December 2018


If you’re a business, big or small, wanting to get a message to your market – know where they are focusing. 

Know what they are reading and where they are reading it, so you know where to tell your story.

This might help (percentages include multi-tasking):

In 2012, a UK adult spent 11% of their day staring at their phone. In 2018 it will be 31%.

In 2012, a UK adult spent 2.2% of their day staring at a tablet. In 2018 it will be 9.3%.

In 2012, a UK adult spent 40.9% of their day staring at, or being around a TV. In 2018 it will be 30%.

In 2012, a UK adult spent 18.4% of their day listening to, or being around radio. In 2018 it will be 13.3%.

In 2012, a UK adult spent 4.5% of their day reading printed content. In 2018 it will be 2.7%.


Gary Vaynerchuk is imploring businesses to message more online using the mighty Google and Facebook.

And whilst this powerful duopoly might make some feel funny about boosting their dominance further, it seems we have little choice at the moment.

The upside, and Vaynerchuk talks about this too, is that messaging on these platforms is only going to get more expensive. So you get a lot for your money right now.


The above figures are a trend.


Or be left behind.

The photograph with this story is a burger and fries.

It’s a great burger.

Loads of flavour, not too expensive, loaded with two cheeses and from The Merchants Tavern in Newcastle.

It’s independent and good.

The Black Horse Pub in East Boldon is amazing.

REALLY amazing.

The food!

It is independent and good.


Small businesses make up 95% of all businesses in England.

The government gives billions (I cannot remember how much, my friend Tony knows) to big businesses and single figure millions to support small ones.

The government, for a whole host of reasons of course, is stupid.

But worse than stupid is callous, aloof, arrogant, elitist and, in far too many ways, just couldn’t give a fuck about small people and small things.

The government thinks that big, rich people and corporations are big and rich because they deserve to be.

And that small and poor people are small and poor for the same reason.

When I last checked, we pay them to listen to us and look after us.

But because they do neither of these things, I’d like to suggest that you do what they should be doing.

Think small.

Buying things.

When you’re buying things, please try to appreciate how valuable it is to buy from small, hard working businesses.

There’re big hard working businesses too of course.

But please think on.

Any decent smaller businesses will love you more because you have taken the time to seek them out, learn to love them, then buy from them.

It’s a good thing to do.


And one last thing.

If you have on the tip of your tongue with regard to this subject:

But why are they so expensive?

First of all, when you look closely for the answer, you will probably find beautiful stories and great value in the answers.

And they probably aren’t as expensive as you imagined.

Honestly, and you will LOVE the answers you find.

And anyway, there is a much more valuable question than this.

About the big corporations.

It is:

But why are they so cheap?

Please ask.

And believe me, you will NOT love the answers you get.

Merry Christmas. 

Make a small business’s Christmas.

The feeling you get by doing so will make yours too.

Please read this poem:

Our first Christmas together

I had been so excited to have



I started tiptoeing

down the stairs

And he had a surprise waiting… he threw me

a party

He knows how to spoil

A simple girl!

He called me

in front of everyone

Then he cut me off

a sprig of mistletoe

We shared a kiss underneath

Our friends cheered as

outside, the snow silently settled

Now read the poem again, but read the last line, then the second to last line and so on.

So you’re reading from bottom to top.


Domestic abuse charity Refuge has a history of using shock in campaigns.

This new Christmas campaign, created by McCann Bristol, continues this trend.

As a young boy I lived with a man cowardly enough and stupid enough to think that there are reasons for a stronger person to bully a weaker person. A woman or a child.

There are none.


If you sense domestic abuse is happening, take a closer look.

Help them.

If you see domestic abuse is happening, report it to the police.

Laura Pergolizzi (born March 18, 1981) is an American singer and songwriter who performs under the stage name LP.

She has released four albums and one EP.

She has written songs for Cher, Rihanna, Leona Lewis and Christina Aguilera.


I am currently working on a short list of people that influence how I work, design, create and ‘am’.

LP is one of them.

Because she is so untypical of anyone and anything.

I see her as a pure, creative force. Just being who she is. And her music is really brilliant.

Please watch and listen to this live performance.

What do you think?

We’ve just had a family weekend break. 

£400 for two nights at a local posh ‘Hall’.

You know the score… Old building with big curtains, great gardens, they call you ‘sir’ and ‘madam’ and charge you £13 for a burger.

Without fries.

Long Days.

We’ve just got back home and we need advice on how to do a holiday.

Because something went wrong with this one…

Lisa and I work quite a lot.

15 hour days each in the week and maybe 10 hours over the weekend.

This is not to complain or show off at how hard working/badly organised/whatever we are.

It’s just stating a fact.


We arrived at about 3pm on Friday.

Got to our room.

Excitedly ran around for a bit with a 2 year old Izobel.


Ate two burgers.


Lay down for a rest at about 7.45pm.

Woke up at 7am on Saturday.


Breakfast at 8am (see photo).

Buzzed to Corbridge.


Drank (1 pint).

Back to the hotel at about 6pm.

Ate in the room.

Lay down for a snooze at about 7.30pm.

Woke up at 7am on Sunday.

Had breakfast.

Went home.


We were rubbish.

We should have done a pre-holiday.

We could have been anywhere really because all we needed was sleep.

At home we get to bed (or fall asleep at various points around the house) at 11pm and get up at (anything from) 5am and this had clearly caught up with us.

Our Next Holiday. 

Our next holiday (although I haven’t told Lisa yet) is packing the car, driving around the block, parking back in the drive at home, going back into the house, having a bit of lager and falling asleep at 7pm.

For three days.

I’ve budgeted £30.

David Beckham was recently chastised by ‘the Internet’ for kissing his daughter on the lips.

I peeped at this story out of the corner of my eye and made no comment.

The main reason was because, I think, Piers Morgan was either responsible for or was at least in part the catalyst for the discussion taking place.

And he’s an odious twat.


I still won’t comment on anything to do with him, because just like Katie Hopkins, attention is his oxygen.

And so it follows that if I ignore him he may suffocate and die.

So instead, here is a picture of me kissing my daughter this weekend, on the lips, whilst we are both completely naked, in the shower.

And in anticipation of any negative comments that I might get, here is my pre-emptive response.

Not bothered. Shit off.

Have a wonderful day x

I am smiling as I compile this list.

Anna Koska has illustrated over 100 books and worked with chefs, writers and publishers from around the globe.

David Hieatt is the founder of The Do Lectures, Howies and Hiut Jeans. David is a personal hero of line.

Luke Sital-Singh is an internationally acclaimed singer-songwriter from the UK.

Jack Adair Bevan is an award-winning food and drink writer, and co-author of The Ethicurean Cookbook.

Shana Dressler is the President of Turquoise, a creative leadership consultancy which designs bespoke programs and innovation training for Fortune 500 companies and social impact organizations.

Dan Kieran is a British travel writer, humorist, literary editor and entrepreneur. He is best known for his travel books and for his role as deputy editor of The Idler between 2000 and 2010. He is also a CEO and co-founder of the publishing company Unbound.


I am Michael Owen and I find myself in the company of all of these people at the excellent online home of Carlo Navato’s podcasts.

It is beyond me how I find myself in the company of these brilliant people. Carlo included.

But for as long as the journey lasts – I’ll keep smiling.

I was out in Newcastle with a modelling agency last week. On their Christmas night out.

Not because I am a model you understand, because I worked alongside their excellent founder for a couple of years to help shape the brand.

Drinks were £7 to £10 each I guess as we bounced around the cool bars.

I was buying for me. And friends. And people I didn’t know.

You know how it is. It’s Christmas.

Merry Christmas.

People bought for me too of course. It was a good night.

I had no idea how much I’d spent on the night in these times where waving your phone at a barista or cocktail maker results in a balance-reducing beep in under a second.

The following day I could estimate. But I wasn’t sure exactly as I did have cash on me a well.

But hey, it’s Christmas.


How strange it is then that, at ASDA on the following afternoon, I guarded my trolley (MY trolley) with my life.

Because it had my £1 coin in it.

I’d put my bags in the car and the trolley was about 20 yards away (I’d had to carry bags a little distance for some reason).

But I watched MY trolley with a steely gaze. Constantly.

MY trolley.

MY £1 coin.

I think that if someone had walked towards it I’d have skipped across, puffed my chest out, lowered my voice and said,

‘Ere mate. That’s my trolley.

And I don’t ever call anyone ‘mate’.

But this was serious.

This was MY trolley.


I thought about this afterwards. And smiled.

It’s amazing how our behaviours and reactions are so miss-matched to situations sometimes.

It’s silly.

I bought a £5 tin of instant coffee yesterday, impressed that it makes 52 cups. A graphic on the packaging told me this.

And I still paid £2.50 for a flat white on the way home.

How odd!

But this is not about money or numbers. It’s about control.

MY supermarket trolley, containing MY £1 coin was MY supermarket trolley.

And the social rules around the exact moment it becomes mine or his or hers are unclear. So it made me feel edgy.

When I bought a £7 cocktail the rules were clear. It’s mine.


I think I’ll relax more.

I don’t always have to control everything.

Have my trolley. And I’ll buy you a coffee when I see you. A 10p instant one or a £2.50 flat white.

It is Christmas after all.

Merry Christmas.

As it’s my blog, I can write whatever I like I guess.

So this is about dog shit.

Dog shit.

I have two dogs. Colin and Frank.

I don’t walk them as much as I should and that makes me feel guilty. But that’s another story.

Anyhow, this is a question for all dog owners. And, once you see where this is going, maybe non dog owners too.

Have you ever picked up, willingly and with no fuss or self-aggrandising, another dog’s shit?

I have. More than once and – on and off – for a long time now.

For one reason.

It’s wrong that dog shit should be left around for people to stand in/kids to fall in/toddlers to play with.

That’s it.


I choose not to do any of these things:

  1. Walk on by and call the dog a dirty sod. Under my breath or to my friends or partner.
  2. Walk on by and call the dog owner a dirty sod.  Under my breath or to my friends or partner.
  3. Pick the dog shit up and tell the world, ‘I picked up another dog’s dog shit today’ to make me seem like a good guy. Remember, I’ve done this for years.

The point of this post?

We’re surrounded by other people’s dogshit.

And homelessness.

And bullying.

And older people crossing  a busy road.

And someone being cruel to their dog.

How about you just walk over and step in every now and then?

Either on a micro or macro level. Sandwiches for homeless people or voting for a government that (we hope) gives a shit about homeless people are both pulling in the same direction.

Elbow out of the way those moaning and blaming and pointing and taking selfies, pick up the dog shit, put it in the bin, glare a bit at the idiots if you must – then get on with your day.

I just wanted to say that, whether you agree with the exact sentiment here or not, walking on by is not an option any more. For us or for our kids, actually.

And doing it because it’s good for business will, I hope, soon be seen as just as weak.

Sainsbury’s adding information to their packaging about what food is best for a food bank is not what I mean.

Sainsbury’s invisibly giving and doing something meaningful and permanent for the homeless or underpriviledged with (say) £100,000,000 of their £400,000,000 annual profits – is.


Stopping and making a change because you know damn well that something is just plain wrong or unkind is where it’s at.

And we should feel privileged as we do it.

We are so exceptionally lucky to have the opportunity to be a part of the change we want to see.

I am finding that, as a general rule, when you’re nice in business – nice things happen to your business.

I am also finding that, as a general rule, when you’re nice in life – nice things happen to your life.

If you layer on top of this an expectation and acceptance of the fact that you are going to fail occasionally, be rejected occasionally and meet an average of about two arseholes each week  – you’re pretty much invincible.

Give it a try.

I bet nice things happen to you too.

Quote this week about Always Wear Red

“Amazing Mike.

We always knew it would happen.

A Beautiful Collection.”

Former Vice President of Design, Kate Spade, New York.