‪I’m a huge fan of #InsideNo9, but just watched the ‘live’ episode on iPlayer and feeling underwhelmed. It all seemed a bit obvious, with the story spoon fed to the audience and relying too heavily on pre-recorded material. Maybe it worked better on the night?‬

Quite the unnerving experience as I went to open a new carton of Oatly… what the actual fork!?

Reading the small print, it seems like they’re attempting to freak out another Paul. Phew!

The Good Place is a quirky comedy that continually reinvents itself while keeping ethics and moral philosophy at its heart. It’s worth your time… although perhaps not an entire Sunday.

In what has become something of a tradition, preparing myself for re-entry into Britain with a final taste of Europe: a Belgian waffle and a can of Jupiler.


A two-week stay in Berlin not only gave me time to explore the city, but also space to question the direction of my career and address a growing sense of disillusionment with my profession.

What a treat, to visit such an amazing city during the most colourful time of the year. Wir sehen uns bald wieder, Hamburg!

Channel 4’s The Circle has been my guilty pleasure over the last three weeks. Finally, a reality show with funny, genuine and endearing contestants. Hard pressed to pick a favourite from the final four. #FactsAreFacts

Have only spent part of the morning exploring its center and still have so much to see, but Hamburg ist sehr schön! This is absolutely my kinda city.

Travels between Germany and Denmark have seen me spend an inordinate amount of time on DSB’s IC3/IR4, a train that combines the comfort of British Rail’s Class 442 ‘Wessex Electrics’ with the aesthetic of Star Trek and the absurdity of Terry Gilliam’s Brazil.

At #confront18, @p_p_hamilton is speaking my language: about resisting the cult of the individual and building products that reflect the hero’s journey to the exclusion of others, and about having a point of view that challenges Californian ideas about society and technology. 👍🏻💯


On German Unity Day, a tour of Tempelhof Airport proved to be a powerful act of remembrance.


If nothing else, this evening has served as a welcome reminder that it pays to be outgoing and friendly, and that I can thrive whenever pushed to be so. To hell with comfort zones!


Another identity from the offices of Pentagram that elicits a feeling that lies somewhere between despair and indifference.

A familiar story: England take an early lead only to eventually lose. Heightened expectations following this summer’s World Cup campaign now restored to more realistic levels.

Off to Wembley to see England v Spain. Think the last match I saw here was Great Britain & Northern Ireland v Brazil at London 2012, so it’s been a while!

On the occasion of my brother’s wedding anniversary, wishing my eldest niece Maria a happy 8th birthday, and welcoming to the world my fourth niece (fourth!), Emily. Phew!


It’s mid-afternoon, and yet only now do I realise that today is in fact Thursday, not Friday. 😳

Drying out (figuratively and literally) in Redditch, a new town with a shopping mall at its centre, surrounded by a ring road built to confuse the motorist. Plenty here to excite the likes of Kevin Turvey.

I love a good wedding, not least one in which the live music is provided by an uncanny David Bowie tribute act that does a sideline in Larry Grayson impressions. Bizarre. Anyway, congratulations Lewis and Sarah!

Held my first session mentoring another designer today. Felt good to pass on the fruits of 15 years experience in the field.

Boarding the 15:30 LNER service to King’s Cross signals the end of my week-long adventure up north. Returning inspired and invigorated, my thoughts turn to when I can make a return visit.

Out of five backpacks emerged a story about loss and acceptance, told via the fantastically analogue medium of shadow play. Touching, humorous and inventive, @TheBackpackEns’s The Search for a Black-Browed Albatross was an unexpected joy.

The Edinburgh Fringe is a victim of its own success. With so much on offer, audiences face a paradox of choice. Sat in a coffee shop at the Pleasance Dome unsure what to see, I was given a spare ticket to The Search for a Black-Browed Albatross. Problem solved.

Walking West Along Princes Street

As I make my way through the throng of festival goers, I’m drawn to the sun drenched Old Town and the cragged rock upon which the castle sits. A squeal of train brakes emanates up from where once was – and seemingly could still be – a loch. There are few places quite as architecturally, topographically and culturally rich as Edinburgh. I love this city.


We’re singing for England, E-N-G-L-A-N-D 🎶 It’s coming home, it’s coming home, it’s coming, football’s coming home 🎶

Round of applause to @ThreeUK for selling HomeFi routers that are not locked to their network. Made it much it easier to sell mine now that it’s no longer needed. 👏🏻


Finished reading: Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble by Dan Lyons, ISBN: 9781786491022


Question for @aarron after watching his presentation at #uxlondon: how do we prevent storytelling from becoming propaganda? When does building an internal culture become indoctrination? Plenty of examples to suggest this is often the result.

Google Duplex

Demoed using Silicon Valley’s favourite first-world problem – booking a table at a restaurant in San Francisco – Google Duplex instead opens a can of worms. I agree with Ethan:

I think we’re well past the point where our industry gets a pass for launching products without thinking about their second-order effects.

A related anecdote. Having received far too many robocalls asking if I had been involved in a car accident recently, I took to making beeping noises down the phone to see how far I could progress through these annoying and false conversations. One day I almost – almost – started to do this before realising a real person was calling about a genuine issue. Had I made those funny noises, not only would I have been deeply embarrassed, it would have been pretty demeaning for the person on the other end of the line.

In a society where truth and trust are a scarce resource, this appears to be an incredibly foolish product to be bringing into the world. Talking of trust; I have zero faith Google will do the right thing with this technology, rhetoric about transparency or not.


With a client project briefly on hiatus, I’ve been using my free time to think about a proper redesign of my website. Looking at the 404 page – priorities! – I thought it was probably time to bring back this guy. You’ve been missed, little fella.

The Birmingham Design Festival is shaping up to be a great event. The Renew/Rebuild discussion is of particular interest; especially relevant when many of Birmingham’s brutalist buildings have been demolished in recent years. Such a shame I’ll be on holiday when it’s on.

Watched Isle of Dogs. A fun yet timely story. An inventive example of stop-motion animation. A beautiful piece of graphic design. A work of art. A visual feast – with dogs!

Having grown up just 50 miles away, somewhat embarrassed to admit that Leicester has been a bit of a revelation to me. This beautiful, historic and vibrant city has much to offer… and only an hour away from London on the train (like that should matter).

Thank-you @CreateLeics for being such a welcoming, friendly and engaged audience for my talk this evening. And a huge thanks also to the team at @bulbstudios for organising such a stellar event. Good things are happening in Leicester!

Finding Albert is a heartwarming family history research project, with the end result being a hand drawn graphic novel. I’m so happy @cole007 has met his funding target, but there are stretch goals. If you haven’t backed it yet, there are just a few days remaining; so go pledge!


Wallowing in Walsall

I wasn’t looking for a metaphor, but with a pile of rubble sat before me, confirmation that a chapter of my life had reached its conclusion.


Headed back to Glasgow, via a highland winter wonderland. Stopping at Dalmally, the train is greeted by Angus, the station dog.

For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.

Robert Louis Stevenson captures my sentiments perfectly, as yet again, I find myself sat aboard the Caledonian Sleeper, and headed for Scotland.

HISBE’s ‘refill bar’ is such a great idea! Using this to replenish washing detergent and other cleaning fluids should go some way to helping me reduce my plastics consumption in 2018.

Hostage Situation

Why do some designers choose to work for ‘evil’ corporations – and what happens to them when they get there?


“Events, dear boy, events”

That was the answer I gave Kate when she asked me why I thought Brexit might not happen. This was Harold Macmillan’s response when asked what he thought would most likely knock a government off course – although some dispute whether he ever actually said this.

At the time, I had wrongly attributed this to James Callaghan, having confused it with A lie can be halfway round the world before the truth has got its boots on, which he said in an address to the Commons. But variations of this phrase have been around since the 18th century.

Where’s a Winston Churchill quote when you need one.

Currently watching series two of The Crown. Claire Foy’s impersonation of the Queen is impeccable, matched only by Bertie Carvel’s embodiment of Robin Day. Both are genuinely believable – unlike HMY Britannia, whose CGI reminds me of that used in Titanic, twenty years ago.

Wait for More Bumping

Michael Lopp on how to write:

Randomly think of a thing. Let it bump around your head a bit. If the bumping gets too loud, start writing the words with the nearest writing device. See how far you get. The more words usually mean a higher degree of personal interest. Stop when it suits you.

Wait for time to pass and see if the bumping sound returns. Reread what you’ve written so far and find if it inspires you. Yes? Write as much as you can. No? Stop writing and wait for more bumping.

This perfectly articulates what I was trying to get across in my last post. This bumping sound can too often get drowned out by the sound of tweeting.

Fixing my Feeds

After reading Robin’s re-introduction to RSS, I decided to make Feedbin my feed manager of choice. I had been using a self-hosted instance of Fever for many years, but since this is no longer supported, I moved1 my subscriptions over to Feedly at the beginning of the year.

As a piece of software that operates mainly in the background – Reeder is where I spend most of my day – I was willing to put up with Feedly’s many quirks. But then I tried Feedbin. The difference between the two is like night and day. Feedbin is not only usable, but damn right gorgeous to boot! I guess the adage is true: you get what you pay for.

This move has prompted some other RSS related news, in that I’ve fixed my XML and JSON feeds, and redirected legacy URLs to their canonical locations. It can’t have been fun subscribing to my site recently, as I fiddled and fumbled while adding support for micro posts. I think I’m happy with everything now, but no promises.

Anyway, for the avoidance of doubt, you can subscribe to my site using your syndication format of choice:

How very Web 2.0.

  1. That’s right, data portability. Another fabulous feature of RSS↩︎


Twitter is a place I visit to get annoyed. I need an alternative. That alternative could be my very own website.

Lego, board games, playgrounds, hide and seek, digging holes, building sandcastles and bodyboarding… after a week in Brazil playing with my three wonderful nieces, returning to Britain (somewhat bitten and burnt) having rediscovered my inner child!

My favourite feature of Brazilian bathrooms is electrical sockets in showers. Mixing electricity and water? Está bem!

Always Leave the Table a Little Hungry

Finally watched The Trip to Spain on my flight over to São Paulo. Had already seen the first few episodes, and thought this instalment lacked charm of the first two; watching this feature-long edit only cemented those concerns. This series has clearly run out of ideas, as evidenced by the weirdly drawn out conclusion. I’m full.

Back to Bradshaw’s

Having copied, pasted and formatted another 115 pages of OCR’d text, Bradshaw’s Guide now contains tours throughout South West England, the West Midlands, Wales and Ireland.