Rod Stewart, Andrew Goodman and Jeff Eisenberg…

No they haven’t formed a band together, but they’re all superstars in their own right. Last week, on as rainy and windy a night as you’ll ever get, along with 20,000 other rain soaked folk I went to see the legendary Rod Stewart.

He was playing at Newcastle’s St James Park, football (as in soccer) stadium. Not only that, the show was opened by the great Chrissie Hynde and the Pretenders. I’d almost forgotten how many hits Chrissie has written or covered.

Tatiana and I arrived a little early. Not because we were worried about our seat or standing in line. But because we went to Newcastle’s China town in the afternoon and had a slap up Chinese banquet and a lot of Pouilly Fuisse to go with it. So we were both completely pissed when we arrived at the stadium and wanted to avoid the line at the bar 🙂

I didn’t have my usual little camera with me, as cameras are not allowed at these gigs. But I had my brand new BlackBerry Pearl. I took a couple of shots with it and I was very surprised that the quality wasn’t so bad for a phone camera. I took this shot of T. Actually, I wasn’t quite sure if it was her. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her without shades on. Could possibly be somebody else’s wife!

Anyway, The Pretenders were great. But it was Rod who lifted the roof off the place. No less than 29 chart hits back-to-back. All the classics finishing with his rendition of Sam Cooke’s “Twistin’ the night away.” It was a sight I’ll never forget… 20,000 Geordies all doing the twist in the rain!

Yep, that little dot on the runway is Rod. Still, like I say, not a bad shot for a phone camera.

Roll on Bryan Adams at Doncaster stadium next month!

I did a couple of very interesting panels at SES, Toronto. The usual links thing and a meet the crawlers session which I moderated. A lot of good information from everyone on the panel. But, as usual, it was Adam Lasnik from Google who was swamped with questions.

This was the first show that Andrew had chaired. And I have to say, he got a very good balance in considering it’s a smaller show than some of the others. Andrew is a great friend of mine. We go back a while. In fact, a couple of summers back, Tatiana and I went to stay with Andrew in Canada at a lakeside place he and his wife Carolyn stay at for their summer vacation.

At that time, it was Tatiana’s birthday. So I whisked her to Niagara Falls for the weekend first, as she’d never been there. And I have to say, she took this stunning picture of the falls.

So, this year, Andrew and Carolyn decided to come and do some hiking on the Scottish borders and some serious hiking up in the Scottish highlands. But, of course, they had to come to Newcastle for a few days first. And what a great time we had. The first thing was to pay a visit to… Yes, you guessed, my local pub!

Andrew is the first search marketer I know on the circuit who has graced the hallowed ground of my local (apart from me, or course). Much drinking of beer… much telling of funny stories…

I took a shot of Andrew and Carolyn outside the pub. But the flash didn’t work so it’s a horrible picture of them. However, the pub looks very nice… Got to get my priorities right 🙂

Day one, we went on the castles and coast route. First stop being the gorgeous Bamburgh Castle and beach.

Both Andrew and Carolyn were stunned at just how beautiful the beach is at Bamburgh. Andrew looked like the perfect tourist as he poked around the castle grounds.

Then we moved on to the idyllic little island of Lindisfarne. Otherwise known as Holy Island. It’s such a pretty place.

And yes, up on the ridge it has its own castle too.

And to make it a great day for castles (we have a lot of castles on the borders) we paid a quick visit to Hogwarts School, er Alnwick Castle, that is.

I visited Alnwick last year with T. We went to the gardens which have been specially designed by the Duchess of Northumberland. There really is a touch of Versailles here. As both Andrew and Carolyn noticed.

Thursday night we ate at the very posh McCoy’s Restaurant atop the Baltic Tower on Newcastle’s famous Quayside. There are some wonderful views of the river and the bridges from the viewing lounge.

Friday morning we headed off to the ancient Durham cathedral in Durham City. This really is one of the finest examples of Byzantine architecture in Europe.

I got a great shot of Carolyn smiling and looking so happy to be at the Cathedral… while Andrew hadn’t noticed at all the girl with the very large breasts who just walked by 🙂

From their we moved back to the coast again, to one of my favourite places in our region, Tynemouth. It’s a place which has one of the longest and most beautiful beaches you’ll find anywhere in the UK. And not surprisingly, it’s called, Long Beach.

And then, we rounded off the day with a visit to a real Victorian lighthouse. Immediately followed by a large curry at my favourite Indian restaurant on the Quayside.

Andrew and Carolyn arrived in Newcastle on the same day that I arrived back from SES, Latino in Miami.

Once again my friend Nacho Hernandez pulled together a great show. There were some great sessions and good feedback to go with them. But the best feedback that everyone heard was about the food. In particular the absolutely delicious Paella (which was photographed more than the speakers!).

I sneaked my usual pic of the audience from the link building session.

I had a chance to catch up with my great pal Jeff Eisenberg. He really is one of the best marketing minds on the planet. He and brother Bryan are so often light years ahead when it comes to online marketing.

And I managed to catch up with my link building buddy Debra Mastaler, who, as you can see was hanging with Li Evans from Search marketing Gurus.

And on the subject of search marketing gurus, I also managed grab a beer with search superstar Daron Babin.

I think we’ve been threatening to have a drink for a number of years now. So, the night before the shot above was taken, I got together in the hotel bar with him and we were joined by my buddy from down-under, Steve Riley. Steve and I enjoy the odd glass of wine together. I mentioned this to Daron when I met at the poolside bar. “make that four bottles of Merlot between the two of you…” he said.

Ahem! Perhaps we did overdo it just a little. In fact, judging from the photo that Li Evans took of Steve… it could have been more than just a little 😉

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