A taste of Kazakhstan

Beshbermak, a carb and protein attack,

made for hard living horsemen,

working hard out on the steppe.

Each family their own version,

handed down through generations,

lamb, horse even venison,

all made with love and affection.

The first true taste of Kazakhstan,

that wonderful country on the Silk Road,

which stands so tall and proud,

in the heart of Eurasia…


When an Industry is Dying

A Poem about an industry ending

The industry I love is slowly dying,

my dream since boyhood is wasting away,

a rusted out hulk seen its share of better days.

Still an honor to be there in its dying days,

working to preserve the shell thats left,

the burning embers, which we might save yet.

An industry with not quite one foot in the grave,

times change and technology moves us forward,

nothing can keep up with the slow march of time.

To think that we saw the glory days,

the champagne and starlight,

the money and fame.

Gives something to hold onto,

stories to tell to a younger generation,

of an industries fame,

where the fires burned brightly,

then cooled to a simmer.

Not so long ago we all thought,

we were onto a winner,

for years the predictions had been of the end,

but the old girl kept going,

another road, another bend,

till instead of the tunnel,

there’s just a wall at the end.

The Evolution of Simple Shoot Em Up Gaming

From simple shoot em up fun, to build them up and shoot em down, how this platform has changed

The shoot ’em up genre has changed over time.

It’s split out into so many different types of games. Today I want to talk about simple platform-based games. Even those have changed over time.

One thing stayed the same though. The popularity of these simple games. Today the world’s most popular game is Fortnite. It’s today’s platform shoot ’em up.

The early console-based games like Sea Harrier or desert strike were all simple rail-based games. A huge jump forward in graphics and gameplay from the arcade stuff we knew like space invaders.

At the time in the mid to late 80’s it was all quite tame stuff (although it seemed shocking at the time). Shooting people and things on a games console was new, and it was bloodless.

That all changed in 93 with the release of the first doom game. First released on MS-DOS for early PC’s. It was mercilessly copied onto floppy disks. Then in 94 it finally made it onto consoles.

The first shoot em up, that dealt in blood and guts. It was hugely popular and moved the genre on. It certainly helped pave the way for the first grand theft auto game which came out in 97, again at first on PC.

Like most genres in modern gaming. It was the release of the PlayStation in 95 that led to the next evolution. The graphics, speed, and processing power of the PlayStation. Took PC based gaming onto a console at an affordable price.

That led to two things happening:

– The gap between PC based and console-based gaming closed. Which pretty much killed off PC based casual gaming for a few years. (At the time a PC was mega expensive, and so were the games)

– Console games, in general, became a much more immersive experience.

What came out of that period were games like call of duty and medal of honor. They pushed the genre forward into new areas and a new depth of experience.

Today, of course, they are a sub-genre of shoot ’em up gaming. To compare what we have today to the early days you would have to look like to something like Fortnite.

That game for me pretty much mixes early platform gaming, early bloodless shoot em up, and today’s immersive world gaming.

Today things have changed and gaming has moved on. Today’s shoot em up is once again bloodless. But its also more immersive than ever.

Its no longer just shoot em up, it’s build them up and shoot em down!

The hidden danger in society re-writing history

We deserve a re-write, but we need to be careful to preserve the lessons of the past.

At the moment the world is at a cross roads.

The events of the past few years have led into the chaos that is 2020. In the aftermath of the horrible events in the U.S in May, society seems to be at a tipping point.

In the past it’s been governments who have re-written history. Whether we liked it or not as a society that’s what happened.

In 2020 and with the BLM movement building momentum across the globe. It seems like society itself is going to re-write history.

Its not the first time that’s happened of course. France and Russia became republics in the 18th and 20th centuries. Both are good examples of the power society has.

At this point re-writing some of our history and removing monuments etc., may feel like the right to do. If that’s what we as society want to do their is nothing wrong with that.

We do need to bear some things in mind.

We are at a generational crossroads that we haven’t seen since the 60’s. The values that young adults have today are not the same as those who grew up in the 60’s and 70’s.

What does remain the same is the aim to build a better world and change society for the better.

Not everyone is going to agree on the best way to deal with that. Remember as humans we are very uncomfortable with change.

This is an opportunity to come together as an equal society. The danger is that divisions will only push us all further apart.

The further we are from history the stronger the lessons are

As the world turns and the years pass we get further from the questionable events in history. Things such as slavery, colonialism and the holocaust for example. That objectivity lets us learn the lessons with different optics. Those lessons should also become stronger over time as an example to us all of how not to live.

We need to make sure that those lessons are being learned. Re-evaluated and passed onto the next generation. Otherwise things will not improve.

As a society we are far from perfect, we have so far to go in our journey. Learning the lessons and making sure we do not forget is key.

We need to learn to live together

As society we need to learn to live together. We are all humans at the end of the day. In 2020 it should not matter the color of our skin, our race or our religion.

We are all the same.

The lessons of the past are not being learned. Until they are we will continue to see turbulence and inequality in the world.

As much as we are trying to move forward, we still have racial segregation in living memory. That’s hard to move beyond in a generation.

Until we accept each other as equals, and put all the privilege’s, racism and xenophobia aside. Nothing else that we do will solve the issues that we have in society.

We can re-write as much of history as we like, that’s our united right as citizens of the world.

The real danger is that we complete the re-write but don’t take the lessons forward.

In the end that’s only going to cause history to repeat itself. The world is at a real cross roads right now. The only way forward is equality and respect across the board.

We have a long road and a hard journey in front of us, but like anything we humans put our minds to. Its possible we just have to come together and believe.

Game Changing Communication

How BP’s CEO just raised the bar for how business should treat employees.

A good news headline for BP is unusual these days, im going to be open here and say I have no stake in BP at all or connection to them.

I did however come across this story on linked in yesterday and found it fascinating and refreshing in equal measure.

A lesson in real leadership???

This for me is a game changer for a number of reasons and a lesson in what real business leadership should be in the 21st century.

  • Open and honest communication
  • Sharing the true detail of the situation
  • Giving bad news early
  • Transparancy on job losses
  • Tools for those leaving the company

All of these details were provided in this simple communication to the workforce.

Is their new CEO raising the bar in terms of how leaders treat their employees?

Too often we are kept in the dark, change comes fast and it’s often unexpected.

In this case, a whole bunch of changes, some positive, a lot more negative are going to hit BP employee’s.

The difference here is they know about them and can prepare.

That’s leadership and guidance in action.

We are all in this together….

Like all industries the energy industry is being hammered right now and BP are no different to any other company in this sector.

The difference here is that their leader, is making very clear in a simple and concise way the situation, the costs and what is going to be done.

Change is coming but its coming to us all and here is the timeframe for that change.

I can’t help but find this such a refreshing and different communication style that I really want to engage with it and share it.

Financial Direction

The energy industry typically pays bonuses and shares as part of the full financial package they offer to employees.

Being humans, most who receive the bonus spend it long before its in their pocket.

At the end of the year when despite making the targets those perks don’t come, the disappointment and sometimes the personal implications of that are very real.

Again the message was simple and concise, the bonus wont be paid so don’t figure it into your financial plans.

The disappointment may be real now, but there is time for employee’s to prepare themselves emotionally and in the real world for the fact its not coming.

That honesty to me is refreshing and powerful.

Not everyone will be sticking around

This wont be news to any of the employees in BP, they will know that job losses have to happen in order for that business to start making money again.

Too often though there is very little communication on these type of changes.

Here the organization has been told, what’s happening and why, the numbers affected and the timeline.

The news also extends to the help that those affected will get directly from the company as they make the transition into what will be an uncertain future.

Again very clear and concisely shared information with everyone.

The hardship will end…

Annual pay rise, promotions, flexibility these all will come back and more this year.

Timelines are shared, giving those that remain the comfort that while things are tough now, that will end and things will get better.


This for me is a big change in how information is shared openly and honestly from the top down.

Employees have of course always known that they could be trusted with this kind of information, it breeds loyalty to the company and a true sense that we are all in this mess together and will come out the other side all the stronger for the shared experiance.

The type of leadership emerging in 2020 feel different, more engaging and with an honestly and open ness that’s not been there before.

That’s true in business with this type of emerging leadership style and also in politics I think with Jacinda Ardern in New Zealand for example (Although please see free to correct me on that if im wrong).

This is more than leading by example, its leading with a transparent set of actions and priorities that the public as well as your employees can hold you accountable to.

Whether it lasts or grows in momentum who knows?

What I do know how ever is that this is something new, we haven’t seen before, im both impressed and ready to see where this goes.

Success or failure its very much management and leadership in the public eye.

Tattoo/ Taboo

A story as old as time?

Are Tattoo’s still considered Taboo?

I have to start this piece by saying that I ‘am a huge fan of Tattoo’s as a form of individual expression and as an artform.

Yesterday I was watching a documentary from 40 years ago about Tattooing becoming more popular and accepted in culture.

It struck me that with this particular form of self expression the story just repeats itself.

Tattooing comes into and out of fashion, styles of Tattoo come and go, but one thing remains the same.

It’s the one form of self expression that remains Taboo.

Where does the Taboo come from???

Self expression has been around as long as we have, in the early days this self expression was often markings such as piercing’s, tattoo’s or scaring even that firstly marked out the tribe and then specific roles within the tribe.

As we started to live together in towns and cities and those tribes broke up in Western and some Asian cultures, the need for that self expression to identify ourselves went away.

The desire however for some people to be tattooed did not.

As society changed and we moved to what are the more modern religions followed today, modification of our bodies was seen as a sin and therefore moved out of popular culture.

Then as now Tattooing was practicised by sailors.

During the 15th, 16th, 17th Centuries and the so called golden age of piracy, tattoo’s gained further notoriety as something that identified pirates and so of course that social stigma of the tattoo got stronger.

In Japan they were even illegal for the best part of 150 years.

The outlook today???

During the last 20 years, this form of self expression has been going through a revival, after falling out of popularity in the 90’s.

Styles are changing as they always do and the scene seems to be going from big art works like full arm ‘sleeves’ to smaller and more visible tattoo’s, but its still here and it doesnt look like going away anytime soon.

There is also a growing trend in people getting their first tattoos in their later years as something that they tick off their ‘bucket list’.

At work those with tattoo’s are also gaining more acceptance, and they are no longer a career blocker, although large visible tattoo’s are still frowned upon.

What does the future hold???

Will the taboo around art work proudly displayed on skin ever go away?

Probably not, its such an ingrained part of thinking throughout society that there will always remain some reservations about tattooing and therefore those who are tattooed.

What is for sure though, is that neither the culture of self expression in humans that leads us to getting tattooed nor the cultural taboo’s that surround this very personal art work are going away any time soon…