For some reason whenever I go away people say “you’re always on holiday”, but I promise I’m not. Regardless here’s where I am: Algund-Lagundo – it’s a lovely place, but slightly odd; it’s in Italy, but everyone speaks German. I’ll bore you with some holiday thoughts and pics later.
Anyway this time I decided to take my laptop with me, just for emergencies you understand. But when we arrived I was told that lighting had hit the internet (my poor translation from the German, but not a million miles off). When I called work on Monday and told them I couldn’t get online I really did feel my excuse was about as far fetched as the dog having eaten my homework.
My biggest regret about not being able to get online was that Mike Coulter who writes the excellent Digital Agency blog was going to blogsit for me. But I didn’t get round to sorting it before I left :-( When Mike and I were emailing about it I thought the idea of blogsitting was pretty interesting, then I discovered that it was old hat: http://www.blogsitter.net/
It was time for a tidy-up. My blog template was starting to break in places. And I’ve found that I was writing longer posts. Which may or may not be a good thing depending on your point of view. But it meant that the big type was getting a bit tiresome. So it was time for a redesign. Plus I’ve added a ‘recent posts’ and ‘recent comments’ bit in the sidebar.
Appears incredibly simple at first but makes an interesting statement about both supply and demand and the nature of limited edition things. You might have to have a play in order to see the simplicity and beauty of it.
Strangely the thing that I came away with most was a weird kind of nostalgia for the village where I grew up.
I’ve only met a couple of people in my adult life who actually know where I grew up. I normally have to say, do you know Birmingham? Do you know Nottingham? (Most people sort of say yes to both, but you can tell they don’t really know where either of them are – and why should they). Anyway, I grew up in a tiny village called Barton-under-Needwood, and it’s not really very close to anything.
But, not only did Russell know the exact village where I grew up, he’d been to one of the pubs there. And being an fellow East Midlander was familiiar with being called ‘duck’ and all those other strange things I’d not considered for ages. I’ve not been back there for nearly 15 years.
So yesterday I thought I’d go back there. Not in reality, but via the teleportational qualities of Google Maps. So I put in the name of the village. And got a nice map. Then I refined it down to the last postcode I could remember living at.
On the satelite view I could see my house at the end of the row of terraced houses. And I could see the cow field where me and my brother used to play. Then I started playing around, zooming out, looking at street names. And I started to remember other things, like the route of my morning paper round.
Then I remembered something I’d seen on Flickr a while ago: Memorymaps.
Memorymaps are an interesting mash-up between Google Maps and Flickr. People screengrab a meaningful map on Google, then they annotate them with memories, so when you move your mouse over the map you can see points of personal interest. OK, so it’s quite self indulgent. But at the same time I quite liked it as an idea: so I made my own.
I’m faced with a daily paradox at the moment: the busier I get (sometimes doing quite interesting stuff) the less time I find that I have to blog about it. I need to get better at putting aside a few minutes a day to keep the site up to date. Or maybe I need to consider a slightly new format for the blog where I can say more in less words? Here’s a few things I’ve done in the last 2 weeks of quiet blog time:
Been working with Zopa. Professionally I’m working with Zopa which is one of the most interesting projects I’ve ever had the pleasure to work on. I’m finding it fascinating and incredibly taxing in equal measures. Taking a inherently simple proposition (which has very very complex underpinnings) and making it work from both a product and a communication point of view. It’s one of the first things I’ve done recently where our work touches so much of their business. If you’ve not heard of Zopa, go check it out.
Been taking swimming lessons. I’ve never been a good swimmer, but always wanted to be better. I read about a method of teaching swimming that uses principles from the Alexander Technique, so I resolved that I’d find out more about The Art of Swimming using the Shaw Method. I did. I signed up, and I’m finding it absolutely amazing. I’ll talk more when I’m finished my lessons.
Had a very interesting meeting with MySpace. I’ve talked a lot on here about MySpace, and I’m going to talk some more in the next day or two, but it was great to meet some people who are actually involved in the business. I still have some reservations about what they’re doing, but there’s undoubtedly some very interesting things we can all learn…
Had a long weekend of going out to parties with old friends. Behaved like an idiot 10 years younger than I am (and had a great time). Feel like an old man now. Interesting to see how 24-hour licensing now means that you can essentially go clubbing around the clock in parts of London now, and people do, and they quite often look like a mess. I’ll say no more.
Anyone got any tips on how to stay blogging during times of stress and heavy workload?
Here’s a little (in size) project Poke have done for the NSPCC. The NSPCC Dream Auction is aiming to raise a huge amount of money to help to end cruelty to children. There’s a number of ways to get involved, from a huge gala auction at the Royal Albert Hall (that I’m sure I won’t get an invite to), 1000s of eBay lots (which I’m sure I can bid on) through to the sale of rather fetching mobile phone lanyards.