September 2019


I noticed something this weekend.

I noticed that loads of children’s programmes.

Are themed around one thing.


The Plot.

You know the plot.

First, there’s the discovery.

The discovery of a Treasure Map.

This is SUCH an amazing feeling.

Can you remember that feeling?

Izobel could feel it as we watched the television together.

And I could feel it, too.

The excited realisation that something really, really special is out there.


Yet findable.

By you.

The Search.

Then there’s the journey.

The search.

The search zigs.

And it zags.

Because one minute there is hope.

And the next there is hopelessness.

And then just when it looks like all is lost.

If we just.



We find it!


Treasure Maps.

When we are children.

Treasure Maps are found.

By Scooby Do.

And by Captain Pugwash.

And we.

The viewer.

Shares the feeling.

The excitement is tangible.

The excited realisation that something really, really special is out there.


Yet findable.

By you.


And I just wanted to point out that.

As adults.

You can get that very same amazing feeling again if you like.

And you don’t even have to find a Treasure Map.

Because you can make a Treasure Map.

In your mind.


Give it a go.

Close your eyes.

And imagine.

It may take a little time.

And it may take a few goes.

But the realisation will happen.

The excited realisation that something really, really special is out there.


Yet findable.

By you.

I think you really do have to decide what kind of a world you want to create for yourself.

But decide properly I mean.

Not just say silly empty words.

That make you sound like a nob.

When nothing happens.




Then really, really fucking focus.

And be consistent.

And resilient.

And don’t give up.

David Bowie. 

I think that David Bowie decided to become a legend.

I really do.

I think he just decided.


And here’s how I define legend.

David sits on Parkinson.

Next to Tom Hanks.

Telling a little story about how he was asked to write some lyrics for some song.

That he made a really shit job of.

So Paul Anka was asked to mend the lyrics problem he’d created.

And so Anka did.

And Paul Anka wrote My Way.

For Frank Sinatra to sing.

And then David Bowie said, well, I was really pissed off about that.

So I wrote this other song.

As a strange kind of revenge attack.

That was a bit like My Way structurally.

Called Life On Mars.

And then he just stands up and sings it

With just a piano.

And it was absolutely fucking out of this world.

Absolutely flawless.


Because I don’t think that David Bowie is actually singing.

He’s telling a brilliant, unique story that he made up.

That makes you tingle.



So here’s what you need to do now.

Think of your best anecdote.

Then compare it to this bit of David Bowie’s life.

And if it’s absolutely nowhere near as sexy.

Create an actual anecdote that gets closer.

An anecdote of your own.

Maybe not as sexy as David’s.

But get as close as you can.

Something better than walking into TESCO just as they were marking down the buns that you actually went in there to buy.

(That’s one of mine).

Your World.

There’s time for you.

But life’s short.

I think you really do have to decide what kind of a world you want to create for yourself.

But decide properly I mean.

Not just say silly empty words.

That make you sound like a nob.

When nothing happens.




Then really, really fucking focus.

And be consistent.

And resilient.

And don’t give up.

Please take a look at the video here:


There is a lot of talk about plastic at the moment.

About the fact that the world is filled with too much of it.

And that the seas are filled with too much of it.

And that animals are very often filled with too much of it too.

So that it kills them.

All of this is true.

And all of this is horrid.


Responsibility in relation to this subject is interesting to me, though.

We look to the retailers.

And the etailers.

And business leaders.

And our country’s leaders.

And so we should.

I have a parallel suggestion though.

To help reduce the amount of plastic in the world pretty dramatically.

And pretty quickly too.

It’s this.

Buy less bloody plastic.


The best fuel you can get.

Is pain.

Or worry.

Or fear.

Or their badmouthing.

Or their scepticism.

Or their mocking.

Or their nastiness.


All of these things.

After a short pause.

And a long, deep breath.

Can be superb fuel for you.


All of these things also make excellent blockers for you.

They can paralyse you.

(They do me, sometimes).

Whether these things are allowed to become fuel or blockers is simply down to perspective.

It’s how I choose to see them.

Choose Fuel.

My advice.

Is to see them.

As fuel.

I was 21 when this song was released.

In 1989.

30 years ago.

Utterly ridiculous.

30 bloody years ago.



Here are two of the most distinctive and lovely voices to appear together on one song.

Roland Orzabal and Oleta Adams.

Woman in Chains was also written by (full name) Roland Jaime Orzabal de la Quintana.

Crazy name.

Lovely song.


In 1985, Oleta Adams was discovered by Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith while she was performing in a hotel bar in Kansas City, Missouri.

While Tears for Fears were on a US tour there.

Two years later, they invited her to join their band as a singer and pianist on The Seeds of Love.

Here’s the super tune (and cheesy video):


I was chatting to a friend his week.

About my ‘Change Year’.

My Change Year was 2014.

Change Year.

On June the somethingth, 2014.

I triggered the closure of the small group of businesses that I’d founded and run for 14 years.

My eyebrows were up.

I was whistling.

I was striding.

And I felt totally, totally fine.

Because the decision was made.

Because I was about to move in a fresh, new direction.

Because I was radically changing my entire life.

(I like change).

And because it was exciting!

Week 1. 

As week 1 passed.

My strides had turned to steps.

I slowed down a bit.

Because new realities were biting.

I wanted to help team members to get new roles.

But some didn’t want help.

In fact, some didn’t want anything at all from me.

This guy that was selfishly removing their current job.

I wanted to explain to suppliers and partners.

Why I just had to change my life.

And how that included closing profitable businesses.

And whilst one or two patted me on my back.

Many just turned their back.

And walked away.


I also had to manage inaccurate assumption.

Assumption about my motives for moving on.

And, by week 2, all of this had slowed my strides to steps.

And my steps to a shuffle.

This was hard!

Really hard.

The businesses had defined me.

For 14 years.

And now I was dismantling them.

All that was left.

Was me.


People looked directly at me.

And judged.

I looked directly at me.

And judged.

Maybe they’re right.

Maybe I am dismantling all of this because I just can’t do it any more.

Because I was failing anyway.

Because I was frightened.


Can be a terrible thing.

Change Year.

My Change Year was really, really hard.

And it kept getting harder.

Some days, I thought I couldn’t cope.

But I did.

Some days, I thought that I’d made a massive mistake.

But I hadn’t.

Most days, I thought I was getting weaker.

But in actual fact.

Even though I didn’t realise it at the time.

I was getting stronger.

New Me. 

The new me had to learn and relearn many, many things.

But I do remember a few simple lessons more than any other.

So I told my friend this week.

My friend who is also considering change.

I think I said something like this:

If you are going to change.

Change big!

Change everything.

And don’t feel that you have to explain yourself.

At all.

To anyone.

Not even to yourself.

Because sometimes.

Things are not understandable by the rules and emotions that you know today.

They only become understandable by a new set of rules and emotions that you learn tomorrow.

And anyhow.

All I knew.

Was that if I stayed where I was.

I’d become destructive.


Increasingly lost.

Increasingly restless and dissatisfied.

So in some ways I am not sure that I even made a decision on June the somethingth 2014.

I think that I just let something happen.

Let Something Happen.

Nothing will prepare you for the bad times.

But if you want the good times.

You have to face both.

All the best.

If any of what I went through. 

Can help with what you might go through. 

Or already are going through

Drop me a line.

This is a serious subject for me.

It shouldn’t be, of course.

But it is.

The Claw. 

The shadow of the threat of failure.

Has been there in any business I’ve started.

And I’ve started 9 businesses.

So I know the feeling.

The shadow of failure is there in my current businesses, too.

It is very real.

But it is no match for the pressure I feel.

When I pop £1 into those claw machines at funfairs.

As my 3 year old daughter stands next to me.

Looking up at me.

Pointing at Toy Story’s Woody.

And asking me to win it for her.

Now that – is pressure.


I have been at Chessington Adventure Park this weekend.

And whilst it delivers on The Gruffalo, Room on the Broom and more.

Those ‘Claw’ machines remain a conundrum.


I know they are a game of chance.

Because the signs on the machines tell me that.

But 3 year olds don’t care about that.

Izobel just wants me to put a ‘penny pound’ into the machine and grab a Forky.

Or a Woody.

Or a Buzz.

Dad thing. 

Is this a me thing?

Or a dad thing?

Or is this a mum thing, too?

I can’t fathom it.

I just know that the tension is real.

It makes me irrational.

And worried.

Irrational because if some guy came from behind a bush and said:

Psst. Here. I’ll sell you one. £10 ok?

I wouldn’t want one.

I want to win.



All is well.

Because I won a Ducky this weekend.

A fringe character from Toy Story 4.

Enough for Izobel.

And enough for me.

And the good news is that I won Ducky for a teeny-tiny, measly £1.

On my (about) fiftieth go.


Very often.

When I am working as a Brand Consultant.

I spend time trying to find the very worst thing or things about you, the client.

This is because – unfortunately – the least good thing about you is the most likely thing that your customers will remember.


You’ll be judged by your weakest link.

So if I find your weakest link.

And we remove it.

You’ll be better.

And you’ll do better.


Sometimes, to be judged by what you do worst.

When you are trying to do great in business.

Feels unfair.

But how it feels is completely irrelevant.

Because the fact that you will be judged by your weakest link is a truth you already know.

Because you do it too.


So if you are trying really, really hard.

And you’re still not good enough.

Try harder.

Because if you are not prepared to try your absolute best.

And to continually upgrade what ‘your absolute best’ actually means.

In a quest to become absolutely world class.

Then when your customer falls out of love with you.

For something you really should have cared more about.

It’s absolutely your fault.

In 1980 I was 12.

So in 1990 I was 22.

Yep; I’m a child of the eighties.


Music played a big part of my growing up.

Then it faded away a little.

And now it’s back.

I get nostalgic.

The Eighties.

So here I am.

Listing the best selling singles from 1980 to 1990.

The top 10?


The top 11, actually.

Because one of my favourite tunes ever is at 11.

Hey; it’s my blog…

1 “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” Band Aid 1984 1
2 “Relax” Frankie Goes to Hollywood 1983 1
3 “I Just Called to Say I Love You” Stevie Wonder 1984 1
4 “Two Tribes” Frankie Goes to Hollywood 1984 1
5 “Don’t You Want Me” The Human League 1981 1
6 “Last Christmas”/”Everything She Wants” Wham! 1984 2
7 “Karma Chameleon” Culture Club 1983 1
8 “Careless Whisper” George Michael 1984 1
9 “The Power of Love” Jennifer Rush 1985 1
10 “Come On Eileen” Dexys Midnight Runners & the Emerald Express 1982 1
11 “Tainted Love” Soft Cell 1981 1


Here it is.

Number 11: