Mike Grehan says...

Random musings about search marketing, flying around the planet, networking and people watching.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Dinner reservation? Or maybe not!!!

I guess I have more experience than most at eating in the air with the amount of miles I travel every year.

But here's one restaurant in the air you'll never find me dining in!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

SES, London a Universal result, Matt Bailey and the Angel of the North...

I thought I'd just upload a few words of thanks to all involved in SES, London. I have to say, there's a lot more work involved in chairing a show than you might think.

However, I worked with a sooper-dooper team and the show seems to have been a tremendous success, I'm delighted to say.

One of the really interesting panels was the Orion panel on Universal and blended search. More interesting, in that, I got my own Universal result in the same week as the conference. A search for mike grehan ses has a short video I recorded just before the show, at number 1

And next it's SES, New York. Be sure to be there. This is a monster of a show!

Following the show, I was exhausted and headed back home for a relaxing weekend... In the company of Matt Bailey and his wife Stacey, no less.

It's not very often I get friends from the US travelling up north, so I always look forward to being a tour guide. It's the only time I ever get to see my own city and the surrounding area, actually!

Here they are in front of Grey's Monument. Yes, the very man who invented the tea with Bergamot (although it is said in these parts he actually got the recipe from a Chinese Mandarin he knew). Not many people know that he was from this area. Earl Grey was Prime Minister back in 1830.

But Newcastle's history goes way back when. The picture above has Matt and Stacey standing by the Black Gate, the last part of the defences to the (New) castle which dates back to 1247. And in the background you can see St Nicholas Cathedral which dates back to the 15th century.

Newcastle Quayside goes back hundreds of years and has some wonderful architecture.

But there's a certain change going on the Quayside with some outstanding, yet very unusual looks.

The building you can see behind Matt and Stacey is the new Sage Music Centre. Even though it does look like something from space.

The newest bridge on the Quayside is the Millennium bridge.

On the far side of the bridge you can see the Baltic. I's an old warehouse transformed into a modern art gallery. And sitting right at the top is a very posh restaurant rather like the one at the top of the Oxo Tower in London.

Standing on the new bridge you get an excellent view of the older bridges further up river.
However, perhaps, the most striking piece of architecture in the region is still the Angel of the North.
In the picture above, Matt, Stacey and Tatiana are dwarfed by this huge statue. It's actually the tenth anniversary of the Angel of the North this year,. In ten years it really has become iconic. You can't miss it no matter which way you come into the city from the south.

It's 65 feet high and has a wingspan of 175 feet. It's also thought to be the most viewed pieces of art in the world.

You can't come to the north east without a visit to the sea. So, for Sunday lunch I drove Matt and Stacey down to a favourite beach front restaurant.

And that gave them a chance to go have a little walk on the beach.

It was so nice to have matt and Stacey come and hang out with us for the weekend. It reminded me so much of something that only ever occurs when I tour guests around... I sure do live in a very pretty part of the world

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Search Engine Strategies (SES) London. A quick word from Mike...

I thought I'd post something about SES, London 19-21 February. Literally just a quick overview of some of the highlights of the show.

See you in London!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Italian theme continues...

There's a recurring theme for my birthday each year: Italy.

It predates this blog, but the past few years have included Venice, Milan, Rome and this year, Alghero in Sardinia.

Alghero is a beautiful old town with tiny cobbled streets...
And a wonderful Marina.

The promenade is just so totally Mediterranean and gorgeous to stroll along in the sunshine.

It's such a laid back place and I was really able to switch off and chill out.

For my birthday, Tatiana had booked a fantastic, truly rustic Italian restaurant in one of the tiny back streets (actually, everything in Alghero is in a tiny cobbled street!).

And once again, we were blessed with beautiful sunshine and luxurious hotel (I can truly recommend the Carlos V hotel. 5 star pampering and fabulous service).

Yes, another fantastic birthday trip. Thank you again Tatiana for making it a very special time.


And one more thing... God bless the guy who invented Reactolite. One pair of specs - all you ever need. Now that's what I call convenient!


Tuesday, February 05, 2008

"Noo Yawk, Noo Yaaaawwwwkkkk..."

I spent most of last week hanging around 5th Avenue. Which was great. I was hanging out with a big-business industry friend of mine. We had the most wonderful dinner in Chelsea on Saturday night at a restaurant called Gascogne. If you're looking for traditional French cooking in a rustic atmosphere then this is the place. And the food and service are both superb. We also got a chance to talk a lot of business. More about that in an upcoming post.

It was beautiful on Sunday in Central Park, so I went for a stroll before lunch.

I strolled past the Dakota building where John Lennon lived. Yoko saw me and shouted out the window for me to come join her for a cup of tea and a primal scream session. But I told her I was busy and that my throat was still a little sore from last time.

Something else I *always* look forward to is my special Sunday lunch gathering at the wonderful Cafe Des Artistes off Central Park. It's kind of a traditional thing that started with me and my huge buddy Rebecca Lieb deciding a number of years ago that, we should get together for a quiet Sunday lunch. I don't think there's ever been less than six people at these quite Sunday lunch events!

Of course, it wouldn't be the same without my great pal Larry Chase. He and I go way back and have corrected the world and all that is wrong with it over many a Martini in many a Manhattan haunt. At the table above are (from the right) the lovely Kendall Allen from Incognito. Next is Larry Chase and then yours truly. Next to me, the one and only Rebecca Lieb and her new guy, Steve. And joining us for the first time, my pal from way back when in the UK, Chrysi Philalithes from Miva who now lives in New York.

So who was taking the photograph? Well, it was the suave and debonair Matt McGowan of Incisive Media. And when the other suave and debonair guy arrived... Kevin Ryan that is... Not only could we get a pic of them... We could also order lunch!

It's always nice to have someone new join the old gang. And this was the first time that Kendal had met Larry and they seemed to have a lot to talk about. That often means a contribution to Larry's Web Digest for Marketers (let's wait and see!).

Apart from the fact that, I was as sick as a dog last Thursday (and the Patriots lost) it was a splendid hop across the pond to set up what is likely to be a sensational start to the new year for me.

Watch this space. Cheers!

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Missed wedding anniversary...

I'm currently in New York. Last Wednesday night, I woke in the middle of the night feeling as though I was about to explode... And then I did!

All day Thursday I lay on my own, in the dark in a hotel bed on 5th Avenue as sick as a dog. I felt awful. I simply couldn't muster the strength to get out of bed.

Fortunately, after a similar kind of bout last year in China, my dear friend Inway Ni, administered some Chinese herbal remedy for just such an ailment. It worked like magic. At the bottom of my toiletry bag I had kept two of these magic (if foul tasting) pills. And sure enough, even that one small dose gave some small relief.

The kind people at the hotel sent out to Duane Reade just across the street where they were told that dozens of people had been in with the same symptoms. And no, they hadn't heard of the Chinese Lee Man Shan pill. So, it was the Imodium plus, Pepto-Bismol Max diet for the next 24 hours.

Inway, you must send me a new supply!

Of course, during this period, when I spent hours shouting for Huey and Duey down the big white telephone in the hotel bathroom, I forgot to order the gift I wanted to send to Tatiana for our ninth wedding anniversary the next day.

So, for the first time in nine years, no gift for my wife. I felt so bad about it. But, of course, Tatiana was happy to forgive as she knew I had been so ill the day before. So, T, here's a belated happy anniversary and I'll make it all up to you next weekend.

And here's a little reminder of us as two lovey-dovey-birds just after we got married nine years back!