Inspiring Otherness

I flew back to Cape Town at the beginning of 2013 for the second stint of my dream fellowship. South Africa left such an enormous impression on me last year that I craved for more of... Read more →

Kind Acts

During the Olympics, London was full of people being smiley, friendly and kindly. Strangers talked to one other on the trains, in queues and while sitting at the same table, drinking, eating and being merry. The... Read more →

Learn Online

During the summer, my second cousin who was 13 at the time, came over to visit from Germany. On his second day, he picked up my acoustic guitar and found it sounded out of tune. What... Read more →

Deconstructing Salad

At a workshop I was running the other weekend on ‘Creative Dining, Cooking and Technology’ we were treated to the culinary delights of hot chef Ben Spalding. One of the dishes that he brought to the... Read more →

Compulsory Camera

Sitting in a cab on my way home the other week on a wet dark evening I noticed a very small TV screen, adjacent to the driver’s rearview mirror, streaming live video of me sitting there.... Read more →

Art for Art’s Sake

The president and Council of the Royal Academy sent me a posh invitation the other week, requesting the pleasure of my company today at the “RA Now Auction”, starting at 11.30 a.m. with a champagne brunch... Read more →

Mobile Panic

“I love technology!” exclaimed a sprightly 74 year-old lady who was sitting next to me on a flight to Seattle. She had many a twinkle in her eye; sitting with a drink in one hand and... Read more →

Silly Siri

I love going on vacation out of season when the weather is still perfect and the town and hotels are only half-full of more discerning tourists; the bumper families who descend in July and August having... Read more →

Digital Strokes

The success of an artisan – be it an artist, wine-maker, chef, chocolate-maker or other hand-crafter – is increasingly being measured by their standing in social media. Many now retweet nice things others have tweeted or... Read more →

Dog Decisions

R and I went to Brighton and Hove’s Greyhound Stadium last night to experience the entertainment and excitement of watching greyhound dogs charge around the racecourse at top neck speed. I’ve not been for a long... Read more →

Sound City

Sometimes you find yourself being a tourist in your own city. Yesterday after work, I got caught up on the crowded Circle Line on my way to the Tate Modern, along with the hoards of Olympic... Read more →

Olympic Mordancy

The big countdown has begun. The media is beating its drum for the London 2012 Olympic Games to finally begin. Everywhere you look you see the Olympic logo. It should be a fantastic festival, a great... Read more →

Google Art

The diversity of tools Google keeps churning out each year to help you search, check out and be nosey is mind-blowing. My early favourites were Google earth, Google image, and Google scholar. But recently I have... Read more →

Twitter Treat

I have been talking to a number of people recently about their use of Twitter. There are different leagues of followers. Most stay in the lower hundreds. And many just put a toe in the water... Read more →

Left Behind

When I lived in Swansea, in my student days, I often heard it said that the city was the graveyard of ambition – wrongly or rightly attributed to Dylan Thomas, the great welsh poet who once... Read more →

Changing Lives

Some people love coming home after a vacation, enjoying the creature comforts of being in their own home and seeing the faces of their pets and loved ones. Others pretend they are still out there; wearing... Read more →

Flying Colours

Sometimes when I have to give a talk in a strange place and I don’t know anyone I get terribly anxious. Last week, having already gotten lost in downtown Cape Town, trying to park near the... Read more →

Flight Encounters

I’ve just returned from an epic journey, travelling from Austin, Texas to Cape Town. We left about 3.00p.m Thursday and arrived back home at 9.00a.m Saturday. It involved long periods in airport lounges, and two whole... Read more →

Special Ones

“Knowledge is when you know a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is when you don’t put it in the fruit salad”. Debre, an interaction designer here in Cape Town, emailed me this last week – which... Read more →

External Minds

I was having a lovely daydream the other morning while sipping coffee at my local brasserie – that dreamily overlooks the mountains – when I suddenly found myself being drawn to the conversation going on between... Read more →

Marble Marvel

Part of my dream fellowship is to open my eyes to new possibilities. So when I was invited by my host Gary and his friend Andrew to watch the Chinese Grand Prix with them last Sunday... Read more →

Safari Lite

Part of the must-do experience in Africa is to go on safari and see wild animals, especially the Big Five; that is the lion, buffalo, leopard, elephant and rhino. The term was originally used by hunters... Read more →

Seeing More

The Cape of Hope is a ‘beauty spot’ at the southwestern tip of Africa, famous for its dramatic scenery and steeped history. Its magic has captivated travellers for centuries; rugged rocks, sheer cliffs, white beaches, indigenous... Read more →

Being Inventive

Slackbacking is South Africa’s answer to hiking-lite; everything is organized by an enterprising company for you from the moment you fill in your personal details online and enter your credit card number. From then on in,... Read more →

Feeding Security

In the suburb I am staying in – along with many others like it in South Africa – a fleet of security company cars is ever present, slowly driving around the leafy streets. You can easily... Read more →

Think Inside

It has become increasingly popular for people to aspire to a new form of creativity that entails thinking ‘outside the box’. The idea is to think differently, unconventionally and blue-sky. The hope is that innovation and... Read more →

Indaba Reality

Design Indaba is a big exhibition held every year in Cape Town showing the best of South African design. This year, over 300 designers, from architects to coke tin sculptors, gathered for the weekend to show... Read more →

Pairing 101

It is increasingly trendy for gastronomy restaurants to pair a wine with a course, matching the notes, flavours and textures of one with another. You read the list of ingredients in a dish and then the... Read more →

Bunny Chow

It is funny how certain dishes grab your attention immediately on a menu. The one that got my eyeballs today, when we were having lunch at a local surfer’s café, was “Bunny Chow Chicken Curry Pizza.”... Read more →

Cape Town

I nearly had to postpone the start of my dream fellowship trip to Cape Town, as flu continued to wreak havoc with my body, brain and mind. I’m normally a heavy cold person – getting caught... Read more →

Sweet Spot

There is a new American quarterly magazine out called Lucky Peach that is about food and writing; the second issue features articles on the sweet spot of cooking. Such moments occur at a significant point in... Read more →

Barking Service

I visited WHSmith again at an airport terminal. This time it was at T5, Heathrow, on my way to New York. I had quite a different experience, however, from my previous visit through Gatwick South. Instead... Read more →

Sizzle Service

A group of about 12 of us traipsed down to the basement of a restaurant in Chinatown on a rainy and windswept evening in Manchester. It was the tail end of our second day at an... Read more →

Toy Tots

Post Christmas, in heavy rain, Hove’s Church Street was thronging with crowds of bargain hunters. It was not even 4.00p.m and yet darkness had descended; umbrellas pierced the downcast sky. In stark contrast, the shop fronts... Read more →

Remembering Mike

It is 10 years since Mike’s sudden and unexpected death. A heart attack – completely out of the blue. It was a terrible shock and I remember vividly to this day, in slow motion, his last... Read more →

Tasting Colour

There is an art to selecting a superlative set of adjectives to describe the eating experience of gastronomic dishes – just as there is to explaining the fusion of ingredients and methods used to create them.... Read more →

Still 3D

I remember buying my first 3D disposable camera in the mid 90s from a family-run store in Palo Alto and being wowed back then. Opening the wallet of my first 12 glistening prints, I was tickled... Read more →

Artful Conversation

Meeting an artist for the first time in his studio is an exciting prospect. But how does one spark up a conversation, without sounding trite, too earnest or too much in awe? I was invited by... Read more →

Athlete’s Dressing

Nike’s online and bricks and mortar stores have always been at the leading edge of technological innovation. They have experimented with new cinematic, media user experiences; pioneered customer design, and encouraged users to creatively personalize their... Read more →

Bordering Beautiful

A major refurbishment is going on at Gatwick South terminal and ‘bordering on beautiful’ is one of the slogans proudly plastered over makeshift walls. I didn’t recognize it when the bus dropped us off. Instead of... Read more →

Flirting Butterflies

There are countless online dating services now; most well-known are Match.com, eHarmony, and Guardian Soulmates. Yesterday evening I heard about another one, Flirt.com. As its name suggests, it is a lot more raunchy and explicit in... Read more →

Seven Billion

I’ve been enjoying the visualisations that have been popping up to depict the trends and predictions of the world’s population, now it has officially hit 7,000,000,000 (the now universally accepted US thousand million and not the... Read more →

Baltic Bin

The Turner Prize has gone north for the first time in its 27-year history, to the BALTIC contemporary art gallery in Newcastle. By luck, I was giving a talk in Newcastle this week, so was able... Read more →

Hyper 3D

This weekend my football team, Man U, suffered their worst defeat at home in 70 years, losing 6-1 to their noisy neighbours, Man City. It was utterly humiliating to experience such a thrashing unfold in real... Read more →

Technology Tapas

Barcelona is gastronomy city, full of many amazing restaurants steeped in a tradition of Iberian cooking. The highlight for years – for the chosen few – has been a trip to elBulli. Anyone who is a... Read more →

Smart Cards

This morning I received an email from [email protected] that was every bit automated. If only question marks could become pounds we could solve the economic crisis in Greece overnight.... Read more →

Apple Eternity

Steve Jobs death last week resulted in unprecedented global outpourings of respect, sadness and admiration – millions of blogs, tweets, newspaper articles, radio and TV reports have been posted alongside many spontaneous personal messages written on... Read more →

Retiring Roles

Today, I was invited to Andrew Herbert’s career celebration (sic) at Microsoft Research Cambridge. What I liked about the title of Andrew’s bash was that it was a celebration of his achievements – and not seen... Read more →

Facing Fame

The other night on the train home I sat down and heard a voice that sounded familiar. I looked across and immediately recognized the guy sitting by the window – Steve Coogan. Trains are great places... Read more →

Random Dance

I had been looking forward to seeing Wayne McGregor’s new performance FAR since I saw his company of dancers rehearsing a couple of weeks ago – when invited by DK who is collaborating with him on... Read more →