Harry Potter open for business at King’s Cross.

That Harry Potter’s opened a store for muggles right by Platform 9 3/4. They got that Warwick Davies to open it. Ribbons, speeches, geeky fans, the lot!

This opened 2 weeks ago and I didn’t even notice. I pass through King’s Cross twice a day and still haven’t spotted the store.


What I DID spot this morning was that the customary Harry Potter luggage trolley had changed. Like its predecessor, it’s embedded in the wall, making it a super photo op for tourists and/or Harry Potter fans.


However, the new trolley sports some rugged old leather suitcases and half a birdcage. Is this for the owl? Sadly there isn’t half an owl embedded in the wall to establish this.

This is the 3rd location for the trolley. It used to be tucked away outside Platforms 9, 10 and 11, then they tucked it away by Platform 8 before moving it to its current position. Nice to see they’ve made an effort to Hogwartify the trolley. Before it was just a bog standard First Capital Connect one that got vandalised from time to time.

The map online puts the Harry Potter shop right next door to the trolley, so how come I didn’t spot it?

No idea, but the shop is a very good idea – heavy tourist traffic, excellent transport connections and highly relevant to the film (ignoring the fact that they actually used the more cinematic St Pancras next door for the films).



It’s not you. It’s me. I’ve been… writing another blog.

For anyone that gives a toss, I started this blog because I like writing. I work in advertising and I write ads for other people all day, every day. People like to add their opinion, change my ideas. Sometimes it makes them better (yeah, right!). Sometimes I wish they’d leave well alone.

So this is Parking In Stevenage. All my own work – a true reflection on what I think is good. And while many of my colleagues were busy penning blogs that delved into the dark arts of marketing or digital or branding or whatever, I didn’t want to compete in that space; this was my playground and I could choose the most inane, tedious topic to document. Fact is, it’s getting even more tedious after 3 years – I’ve gone right through the bottom of the barrel – there’s just splinters where that used to be. But no – that won’t stop me or this blog. Parking In Stevenage will live on!

However, I’ve been distracted. I’ve looked elsewhere – outside of Hertfordshire, even. I now anonymously co-edit The London Egotist – the only site I know of that talks specifically to London’s creative community – adland and all the associated specialisms. If you’re interested, check it out. It’s actually very good. Yes, I would say that, wouldn’t I…

Underground bloggery.

…courtesy of Virgin Media’s wifi network at King’s Cross.

It’s my first post underground and it feels new, progressive, natural, liberating and at the same time slightly unnerving.

So there it is: another step forward into the omnipresent-data future.

We all know what it’s like to be without that link to the grid. It becomes like air. We miss it when it’s not there and often take it for granted.

But do we know enough about living in the cloud? Can our bodies withstand constant immersion in wifi microwaves (regardless of what we think we need)?

Well, for the short-term at least, it’s here and it’s free for the summer – is that a distant paywall I can hear coming down the tracks?

I shall enjoy it while it lasts or until it gives me something painfully terminal…


Stevenage. Next stop Theatreland.

Well this Parking in Stevenage lark is really catching on. Even my wife’s getting in on the act.

Why? Well our daughter’s been cast as a Munchkin in the Wizard of Oz at the Palladium in London’s swinging West End. Ahhh, she’s only little. She survived 3 rounds of auditions, the last of which was supervised by Arlene Philips herself.

So our daughter is part of 10-strong team which rotates performances with 2 other crack teams of Munchkins – one of whom has a famous father – Gary Barlow, seeing as you’re asking.

The poster, sans Munchkins.

Now this is all rather glamorous, but beneath the greasepaint and hairnets, there’s the reality of getting our little luvvie into Theatreland 3 times every 10 days. Hence the added Parking in Stevenage.

It’s a logistical feat in itself. My wife and I sometimes meet briefly at King’s Cross as she hands over our daughter. It’s not as romantic as it sounds. It’s more like a scene from Kramer vs Kramer (older readers) Sometimes we fight our way into London just to come straight back again, other times we’ll go into town and have dinner together. Now, that IS romantic.

If you’re looking for me, here’s a good place to start.

Even our other car gets to visit Swingate, which is nice. There’ve been times when both have been there at the same time. I SO wanted to take a piccie but they weren’t anywhere near each other. One for the desk at work, eh…? Never mind, there’s time yet.

Properly cold.

OK, today it is cold. Properly cold. That mild pain in your fingers you haven’t felt since early March. It’s back. It’s cold. It’s dark. It’s tempting to stay under the covers. But at least it’s sunny today.

But the cold brings with it the ubiquitous SuperDry Technical Windcheater. I mentioned it only last month. But the colder weather has brought them out in force. I’m holding mine back til the last possible minute. Why? Cos I’d rather not blend into the multi-zipped uniform of the commuting masses.

London: winter 2010 - a typical commuter's eye view.

On Monday I saw two at Stevenage station before I’d even got anywhere.

And today I saw the green, yellow, white and red variants. And I noticed a colleague had one with pink stitching. The upside was that I was able to point out the little thumb-holes in the sleeves to keep you extra toasty, which she hadn’t noticed before. Hello Nicky!

And I saw a handsome chap in the mirror wearing his red variant. Damn he looked good though. After all, it was properly cold today.

2 cars, 1 park.

No it’s not a dogging version of ‘2 girls, 1 cup’ – though I must confess, I’ve never watched it. No really, I have not.

Today was a momentous day in my household and Swingate combined. I have 2 cars. One for my commute which encompasses parking in Stevenage,; the other is used by my wife for school runs, shopping and miscellaneous trips. Generously, the car my wife drives is worth 3 times the one I drive; however, I digress.

My wife brought the kids into London to the Science Museum, to see me in my swanky office and for a nice lunch. How does that affect this blog? Well, both of us Parked In Stevenage. Double whammy. Double bubble. Double or Drop (for those of you old enough to remember Crackerjack – didn’t think so).

Yes, today, Swingate played host to both cars. A Double-Parking in Stevenage. A first! Unfortunately I have no visual proof, so as incredible as it sounds, you’re just going to have to trust me on this.

Once again we are deeply ensconced in the original premise of this blog. For those of you who asked me to go back to basics: there, be careful what you wish for.

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