When I was a child I once wandered into a police station, up to the counter, and peered over.

I was about 14.

I was tall enough that my eyes were above the counter top. But my nose wasn’t.

A policewoman looked down at me and raised an eyebrow. Her hands were in her pockets.

I’d been waiting outside for an hour or so.

I’d never been in a police station. And this was before ‘The Bill’ so I didn’t really know what to expect.

I’d only seen ‘The Sweeney’.


I said.

Can I report something that hasn’t happened yet?

I asked.

I mean; I’m pretty sure that something bad is going to happen but it hasn’t happened yet.

The policewoman asked me to explain.

My stepdad beats my mum up a lot.

I said.

I think that one night he’ll kill her. I hear them most nights. The crying and the bumping about downstairs. Choking sometimes. I stand on the landing. Listening.

This went on for a bit and it felt good to say the words.

But the world wasn’t ready for this conversation.

It wasn’t that the policewoman seemed too busy. She just didn’t know what to do with me. Without speaking to my mum. And I didn’t want that. It might make things worse.

So whilst the policewoman was mildly sympathetic she, albeit politely I seem to remember, offered nothing.


There are loads of causes I care about.

In 2006 I set up an alliance inside one of my little businesses with Childline.

Every time a client renewed their website hosting, we’d donate £8, or two phone calls, to Childline.

It was easy, fast, was a personal thing for me, and paid for a few hundreds of phone calls.

All good.

As my current business Always Wear Red develops I will link it to something I care about. Once we start to make money.

I am not sure what yet.

But what I do know is that I’ll do it quietly.

I’ll whisper.

Just enough bluster so people understand and can get involved if they want.

But it won’t headline our brand communications.

I don’t really like brands that (for example) paint their stores in colourful stripes for one week a year. It feels too commercial to me. Gay people are marginalised and misunderstood by stupid people every week. Not just this one week.

So yes.

When I do it again.

I’ll whisper.

I am in my 6th decade. Because:

  • 1-10 was my first decade.
  • 11-20 was my second decade.
  • 21-30 was my third decade.
  • 31-40 was my fourth decade.
  • 41-50 was my fifth decade.
  • 50-60, the decade I am in now (I am 50) is my sixth decade.

To come (maybe):

61-70, my seventh decade.

71-80, my eighth decade.

81-90, my ninth decade.

91-100, my tenth decade.

100-110, my eleventh decade.


All of the figures below are approximate because I looked at the UK and America and a couple of other European countries and took an average. And also it is massively influenced by when you were born and how old you are now. As a general rule, the younger you are now, the longer you will live.

15% of men die during or before their fifth decade. 85% of men go on into their 50s.

30% of men die during or before the end of their sixth decade. 70% of men go on into their 60s.

45% of men die during or before the end of their seventh decade. 55% of men go on into their 70s. 

65% of men die during or before the end of their eighth decade. 35% of men go on into their 80s. 

90% of men die during or before the end if their ninth decade. 10% of men go on into their 90s.

Over 99% of men die during or before the end if their tenth decade. Under 1% of men live over 100.

Almost all men die during or before the end if their eleventh decade. Very few men live over 110.

No man has ever lived into a twelfth decade. No man has ever lived over 120.

So What?
  1. You read and accept the above as fact. And you should. Because they are facts.
  2. You build in that almost all the percentages (except the last one) may swing (say) 5% and even 10% either way. And that you might die today.
  3. In the light of knowing these truths, you are not spending every SECOND of your waking life either:
    1. Being the version of you that you really love and want to be, or
    2. Working towards being the version of you that you really love and want to be, or
    3. Helping someone else to become the version of themselves that they really love and want to be…

… you’re an idiot.

You’re welcome.

Every morning, when I get to my toothbrush, I find these two tablets.

Each day, I pick them both up and I swallow them.

I am honestly not sure what they are. But they’ve been there for a few months now.

Occasionally, if I forget to take them, the next day the dose is doubled.

So on those days, I am given four.


It struck me today that I could be being murdered. Slowly but surely.


But because I trust Lisa I just take the tablets.

However this morning, as I left the bathroom, I looked over at her through slightly squinted eyes.

She looked back.


This cold and terrible act. This frozen blooded monster, killing me slowly. Silently.

Thinking back, I think she gave me a half smile this morning. And then glanced over my shoulder to check the pills had gone.

Then she left the bedroom.


What evil is this?

I shall face her tonight. And for anyone reading this, if I don’t write a story ever again, you know who to talk to.


I am glad I am thinking reasonably and rationally about this. And not stirring myself into a panic because of silly self-talk.

I never do that.

And before I go, the front door key is under the green plant pot. THE GREEN ONE.

Just in case anyone needs to get into my house to give me CPR tomorrow morning when SHE, after reading this, accelerates her evil plan.

Thank you you for being there for me.

So, Lisa gets back from the supermarket and texts to let me know she’s OK.

She’s got some ‘treats’ for Izobel (she’s 2) and some ‘treats’ for me too.


I pause before texting back to ask what my treats are.

I like Brewdog.

And really adventurous pizzas.

And really great coffee. Maybe Lisa has found some really ‘treaty’ coffee that I can grind and release the flavours from, as I do with my Extract Coffee subscription each month.

Or wine. A £10 bottle of red wine is a treat for us. Especially if it was reduced from £15. We look out for those.

Anyhow, I texted back eventually to ask what my treats were.

I didn’t get a text.

I got a picture. It’s attached to this story at

Is this really what ‘treats’ look like in your 50’s?

I said thank you.

Then quietly got on with my day.

Apparently, when groups of children are asked to respond to this, very few put their hand up.

Put your hand up if you like yourself.

What a shame.

And I’d bet if groups of adults were asked the same question, there’d be a similar response. Maybe a few more people would put their hands up. But certainly not everyone.

I wonder why?

For me, it could be guilt.


Not walking the dogs enough.

Or being with Lisa enough.

Or being with Izobel enough.

Or doing enough for good causes.

Or working hard enough so I become better.

Or being good enough so I don’t have to work so hard.

Or something else I can just pluck from thin air at a moment’s notice.

Or if not guilt, then comparing.


I am not rich enough.

Or successful enough.

Or fit enough.

Or tall enough.

Or good looking enough.

Or a good enough partner.

Or a good enough dad.

Or trendy enough.

Or consistent enough.

Or reliable enough.

Or adventurous enough.


I wouldn’t put my hand up if asked to think about this.

I think it’s because I am aware, more than anyone, of my shortcomings.

And, for some reason, I’d think about them first if asked to consider this.

So I suppose to fix this situation, and put my hand up, all I have to do is to celebrate the good things about me.

I’d have to not worry about what people thought of me too. Because admitting you like yourself is weird isn’t it?

I don’t know. It’s confusing. It feels weird. Even though I know it shouldn’t.

What Would You Do?

There must be something about timing built into this. Because if today was my dying day, I’d put my hand up.

I’m OK, actually. I do like me.

I’d stocktake ‘me’ differently if I was about to pop my clogs.

Maybe, as I hope I am going to be alive for at least a bit longer, I worry that I am not doing enough?

I’ll work on that…

What would you do?

Would you put your hand up?

Do you like yourself?

This is a small post about a very simple thing. 

First a question,

What do you think it’d feel like if someone saw something in you – today – that you did not see in yourself?

Something good.

And then they told you.

For no other reason than to let you know.

I think it’d feel pretty amazing, for two reasons.

Firstly because that person took the time out of their lives to notice something in yours.

Secondly, it’d be amazing because we’re not that good at seeing the good in ourselves. We tend to concentrate on and be more aware of the broken things.

So I imagine it’s genuinely heartwarming when someone sees something in us that is good. So that we can take a little look at that thing too.

Capitalise on it maybe.

Grow it.


So, if we all agree with the above, we can wait around for someone to see something in us that we don’t see in ourselves, and comment on it. We can wait for that warmth. And it’ll be lovely if and when it comes.

But we can do a second thing too of course.

This second thing is much more controllable and immediate.

We can take the time to look for, and see, something good in someone else – then tell them.


Do this today if you like. For no other reason than it’d be a cool thing to do.

I consider myself to be a good(ish) person. But if I am honest, I don’t do this very often.

But today, I will. I’ll take a closer look at someone. Or maybe even everyone.

I will find something brilliant about them, and tell them.

They will feel how you just imagined you would feel. And I will feel good too.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Photo: By me. At Do Lectures, Wales, 2018. A place where lots of people say a lot of nice things to each other. And mean it.

I was at an event on Saturday.

“Her Story” was a series of inspiring, bold, unique and personal talks from a range of women who have succeeded in a world not designed for women’s success.

The event was hosted by Anna Foster, BBC Newcastle Breakfast presenter. Presentations were by Dame Vera Baird DBE QC, Police and Crime Commissioner Northumbria, Julia Austin, Founder of Tyne Bank Brewery, Florence Adepoju, Cosmetic Scientist and Founder of MDM Flow, Debbie Flood, Two-time Olympic Silver Medalist and Athlete, Teleica Kirkland, Founder of Costume Institute of the African Diaspora, Laura Currer, Entrepreneur and Sexual Violence Activist, Kymberlee Jay, Former professional Dancer for Madonna, Nike Athlete and Entrepreneur, Chi Onwurah MP Labour Party and finally,  Francesca Martinez.

All brilliant, I am here going to concentrate on just one lady. Francesca Martinez.

She’s a comedian, speaker, actor and writer.

And she is wobbly.

That’s how Francesca refers to her Cerebral Palsy.


I’m going to let you know about a few small things that Francesca Martinez said. Francesca, you will know if you take a look at this link to her website.

Shortly after Francesca was born, around the age of one, her parents were told that Francesca would never lead a normal life. You can probably tell where this is going…

Who the fuck wants to lead a normal life?

I want to live a fucking amazing life!

And so Francesca continued. Swinging from the beautifully insightful:

I rejected the negative framing of my condition.

I loved me.

I had no concept of what I couldn’t do.

To the beautifully funny:

This was a wonderful way to think.

Apart from when I used to play that ringing the doorbell and running away thing with my friends.

They were all miles away before I got out of the fucking garden.

Francesca continued:

You have the power to choose how you view yourself.

I chose my own perception of myself.

I am proud to be wobbly.

I am not merely accepting of it.

I am proud of it.

Two Things

Towards the end of her section, Francesca Martinez said two things that I will always remember.

Here they are.

Comparison is toxic.

The moment I stopped, I started to live my life.

And finally, a tiny thought that should – really – be a call to action for everyone.

A reminder to the thin, the fat, the tall, the short, the bald, the furry, the stereotypically beautiful and the unstereotypically beautiful:

My body is a miracle.

It gives me life.

Francesca is right.


Let’s make it an amazing one!

I was chatting with Tony Robinson OBE yesterday about – well – everything. We had lunch together in Newcastle.

Tony is a speaker, campaigner, writer, broadcaster and multiple business founder/owner. In amongst many other accolades and recognitions, Tony was presented with an OBE in 2001 by Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace, for services to small firms and training.


Tony is a brilliant man, and brilliant looking too. A real head turner. Take a look at that hat! (And the Always Wear Red 100% Merino Wool Skinny Bandage Scarf of course).

Anyhow, we chatted about how – over the years – Tony has campaigned tirelessly and effectively for causes affecting the smaller business world. I like Tony because he’s generous, clever and a do-er. He has made positive change happen. And he wants to do more.

I also like the fact that Tony is not chest-beating. Nothing about Tony is self-congratulatory. He talks only about the people’s lives he’s helped to make better and the good feeling he gets from making real change and pissing off the odd out-of-touch bureaucrat along the way.

Tony and I have decided that the number one priority for us both, in our quest to make our world and the wider world a better place, is to not die.

Staying alive is important. We agreed on that. So as we (and you) get older – we’re staying fit. Tony is running marathons and I am popping to the gym with the guys from STORM every now and then.


The other thing we both agreed on is that, as we get older there is absolutely no reason to slow down.

Or indeed to stay at the same pace.

We should get faster.

Sleep less. Bugger about less. Meet more. Affect more. Talk more. Listen more.

Do more.

If for no other reason than – because we can.

Tony travelled from York to see me yesterday. And he insisted on buying coffees and lunch. Such effort, generosity and sincerity is rare. Too rare.

Tony was touched by my STILL story. Whilst we’re Still In The Game – so we can do anything!

And so it is that Tony and I have decided to:

  1. Live forever.
  2. Get faster. Speed up our lives to do as much as we can for as many as we can.

I, and Tony, plan to deliver on at least one of those two.

These days that you and I are living right now – these are The Good Old Days. 

They will be one day. So why not today? Every other time that you’ve referred to moments in time as the good old days, at the time they were happening you weren’t so sure.

As I write this it’s 11.50pm on a night that I should be with my family. I am tired and alone in my little office in the middle of Newcastle.

And it’s cold.

The Good Old Days

I have just asked Alexa to play “Don’t Worry Baby” by The Beach Boys and she’s now playing me a version that the Beach Boys recorded with The London Philharmonic Orchestra.

I didn’t know they’d done that.

Thank you!

Next, I am going to ask her for the entire Grace album by Jeff Buckley. And I will ask her to play ‘Lover You Should Have Come Over’ – twice.

I have an excellent coffee to my right, and Lisa is waiting for me at home. I won’t be home until the early hours because I have to get things done for two key meetings tomorrow.

I am lucky to have these two meetings.

These are The Good Old Days. 

Next week I will be talking to a global brand about a collaboration. I’m a tiny brand. And new. I may mess up the meeting. They may laugh.

These are The Good Old Days, for me to have such opportunities.

And I need to work out how to raise profile for my luxury clothing brand with a non-existent budget. No one will appreciate how amazing we are if I don’t tell them now, will they?

The Good Old Days

Whilst pondering how to grow the business, with so much to learn and so little to spend, I am now listening to Jeff Buckley sing:

“Looking out the door
I see the rain fall upon the funeral mourners
Parading in a wake of sad relations
As their shoes fill up with water.”

I can hear what he is singing and actually fecking SEE what he is singing, as well.


The Good Old Days

Here’s Mr. Buckley (pop to to listen if you are reading this in your email).

Welcome to the good old days. I hope you can find the amazing in yours, too.

It’s there – if you look for it.

I am not particularly well read, political or at all religious.

Salman Rushdie was, to me, nothing more than that chap that caused bother writing ‘The Satanic Verses’.

Or something.

But one thing that I did read from him, was about ‘Endism’.


I don’t know whether Salman Rushdie invented the concept or picked it up from elsewhere and simply quoted it. But I do remember, very clearly, the sentiment of his narrative. Even though it was over 20 years ago that I first read it.

In fact, I clipped the original quote (which I have now lost) from a newspaper and pinned it next to whatever desk I sat at, for over 10 years. The newspaper cutting turned coffee brown because I had it for so long.

Anyhow, Salman commented that we all worry far too much about things ending and beginning. He suggested that, in fact, we are almost always in the middle of things, not at the beginning or the end at all.

He wanted us to think less about things starting or ending because (this is what I read into it, anyway) these are the stress points. The parts that cause most worry and concern.

Getting on the bike for the first time and wobbling. Tricky.

Stopping and getting off the bike at the bottom of the hill as the wall or the edge of the cliff is approaching. Tricky.

The bit where you are coasting down the hill – that’s cool!

The Middle

There is something in this.

Let’s simply define Endism as overly focusing on when things start or end. Forgetting that we are in fact simply in the middle of hundreds and hundreds of things.

So let’s enjoy them. All those lovely other things that are happening right now.

There. I feel better already.