Cheer Boys Cheer as Rival Breweries Go to War


Many seminal movie moments have been set in pubs and bars – American Werewolf in London, From Dusk Till Dawn, Withnail & I, Star Wars for starters – but what about a film where a brewery is at the centre of the action? No – me neither. Well, that is until I started to do some digging and came across Cheer Boys Cheer. Still doesn’t ring any bells? Maybe you’d have to be of a certain age as it was released in 1939 and has largely sunk without trace since. But it’s not without its merits – I tracked it […]

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Going Underground


It’s always good to find a new marketing idea, so hats off to Books on the Underground, a service that does exactly what you’d guess – it puts free books on the London Underground for travellers to find. Today’s book of choice greeting early morning travellers on the Northern Line? Why, Written Off. Fifty copies. Just waiting to be found, taken home, read and then put back on the underground for someone else to find. This could go on for years… A big thanks to my own personal book fairy, Emma, who got up early on a cold, cold morning […]

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Dublin – City of a Thousand Welcomes


It’s an unwritten rule that any destination aiming to boost visitor numbers must, first and foremost, label itself as “friendly”. Who, after all, would holiday anywhere that billed itself as wilfully unfriendly? Naturally, the Irish, ever eloquent, have to go several steps further – welcome, then, to Dublin: The City of a Thousand Welcomes. This is far more than just a slogan. Visitors to Dublin can actually register to be met by a local, a city resident who’ll take them out for a cup of tea or a pint, all the while generally filling them in on where to go […]

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Time to stop being so submissive


When JK Rowling revealed the rejection letters she received after submitting a book pitch as Robert Galbraith we learned that certain members of the publishing trade are not only unable to spot talent, they’re rude and condescending to boot. For anyone who has ever submitted to a publisher or a literary agent that may not exactly constitute ‘news’. Thousands of book ideas are pitched each week to literary agents but virtually none of these submissions make it past the steely scrutiny of these ‘gatekeepers of literary excellence’. The agents, like border guards at Calais, will tell you there’s no entry […]

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Bilbao: Basque in the sunshine at the home of the Guggenheim…


  Bilbao’s Guggenheim Museum turns 20 next year. It is no exaggeration to say that this was the cultural landmark that truly put the Basque city on the world’s travel map. It’s an unlikely story – the tale of how the ultimate repository of contemporary art revived the fortunes of an area almost wholly synonymous with the post-industrial slump. That sort of neat summation can be a little unfair, suggesting that Bilbao has nothing else to offer the traveller than Frank Geary’s architectural masterpiece. That view would be entirely wrong. There are, in fact, dozens of reasons to visit Bilbao […]

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