London Haiku

A windy London
Blowing dust into my eyes
More tears in the rain

A Visual History of Lamborghini

Lamborghini Model History animated gif

The best animated gif… in the world!

East India Youth

I can’t remember which of my Twitter chums recommended East India Youth to me, but if it was you – I thank you.

I’ve played his first release, the Hostel EP, so much that if it had been on vinyl I would have worn it out. Looking For Someone and particularly Heaven How Long are both fabulous, but it was the track Coastal Reflexions that really grabbed me. Coastal Reflexions is like a modern day Autobahn, but recounting a train journey to the coast rather than “fun, fun, fun on the Autobahn”.

His first album Total Strife Forever built on the Hostel EP and delivered some wonderfully moody instrumentals alongside the songs, the opening track Glitter Recession is a particular favourite. The deluxe version of the album also includes 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, an almost hour long imagined soundtrack for the 1916 silent movie which is worth the cost of the album alone.

East India Youth’s next album Culture of Volume is out on April 6th and the two tracks (do we still call them singles?) released so far are full of promise.

Turn Away is my new Hostel EP, I’m playing this track on a daily basis.

London by iPhone Redux

When I closed my Flickr account last month I’d  forgotten that back in 2009 I started a collection I called London by iPhone, where I would capture and collate photographs I took in and of London.

I don’t think anybody else was following this, the lack of engagement was one of the reasons I closed my Flickr account, but I realised that I enjoyed watching it grow and looking back on where I’ve been and what I’ve done.

So I thought I’d create a new dedicated site that I can update easily on the move. Tumblr seemed the obvious answer, and a lunchtime’s hacking resulted in a shiny new home for my photos.

Uploading the 150 or so images was achieved via the wonder that is IFTT which is why the photos are in a slightly randomised order and lack captions, but I really couldn’t face uploading them individually and after a little jiggery pokery the majority are now in chronological order. I present the new London by iPhone.

26/05/2015 – Update – Tumblr has turned out to be a pain in the arse so I’ve put my London photos back on Flickr. Sigh…

Here once more is London By iPhone.

Bellroy Elements Phone Pocket Review

bellroy-elements-phone-pocket-review-ziplock-comparison

I’d always fancied a hobby that involved ‘stuff’ and then I started cycling. I did’t realise quite how much ‘stuff’ or more specifically wardrobe you need to cycle comfortably in the UK with our famously changeable and variable weather.

Then of course there is what to do with the items you need to take out with you on a ride: phone, money, cards, keys etc.

Many people make do with a ziplock bag, tossing everything in to jumble against each other. I didn’t fancy this approach, and since I started riding I’ve been using a Pocpac iPac which has a slot for a card and cash but nowhere for your keys.

Now being somebody that enjoys “nice things” and is cursed with the need to find the perfect solution for problems imagined or otherwise, I’d started casting around for a better, and dare I say more elegant way, of carrying my personal effects whilst riding. I was starting to think about the Rapha Essentials Case, but was put off by it not being properly waterproof or truly designed for smartphones.

Being a Bellroy user and a bit of a fan, I own both their Note Sleeve and Card Sleeve,  I follow them on the Social Medias, and just as I was starting to look around Bellroy shared a teaser photo of a new product, what looked like one of their Elements wallets with an iPhone poking out and tagged #comingsoon.

An email to the lovely Karen at Bellroy confirmed it was as I suspected and called the Bellroy Elements Phone Pocket.

bellroy phone pocket review iphone

An offer of one to review was quickly and gratefully accepted, I’ve now used the Elements Phone Pocket a few times and it really is a great way t carry your ‘stuff’ when cycling.

Design

I carry an iPhone 5S, a One Life iD card, an “emergency tenner”, my bank card and the key to my garage, the Elements Phone Pocket easily accommodates these and makes each easy to access. Perhaps most importantly the clever and considered design of the Elements Phone Pocket means that whatever you carry cannot rub against and scratch your phone – nice.

Within the Elements Phone Pocket there are four slots that can take cards or cash, so capacious and numerous are they that you could easily carry a full wallets worth of cards if you so desired.

bellroy phone pocket review cards

One of the slots on the outside of the Pocket can accommodate coins which is very handy, as whilst a tenner is easily stashed the change from your coffee stop is less so.

bellroy phone pocket review cash

I particularly like the special slot for a key, something that could wreck havoc against your phone. The only addition I’d like to see to the Elements Phone Pocket is a pull tab or similar device to make removing your key easier as it can be a little tricky especially with cold fingers.

bellroy phone pocket review key

There are also dedicated slots for a SIM card and iPhone SIM removal tool. I initially thought this an odd addition, but as I’m now looking for a new mobile provider that I hope will actually be good enough to allow me to upload photos whilst on a ride and for Garmin Live Track to maintain an internet connection for its entirety I might be testing a few SIMs in the near future.

Construction

The Elements Phone Pocket is made from what Bellroy call all weather leather, it looks like high quality leather but has a different finish to that of their wallets. The interior is Bellroy’s usual buttery smooth leather and funky printed cotton.

The layers of leather that make up the pockets and slots sit against outside of the wallet with your phone in the middle, this provides a significant degree of padding and protection. I’m pretty sure you cold drop the Elements Phone Pocket from your jersey pocket on a fast decent and your phone would emerge unscathed – now Bellroy make no claims for impact protection and I’ll make it clear I haven’t tested this and advise you not to do so.

The zips are water-resistant YKK zips, that have a plastic cover that ‘seals’ as you do the zip up. These are the same as Tom Bihn use on their bags so I have no doubt they will resist all but the most persistent precipitation.

 

Final Thoughts

The Bellroy Elements Phone Pocket is one of my favourite things. It does what it was designed to do perfectly and cleverly, it’s made from the highest quality materials and in short is a delight to hold and to use. It is the perfect phone wallet for outdoor activities, if you cycle I highly recommend it.

Trove Slim Wallet Review

I don’t understand Giant Wallet Syndrome™ – the need to carry all of your cards, all of the time, in your wallet, and in your back pocket. For example:

When I started working in London, catching the tube everyday I became aware of the vulnerability of carrying all my cards and finances in my back pocket, and it was when I damaged my back I was made aware of the skeletal implications of sitting upon all of your cards and finances – it really is bad for you.

Since then I’ve been using a front pocket wallet, and as I’ve simplified my finances and the items I need to carry everyday I’ve sought out simpler, ‘minimal’ wallets, and the internet has delivered a wealth of choice.

The first simple wallet I bought was the aptly named Slim. The Slim is possibly the most minimal wallet ever made, but it is also possibly too minimal. It really is just a length of elastic sewn together in a loop, with an X sewn on the side. Yes it will hold your cards, and folded up notes, but it is in no way pleasing to use or to look at.

Having said that I still use the Slim today; I keep it in my car with all of my store and loyalty cards in it. If I’m going shopping I know I’ll drive there, so why would I need to carry my cards with me at all other times? You see Giant Wallet Syndrome™ just doesn’t make sense.

My next simple wallet was the Bellroy Card Sleeve. Bellroy make fabulous wallets, all designed to help you slim your wallet; my last ‘back pocket’ wallet was a Bellroy Note Sleeve, which I  still use on occasions when I find my self with too much cash to carry in a small wallet, for cash is still the achilles heel of the minimal wallet.

The Bellroy Card Sleeve has been my everyday wallet for some time now, and I’ve been very happy with it indeed, but when I came across a new slim wallet design I was intrigued and thought I’d take a look.

Trove

Trove was another Kickstarter success, but one I missed due to being a very pleasant holiday in the sun. Upon my return I contacted Trove who they kindly sent me one of their Factory Edition wallets to review.

Trove appeared to deliver both simplicity and flexibility and is hand made in the UK from higher quality materials than certain other slim wallets. Trove takes the basic concept of the Slim, an elastic loop to hold your cards, but instead of simply sewing up the bottom a leather strip is added at ninety degrees.

This leather strap or loop adds a structural element to Trove that gives a degree of rigidity and provides two extra slots for cards, notes or receipts. The leather used in the strap is of very high quality and is already taking on a lovely patina from being carried.

Trove say their wallet is flexible enough to carry between one and ten cards. I carry three cards on a daily basis: my bank card, my Amex card and my drivers licence and Trove is perfect for this.

I’ve experimented with more cards, and whilst Trove will accommodate them, removing them becomes trickier and far less graceful.

The two slots front and back between the leather strap and elastic loop are perfect for holding a rail or parking ticket, a particular card you need often or a couple of folded notes.

Which brings us onto the achilles heel of Trove and all slim wallets: carrying cash, especially the ridiculously large UK notes – the £20 note is so large it looks like something from the Victorian era. Yes you can fold the notes up, lets face it you have to, but then of course they become four times their original thickness, and more than two or three soon makes Trove bulge, I use the term relatively, which starts to defeat the object of a slim wallet.

The sooner everybody takes cards or contactless payment through our phones the better – cash cannot die quickly enough for me. But I digress…

Final Thoughts

Trove is a great slim and minimal wallet, beautifully made from high quality materials and more versatile than most other slim wallets. If you are in the market for a slim wallet I highly recommend a Trove and if you aren’t I strongly suggest you take a look at the cards you carry on a daily basis and look at slimming your wallet – your back will thank you and thieves will not.