• Blade Runner still a good Movie

    BladeRunnerOne thing about Bury is having a small cinema, Abbeygate, (as well as the normal Cineworld) which is small and cosy but more importantly shows some different films throughout the year and this week is no different. They have Blade Runner – The Final Cut on for a few showings at the moment. I’ve never actually seen it at the cinema before only on TV. So went along so something different. It was filmed in 1982 and I thought it might look very dated, lots of old movies tend to, but this wasn’t too bad. Typical Ridley Scott movie and very extravagant but well worth watching on the big screen.

    It must have been because the two hours went incredibly quickly and some excellent performances. Still scary just how long ago it was though.

    Now what is next at the cinema …

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  • Jessops and Customer Service

    jessops75_logoFor many years Jessops camera shop was on most of our high streets and I for one rarely entered them. Clearly most other people did the same and they eventually hit financial problems and in January 2013 all 187 stores had to close. In stepped Peter Jones, of Dragons Den fame, and he started on the transformation of the company first opening 6 of the stores and today there are 37 across the country.  The one in Bury St Edmunds is in a good location and is far more inviting to enter than many of the others in the past. At the time Peter took over you did have to wonder how he would ensure the success of the business in the future. Two key areas of success of any business are the people that work for you and the engagement with your customers and he has certainly cracked it.

    The store is Bury is always busy and the staff are very approachable and helpful. Recently I purchased a new camera from Jessops online. They price match so cost was not an issue, sure I could have got it cheaper abroad but I wanted somewhere nearby. I went into the store for some additional bits and pieces and the staff member was very helpful and in the end improved on the order I had placed online, why was that? Simple the staff member who was extremely helpful and trustworthy.

    Today I needed a couple of other bits so went online to jessops.com, found what I wanted and placed my order to collect from the local store. That was at 15:15 and the confirmation email said it would be ready to collect at 16:14. At 15:25 I received a phone call from the store to say it was ready for collection and soon after an email confirming the same. Headed of to the store, again staff helpful and had the order there ready and all sorted in less than half an hour.

    I will definitely go back to Jessops in future rather than ordering from somewhere else online even if I can get it cheaper all because they understand who the customer is and how to treat them. There are so many other businesses out there that could learn from Peter Jones and Jessops, if only they would. It is the same message Richard Branson often covers about looking after your staff who will in turn look after your customers.

    Now time to look at the purchases :)

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  • What the customer wanted …

    Can be applied to so many things …


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  • Suite Francaise

    sfToday headed over to Abbeygate cinema to watch something different, Suite Francaise. I wasn’t sure what to expect and to be honest I didn’t think it would be my kind of thing. However I was proved wrong and it turned out to be an excellent film and well worth watching.

    It’s a story of forbidden love in a time of turmoil for the French. Set in France 1940 in the first days of the occupation and follows the main character Lucile as she struggles with the overpowering mother-in-law and the conflicts of love when the Germans arrive in their town and a German officer stays with them.

    At times it is quite sad but many others the complete opposite. While it deals with the conflicts or war in what was surely a frightening time you still come away with a good feeling having seen a well acted film and shot incredibly well.

    The film is based on an unfinished novel by Irene Nemirovsky. The two novels portray life in France between 4th June 1940 and 1st July 1941. She was arrested on the 13th July 1942 and was sent to Auschwitz where she died. The manuscripts were kept by her daughter who didn’t look at them for fifty years and when she finally did they were turned into books and ultimately the film.

    Anyway definitely a film to watch.


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  • Training for my challenge …


    CLIC Sargent

    This year I decided to set myself a different challenge and that was to enter the Ipswich Half Marathon in September and compete it in a decent time. Now this may not seem like much of a challenge to many people but running is not something I enjoy or have ever enjoyed, I would much rather get on the bike and cycle a few miles here and there. It was something that I knew I would have to force myself to do and get to like in order to take part.

    Deciding to do this in January at least meant I had a few months to get enough training in and make sure I can get around in one piece. My target time is 2h 30mins at max but am hoping I can do it in much less time. Never done this distance before but with a bit of luck if I stick to the training I should be there by August.

    I am training every week and making sure I get in the miles and so far going fairly well. Trying to get time to go at least twice a week but sometimes it is very difficult with the work schedule but with the brighter evenings hoping it will become a bit easier. Have found that if I miss a week it is incredible difficult the next time I run, plus I would much prefer to do something else, but then know I need to get out and go for it. The challenge is making sure I do not miss much training. In January I had nine months now just six months how quick time goes by.

    It will be worth the hard work though and looking forward to achieving the distance. It will make it even more worthwhile raising money for CLIC Sargent for Children with Cancer. There is nothing worse then seeing kids suffering but they just get on with life however they are feeling. It’s very unfair they are struck down so early in life and while I may find it hard work running that small distance it is nothing in comparison to what they have to go through.

    Please support CLIC for their work and sponsor me at my Just Giving page.

    Thanks for your support.



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  • Wonderful Life

    Wonderful LifeHaving a small specialist cinema nearby is very handy as they show all sorted of films from the mainstream to the unusual and ones that have not been in the cinema for some years. I headed out to the Abbeygate cinema, used to be part of the Picturehouse chain, to watch a 1947 film called It’s a Wonderful Life. Wasn’t sure what to expect and whether I would enjoy it but settling down in the comfy seat with a glass of red I was ready. It was very good and well worth watching so will be looking out for other oldies that they show.

    Next one on the hit list though it ET this weekend, not seen that one for a long time.





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  • Video Games and Neuroscience

    leweb-2014-logo-100x100The actual title of this session at LeWeb was Video Games and Neuroscience: A Vision of the Future of Medicine and Education. At first I was not going to attend but gazzlab_logoread a little more about what was being covered and headed that way. Glad I did it was very good and a much different insite of the use of video games for understanding how the brain works. Can video games fend off brain decline as we get older? That is the question and from the research Adam Gazzaley and his team are doing it would seem so. Adam is head of The Gazzaley lab which is a cognitive neuroscience research lab at the University of California. One part of the research he described was the use of a video game they have developed called NeuroRacer. The monitored a wide range of ages performing multitasking activities with the game and found that the peak was from people in their mid 20s and this declined each decade. neuroracer-midline-frontal-theta

    They then let older members practice the game for one hour a day for three days a week for four weeks and found that the multi tasking capabilities dramatically improved in the older users and this remained several months after they stopped playing the game. The diagram on the left shows the brain post training with the video game in the older members. The red and yellow areas a much better to have and you can see that initially they beat the younger adults. As of today, 11th December 2014, the game is not available on the market but is going through medical trials. For the full details have a read here.

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  • LeWeb Paris



    Spending a few days in Paris attending LeWeb for the first time. Have wanted to attend for many years but for various reasons have never managed to get here but determined this year and glad I have. It is probably the most important and popular conference in Europe and it comes through with the number of sessions, speakers and sponsors. The conference is spread across several buildings and has two main stages and several workshops.

    Getting here was easy enough and checkin was simple as well, in fact I was able to pick up my entry badge on Monday thus making life much easier this morning when I got here via the Metro. The conference comes with a very extensive programme and a bit of work is needed up front to decide what sessions to attend across the two stages.

    This morning the first session was a discussion with Fred Wilson. I’ve followed his blog for some time and heard him speak on video last year. He has an excellent job investing in early stage companies throughout the world and as you would expect he has a very good view of what is going to happen in the future. One of the biggest improvement areas in 215 will be health and wellness, the sector has grown this year and will continue to rocket next year. So if you are looking for investment if you are in this area you have managed to get over the first hurdle. He also talked a lot about electric cars and driverless cars and the growth in that area over the coming year, will post more on this later.  Throughout the show there are a lot of speakers from various VCs who have over the years raised many millions of dollars and what is still as clear as it was 10 years ago is that if you are in Silicon Valley you have access to a much wider set of funds.

    What is interesting about the conference attendees is the range of people attending from all sorts of ages and it is not so male dominated which is a good thing.



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  • Researching a new bar

    20141106_190751What a difference a week makes and how cold it is out there now. After food tonight to headed to a new Wine bar called Petrus. Small and cosy and tonight very quiet. I had decided to choose the one night the chef was off so wine it was and a good taste. In the end they managed to rattle up some cheesy chip (the healthy type of course) and another glass to wash it down. Definitely a place to head back to on a Friday evening when they have live music.

    The place was very nice and worth the visit. Where they do need to improve is their website, lets the place down and doesn’t do it justice or sell its20141106_204022elf.

    Then out for a wander and stopped of at a favourite place, Abbeygate cafe. Been there many times and always good place to go with plenty of options for food and drink. Had a coffee but also had to force myself to try out the new Mocha cake which the chef had cooked. He needed some feedback on the quality so no choice in reality and well worth it and gave it 9/10 :)

    Only snag is I knew shouldn’t have had that cake and needed a long walk to get rid of it.


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  • SSE in need of help…

    So after the Snowsport England AGM yesterday I thought I would jot down a couple of suggestions to help them make the necessary early changes to the committees, yeah I know I’m really helpful at times :). It’s nothing new and things I have suggested in the past and several other people have suggested the same things. Will there be change before the recommendations are approved at the next couple of board meetings? You would like to think so and that they would take the opportunity to be pro-active and accept the changes they need to make. My gut feeling though is that certain people will continue to cling onto power and come up with feeble excuses for not changing, or they will be seen to do something but in reality keep the people and just juggle things around.

    The main Alpine committee is ASC or ARC (not really sure what it is called now). Alpine Snowsports Committee or Alpine Race Committee, should be the latter so we’ll go for that. ARC has a sub committee called Race Organisation Technical Panel (ROTP). It is very difficult to find the terms of reference of the committees but apparently they do exist somewhere. One of the first things they need to do is define what is the purpose of ARC and its own terms of reference. Is it there to just look after the top end racing, encourage grass roots, work with schools, provide guidance on rules, training, fund raising, organising of the top end races, developing the sport, trying new ideas, more or less? The way they work today is very much along the lines of talking shops with very little actually happening.

    Some of the problems and challenges we have today with the committees are;

    – unclear terms of reference
    – incorrect people on the committees
    – too many people with self interests and not focusing on the bigger picture
    – lack of focus and clear direction
    – lack of leadership
    – lack of ownership and responsibility
    – very little transparency and accountability
    – communication. Doesn’t exist and needs to improve

    What is important to remember are that like most committees they are made up of some very good people and it is the dead wood which needs removing and replacing. What we need is to hope that the changes are far reaching and not just cosmetic. Cosmetic is easy real change now needs to come from radical changes to the committees, structure and people otherwise the status quo will remain. So just a few things that can be done quickly and effectively;

    – disbanded ROTP
    – keep the existing ARC chair and allow him to have the authority and autonomy to make the necessary changes, role will now be accountable to the SSE board
    – agree terms of reference for ARC
    – advertise the roles on the newly formed ARC and allow people time to apply
    – ARC should create sub-committees as and when required for a short period and these sub-committees report back to ARC and have to deliver. An example of this is the annual calendar two people for four months cover the initial work, training could have a couple of people researching ways to improve participation and report back
    – the above will give much better control over costs and delivery. The talking shops should reduce and people become more focused.
    – encourage better working practices with other clubs and regions and this will go some way to removing the ‘them and us’ attitudes seen by so many people across the sport. This will also help remove the arrogance that exists in some of the same people. Improve the collaboration and other ideas will flow.

    Just a few small thoughts and nothing rocket science in this and should be easy to do. Most people are afraid of change and failure. Too many are afraid to try changes in case they fail so progress is slow. These sort of problems are not unique to SSE and you see them every day in the real world of business. Change has to be driven forward and needs true ownership.

    Anyway let’s see what happens over the coming month. If nothing or the same people just moved around then may more people will become disillusioned and that will be bad for the sport. There is an opportunity here now for people to make encourage true change.


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