Wednesday, October 28, 2020

El Loco

Am reading The Quality of Madness – A Life of Marcelo Bielsa by Tim Rich.


“Everyone with new ideas is thought mad until they work” – Bielsa.


Worth a look.



Sunday, October 25, 2020

The Three Hums

I did a podcast on Inspirational Leadership with Jonathan Bowman-Perks last Thursday.  He mentioned (and demonstrated) the three ‘Hums’ – (Roger Steare) Humility, Humanity, Humour.  Great cues for all of us as we present, teach, interview etc.


You can watch it here:



Wednesday, October 21, 2020

In Praise of Spotify

14 years young, Spotify has bypassed all the other music streaming services for me and is now our preferred go-to source in all our homes.


60 million songs, great AI picking 30+ personalised playlists every day, the easiest way to create your own playlists (an obsessional source of joy during isolation/lockdown) and so easy to navigate and use.


Thank you Sweden.



Tuesday, October 20, 2020

It’s My Birthday – Don’t Let The Old Man In


Many moons I have lived

My body’s weathered and worn

Ask yourself how old you’d be

If you didn’t know the day you were born.


Try to love on your wife

And stay close to your friends

Toast each sundown with wine

Don’t let the Old Man in.


(Thank you Toby Keith, Willie Nelson and Clint Eastwood.)



Sunday, October 18, 2020

In Vino Veritas

How’s your cellaring going during this sustained time at home?  How’s your wine consumption?  Both mine are up!!!!


Here are three great sources I’ve been enjoying in the US.


1)    Porthos – The Wine Insiders (San Rafael, California).  With a great personalised concierge service – Rebecca Rodriguez works with us and is a wizard on hard to find, small, boutique Bordeaux, Burgundies and Super Tuscans.  We discovered them via American Express Centurion who recommended them.


2)    Total Wine.  A complete contrast.  America’s Wine and Spirits Superstore.  8,000 wines, 3,000 spirits, 2,500 beers.  Great pricing.  Great service.  Great selection of Bordeaux at every price point.  Huge warehouse locations – three outlets close by us in Arizona.  A monthly treat visit (masked and social distanced of course!).


3)    Wally’s Wine – A Santa Monica / Beverly Hills hybrid. Wine store, wine bar, café/restaurant, brilliant up-scale selections.  Check out their newly acquired Masterpiece Collection – a private collection.





Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Eight Days To Go

October 23 – Letter To You – Bruce and The E Street Band’s first studio album since Born in the USA.  The world’s biggest bar band live and raw – cut in four days – no overdubs.  Records like they used to be made!


Here’s an edited, bootlegged version of Rolling Stone’s Brian Hiatt’s brilliant guide to the album.

  • We’ve heard Letter To You – totally E Street – big organ, big piano intro, amazing sax from Clarence’s nephew Jake – a summation of Springsteen’s artistic output.  A letter to the world where he “tried to summon all that my heart finds true”.
  • We’ve heard Ghosts – I wrote about it a few days ago.  An anthem to those who have died.  “A beautiful part of living is what we’re left by the dead.”  And this is revisited on the album’s final track – I’ll See You In My Dreams.


And what else is in store on October 23?

  • Last Man Standing – an autobiographical nod of the head to his first breakthrough band The Castilles, where he is the last member alive.
  • Three bootlegged but never released songs are ‘youthful ideas’ sung today with adult voices – crazy lyrics, insane fun – Song For Orphans, Janey Needs A Shooter, and the gleefully sacrilegious If I Was The Priest.
  • Rainmaker – a big rocker.  House Of A Thousand Guitars – one of Springsteen’s personal all-time favourites draws on the musical and spiritual world he’s been building for 50 years.


Could this be the last E-Street album?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  The ‘I’m alive’ mantra from Ghosts implies there’s some road ahead.


And Thom Zimny’s movie of the Letter To You sessions will be out to accompany the album.


To rock and roll.



Sunday, October 11, 2020


I’m Alive and I’m Coming Home.


We’ll all be listening and singing this Live next year.


Because tramps like us, we’ll be alive and together.


Thank you Boss.


Listen to it here:



Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Throwback Thursday – Loving it in Italy

Six months without leaving Arizona.  Six months without visiting Italy.  Six months without face-to-face fun with friends, heros, legends.


Here’s how it used to be – and will be again (a post from Milan in March 2007).


Last week, I was in Milan speaking to 1,500 businessmen at a World Business Forum. Michael Eisner, Colin Powell and Alan Greenspan were also presenting, along with one of the creative geniuses of our age, Renzo Rosso, the Founder of Diesel. Renzo is constantly reinventing fashion, advertising and the in-store experience as he restlessly and rapidly drives Diesel forward. This is a brand based on belief and experience. One of my favorite things last year was to go up to Renzo’s farm in the hills, close the doors, eat suckling pig and drink the red wine he produces on the slopes just outside. Meanwhile, back at the forum, the participants lapped up the two days (having payed, I think, around 2,000 euros per delegate for the privilege) and the feedback was tremendous. I focused on making the world a better place through business, with a strong call to arms on sustainability at the individual level. We also used the occasion to launch The Lovemarks Effect in Italian and the initial reaction has been fantastic. L’Espresso ran a few pages on the idea just prior to the conference. There was also a lot of interest from marketers in Milan as to how they could add emotion and passion into their brands locally. I met the principals of Illy and Lavazza coffee within minutes of each other and both had the same aim - to really establish their brand as a preeminent Lovemark.


One of the side benefits of speaking in Milan is that I was able to catch up with my friends Attilio and his team at the Bulgari. The Bulgari Hotel in Milan is the ultimate Lovemark experience. It drips with mystery, sensuality and intimacy, and really puts the customer at the heart of everything they do. When you check in, your passport is taken. But this is not for Italian bureaucracy reasons. It is so that the staff can be emailed your photograph so that they can call you by name wherever they see you. 


Attilio told me he had just met with the top team from Lexus. They were interviewing him about customer service and what they at Lexus could learn from the Bulgari in terms of treating their guests. Pretty inspirational idea from Lexus don’t you think?


Catching up with Renzo and Attilio made the whole 36 hours feel like a family event. However, an even bigger highlight was meeting one of the most inspirational females I’ve ever met. She’s a legend in Italy but perhaps not so well known elsewhere. Marina Salamon is one of the founders of Replay and is one of Italy’s most successful business leaders. She’s incredibly creative and has a number of ex paramours and ex husbands, including Luciano Benetton and Marco Benatti, who is currently in the news enjoying some hefty debate with his ex boss, Sir Martin Sorrell. Marina has four kids (all of whom play rugby – way to go Marina) and is full of passion, energy and inspiration. She introduced The Lovemarks Effect at the Milan Fair and spoke passionately about the role of women and creativity in Italy today. Her story would make a great movie.


Late Breaking News: Bulgari are taking their Lovemark thinking to Tokyo and opening a four floor restaurant on the Ginza in December. They are also going to open a smaller and more casual outlet in Omotesando, close to Saatchi & Saatchi. Should be worth a visit.


Arrivederci.  See you all next year.



Sunday, October 4, 2020

It helps to pass the time (2)

Six months ago we were just settling into a life of semi-isolation / lockdown / social distancing and I was paying thanks to broadcasters/platforms like Apple, Amazon, Netflix etc.


Time to tip the hat once again – thanks Fellows:

  • Still engrossed in Hinterland, Cardinal (Series 3) and Bosch (Series 6) – dark, real, moody characters and situations.
  • Escaped with doses of different humour – Steve Carell’s zany Space Force (with his unforgettable rendition of Kokomo) and a Colombian tongue-in-cheek adaptation of a real heist – The Great Heist.
  • Was intrigued by two fly-on-the-wall documentaries – the brilliant Netflix story of Barça (and Guardiola) Take the Ball, Pass the Ball and the bare all Amazon All or Nothing Tottenham Hotspur, airbrushing the worthy Mauricio Pochettino, in favour of the train-wreck of Narcissus incarnate (José Mourinho) and Football’s own David Brent (Daniel Levy).
  • Fed the nostalgia itch with PBS (via iTunes) remake of one of my favourite screen detectives – 1972’s Van der Valk – now we have a 2020 version – am two episodes in.
  • Watched a great movie – Ethan Hawke’s Blaze – (I missed it in 2018) – great music, great storytelling – Blaze Foley – what a guy.
  • And a date to note – September 27 – Series 4 of Fargo breaks on iTunes – back after three years.  Two gangs at war in Kansas City in the 1950’s – super-relevant to America today – immigrants, race, violence, conflict.
  • Oh – and the Premier League is back.  Thank you NBC / Peacock – Manchester City, Liverpool, Everton, Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United and maybe even Bielsa’s Leeds – all the games live!!


Bring it on.  Come on City!