Northern Soho

Northern Soho, at Barcelona, Hilton Street, on the last Thursday of the month. Come for the creatives networking; leave with a cake pop (courtesy of Lollicakes).


Kiddie Rocker

One minute of rocking, some flashing lights, possibly a steering wheel/helm, music, a little honking. Worth 50p a go?

There are three such Kiddie Rocking machines within 200m in Chorlton, all stood silent as of 1.30pm on a Tuesday. Morrisons and the Post Office have one each (the latter, Postman Pat, obviously), so you’d imagine they’re earning their keep, though I suspect it’s a pretty tight target demographic. Adult Rocking hasn’t caught on.

You can buy your own for around £200, via Alibaba. One Chinese supplier claims to have 600 model options, including Big Mouth Bird, Little Squirrel (aren’t they all?), Rocking Fighter and Baby Car. Excellent.

Gap in market? Branded sports teams (choice of Tevez or Rooney for Mancs), or an opportunity for Madame Tussauds to extend their lookie-likey business.

Bright Side

Been enjoying Michael Sandel’s series, Justice – A Citizen’s Guide, on BBC4. 30 minutes of moral philosophy from Harvard (with perhaps the most multicultural audience this side of a Benetton casting session). Sandel himself is the spit of NY mayor Michael Bloomberg.

When other channels are doing Hotter Than My Daughter/airport or farm docudramas/Gok, the space for something intelligent expands. Sandel might not everyone’s TV dinner, but as more dumb content floods in, the greater the opportunity for challenging content. Nice work, Beeb4, more please.

Start The Week

1. Jonny Depp as Tonto. Or, should a white guy play a Native American? By Mark Lawson in The Guardian.

2. Michael Lewis has covered the meltdowns in Greece and Iceland for Vanity Fair. Next up: Ireland and a financial balls-up “created by the sort of men who ignore their wives’ suggestions that maybe they should stop and ask for directions”. Another of his great one-liners: “Left alone in a dark room with a pile of money, the Irish decided what they really wanted to do with it was to buy Ireland. From one another.”

3. Not a chef’s DreamSchool, but ‘Bill Gates’ Favourite Teacher’. Fast Company on the very real Sal Khan.

4. Inc’s ’10 Most Promising Franchises of 2011′, including tweaks on gyms, spas, food, office cleaning and home decluttering.

5. Porsche makes 1 million Facebook fans, creates a special 911 GT3 R Hybrid to say thank you (pic, above). Nice bridge from on- to offline. Microsite here, PSFK report here.






Trade Off

What price democracy? In the UAE, a vote-free monarchy approx 200 miles from the rioting in Bahrain, citizens are given free medical cover, subsidised water and electricity, they can apply for a £10,000 grant to help pay for their wedding, free land to build homes, and further education scholarships for high-performing students. Public sector pay and conditions are pretty good, too.

Citizens can’t vote in a new boss, but they can request an audience for a chat.

The locals aren’t rioting in Dubai and Abu Dhabi just yet. But the bill must be mounting.