I’m flying under the radar as Frith Street Post. I spend my time at a table outside Bar Italia at 22 Frith Street in Soho, London. I’ve been here more than 25 years now. I’ve done a lot of business here. A lot of good times with friends. A very important personal meeting took place here. Most of the time I sit quietly and watch the world go by and do my thinking. The blog is a collection of my thoughts, reflections and observations.
I’m a business person and it’s interesting to me that’s how I identify myself first. A fortunate person in that I love my work and I know many, many people slog for fifty years in relative misery. Work and life balance doesn’t come into the equation for me, it’s all enjoyable and all challenging. I have seen business from a number of aspects: corporate career, organisational consultant and entrepreneur.
As well as running a medium sized and rapidly growing business, I’ve still got the itch and have just invested in a new music label, along with a talented young producer and a music industry veteran. The entrepreneurial process remains compelling to me.
I’m fascinated by the processes of commerce and the complex and non-logical organisations that occupy the space. Truly fascinated by the complex and illogical behaviour of organisations. Excited to work with talented people and hopefully help some of them on their trajectory to fulfilment.
I’m endlessly curious about improving my intellectual and physical state. Late life education, coaching, therapy, consuming a lot of media on mental wellbeing and advancing my knowledge – I look to learn all the time, I’m open to change. Recently I’ve learned to meditate, it’s somewhat of a revelation. At least once I got past the frustrating phase where having to still the inner voice seemed impossible. I measure and try to improve my sleep.
It’s only really now that mental wellness and attention to it is becoming mainstream. While it’s been easy to talk about physical fitness and wellness, but mental wellness has laboured in the shadow of the taboo of mental illness for so long. Thankfully the latter attitude is starting to change in society at large. But it’s one of the reasons I’m incognito as Frith Street Post.
My kanreki year (over 60 and in my second childhood) has been and gone. I’m only borderline average in athletic pursuits, that’s a matter of measured physiological fact rather than a self-loathing opinion. Anything I have ever achieved in exercise, sport and fitness has been a triumph of willpower over average genetics.
I’m a believer in trying to stay healthy and am always wildly open to using myself as a test bed for physiological and nutritional experimentation. High intensity training, keto diet, recovery aids, etcetera. Biohacking is an odd interest to list, but it’s a fascinating area. I spend more than enough time in the gym or on a road bike looking to maintain health and compete against myself. Always competing at some level, mentally and physically.
I’m interested in sport as you may have guessed. In boxing, I still pine for the glory years of the heavyweight division and the Four Kings era of the iconic middleweights Hagler, Hearns, Duran and Sugar Ray. Football: old enough to have watched Best, the Charlton brothers, Law and the rest at Manchester United. The photograph shows my first United game, an FA Cup tie versus Preston North End at Deepdale in Preston, I was against the fence in the stand to the right of George Best. Click through to the YouTube footage. American Football has been a passion for a long time, a clash of brute strength, blinding speed and athleticism, overseen by complex military strategies.
Cycling is a fascination for me, part drama and part infuriating: I love the athleticism and suffering the riders put themselves through; I get frustrated and sometimes angry at a sport which seems to want to self destruct. I always get sucked into the big events like the Olympics of course.
Music is a great love of mine. I spend a lot of time watching live music at clubs around the world. Last few live acts were George Clinton, Chick Corea, Chucho Valdez, Pedrito Martinez, Rebirth Brass Band. Of course, this being Frith Street Post, it should be mentioned that many of the great acts I’ve seen have been at Ronnie Scott’s jazz club. It’s one of the finest jazz clubs on this planet, and it’s on the street in question.
While at home WWOZ radio from New Orleans is on much more than the television. I’m a Guardian of the Groove, which is a cool way of saying I contribute some cash to this community radio station. Click through the banner on this page, it’s worth a listen. In recent years I’ve discovered the New Orlean brass band sound, on the street corner and on stage.
I keep meaning to develop my vinyl collection more, but there’s only so much time in the day. I bought a remastered Sgt Peppers recently and just yesterday Ziggy Stardust, the album which made Bowie a major figure in my formative years.
My favourite books tend to be biographies of sports people or business people. I seem to alternate a business book with a novel. I read a lot of crime or thriller novels when on holiday. Walter Mosley, James Ellroy, James Lee Burke, John Sandford, Don Winslow, George Pelecanos, Mick Herron and Tony Parsons are recent reads. I’m a big fan of Geoff Dyer and Tim Winton. Lately, in my post-social media life I’ve started to consume audio books, it’s good way to absorb non-fiction, but it doesn’t do it for me with novels.
Audio books have crept into my repertoire recently, for business books. It doesn’t work with novels at all. I need to be emotionally drawn in by a novel and that’s difficult on a commute. My precursor to audio books was podcast, which I write about here. I’ve got a listening overload.
Flurries of cinema and selective television dramas are my visual indulgences; I’m a full blown cord cutter and I view across a number of platforms. Best dramas in recent years: West Wing, The Wire, The Sopranos, The Bridge (Scandinavian version, Breaking Bad, Treme, Gomorrah. Films? – too many to mention. Goodfellas, The Godfather trilogy my early and predictable choices, latterly anything by Paolo Sorrentino (The Great Beauty being my favourite). My film list could fill the page. The Apartment, It’s A Wonderful Life, Moonlight. I’m very proud to say I have never watched any of the Star Wars films.
I have no clue why I’m making lists now. Is it a man thing? I think as I started to reflect on the rich screen and musical indulgences of my life, they just start to roll through my memory. My early concerts included Led Zeppelin and David Bowie. And most of the early punk bands in a local club, before the scene really exploded.
I’m a high introvert, so it’s a surprise to me and others that I would blog openly. I’ve told you here much more than I would tell most people in my life. I go to lengths to make myself unseen in the digital world, but have a blog. Go figure.
The About Frith Street Post section needs to terminate here. While it started as a very short piece, it’s been added to every week. Feel free to contact me here.