Thursday, May 12, 2022

A Real Ghost Town


A lazy Spring Sunday in Arizona – Trudy and I drove two hours to Jerome.  A roaring copper mining boomtown in 1883 proclaimed in 1903 by The New York Sun as the “Wickedest City in the West”.  (Evidenced by the Sliding Jail which is still standing and the Bordello – still a saloon.)  Settled in the 60’s by artists, hippies and hermits, and still offering an authentic (pre-Disney!) insight into life in the Old West.


Americans, Mexicans, Spaniards, Italians, Irish, Croatian, Chinese and 20 other nationalities made up the Mining Camp – which they called Haynes – and which made Jerome home to a town full of excitement; full of miners, adventurers, gamblers, bootleggers, saloon-keepers, prostitutes and preachers.  Jerome was the talk of Arizona – the boomtown of its time.  A billion dollars of copper was mined there along with gold and silver – it became the fourth biggest city in Arizona.  The fires and dynamiting hit and entire parts of the town collapsed into the mountain or slid downhill, including the famous Sliding Jail I mentioned moving 225 feet!


The population peaked at 15,000 in the 1920’s.  Five years later it was less than 5,000.  Today it’s 450.  The mines finally closed in 1953 (when only 50 people still lived there) and Jerome became the largest Ghost Town in America.


The town was reborn in the 60’s as the Counter Culture renovated homes and opened abandoned shops to sell their creations.


It’s worth a visit.  Within a couple of hours from our home in Carefree and close to Sedona, Prescott and Flagstaff.


And the Gold King Mine Ghost Town is open – one mile away.  The one-room school-house, the ‘Painless’ Dentist office (I don’t think so), the original deep mine shaft and plenty of old trucks, cars, tractors, implements (including a super-cool 1939 Studebaker Cruiser Commander) are all there.


The Good Old Days!




Tuesday, May 10, 2022

There’s Something To Be Said For Getting Older


Mellow Sunday Desert evening – glass of Barca Velha – in Tonto’s, listening to the new Willie album Robin sent me.  30 minutes in – nostalgia, calm, hope, truth, real.  All summarised in Dusty Bottles.


“Dusty bottles pour a finer glass of wine

An old beat-up guitar just sounds better

And wisdom only comes with time

I can spot mistakes before they happen

Separate the BS from the truth.”


Keep on truckin’ y’all!



Sunday, May 8, 2022

The Banksy of Photographers


Dilly, the black lab in the photo has been viewed more than 30 million times.


It’s the work of a hard-working man of the people who fell into photography – and has since won awards from the BBC and the British Photography Awards and has won the Press Photo of the Year.


No-one knows his identity.


He’s known as Villager Jim.


Here are the links to his Facebook page and his shop page:


Jim contacted me out of the blue last week – after researching Herdy, a brand he loves – and he’s aware of how we’ve developed Herdy to roam free (quadrupling sales in the meantime).


We’ll be talking next week.


Check out his links.  His work is great, his marketing approach innovative and his back story’s real fun.


Villager Jim!



Monday, May 2, 2022

Chimes of Freedom Flashing


As soon as Trudy, me and the Family were vaccinated (and boosted), the Fear disappeared.  The Anger didn’t.  It was the enforced theft of my personal Freedom that caused me angst over the past year.  Being ‘isolated’, ‘socially distanced’, ‘locked down’ by inept, weak, purposeless political leaders, extremists, minorities and irresponsible media.


I have believed in, and am grateful to, the science, the health-care researchers, innovators and practitioners (KR Connect, January 1 2021).  We could have opened the world up again 12 months ago if the world’s leaders had collaborated, connected and listened to the science – instead they kept us imprisoned.


This was particularly challenging for me personally because ever since I was seven years old I’ve been a big believer in making my own choices, in backing myself – win or lose – to change, improve and grow, to Fail Fast, Learn Fast and Fix Fast.  I’ve loved living in the UK, the USA, Australia and New Zealand where personal freedom of choice has been at the cultural core of the nations’ leaders.  To have that taken away for the last 12 months in particular has been hard to take.


And now the good news.


The UK has led the way and is open, the US is almost there, Europe is following, Australia/New Zealand are moving (if still over-cautiously) and Freedom is in the air.


I exploded with joy during my recent foray into Europe.  The Lakes were full of laughing, joyful holiday makers roaming free, Grasmere was full of joy, the Etihad had 55,000 cheering, passionate fans singing together, London’s Soho was overflowing with folks drinking, eating, talking – until 3am – and Barcelona had a busier Easter than pre-Covid 2019.


And what joy to fly Barcelona – Manchester – New York – Phoenix without a mask in ‘open’ planes and airports.


We’ve survived.


We’re reviving.


Time to thrive.


As our greatest living poet/storyteller (and Nobel Prize Winner) said:


As majestic bells of bolts struck shadows in the sounds

Seeming to be the Chimes of Freedom Flashing
Flashing for the warriors

whose strength is not to fight
Flashing for the refugees

on the unarmed road of flight
And for each and every underdog

soldier in the night
We gazed upon the Chimes of Freedom Flashing

Tolling for the aching ones

whose wounds cannot be nursed
For the countless confused, accused, misused,

strung-out ones ad’ worse
And for every hung-up person

in the whole wide universe
We gazed upon the Chimes of Freedom Flashing


Let Freedom Ring.



Thursday, April 28, 2022

Everything Starts With Purpose


I’ve been writing about Purpose at the Organisational level and at the Personal level for 20 years now.


Recently we’ve completed work for the biggest sunscreen company in Spain, a brilliant boutique agency in Singapore, an innovative Italian/American tech company, a UK digital healthcare fund, a couple of fast-moving, well-funded start-ups, a well-established grocery retail chain and a leading global content producer and streaming platform.


We’ve also worked one-on-one developing Personal Purposes for personalities as diverse as a former world champion All Black rugby legend, a soon to retire professional soccer player, a senior Diversity/Inclusion creative leader, a couple of young founders in the creative industries, an Innovation head and several others.


Coming out of this post Pandemic world into a VUCAA world of challenge, change and opportunity has never been a better moment to review your own Personal Purpose and establish a new foundation for growth over the rapidly changing times that are ahead of all of us.

  • Who are you now?
  • What do you believe?
  • When are you at your best?
  • What will you never do?
  • What is your Inspirational Dream?
  • What is your very essence?  (Your One Word Equity)
  • What is your Purpose in life?  (On one page)


Here’s mine:


Tuesday, April 26, 2022

These are the Good Old Days

Apologies for the long break between drinks.  Have been non-stop travelling to London where I caught up with a bunch of old School friends for a fun dinner at the Dean Street Townhouse, a RYSE Board Meeting at the Royal College of Medicine, a return to Beckwood for the first time in two Covid years, my first visit to the Etihad over the same two years, a brilliant three days in Porto with Sogrape friends from Portugal, Spain and the US – and a brilliant week in Barcelona with ISDIN, Trudy and the Arts Suite in my favourite Hotel Arts.


Highlights included a 3-Star Michelin meal at Jordi Cruz’ ABAC, a second meal in eight weeks at a 2-Star Michelin Lovemark – Enoteca Paco Pérez (Barcelona really is at the very centre of culinary innovation nowadays), two meals at my new favourite Manchester hotel, The Stock Exchange – steered by old friend Jacqui Griffiths ex Malmaison/Native GM and planned and delivered by Tom Kerridge’s A-team at the Hotel’s magnificent The Bull & Bear restaurant, and a Steak Ciabatta at half-time at the Etihad as we pounded Watford 5-1.

People need People.




PS:  And I travelled Barcelona / New York / Phoenix with no mask – just smiling faces in airports and on planes.  Let Freedom Ring.