Friday, September 28, 2012
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
*the totally authentic sound of ghosts
So we’ve been here a few days and it’s soon become apparent that you can’t turn a corner in Clerkenwell without tripping over (sometimes quite literally) a bit of history.
Even the very tarmac outside our front door hides away a street of impressive cobbles that one 78 yr old man has offered to restore.
Our little patch of Clerkenwell has been home to nuns, bowling greens and a whole bunch of knights from ye olden times, but predominantly our area seems to be all about the ghouls and the ghosts…
Across the road from us is the site of a notorious 18th Century prison or ‘House of Detention‘ as it was then called. Whilst the site is now mostly occupied by an old school, its dungeons and cells remain beneath the playground. There have been reports of the anguished cries of a little girl and strange sightings of old women from people who’ve been down there. You can even hire it. Maybe it’s time to go ghost hunting.
My favourite ghost story is about ‘Scratching Fanny of Cock Lane‘. Honest. I’m not making it up. Best ghost name EVER.
However, by far the most haunting history we’ve uncovered is the fact that our actual building is built upon the site of an ancient burial ground. We thought the builders were trying to scare us when they talked of footsteps and voices, but we now have map evidence that we are sitting atop a big old pile o’ bones.
A map of our area from even longer ago (1670)
Our patch of Clerkenwell 80 years ago.
We’ll keep you informed on any more supernatural happenings… although you won’t catch me working late on my own anymore.
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Guest Editor Tom Slattery writes:
The tech world was busier than ever last week; with the launch of the iPhone 5. Is the reign of the iPhone over? Is Samsung the new pretender? Was the iPad the last true innovation from Apple? Who knows, but the main undeniable thing missing from the latest offering, is a lack of any significant new features. One that caught my attention was NFC – Near Field Communications. Essentially what your Oyster card uses. This wasn’t a huge surprise – Apple has previously shown to be the late adopter of new features like this – waiting for the competition to get it wrong first.
Forgetting the lack of NFC on the new iPhone for a moment, it’s hard not to notice the rise of applications for the the tech. Samsung have made a song and dance of the nifty (gimmicky) applications – swapping songs, pictures, contact and connecting to a pair of speakers.
What is far more interesting is the rise of the “digital” wallet. Long talked about but finally making real headway. Barclays of course, have long been advocates for the tech. Interestingly their solution to phones not having NFC is to offer a NFC embedded sticker you can literally whack on the back of your phone. A clunky temporary solution but a way to get people used to using their phones as a payment method.
NFC isn’t the the only innovation of course. Current working solutions are the hugely successful SQUARE – the card reader that plugs into your iPhone or iPad. I was taken aback recently, when I got a rental car hand washed round the back of a building, got out some dollars, only to be offered an iPhone to use my card. Although most reports suggest that SQUARE are waiting for NFC to replace their current card reading hardware.
From a brand point of view, particularly retailers, the digital wallet offers great opportunities. The likes of Tesco are going to be keen for you to have your clubcard sat on device. Always picking up spending patterns and ready to push special offers and other enticing carrots. With all your payment details registered onto your mobile device, it will also make it much easier for you to make those one-click purchases while surfing the web on the bus home.
Monday, September 24, 2012
After a very long weekend of packing, moving, unpacking, cleaning and beautifying, this morning saw a bunch of rain soaked but very happy siblings enter the building.
After a race for the nicest looking chair (more on that later) we were in, powered up and getting to know our new home. We’ve already made friends with the local café and have discovered that we’re in a complete foodie heaven area. So much so that the next purchase should probably be a bunch of exercise bikes in order work of those extra pounds that we’re all poised to gain.
There’ll be more about the area and our discoveries as we go on, but for now, check out our lovely Clerkenwell A-Z map that Helen designed for us.
Friday, September 21, 2012
After nearly five years, Brothers & Sisters is leaving Soho. It’s been a rollercoaster of a ride and we’ll miss our little patch of Great Pulteney Street immensely.
But it’s not just the bricks and mortar, it’s a whole host of conveniences and people and experiences that we’ll miss. We asked everyone here what they’ll miss the most, with answers varying from the predictable to the downright unbelievable. Here, in no particular order, are what we’ll miss the most…
Proximity to Zara; Liberty (the great big purple shop); BangBang, sea bass and fried rice from Pit Stop; the lovely old Italian guy at Lina’s who offers you a kiss with your coffee (he’s like 85 so it’s charming rather than creepy); perfectionist waxing lady at Soho tanning, Fernandez and Wells flat whites; being able to run out and buy a pair of pants really easily when we’ve forgotten to pack them; the lovely big issue man at the end of Old Compton Street, cinnamon buns from Nordic Bakery; Foxcroft & Ginger Café; cycling up the Mall every morning; the smell of skunk drifting through the boardroom window from Crack Alley – aka Bridle Lane; the downstairs bar at Hix; The Windmill pub; Sunset Strip; queueing for the office toilets; celeb spotting; So High Soho; Madame JoJo’s; crack deals in broad daylight; fighting for desk space; last-minute present buying, Boots (the shop, not a pair of), Nando’s, Sam Smith’s; cruising down Old Compton Street; Triyoga Soho; H&M; the hot dry cleaner on Berwick Street Market; more sushi bars than you can shake a stick at, Cowling & Wilcox; fashionistas in too high high heels tripping over cobbles; that dingy karaoke bar that we always end up in on Frith St.
It is with a heavy heart that we leave our beloved Soho, but we’re all up for new adventures and Clerkenwell seems like a great place to start a new one. Farewell and so long, Soho. You’ve been a great friend.
Thursday, September 20, 2012
If you didn’t catch it last week, here’s another chance to read Andy’s Private View piece in Campaign.
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
According to Virgin Media, this is what the future will look like in as little as 13 years from now.
Whilst the video hasn’t received many comments, it’s not hard to imagine the responses to this, commenting on loss of privacy, lack of creativity, loneliness and a lot of pining for the ‘good old days’.
But it’s also a very exciting proposition and it’ll be interesting to see how much of this rings true in 2025. Apart from the promise of never having to spend another commute with your nose shoved in someone’s armpit, this vision of the future promises time less wasted. No more queuing at the supermarket, no more trips to the doctors. Time that you then get to spend on the things that matter most. Does it come at the cost of being constantly connected? Perhaps. But then when you look around at people beside you, in the street, you realise we are already constantly connected. By our phones, our watches, advertising, TV. This isn’t really a huge leap, rather a refinement of what we already have. Bring. It. On.
Monday, September 17, 2012
We make lots of things for people. Occasionally, we make stuff for us. Or rather, we make stuff for us, that might be liked by other people.
Case in point is a project we’ve been working on quietly for the last 4 months with our good friend and journalist Greg Williams. MyLondonStory was born out of a love for our city, good writing and maps. (We really really LOVE a good map, but I digress…)
Our idea is to create a picture of London via the medium of words, building layers of stories around the people and spaces that make this city what it is. Writers of any calibre are being encouraged to share their London tales on the site, with the aim of building a storytelling community telling tales of the metropolis. The stories can be about anything: A first job, a monumental gig, a week living rough… the only requirement is to tie it in to the great city herself. Eventually, we hope to have big name authors sitting next to spare room writers, showing off their individual stories. At the centre of the project is a pretty beautiful iPad app, which will allow people to browse, search and read the submitted stories.
The full project launches in a few weeks time, but for now, check out the MyLondonStory site and maybe even submit a story of your own.
Friday, September 14, 2012
Friday, September 14, 2012
Our nice places are growing. Once you’ve peeked behind the curtain of nice, a whole new world of cafes and shops run by lovely people appear as if by magic. I have a slight inkling that perhaps it’s because I’m seeking out the nice with eyes and ears open, that nice reveals itself to me.
Anyhow, enough philosophising. This Friday’s nice place is but a camel’s leap from our office. It’s called Fresh Cafe and it’s in a space that has changed hands more times than the staff come and go in the Sun & 13. Run by a small group of turkish guys, it’s offerings are pretty simple. A fill-your-box salad bar, or a hot dish of the day are offered in addition to the usual array of sandwiches made-to-order. Whilst not revolutionary ideas, the food is fantastic and the portions are big. And the main dude (the one with the beard and the permanent big smile) is so nice you feel like tipping him, even though there isn’t a tip jar in sight. Nice nice nice.