Five things on Friday #135

Things of note for the week ending Friday July 31st, 2015.



‘The very best of London with the very best of company. Tribe is an effortless way to date for those who are independent, unattached, and living in London.’


Set up by a dear friend of mine, Emma Forsyth, Tribe is a brand new take on dating that tailors relaxed, exclusive dates for two different groups of three friends.

Whether it’s taking over a kitchen at the latest pop up, boozy games of Pétanque, private sushi-making classes or exclusive late night whisky tastings; Tribe brings you a selection of the very best London venues each and every month.

I’m biased – of course – but honestly, if you’re single and in London; if you’re sick and tired of the casual swiping of Happen or Tinder; if you find yourself yearning for a different class of dating… then maybe Tribe is for.

Check it.

From classic literature to vintage radio, and perhaps everything Monty Python in between, this list of of ‘Awesome things to do listen to on Spotify that isn’t music‘ was a great little find this week.

Fancy learning a new language? Spotify’s got you covered.


Related: this is pretty interesting too.

More Warren Ellis stuff (I’m a fan – so what?). This time around it’s taken from a post from his favourite blog of mine: Morning Computer.

Ellis, on writing –

A lot of this job is about learning how the inside of your own head works. You spend a lot of time alone, in small rooms, eyes closed or staring at the ceiling, poking around at the machinery and peering into all the nooks and crannies. Finding out how all the machines turn, and realising how little you really know about those machines. Picking through the litter of the culture that blows in through your ears and eyes and arranging it by date and colour and sound.


Related: I really liked this too. 

This is cute. And by ‘cute’ I mean ‘awesome because it applies a metric ton of anonymised data just so it can really quite useful for users’.

Google Now will now till you when your favourite coffee place will be busy. Hurrah!

Like this –


As The Next Web so eloquently puts it:

Google Search understands that you hate people. So, in a blog post today, the company announced that it will now show you the busiest times of the week at millions of places on Google Search. Simply type in the name and location of the place you want to go, and Google will show you peak times at these places throughout the week.

As mentioned, I like the way that Google is applying the data it secretly learns about you (because it’s basically Skynet) has collected for the good of all mankind.

How does it know? Well, you do know about the whole location history thing, right?

Think about it.

If you missed the furore earlier this week about the [since deleted] GLAMOUR article citing ’13 little things that can make a man fall hard for you’ – worry not! VICE has taken the initiative and not only re-published the thing in full but also deciphered the madness-inducing drivel into fully-fledged and totally legit life advice.



Told you.


Go read.


Bonuses this week are blog posts by me (yes, and?)


Finally – thank you to all of you that shared last week’s Five Things on Friday.

You’re all lovely.

If you didn’t well, fine…

Whatever you do DON’T CLICK THIS.

Whatley out.


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A Full Day of Music, Vol 2

Music. For you. From a friend (and me).

A Full Day of Music, Vol II

I use Spotify and I like playlists.

If you use Spotify and like playlists too, then this blog post is for you.

Back in April, my friend Sarah and I decided to share a playlist that we’d built together entitled ‘A Full Day of Music, Vol 1‘. The pitch for the playlist was simple:

A Full Day of Music is a mix of tunes that we added because they were the perfect track at the moment we were listening to them. And it’s here, for you.

Designed so you can hit play on the moment you leave the house in the morning to the moment you arrive back home again in the evening.

We were pleased with Vol 1 (both in length and content) and, given the nature of the numbering system that we’ve employed in the naming convention, Vol 2 was the next obvious step.

And here it is: A Full Day of Music, Vol 2.

We like it a lot and we hope you like it too.


PS. Of course we’ve already started Vol 3. Expect it in a couple of months or so.

PPS. If you like Vol 2, use this link to tell your friends about it.


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Review: ANT-MAN

Smaller than your average Marvel movie.


Ant-Man is a solid film. Aside from the occasional [and sometimes ham-fisted] wider-Marvel-Cinematic-Universe nods, you could quite easily watch it in isolation and not even know it was part of said MCU.

And that’s no bad thing.

Ant-Man has a wit and, with a wink and a nod to its source material, it knows its hero is/can be predominantly perceived as rubbish too. And best of all – it has fun with it.


Paul Rudd gives a good turn as our eponymous cat-burglar-turned-mini-superhero; carrying enough pathos and drive to make you believe that he would make the mistakes he makes. I guess that’s another aspect of what makes Ant-Man a good movie: you believe that any minute the lead could get a complete pasting – call it the ‘Indiana Jones’ effect, if you will.

Corey Stoll takes a break from catching catching poorly-plotted vampires and strikes a perfectly good rent-a-villain pose and, as antagonists go, he’s not so bad. I read recently that’d be good if just sometimes superhero movies weren’t about THE WORLD IS AT STAKE! and instead focused on smaller issues. The recent Netflix take on Daredevil tackled this challenge brilliantly. Ant-Man does a similar job here. Stoll isn’t out to take-over the world per se, he just wants to be [redacted].

Michael Douglas, as Dr Hank Pym, discoverer of the Pym Particle – the particle that makes molecule size control possible, is great – in all ages.

It’s no spoiler to say that the film opens in 1989 with a flashback to Pym’s earlier days. And, rather brilliantly, the specials effects boffins have done an incredible job.


So casual.

EDIT: Vulture has a great piece on how they did it.

If you know how hard this is to do, you’ll understand how awesome it is to make it look effortless.

Anyway, in Ant-Man, he’s our Obi-wan Kenobi.

Evangeline Lilly on the other hand, I can’t work out if it’s poor character building in the writing phase or just lack of belief in the material – but there’s something that doesn’t land for me. Not sure why. I’ll think on it.

And finally, Michael Pēna…


…the guy who steals every damn scene he is in. He just nails it.

Ant-Man is a great little heist movie and I mean it when I say it: the more I think about it, it really doesn’t feel like a Marvel movie at all. Yeah there was a bunch of stuff about the original director leaving and, in some instances (if you know Edgar Wright’s work) you can feel his presence/absence in the film. But Ant-Man is here and this movie is better than no movie at all.

And it’s genuinely good!

In closing: I wasn’t sure I would like Ant-Man that much.

To be honest, I was quite close to not going to see it at the cinema all.

But I’m really glad I was wrong.

With a healthy combination of humour and action, Ant-Man is my surprise of the summer. You should find out if it’s yours too.

PS. Stay ’til the end: there are two post-credits sequences.

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An idea for London

Apple Pay arrived in the UK this month – woo!


And, teething issues aside…

…the launch has only served to further enlighten the public at large that we are indeed edging ever closer to a completely cashless London.

For some, that’s awesome.
For others, it’s a problem.

Specifically, it’s a problem for the buskers of the London Underground.

For those of you that don’t know, the buskers of our fair city’s amazing transport system are all auditioned and then licensed accordingly; they are of a standard.

With 39 busking pitches across 25 stations with an audience of up to 3.5m commuters every day, these talented guys and girls have a huge opportunity to turn in a few quid by pleasing the ears of the frequent passers by.

That is, if they carried a few quid on them.

Which, as we’ve established, is becoming rarer and rarer.




Why not set up Oyster card touch points at each TfL busking pitch that could give £1 per tap?

Think about it.

I’m pretty sure the technology wouldn’t need that much of an update to allow for this adjustment. You could start in Zone 1 and work out, or vice-versa, and go from there.

It should be simple from a logistical perspective as well. For example, given the already acknowledged stringent licensing that takes place, it follows that the talented musicians that grace the tunnels beneath our streets would probably have to book into their respective slots in advance. Meaning there must be a database somewhere that tracks who plays where and when.

Simply marry that data up with the money tapped in during those hours, and at the end of each day (or at the start of the next), said talent collect their money from a TfL window or a collection point of some description.

From a cost angle, TfL/Oyster could lift 1% of the donation to cover costs or if they were really savvy, they could get a brand to partner up on it and they could pay the costs as part of the sponsortship.

That’d make sense wouldn’t it?

What about safety? TfL handles millions of commuters every day and those tunnels and walkways have to be kept clear BUT if there’s room for a girl with a cello, there’s certainly room for a wall-hugging Oyster ‘tap-to-donate’ button.

Right? Right.

In short, it frustrates me when I hear great music and/or singing and am unable to show my appreciation because of the lack of shrapnel about my person. With a busking Oystercard touch point, I’d be able to give a pound every time I liked some music.

Which would be ace!

With the advent of Apply Pay, contactless payments in London have never had greater mindshare. If we truly give a monkey’s about our city then we should be working hard at lowering the barriers to donating to charity wherever possible and fundamentally making it even easier to move towards the progressive-yet-caring cashless society we’re so ardently idealistic about (maybe that last past is just me).

Try this: next time you’re in the Underground and you hear a busker that you enjoy, I want you to think about how much would it please you if you could just tap-to-donate them a pound as you wander by.

If TfL made it happen it would be:

  • An extra bit of pocket money for TfL.
  • A potential not insignificant lift in busker-income.
  • A way of helping the commuters of London feel better about having the cashless pockets that society is granting upon them.

So come on TfL, let’s make it happen.


(not from TfL? Click this to let them know)





Five things on Friday #134

Things of note for the week ending July 24th, 2015.


Before we crack on, my friend Sarah and I have just finished our latest playlist, ‘A Full Day of Music, Vol 2‘ – 8hrs of awesome music that’s ready for your listening pleasure.

Didn’t want to blog it until I gave it you lovely lot first.

Listen now on Spotify

If you missed Vol. 1, that’s still available – here.

Right, shall we?

Sorry to keep wanging on about it but the predictions made at the end of last year (about 2015 being the year of the VIDEO ROYALE) just keep on coming true.

Youtube VS Facebook-01-01

This latest validation of our Mystic-Meg-like abilities comes in the form of Facebook [once again parking its video tanks on YouTube’s lawn by] giving its bajillion users a set of new video publisher tools.

These tools include:

  • The ability to block embeds on third party websites (just like YouTube)
  • Mark videos ‘secret’ shareable / viewable by a single and direct URL (just like YouTube)
  • A new ‘video library’ to help users organise their videos properly (just like YouTube)

There’s a theme here (you might’ve picked up on it already).

Business Insider has more (via my trend-writing partner in crime, Marshall Manson).

(and yes, I know I like parentheses – deal with it)

Regular readers will know of my own long-term love affair with Finland. Here’s another POV on why it’s one of the best places in the world.

If you’ve not been, go.

If you have been, go again.

Whatever, just go.

PS. Visit Finland, if you’re reading, I’m available any time you want.

I’m still not entirely sure if I’m allowed to talk too much about this quite yet but screw it, you guys won’t tell anyone – right?

Converse announced its new shoe yesterday:

The Chuck Taylor All Star II.


We’ve been working on some of the awesome social/content parts of this launch since January (I know some of my sharper-eyed Instagram followers out there definitely figured it out – the trip to the shiny new Boston HQ was so awesome it hurt) and it’s the most exciting project I’ve ever had the good fortune to work on, let alone lead.

The big reveal happened yesterday (read all about the shoe here and here) and some of our teaser stuff is already out in the wild – and there’s still a whole bunch more to come.

Get ready for more.



Earlier this week, Stewart Lee wrote an opinion piece that criticised not only the proposed reforming of the BBC but also the nature of how said reform might take place.

At this point in FOTF, I would normally quote the article that I’m waxing lyrical about to give your fine eyes (yes, they are lovely – and you do look great today) a taster for what they might see in full should they click through BUT this is Stewart Lee we’re talking about here and if you know anything about Stewart Lee then you know he is almost nearly always unquotable. In that his words (and comedy for that matter) are best experienced in full.

In short: read this.

There’s a rumour floating around that Nokia’s [actually very good] maps service – aka ‘HERE Maps’ – will be sold off very shortly. For a while, many thought it would go to Uber but the latest hints/news reports point to a triumvirate of Audi, BMW, and Daimler AG (read: ‘Mercedes’) agreeing to purchase HERE Maps in its entirety.


Why is this interesting?

Two reasons.

First, it’s another chapter in the final days of the Nokia that I used to love. Believe it or not, at one point, HERE/Nokia Maps was better than Google Maps (some might argue that it still is – and they’d probably win). It’s definitely better than Apple Maps. But whatever – the maps product here (no pun intended) is solid. It’s a shame that it’ll no longer be a Nokia product per se but it’ll ultimately wind up somewhere it’ll get used widely and properly.

Second, many cars already come with Google Maps onboard. This move towards owning a maps product [as opposed to rent one] is certainly a smart one however what it’s really saying is that these car manufacturers (and there’ll be more than the three mentioned) are happy to move away from Google and its services. Moreso when you cast that against the backdrop of Google’s own automotive ambitions (see self-driving cars etc).

Big companies discovering that trusting Google might not be a good thing for them in the long run? What a surprise…


Bonuses this week are as follows:





Whatley out.

If you loved me, you’d click this.

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