Thursday, 24 July 2008

Our first mini-guide goes live

Ahh, yes. Today our first Unchained mini-guide on Londonist hit the interweb. And people everywhere were talking about it. Well, a few people anyway.

We love Londonist.

Read our little piece here.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Remembering Dave Gorman

Reading this headline in the Guardian today reminded me of Dave Gorman's America Unchained.

If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend a viewing, it's a really powerful (and funny) piece of work - bravo him. Anyway, the basic thrust of it is that Dave tries to travel from one American coast to the other without going into a chain. That means no Holiday Inn, no Burger King and no big brand fuel. Needless to say, he struggles like hell to only refuel on Unchained stuff - often finding himself running on fumes.

Todays news makes me think that Unchained fuel is going to become increasingly difficult to find in the UK too as the Guardian reported that "three of Britain's biggest chains announced they would cut fuel prices, with Asda saying it would shave 3p a litre off the cost of unleaded and diesel and Morrisons cutting 4p".

My first instinct when I saw this headline - and it is just instinct, not the truth necessarily - is that the supermarkets will treat the fuel as a loss leader and end up making a fortune out of pre-packed sandwiches.

I have a few theories about loss leaders:

1. They shouldn't be legal
2. Until they're illegal I'd like to have a swarm of people who go in, buy the loss leaders only and then leave.

What do you think? When you fill up do you think about where your fuel is coming from? Or is price your main concern? Love to hear your thoughts.

Friday, 11 July 2008

Shout out for Paul

With the weekend upon us and a great week behind us, we'd like to end by asking you (for the love of great chocolate) to vote for Paul A Young in the UKTV Food Heroes competition.

Anyone who's ever done the salty caramels in his boutique chocolate shop know he deserves every accolade in the world. Yum yum.

Go vote.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Celebrating the credit crunch

For those of you who think the title of this post is a typo, you're wrong.

I really do think that it's possible to celebrate the credit crunch.

Call me crazy, but I reckon that when bad stuff happens, opportunities are created.

Environmental problems are a great example of this. The bad news is tempered by a world of opportunities for those who are creative and ballsy enough to innovate and make the most of a changing world. Think of the dude who invents a new engine powered by good, clean fuel.

Surely it's all about thinking laterally and having a good attitude.

So today I'd like to celebrate two things that have shone and sparled in amongst the news of doom and gloom. These two things have really made the most of the poor economy:

1. Electric scooters. According to The Huffington Post, these beauties are having a glorious time because of rising oil costs.

2. Luxury foodstuffs (I love the word foodstuffs, it just sounds so made up). Apparently people are indulging themselves when it comes to buying provisions for their own homes because going out's way too expensive.

And I'm looking for more. Please share the things you come across that have innovated and inspired in the wake of seemingly bad news.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008 is my homepage

We are seriously excited to be working with the lovely people at

Today an Unchained interview went live. And starting next month, we'll be creating content just for Londonist. Our regular contribution will introduce readers to shops, shopowners, Unchained areas and other delicious bits and bobs - so watch this space for updates.

Also, it has to be said, Londonist is a great resource for everyone in this city - even on days when we're not in it.

So big love to them and a big hello to their readers. You can read the full story here.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Enter the editors

Those of you who've read his book (which I haven't, yet) will know that John Naish has said Enough, quite literally, in his book of that title. John was one of the opening speakers at 2gether last week and I thought he shared some brilliant insights with us. John described the overwhelming ocean of digital information the internet has made accessible to us. He calls it infobesity. And ironically, I wanted to know more.

I dug around in the aforementioned ocean and found an article about him (and it) in The Times earlier this year, in which he explained, "Over the past decade, two facts have become increasingly obvious – that our ever-increasing consumption is wrecking the planet, and that continually chasing more stuff, more food and more entertainment no longer makes us any happier. Instead, levels of stress, obesity and dissatisfaction are spiralling."It's true. Most of the people I know are chronicly disatisfied, no matter what they achieve, it's never enough.

John's point is really compelling, and he asks a really provocative question of us all: "Why is our culture still chasing, consuming, striving ever harder, even though we know in our sophisticated minds that it’s an unrewarding route to eco-geddon?"

He's unravelled the mystery and come to the conclusion that it's our primitive brains. John Naish is seriously into evolutionary psychology - which has got to be cool, right?

"These marvellous machines got us down from the trees and around the world, through ice ages, famines, plagues and disasters, into our unprecedented era of abundance. But they never had to evolve an instinct that said, “enough”."

I see it a little differently. My reasons for this different point of view is - wait for it - evolutionary psychology.

I don't think that people go online to get more and more information. This may have been the case in the early years, but now, I think we go online to get less information. I know that sounds crazy, but bear with me.

There was probably a time when the internet was a new, shiny toy that we'd explore and go on neverending digital voyages through. Now, our relationships with the internet and its information has evolved. I think (drumroll please) the editors have entered.

I don't go online to get all the news in every part of the world every day. I could. But I don't. Instead I go to news sources that I trust (i.e. not Fox) and hear what they have to say.

The editor theory isn't mine, it's Pedro's - the third - and most inconspicious - partner in Unchained. He spouted his editor wisdom to me a couple of months ago. "People," he said, in his lazy, Brazillian twang "like DJs, because DJs listen to all the new music that's out there and only play the best."

He sees Unchained as an editor. And I think he's right. You see, I reckon we said enough a little while ago and developed a loyalty to the people and industries that apply the perfect filters for our lives.

What do you think? Are we infobese? Who are your editors?

Saturday, 5 July 2008

Friday, 4 July 2008

Our Elevator Pitch

Jemima Kiss at The Guardian interviewed me recently, you can read the interview here.

And of course, her first paragraph of her story explains the radio silence - Dave and I have been at 2gether08 conducting social experiments with our friends at Qype.

I'll be posting more info over the weekend about the experiment and how it worked.

Stay tuned.