Back in Berlin

Pretty unusual for me to fly to the same city twice in a year however after visiting good friends in March and cycling round Templehoff airfield (which is now a public park) I knew I should come back for the German Kite Landboard Open held there in October. The park is a great place for a kite event as there are 1000s of people passing through anyway so spectators are guaranteed. It is nice to catch up with retailers, riders and other people I do not get to see so often. It was good to see MBS rider Emmanuel Norman win it too!

All in all a fun event – shame the weather was not helping but nothing you can do about that.

Lucy came with me as her best friend is living in Berlin and we had fun here last time. I managed to book a great little apartment on AirBnB (a win for the internet) and off we went. We flew out on Friday evening. Everything was effortless. Saturday morning we got the keys to the apartment and hired bikes. Everyone has funky bikes in Berlin.

Saturday and Sunday were mostly spent at the KLB Open. Sunday night we ate at a funky bar then went on to another really cool bar. Nice to have some food and drinks and catch up.

Monday was our touristy day. Checking out the sights and getting the generic couple shot near the Brandenburg Gate. See below.

We cycled miles and explored loads of areas we didnt see last time. Tuesday was a walking day. Cycling is great for covering distances but with traffic and at speed it is hard to really look at stuff.

Tuesday night we went to an amazing bar that looked and felt like it was in the 1950s, then on to a cool jazz night. It was a classic example of why I prefer going places you know someone – they can take you to the real spots/bars/cool places, and you dont get stuck in the tourist traps. This venue was in the middle of a park which was pitch black. It was scary cycling through in a group – alone it would have been terrifying.

I will definitely make it back to Berlin sometime!

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S Thompson

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S ThompsonAfter enjoying the Rum Diary so much I figured lets go crazy and read the more well known Hunter classic – Fear and Loathing. Again this has been made into a film which I have seen a bunch of times, again starring Jonny Depp. This film is pretty cool, but is is kinda hard to follow without paying a lot of attention. This is a story that is fast paced and intense. Hunter’s writing makes it like that and sometimes it helps to re read a paragraph or two. The book is much better than the film. Details and descriptions are more vivid in words than on screen in the Hollywood adaptation. It is a pretty short book (read in a couple of days) so well worth a read.

It was nice to be reading on the Kindle again too – it really does improve the experience.

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

steve jobs biography by walter-isaacsonThis book does not really need much introduction. It is the official biography that Steve Jobs commissioned himself. He figured quite rightly a tonne of people would write about him without ever having a clue so it was in his interest to get the story out accurately. It is a hefty book – one of my Xmas presents. Having only read books on my Kindle for the last year, going back to turning pages was kind of nice but ultimately awkward and reminded me how much better the reading experience is on a device like the Kindle (or ipad for the apple fanboys).

Most people know a bit about Steve, or certainly about the mega brand Apple has become. This year it managed to reach the highest market cap in the world, and in an era of economic uncertainty, hit record profits and sales. This continued despite the company’s founder and figurehead suffering with pancreatic cancer and eventually succumbing. The book is big as already mentioned, because it has so much detail in there. It is all fascinating stuff and really drills down into the personality of such an iconic figure – half genius, half arrogant dickhead. His determination and keen focus on minimalism have to be admired. There is no denying he has had a massive influence on our World today. This guy made Pixar a success too. There is pretty much no film studio in the World that has had the same run of success with big blockbuster movies. When you consider the level of influence on the movie industry through Pixar, personal computing with the iMac, then portable music devices with the iPod, the smart phones with the iPhone, and tablet computers with the iPad. Not to mention the retail stores which are some of the most profitable shop floors in the world.

For techies there is some interesting thoughts regarding the different schools of thought where hardware and software should all be open, hackable and shared, vs closed and tightly integrated. It comes down to personal preference.

Even after reading the book, and genuinely liking many of the apple products (the macbook air and macbook pro especially) I’m not sure I agree enough to go all Apple.

Time to hit the road again

With the New Year Celebrations over, it is time to get back to the hustle. It is exciting times, having just received my 2012/13 Never Summer samples and the catalogues and checking out the innovations, it is time to hit the road. The next six weeks are not far off back to back trade shows all over Europe. The first stop is to Avant Premiere – an on snow, trade only test in the French Alps. Hopefully I will manage to squeeze in a few days riding too!

Never Summer Snowboards 12/13