Posted by: Tony Tickle | January 4, 2011

Chinese flying Lanterns .. A warning

Last New Year’s Eve it seems that most fireworks were replaced with the new craze of Chinese flying Lanterns. Here is what happened at the party I attended!

Six Chinese flying Lanterns were provided by the hostess of the party and the party goers on cue filed into the garden at midnight to ‘launch’ them into the night sky. Only two lanterns managed to actually take off as most of the revellers were too smashed to inflate or light them. The second flying lantern to actually take to the skies never made it past the neighbours house, clipping the roof and depositing the flaming ‘fire lighter’ into the gutter of the house and setting the roof felt alight. As no hose pipe was available buckets, pans in fact anything that held water were employed to douse the flames.

Drunken folk do not respond well at the best of times… fortunately I had little to drink and took the matter into my own hands. Scaling the garden fence, and then climbing onto the roof of the garage I managed to quell the impending inferno with a few buckets of water. A tragedy was averted and the party continued into the early house and the matter forgotten in a haze of alcohol… lesson learned, don’t let drunken adults near Chinese flying Lanterns.

Posted by: Tony Tickle | December 15, 2010

Social Media can be great Customer service

Everyone’s banging on how social media is the future yet many marketing directors still cannot get their heads around the benefits and immediacy of the medium.

In the last seven days I have been actively targeted by companies based on my own social media activity, and it definitely did not feel as an intrusion (unlike Bluetooth broadcasts to my phone) The latest was last night as I checked in with Foursquare at San Carlo Cicchetti with the comment “Dinner with the girls” within minutes a ‘direct message’ to my twitter account with a note from @SanCarlo_Group “Welcome to San Carlo Cicchetti we hope you have a good time” WOW what customer service!

Was the responder in the restaurant or was he/she a social media manager monitoring and reacting out there in the twittersphere? The fact was I got a response! Imagine If I had tweeted “the pasta was cold & the service appalling” I guess they would have reacted even faster and done something about my complaint… offering to compensate but more importantly compelling me to further tweet how San Carlo Cicchetti looks after its customers.

Last month I checked in with Foursquare at the only 5 star Hotel in Salford, Greater Manchester merely to be informed by a Foursquare ‘Tip’ “don’t eat here the food is not great and VERY expensive walk across the footbridge to restaurants ” I know what I would do if I were new in town!  That hotel is losing business because it is NOT responding to Social Media activity.

The great British public are not so great at complaining face to face but truly magnificent when ‘broadcasting’ to their twitter followers… bad new travels at light speed when done from the anonymity of a mobile phone.

Posted by: Tony Tickle | December 9, 2010

Beware Win32/Koobface Trojan attacks on WordPress

Be careful when you check your ‘Stats’ Referrers on Blogs as Win32/Koobface is very active again. Make sure your Anti-virus is up to date! Simply ‘Clicking’ on the link will activate the Trojan
Win32/Koobface is a multi-component family of malware used to compromise machines and direct them in various ways at the attacker’s will. This could include using the affected machine to distribute additional malware, generate ‘pay per click’ advertising revenue, steal sensitive data, break captchas, and subvert the affected user’s online experience. Its components are varied, but include a worm that spreads by utilizing social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace.
Posted by: Tony Tickle | December 6, 2010

A winters walk

It was still -6C this afternoon when Carolyn and I ventured up to Redisher woods, the snow was crispy like I have never experienced in the UK, here are a few of the photos:

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Posted by: Tony Tickle | December 2, 2010

Dar Williams and Hobopop @themet Bury: Review

Last night despite the freezing snow the crowd at The Met in Bury were treated to warming stories and songs from New Yorker Dar Williams.

A ‘Mr Kite Benefit’ Gig for Worlds Aids Day the attendance was not typical for this great singer songwriter who sold out @themet on her last visit. Dar was accompanied by a young piano/keyboard player Bryn Robert. In the past, it has just been Dar and her acoustic guitar — which is why it took me two songs to get used to the different sound…

Dar has a large back catalogue from which to choose… the set included lots of older favourites including “When I Was a Boy” “The Easy Way and “February” and a good sprinkling of newer songs “Buzzer” in particular… Dar is a talker, but a smart and interesting one. Each song is preceded by a (sometimes rambling) quirky story about its inspiration.

While Dar is a great guitarist, her strength is in her song writing and her fine clear voice that conveys such emotion. Her guitar playing seems mainly to be an accompaniment. By midway through her set, I was appreciating the fact that she’d added Bryn Robert as backup musician as it did add some variety of sound.

Meeting Dar after the show she kindly explaining ‘February’ to me… not the month! but the song… Interesting that others thought it was about the same thing as me… but its NOT!

Manchester favourites Hobopop opened the show for Dar and what a wonderful set it was… my favourite being ‘Sandman’ introduced after a weird tale of a German Sandman… strange! Twice nominated for BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, Kirsty has been recording and touring to critical acclaim since her debut in 2002.

I first saw Kirsty supporting Capercaille at The Bridgewater way back in 2006 and she continues combining styles as diverse as folk, jazz, and Americana… Hobopops @twitter Profile describes themselves as : “making vaudebilly music for the new depression era” that’s one cool way of describing the great fusion they deliver.

Notable about Hobopop is the quality and clarity of the sound, every note and nuance of voice could be heard, Chris from @themet on sound was complimented by both artists. The Banjo is an device that in the wrong hands is an implement of torture… but in the hands of Mat Martin truly a versatile and rich instrument… even the titchy one, I like that too!

For you guys that had tickets and could not make it through the arctic conditions you missed an amazing night. For you that have never heard these wonderful artists you have no excuse follow @themet on twitter… you know it makes sense.

Posted by: Tony Tickle | November 30, 2010

Learn to Drive you idiots

Learn to drive idiots

For the last three weeks the North West of England has experienced beautiful blue skies, crisp autumn mornings and clear night skies. OK it’s been cold yet we have had NO rain or snow… until today. Less than 2cm of snow fell on Greater Manchester and the whole region grinds to a standstill… What’s wrong with this country? Winter comes around every year, get used to it! Why the hell do so many drivers in the UK not know how to drive in bad weather?

Mummies and Daddies dropping there kids off at school… GET THE BUS or god forbit WALK!

It took me two and a half hours to get into the office this morning… finally abandoning my car and getting the tram, where we were crammed in like sardines… but it was warm and cozy.

This is just the start of winter… all is lost if only 2cm of Snow brings the city to a standstill.

Posted by: Tony Tickle | November 20, 2010

Gails surprise 50th party

There comes a time in your life when everyone around you has 50th birthday parties… And tonight is another … But it’s a surprise. Gail is away with friends and returns home to a house full… We have helped with the food… The beer and drinks are in place, some are watching ‘strictly’ (good grief) and I guess we will not get to bed to the very small hours… Wish me luck

Posted by: Tony Tickle | November 15, 2010

Hello world!

Gotta be a record, three new clients all on same street in three hours… Ramsbottom rocks. NOW I have to settle down and set them up!

Posted by: Tony Tickle | November 8, 2010

Burrs has passed off

Burrs has intensely consumed the last seven days so today I am playing catch up with the rest of my life… reading emails… returning equipment/tables etc. I will post here later and a few photos too!

Mario, Terry and Pavel inspired, advised and worked solidly for two days… the outcome of the weekend for me was “bonsai is nothing without good horticulture technique and application, styling is only one small part of the journey, not the journey in itself”

I believe their may be a photo of me somewhere working too! Suspect

And it is true Bob Brunts Bacon Breakfast Bar was a sensationThanks Bob, Steve, Matt, Peter and all the helpers too. Carolyn and I could not have done it without you.

Posted by: Tony Tickle | November 2, 2010

Pledge to The Met today

Do this for me Pledge to The Met TODAY and we can double your donation. This cannot wait! 


I am delighted to let you know that The Met has been selected to participate in The Big Give Challenge 2010 with our new recording studio offering a professional resource in Bury town centre accessible to young people throughout the borough. 

The first step of the Challenge is to run our own Matching Fund – where your pledge, and pledges from other patrons, trustees and friends, will double online donations from the public.

This means your pledge will be worth twice its original value. Your pledge will inspire new donors and increase giving from our current supporters.

Your pledge will also give us a fantastic opportunity to unlock bonus funding from an external sponsor, who will double additional public donations.

To make a pledge you simply need to fill out a form by 5th November 2010 at:


Please note that if you pledge now, you will not be eligible to donate again to our charity online in December. 

The Met has a unique status as both a useful community resource and a professional, well regarded music venue. Through this dual role we can inspire local communities and provide a international platform for creative work.

Our Edwin Street recording studio project will help to develop Bury as a leading area for the production of new music alongside nurturing young musicians towards professional careers, achieved through a partnership with Youth Services to deliver a free resource to young aspiring musicians in Bury. We will be completing the £200k recording studio in March 2011 and the Big Give Funding will complete the facility and ensure a first rate service is available for young people in Bury.

We would like your company to help us achieve our goal. Our minimum pledge is £100. Headline sponsorships are available from £1,500.

Full details of The Big Give Christmas Challenge 2010 can be found at or get in touch on 0161 7617107.

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