting tapes of my records together to listen to in the car. There would be the odd album track from one of my parent’s records but most of the tracks were from those singles of mine.

I would spend hours listening, rewinding, forwarding and listening again to my soundtrack to the 80s. If it had been number one in the charts during that period then it would have been on those tapes.

And so to – what I thought was going to be – the point of this little wander down memory lane. During that time in the early 80s I used to carry a small stock of batteries around. If the Walkman stopped working I just replaced the battery (although I did learn over the years not to use the rewind functions a great deal as they drastically reduced battery life). My cheesy 80s pop was always with me.

Fast forward to 2005. This afternoon I was heading to the gym and thought I’d take my new century Walkman-equivalent with me only to find the battery was drained. Except this time I can’t just swap out the batteries – I have to charge it. So I wasn’t able to walk with my music.

And they call it progress.

On a side note, my parent’s loft probably still houses the Walkman – the cassette part gave up years ago but the radio still works and the stereo sound from it is still one of the best I’ve ever heard. Those 80s hits singles are all stored in boxes in the same loft space but the compilation tapes have long since gone. It would be amusing to try and recreate one of them through the wonders of digital music but I shan’t be setting myself that kind of goal.

Spooky side note. When I wrote the words above I had no idea that the entries on this day in 2004 and 2003 were both – in some way – music related. I wonder was it is about today?

7 Million Londoners, 1 London

If you have been wandering around London in the last few weeks you will have seen the 7 million Londoners, 1 London campaign at bus shelters and poster sites around the Capital.

7 Million Londoners 1 LondonIf you have been wandering around London in the last few weeks you will have seen the 7 million Londoners, 1 London campaign at bus shelters and poster sites around the Capital. The media space appears to have been provided for free. There have are posters and badges available if you want to order them. I really like the positive statements that it’s making. I really hope that it catches on but I haven’t seen many people or businesses displaying the posters/stickers yet. Go and order yours now.

In Case Of Emergency

Sometimes the simplest ideas are by far the best. Bob Brotchie, from the East Anglian Ambulance Service, had a great idea to enable the emergecy services to contact somebody close to you if you are involved in an accident. The ICE (In Case of Emergency) entry in your mobile ‘phone’s contacts list is brillaint. Read on for more or check out this story at BBC News.

East Anglian Ambulance Service have launched a national “In Case of Emergency ( ICE )” campaign with the support of Falklands war hero Simon Weston and in association with Vodafone’s annual life savers award.

The idea is that you store the word “ICE” in your mobile phone address book, and against it enter the number of the person you would want to be contacted “In Case of Emergency”.

In an emergency situation, ambulance and hospital staff will then be able to quickly find out who your next of kin are and be able to contact them. It’s as simple as that, and for more than one contact name you can use ICE1, ICE2, ICE3 etc. [source]

Trafalgar Square Vigil

It was a united city saying ‘we will not back down in the face of your bombs. You will not break us’.

Journalists at Trafalgar SquareYesterday I observed the two minutes of silence to remember those killed in last week’s bombings. After work I walked to Trafalgar Square to take part in the vigil. I arrived just after it had started but heard a lot of the speakers. There were moving speeches, prayers and poems from across the political and religious spectrum. There were leaders from the major churches and religions showing a united front. There were London celebrities with sincere words calling for a united city. Sebastian Coe spoke of the Olympic bid and how we’ll build a fitting tribute to the people who lost their lives last Thursday. There were union leaders and politicians who uttered words of support.

But the biggest applause went to members of the transport companies whose buses and trains were attacked and for the emergency services who attended the sites to rescue victims. For once were were not a celebrity-obsessed nation but were there to support the people who keep London moving and safe.

The vigil seemed to go on forever. Perhaps it was too long but when everybody’s words were sincere how could you stop it? It was a united city saying ‘we will not back down in the face of your bombs. You will not break us’.

Sadly, for the media, it was just another news story. There were camera crews from across the globe at one end of the square and various reporters were applying their make-up or dabbing the sweat from their brows as technicians plugged in things and waved cues. Behind all the the tributes coming from the front of the square were a selection of “Londoners are gathered …” and “back to you in the studio”. Reports were being filed in a number of languages via a fleet of satellite trucks being powered by noisy generators in the corner of Trafalgar Square. Maybe it’s because I was right beside the media as I couldn’t get further into the square but the chatter (and the smiles and laughing of some of the production staff) seemed inappropriate somehow. I hope they got their story.

London, Monday

I feel incredibly lucky not to have been anywhere near but I wasn’t.

I am back from my Silverstone trip – of which more later – and in to work today. As I was not in town on Thursday I can’t really talk about what it was like in the aftermath of the bomb blasts. It was strange hearing the news emerge on the radio as I was sat in my house answering work-related emails. Of course, there were moments where I connected with the people I know in a bid to check they were all OK. I have, however, felt odd all weekend answering the text messages (and today the emails) from people asking if I am OK. I am very grateful that people thought to contact me – and so I hope I’ve replied to everybody – and happy to report I am safe.

Central London has an estimated population of 7 million people – with many more commuting to work here – so the real chances of being involved are minimal. I almost feel guilty that I don’t have anything to add for the people who contacted me. I was well away from anything and, if I had been in the office on Thursday, I would also have been well away. I am most definitely with Anna on this topic. I wasn’t there. It is unlikely I would have been there. I feel incredibly lucky not to have been anywhere near but I wasn’t.

There has been some excellent coverage across all media but one thing has really intrigued me. If you had been on an underground train and there was an explosion would you have got out your mobile ‘phone and taken pictures or video? I can say with certainty that I would not have done so because I forget to take mobile pictures at good times never mind in times of chaos. I’m not critical – I understand the police are appealing for people’s pictures – but I am amazed that people thought to do it.

The Mood Of London Changes

Of course the day has now changed totally.

Of course the day has now changed totally. For those friends of mine who have contacted me, thanks for your thoughts. We are both fine right now but it’s unlikely you’ll be able to get me on the mobile as the services are deluged with people trying to contact people. BBC News has the latest.

The Final Push

The Prime Minister has arrived in Singapore to join the London team ahead of the crucial vote to elect the Host City for the 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games

Back The Bid PosterOlympic Countdown: The Prime Minister has arrived in Singapore to join the London team ahead of the crucial vote to elect the Host City for the 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games [Source] and England Football captain David Beckham has arrived in Singapore to join the London team hoping to secure the 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games [Source]. The BBC has a summary of the final push to the big announcement.

Fleet Street editors Back the Bid

Newspaper editors coming together in support of the bid for London 2012.

the uk editors back the bidSo, while counting down to Silverstone, there’s another countdown that I am watching now – the London Olympic bid. I’ve mentioned before that it would be brilliant for London to win the Olympics. I’d think I might volunteer if we win and I’ll say that now so that it doesn’t look like I am jumping on any bandwagon! Watch the videos and hold your breath! In the meantime it’s time for some bid news as I watch the countdown: The editors of ten national newspapers have united to sign a good luck message to London 2012 [source]. Has that ever happened before?