As somebody who has just spent lunchtime starfished in the Sussex sunshine, thoughts have turned to summer and similarly lazy days spent reading beautiful books.
Ridley Road by first-time author Jo Bloom is one book I’d recommend, especially for people who have a love of London and the early 1960s… hairdressers who like both of these things will particularly adore it. But this is not a book about celebrity or fringes.
Bloom’s story focuses on a little-known part of London history and anti-fascist Jewish group the 62 Group. This organisation was set up to combat the rising threat of fascism represented by demagogues such as Oswald Mosley, US Nazi leader George Lincoln Rockwell and the lesser-known, if no less dangerous, Colin Jordan.
While the natural title of this book should have been Brick Lane, the frontline of the East End anti-fascist confrontation, Monica Ali’s previous sequestering of that moniker means that Ridley Road will have to do, as with the boy-meets-girl story that unfolds within it.
As somebody who lived close to Ridley Road market further north of Brick Lane in Hackney, this titular licence can be forgiven. Bloom’s book, however slight in some areas, is the almost-perfect accompaniment and counterfoil to a lazy, lovely summertime lack of blues.
There comes a time in a man’s life when designer stubble becomes dirty-old-man-scrag and a new strategy has to emerge. For those with a weak chin, this is a very traumatic time in life, but a shaved face it must be.
For me, I drive into Brighton every Friday morning to my Turkish barbers, Goodfellas on London Road. I get the whole hot towel experience, a massaged head and I come out about ten years’ younger, it is a pilgrimage I am unlikely to end any time soon. Moreover, if the dirty-old-man-scrag gets too much, at home I have a 20-year-old set of Wahl clippers that smooth off the grey edges.
Ergo, recommending a shaver to my audience is not a natural thing for me to do, in many ways it is anathema. However, the Braun S7 Shaver (790cc-4)isn’t bad at all. I won’t repeat all the blurb that came with it, but if you’re in need of speed and want to look good in front of a trade show audience and in the bar afterwards, this is very good.
It does shit like pivoting and swivelling and the instructions are all-encompassing. Bearing in mind the ridiculous cost for tetra- and penta-razors, this is excellent value at less than £180 and will make a young man out of you, not that horrible dirty-old-man-scragger that you used to be.
* There was no money, no Bitcoin or shit, or time, or whatever currency
* There were no schedules or pension payments
* You had a to-be-hired motorbike on call… a really cool motorbike
* You never looked at the time, just noted the sundial at appropriate times
* You didn’t worry about mortgages and school fees
* You didn’t care about your work projects
* You woke up when you wanted to, not when your wife, or son, did
* And your constant insomnia had nothing to do with you not cycling or not doing tai chi, it just crept in because your head was a screen, the machines were abrading you, via spreadsheets or software, but they were now definitely the masters…
… and you woke up one morning in the Uk, or whatever, and saw this:
* Around the same time that your boxset-binge jumped its inevitable shark
* And you thought to yourself
* As much as I love my my home, my girl and our boy
* I might just fuck off and see this
* It might take £5K out of the family budget, money that might be ‘better spent’ on a new sofa or garden addition, maybe something designed out of chrome
* A place to go where you’re unlikely to meet anybody, however random, who might do you a business deal that might cover the £5K for the trip and cover the dosh for your happiness
* And, let’s be honest, it’s not SXSW… or Austin
* But look, there’s Neutral Milk Hotel
* There’s the Strokes
* There’s even that English wannabe Neil Young that used to be in Oasis
* Lo, not LOL, lo, there’s the Old Crow Medicine Show, last seen live in North London
* Hang on, Wilco, seen early at the Hammersmith Apollo in 1999 before they were famous, and way before they dissed Tom Waits’ pro-Semitic song Road to Peace on BBC Radio 6
* Fuck, the Pixies as well
* Jesus, Tame Impala, those Perth dudes that are like Floyd when they were touring Mother around the Marquee in the 1960s
* Even James Blake, he’s interesting… and English
* And the rest of the bands that you’ve never heard of, but might just discover on the rubbish stage on the first afternoon of the festival, not pissed enough, no way of finding vitamins for at least 12 hours, and knackered from riding the bike to the show
Would you think that this might just be the best festival you’ve ever seen and a red-hot poker up your sagging, middle-aged, middle class, middle-waisted arse, even if Atlanta reminded you of Ted Turner, CNN, Coca-Cola, the Masters and Tiger Woods…
… would you contemplate saying, fuck it, I’m going?
And would you, shock-horror, post it on your blog, WITHOUT SEO, WITHOUT tags, WITHOUT categories or that really annoying ‘Meta description’ bit that should be the intro…
… and you didn’t post it to those six/seven ‘sharey’ sites that you constantly do with your other stuff.
Rapidly growing chat-based games company Palringo said it has 2014 annual revenues of $14 million, up 100% from 2013 revenues of $7 million.
Based in London’s Shoreditch, Palringo has more than 35 million global customers, a figure that is rising one million per month as the business model of playing games within messaging platforms takes hold. Out of that $14 million revenue, 85% was from games, of which the profit margin was 50%.
Palringo offers a range of games along with more than 350,000 groups, some of which have up to 2,000 members. The business model is based around selling virtual products such as rich media sticker packs, Bots and functional utilities within the messaging platform.
The company’s move into games came in Q2 2013 when it acquired Swedish social and mobile games developer Free Lunch Games when internal data revealed that the most popular groups across Palringo’s communities were based around game titles such as Clash of Clans. It was also a neat strategy to differentiate itself from the better-known messaging platforms of SnapChat and WhatsApp.
“Gaming has always been a dominant theme within Palringo communities. Over the past couple of years, we have developed that trend by creating games that work within the community directly and more recently by building an innovative gaming capability that allows us to further develop our model of bringing together community and gaming on mobile,” said Tim Rea, Palringo CEO.
A typical example of a game inside Palringo would be the traditional game of Hangman. Customers buy the Hangman bot, and launch it in a chatroom of their choice. The company sells packs of ‘coins’, (for example, 300 for $3) and this currency is used to play the game with their chatroom friends.