Archive for Culture & Arts from United Kingdom

A view from Whitehall

by on July 12, 2009 at 6:05 pm

Whitehall

Part of the Traveling Geeks tour.

Millennium Bridge, and St. Paul's in the distance.

A view in Charterhouse Square

by on July 12, 2009 at 2:57 pm

Chart Our hotel was adjacent to an old monastery in Charterhouse Square.

The Charterhouse is on the site of a former Carthusian monastery founded in 1371, by Walter de Manny,
on what is now the north side of the square. It was established near a
1348 plague pit, located in the square, which formed the largest mass
grave in London during the Black Death when around half the population died of the plague. Tens of thousands of bodies were buried here. The name is derived as an Anglicisation of
La Grande Chartreuse, whose order founded the monastery.

Rap to Celebreate Darwin 200th Anniversary

by on July 12, 2009 at 12:09 pm

As I was dining with a group of technology innovators, scientists, professors and entrepreneurs in Cambridge at Kings College on Friday night, someone played a rap from the previous night, which was in celebration of the Darwin 200th Anniversary Dinner. Click below to listen.

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Britticisms: What’s the deal with “punter” …?

by on July 10, 2009 at 1:20 pm

Okay, for me to get the British fiction I read, I gotta figure out:

punter — which I think is basically Everyman

tosser — not so good, a little rude

wanker — worse, very rude

Do I have it right?

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Is journalism dead in the 21st Century?

by on July 10, 2009 at 8:45 am

This is a re-post from Techcrunch Europe.

The Traveling Geeks gathered together for a great turnout (despite the torrential downpours) at the Guardian’s Media Talk (live) podcast. Our agenda was to discuss journalism and it’s rapid change in the 21st Century. Listen here.

While more and more newspapers lose their audience and their advertisers, print is quite quickly, becoming obsolete. In the video below you will see Sarah Lacy, JD Lasica and Robert Scoble discuss and confirm this theory.

In the second video, I asked Howard Rheingold to further extend the conversation into a video discussion about the journalism course at Stanford and the method of dragging people into the 21st century:

Backstage Pass- London taxis

by on July 8, 2009 at 10:29 pm

Traveling Geeks

Twelve traveling geeks and one cameraperson. Going hither and yon. How do we get around? Well, it’s a combination of cab and walking. London is remarkably compact and I was surprised at how easy it was to get from one spot to another – which on the map looked like it would take an hour, ended up taking 15 minutes. (Last time I was in London was a long time ago, and I walked and took the tube, but I had forgotten how close things were.) So we pack 5 geeks into the first cab, 5 into the next, and then a third, until we are off to the next engagement. Here’s the first cab out of the hotel on Monday morning, with Robert Scoble presiding.

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Traveling Geeks – On the road in the UK

by on July 8, 2009 at 7:32 pm

note: this is a repost from TechCrunch Europe

This morning we had a breakfast with Tristan Wilkinson, Intel’s Director of Public Sector and other Intel execs. We had an interesting discussion about the use of technology in the Western world, in developing countries, in the classroom. For example, we talked about how parents and teachers need to be more open to allowing kids to use technology, the internet, their mobile devices and not focus as much on the negative aspects of technology but rather on all the positive aspects. There is a huge problem with parents’ attitudes toward their kids’ involvement with technology and a huge divide in regards to educating parents:

We also had a little debate about whether Twitter is already a mainstream phenomenon or not:

Lastly, we discussed the importance of bringing technology to developing countries and what a difference even one cell phone in a village can make. However, Robert Scoble, also reiterated the idea which he calls the “Friend Divide” – this is to say that even if you have a computer and are able to get online, you’re still at a major disadvantage to people who have already built a rich network of friends which they can use to get and spread information.

Right now I am writing you from NESTA’s Reboot Britain conference. More postings to come as we continue on our fascinating British journey…

in UK, that three-prong plug thing? it’s a long-running gag

by on July 7, 2009 at 6:09 pm

07052009009 I guess it's British humor, but the three-prong electrical plug you need here, it's all been a joke.

For that matter, same thing with driving on the left hand side of the road.

Both, some kind of Benny Hill or Monty Python kind of thing, and we fell for it.

BT Tower by Night

by on July 7, 2009 at 12:19 am

BT hosted a magical dinner for the Traveling Geeks at the BT Tower in West London last night. BT’s CEO Ian Livingston greeted us (below) and JP Rangaswami followed up with introductions to countless meet-and-greets, which included BT and NESTA managers and directors, as well as other partners and affiliates, such as a team from Ribbit, over from Silicon Valley for a board meeting. (they were acquired by BT roughly a year ago).

Ian Livingston CEO of BT at private dinnre

The view was incredible:

London from BT Tower (4)

The food a treat (scallop salad, jersey royal potato pancetta frisse sauce with slow roasted beef fillet, girolles, baby carrot broad beans and summer truffles with red wine reduction).

The hospitality and service incredible (our telecom giants could learn a thing or two). Below a few fun snapshots from our evening.

The BT creative mastermind behind our a collage with character-like images of each of the Geeks…

The BT genius who did the collage

Collage that BT did for us (6)

Collage that BT did for us (8)

Ribbit’s Don Thorson, Tom Foremski, Rocky

Tom Foremski and Rocky

Howard Rheingold, Sarah Lacy, Joe, Renee Blodgett, Meghan Asha, Jeff Saperstein

Howard Rheingld Sarah Lacy Joe Renee Blodgett Meghan Asha Jeff Saperstein at BT Tower in London

BT Execs at BT Dinner (2)

Sarah Lacy

Sarah Lacy (1)

BT Execs at BT Dinner (1)

Ian and Jeff Saperstein at dinner

Jeff Saperstein at BT Dinnre

Two of our BT hosts and Renee Blodgett, Sarah Lacy and Susan Bratton

Renee Blodgett Sarah Lacy and Susan Bratton with the BT Guys at BT Tower in London

Susan Bratton and Sky Schuyler

Susan Bratton and Sky Schuyler

Meghan Asha

Meghan Asha

The Geeks crowd into one of the last elevators south for the night…

Geeks in an Elevator Susan Bratton Renee Blodgett Rocky JD and Tom Foremski

London even delivered us a sunset…

Sunset from Londons BT Tower July 6 2009

And Robert Scoble wasn’t quite done shooting…..all the way home

Robert-Scoble at BT in London (1)

London: Rich Stories at their Best

by on July 6, 2009 at 1:35 pm

I always go to a melancholy place when I head back to the streets of London, even moreso when I visit my old stomping grounds. I suppose you could say that this is the case for everyone when they return to anywhere in the world they once lived, yet having lived in more than ten countries, England is different. London is different.

I think part of it is its heritage. Part of it is the left over piece that feels embedded in you as if some part of some generation before you walked the same streets before the turn of the century and their passed on DNA shows up at the oddest times….whenever I have a cup of English tea brewed the old fashioned way for example.

It also shows up when I feel the sense of community in both rural and urban pubs that has been watered down in the states over the last two generations.

And so, I cherish these melancholy walks. They take me through narrow alleyways with a surprise around every corner, crowded obscure bookstores near Tottenham Court Road, into cafes and wine bars where the tables are close together and people are wearing hats even in summer, past well manicured lawns in London’s northern burbs and well behaved dogs in Regent’s Park.

And then there’s Camden Town. Every time I think about my need to return for a meander for old time sake, I sometimes wonder how much of a hippee I was, or whatever the equivalent of that was in the late eighties.

I was drawn to the place then and still am today, despite the fact that my first introduction to it was 25 years ago and it’s become a very different place and I’ve obviously become a very different person.

Yet, it all still draws me in for the taking. The colorful stalls, the tattoos, the edgy haircuts, the funky boots, my favorite creperie that is still in the same place it always was, the incense that burns upstairs and that fabulous material and linen shop I can never remember the name of.

When you think about the energy of the universe and how it works, it’s no grave surprise that an old South African friend I first met in London before I hit the big 21 has returned to live here with her husband. She still lights candles and drinks Cabernet Sauvignon.

We were both blondes at the time and are now both brunettes or close to it. We both sold art from around the world – or so we tried. We both threw fabulous international parties where we danced and drank cinzano and lemonade until dawn.

Mine were held in my Earls Court basement flat which opened up to a small but tasteful garden courtyard. I still remember the faces as if it was yesterday and what a fascinating representation of friends I had at the time: Morocco, Ireland, France, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Holland, Sweden, Iceland, Russia, Italy, Denmark, Israel, Greece, Belgium, Scotland, Zimbabwe…..

As you can imagine, the food was diverse and an important part of our experience with one another and we were never tired of conversation. We’d often land at someone’s flat for espresso at 3 in the morning after stopping into a famous Jazz Club near Kings Cross.

It was nearly a daily part of our evening routine for months until the big Kings Cross fire and then suddenly the bus, train, bus, and then bus again hassle to get there forced us to find a new locale.

Did I mention that we never tired of conversation? Everyone had a story, a rich, diverse and emotional story they were passionate about, and so, passion ruled our every exchange with each other, through some other form of expression we shared: art, music, dance, cooking, poetry or mime.

Although the international diversity was much less when I moved to the country, the stories remained an integral part of my experience living in the U.K. and now an integral part of my memory.

My neighbor Bill was the managing director or some such close to the top of the food chain title at Harrods Department Store in Knightsbridge, which was always a bit too much for my budget in those days.

I remember recruiting him and his wife for a play I wrote, which involved the launch of a marble tile company. I wove in Vivaldi to one of the scenes and Bill would dance around out of character, pause for a whiskey sundowner and then return with a smile and say “shall we begin?” Yes, but of course. And so, we’d begin again. And again. And again.

Life was much simpler even for the workaholics around me. I did a stint at Saatchi and Saatchi Advertising which was near or on Goodge Street at the time. We had an American Managing Director and his office was always open for any of us to waltz in to solicit advice.

People worked late and instead of beer and pizza which is what I think of when I think of late nights in Silicon Valley, particularly if engineers are involved, it was gin and tonics and cheese and crackers.

Account management merged with creative and vice versa and the place was a dynamic one, full of bright and interesting minds I learned something new from every day. We worked hard and then we played hard. It was always like that and results came, award winning ones.

So that brings me to this trip, which is different than any other I’ve made to London in the past couple of decades. Nearly every memory and experience I’ve had in this place, whether it was 25 years ago or two, was centered around creative energy: artists, designers, travelers, authors and musicians.

I’m here to contribute to a different kind of creative energy, one which just like every other English memory, involves storytelling.

Along with 11 other writers, bloggers and content creators, I’ll be capturing people’s stories on and off stage, company backgrounds, tales of technology successes and perhaps failures, lessons learned in business and government, and how emerging technology and new media is being used in innovative ways.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!