In 2009 I was lucky enough to visit the beautiful country of Syria. With Syrian friends who are so important in my life I consider them family, I was taken to visit some of the gems of that star of the Levant - the amphitheatre at Bosra, now destroyed..
The loss of yet another musical polymath icon of our time. George Michael was a giant talent - a huge vocal ability that he was able to control with a rare skill, from the soft timbre he used to break hearts in the 80s to the power house..
When we think of Dubai, its glittering expat lifestyle, billionaires' yachts bobbing on the glistening waters of the Marina, edged with glossy high risers, the occasional private jet or helicopter, we don't often consider the real people who call this sunshine state home.
So very humbled to have received over 100 donations, more than £11,000 in less than 12 hrs, in response to an appeal for help raising funds for my brother's urgently needed life-saving brain treatment. We have also had an overwhelming media response with the story becoming the 5th most read on The National's website within hours.
In a period in the UK’s history that we would all rather forget, when it can feel like we are turning our backs on union with neighbouring countries, many of us are finding solace in the summer’s live music scene. Once again the unifying, universal language and experience of music cuts through the barriers of age, gender, class, religion and political agendas.
This is not a report on MIDEM. It is simply a collection of thoughts that passed through my mind after the 50th edition of the conference; these are my reflections on MIDEM, the people I met there, the ideas that were shared there and the impressions I left with, looking ahead to the next stages of the industry's journey and our place within it as professionals.
After a six month period that has left music lovers and those of us who work in the industry reeling from the loss of a few legends, I found myself reminiscing on my year in live music events. It's at times like these when I am ashamed to admit that I never experienced Bowie or Prince live and start to rue the fact that I also missed out on Freddie Mercury, Michael Jackson and Whitney.
The £16 billion that music generates for the UK economy annually speaks for itself in terms of the value of music as a commercial commodity. However, it is the impact of music used as the soundtrack to brand activation, which elevates an event, superseding a regular launch or sampler, and transforms it into a memorable experience, that makes music the ultimate activation tool.
Productive trip to Doha this week with fantastic media and brand partners for upcoming projects of considerable significance at Katara Studios, the facility operationally managed by Metropolis and truly trailblazing in the region. Great to see friends and colleagues there, who are working so hard to further perfect what will be a world-leading audio and audio-visual facility.
Social impact comes in many forms. Mundane yet vital daily actions, the choices made in an instant, have social impact. Taking time to talk to an elderly neighbor who rarely receives a visitor or helping a mother struggling with a pushchair on public transport, have their own impacts.