The road to hell and back.

There is an artiste in the UK, by the name of Chris Rea. He’s from my part of the world and I have every single piece of music he ever released. He is one of the most incredible slide guitar player you’re ever likely to hear. Except, you most likely won’t get the chance now, as he is just completing his farewell tour in Europe.

His first hit, in the UK and in the States was way back in the 70s, with a song called “Fool if you think it’s over.” I met Chris many times during my years as a radio DJ and always enjoyed interviewing him.

I attended his last concert in my home town, last week. It was simply wonderful. The tour is tagged as “The road to hell and back” which references his biggest ever hit.

So, I bought the tour shirt. And it was this shirt I was wearing, when I popped up to Portland, Maine, to meet a friend I love dearly, who really has been to hell and back.

My friend Jenn, is well known in the SEM industry. And for almost the past year she has been recovering from the most horrendous accident she was involved in.

Now she really is on the way back. And it’s thanks to the support that she’s had directly from Alex Bennert (another wonderful person and dear friend) and her boss Anne Kennedy at Beyond Ink, who took her under their wing up their in Maine.

So I was delighted to see her looking beautiful and radiant like her old self. Now, it has to be said, she still has a long way to go before she’s back on top of everything. But she is a remarkable lady with strength, courage and determination (and my “Road to hell and back” shirt!).

This is a wonderful community. I think I can quote (badly, probably) my mate Dave Naylor, who said something along the lines of “in this industry, what you have is friends first, and you stick up for them.” Well, I’m proud to be a friend of Jenn’s.

Onwards and upwards Jenn. And know that I’m supporting you 100% girl 😉

This was my first trip to Portland, Maine. And certainly, one of the first ladies in search, Anne Kennedy, is one of the first ladies of Portland. She has grown her business to the point that she’s moving everyone into a plush new executive floor downtown. Beyond Ink is a thriving business and that’s no surprise, when you have someone as hugely smart and perceptive as the “deliciously slinky” Alex Bennert running the enterprise.

Anne and her husband Gerry, treated us all to a fabulous night out at one of Portland’s leading restaurants. Before that, we downed a few Martini’s in an excellent Euro trash type bar. Here you can see me with my arms around both Anne and Alex. And yes, judging from my look, either I have my eyes closed… or I’m very much focused on Jenn’s cleavage! Hey, whatever – I’m a guy!

Over to the right you can see Gerry, Anne’s extraordinarily friendly hubby. And behind Jenn is Alex’s husband, Huck. And they make such a great pair also. He’s a bit of a rock star type with his band up in the North East and she’s… Nuts!

I’m back and firmly ensconced in Boston again, now. It’s a big week this coming week. What promises to be Brett’s biggest ever Webmaster World conference. The place is buzzing already and the conference doesn’t start until Tuesday.

I think Brett Tabke is going to be one very happy guy at the end of this one. The Webmaster World conferences started mainly as a complete piss-up for the webmaster community (there’s still a great deal of that) but now it’s growing up to be a force to be reckoned with in the search conference space.

For me, it’s a joy to come back to one of my favourite cities in the US. I adore Boston in the same way I love San Francisco (and I’ll be in SFO next week!). During my iProspect days I spent a lot of time here hanging with my great friend, Fredrick Marckini.

One of the bars I love here is a real cheesy touristy place, called Joe’s American Bar and Diner. But the food is great and it’s so nice to sit outside at Long Wharf when the weather is good.


Just across the road, you have Faneuil Hall.

And Quincy Market.

And this may look like any ordinary street. But this is Newbury Street. One of the greatest streets in the whole world!
Okay… let the conference begin. And if you’ve been struggling with whether you should attend this one or not… believe me when I tell you it’s going to be a cracker!

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