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books to read by the pool – 2008 edition August 14, 2008

Posted by nicholas gill in books.

It already seems like an age since Family Gill decamped to Orlando for 2 weeks of wholesome American vacation fun. (I still need to write up my thoughts/review/ramblings). But finally here’s the book review of what I read on hols.

Bourne Ultimatum

I’d seen all the films so decided to read all the books. Thoroughly enjoyed the Bourne Identity and still as fresh today as it probably was back then with the ingenious amnesiac plot. This prompted me to pop a slug of Ludlum books on my Christmas wish list which Santa duly delivered. I then waded through the Bourne Supremacy which was ok, a bit so-so, drifted for half of the book until he went back into mad Bourne mode and took out most of China and Hong Kong. And then the Ultimatum. This is where the traditional view that the cinema ruins great books is flipped. The film version is incredibly good. The book I found quite tedious. I gamely plodded on getting mildly excited at the carnage in the Caribbean but really didn’t enjoy it. Whereas I’ve now watched the film version of the Ultimatum several times and was fortunate that on my recent long haul flights it was the film of choice so felt quite sated. I now have a number of Ludlum novels to read. And I’m unsure which way they’ll go.


I believe this was hyped on similar lines to Trainspotting and followed the real life trials and tribulations of Middlesbrough youth. I liked the split narrative across different characters giving you different perspectives on events. It’s under-age drinking, drunken groping and unprotected sex against the backdrop of a  gloomy of life oop North and is more than a bit predictable. Basically it’s a love story between Adam and Eve who never quite get it together and she spends her evenings getting lashed and pilled up and humping anyone she can. I didn’t enjoy it. I read it in one afternoon sat on the beach at Marco Island supping pina colada’s which was much more enjoyable.

That’s Me In The Corner

When I eat my food I tend to leave the best for last. Get through the veg, then the mash and then leave the meat and gravy. Mmm. I’d tried to start reading this before but it always remained in my bag on the train while the blackberry rammed my attention. But from the first page I was so pleased I finally got to read it and salvage my holiday reading. I don’t think I’ve laughed so much when reading a book with Andrew Collins regaling tales of his wide and varied experiences of work. My personal highlight being the turd in the box he received from the Levellers for a poor review of their album. I’ve often wanted to send a turd in a box. I think I’ll leave the summation of this book to my colleague and resident DJ in planning HQ, Mr Nicholas G Owen:

A light-hearted romp through the world of media as seen through the eyes of a deletante from Northampton who sashays through 17 jobs in 17 years.

You can get more Andrew Collins here.


stuff and things 21.02.08 February 21, 2008

Posted by nicholas gill in AvroKO, behance, books, creative, design, digital advertising, dom perignon, m&ms, thoughts, web 2.0.
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best ugly

Best Ugly. WTF? It’s a new book about restaurant design and architecture by AvroKO where the phrase is explained as:

“… all things that are beautiful and charming in an off-beat, sometimes awkward manner.”

I quite like that sentiment that not everything has to conform or be conventionally aesthetically pleasing.

behance day book

A day book for creative types. And the main site at Behance has some really interesting and inspiring content.

dom perignon

Some poncy stuff for Dom Perignon featuring Karl Lagerfeld and Helena Christensen. In the buff (Her, not him. Thankfully.).

m&ms personalised

Personalise your M&Ms. A step too far for personalisation?

digital evolution and daemons September 16, 2007

Posted by nicholas gill in blog, books, film, futurology, social networks, though leadership, thoughts, Uncategorized, web 2.0, web 3.0, website.
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MSN take a look at how the web is evolving including personal daemons.

Which is a new term to me as a quick Google suggests it came from a Phillip Pullman novel. But they exist in other forms including the one in the article.


Having taken the test on the Golden Compass movie link above, it appears my Daemon is Olyandra: a moth. As I am “spontaneous, relaxed, modest, solitary and dependable.” She is female as human and Daemon pairs should be different genders. Perhaps I should read more on what it might do?

In any case, hope they come up with another name in web world. Maybe “Dobby’s” in relation to the long suffering house elf in Harry Potter?


stuff and things 01.09.07 September 1, 2007

Posted by nicholas gill in advertising, books, brand, content, thoughts, you tube.
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Sublime is an ethical lifestyle magazine. But it’s not tree-hugging shite, actually some intelligent and refreshing editorial. Or at least the copy I skimmed through recently.

Some quite strange tips in Francesca Beauman’s book for the ladies including this on orgy etiquette would you believe:

“You mustn’t hog the best-looking person,” she explains in penetrating tones. “And you have to make sure everyone feels included. If you don’t fancy someone who approaches you, what you say is, ‘We’re OK, thanks.’

Full article here in the Times. And interesting that the UK title is “The Womans Book” with the subtitle “Everything but the kitchen sink” and the American version the other way round. And different graphics – I prefer the UK version (the one on top). Anyway, very odd, anyone know why?

uk bookus book

Here’s some filth: xtube is an adult You Tube. Some filthy undies here too. Don’t blame me. I just thought you might like to know. I found these in Sunday Times Style magazine for the former and NMA (which was an oddity) for the latter.

books to read by the pool August 17, 2007

Posted by nicholas gill in books, management, though leadership, thoughts, travel.
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A little later than planned but I finally get to blog about my last holiday in Italy when I’m on my current holiday pootling around at home. First up in the holiday season: the book review.

Steve Waugh – Out of My Comfort Zone

waugh book

The first of a few cricketing themed books for this holiday. I’d wanted to read this for months but managed to keep it hidden away for the week in Tuscany. Some autobiographies are just a sprinkling of magic dust on a few weeks in the sun (think Wayne Rooney’s “life story” when he’s just about out of school trousers), but this is different. Waugh’s is a fascinating tale of a guy who just doesn’t give up, makes himself better through perserverance and hard work and is incredibly human and humble. At nearly 800 pages, it’s not a quick and easy read and a bit like Waugh himself, you need to grind it out and discover the gems. And it’s not just a book for cricket lovers. If you have to manage people, you should read this. A real account of someone who took a good Australian team and made them great. How great? Just look at the history books. Some of the management lessons in the pages are as good as any you’ll find in the business and management sections of the book stores. Here’s an example of his 12-point blueprint for success:

1. stay a strong unit and enjoy each other’s success

2. play each game as if it’s the most important of your career

3. don’t hesitate, always back yourself

4. never believe the game is lost

5. aim to be man of the match every time you play

6. improvise – think on your feet

7. learn something from every match

8. do the little things right and the big picture will fall into place

9. enjoy the fact you’re representing your country – have pride

10. the best fielding side nearly always wins

11. know your own game and what your role is

12. have fun – have a laugh

Simple and straightforward but when executed with 100% convinction, unbeatable. Try taking these into your work on Monday morning.

James May – Notes from the Hard Shoulder

james may

I bought this because I enjoy Captain Slow on Top Gear. I didn’t realise he had a column in the Telegraph mainly because I don’t buy the Telegraph. Like Jeremy Clarkson’s column collections, they are fantastically short allowing you to chew it in bite size chunks, deliciously funny and completely in tune with the tone of May on the TV. After the seriousness of Waugh, a welcome chuckle.

Michael Simkins – Fatty Batter: How cricket saved my life (then ruined it)

fatty batter

Back to willow and leather with this very funny tale of how a fat kid useless at sport discovered cricket on the TV one summer and then became obsessed by it to the point where every weekend and spare moment is spent organising and playing in friendly matches. I haven’t laughed so much from reading a book in ages.

David Mitchell – Black Swan Green

black swan green

I didn’t quite finish this on holiday but a I love Mitchell’s evocative writing style that brings alive characters and places. Black Swan Green has huge nostalgia for 1982 in a typically English suburban town and deals with a child who has a stammer and therefore social acceptance problems in a difficult 13 year old’s life which is set against the backdrop of the Falklands War. Although somewhat personally disapoointed that the 1982 World Cup wasn’t even mentioned but then the main protagonist wasn’t really sporty so it wouldn’t have fitted at all. Perhaps I should write my own memoirs? Quite different to the other three holiday books in style and content but that’s the beauty of books: every one is different.

OK, I didn’t read these on holiday but some recent memorable reads:

Nick Griffiths – Dalek I loved You


If you like Dr Who and were born in and around the 1970’s this will make you laugh and cry. Although it’s not wholly about the Doctor so don’t be put off. More a case of one man’s quite surreal life against which the Doctor is interspersed.

Harry Thompson – Penguins Stopped Play


Not unlike Fatty Batter in that it mainly covers a friendly playing cricket team but it covers their fantastic travels to play cricket in all the world’s continents. Incredibly entertaining, witty and articulate as you’d expect from one of the script writers of Have I Got News For You.

J.K. Rowling – Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows


At first I did think they were kids books. Then I read the first few on holiday last year and became hooked. And I managed to be patient while my wife finished reading it before I started. A bit of a Hollywood ending but like other Potter fans I did enjoy it. What I like most about Potter is that it’s got children reading again and inspiring their imaginations. Whatever your own personal views on the merchandising etc., surely getting kids reading and enjoying picking up a book and using their brains is better than sticking them in front of the TV or the PlayStation or educating them through free toys with Happy Meals?

stuff and things 29.06.07 June 29, 2007

Posted by nicholas gill in advertising, blog, books, brand, facebook, film, Uncategorized, user generated content, web 2.0, website.
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sean feet

Quite a random collection today…

Lots of bookish things about on the web and room for two more. Good reads lets you keep a track of what you’ve read and recommend etc. Read it, Swap It is a swap shop for books. After all, how many do you read twice?

A gift for the lady driver in your life

Get arty with canvas print and you are art

blade runner

A blog totally dedicated to Philip K Dick. I like the films, perhaps i should get round to reading the books.

A blog for gaijins who have lived in Japan for too long

A site dedicated to online boutique shopping

Sky doing some charity, environment & learning stuff

Play some fun stuff. It is a Friday after all! Fly guy, line rider, double wires

keyes cock

Facebook gave me the opportunity to find some old pics for the TMW Alumni group. Sorry, Iestyn.

An early example of user generated content using mobile phone cameras – The Tugler Show.

The feet belong to Sean Dewhurst, he has some nice cars to hire.

tube reads June 5, 2007

Posted by nicholas gill in books, thoughts, travel, user generated content, web 2.0, website.
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 london book project

This is a great idea. I hope it catches on & gets rid of the people at the entrances to tube stations who shove (literally) the free papers at you. Can’t they have nice baskets for you to pick up at your leisure like the Metro? Books are great. I look forward to finding one on the Northern Line soon.

Found on boing boing

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