Fancy a Dark Date? This one woman show will delight you, just don’t order the stake!

Monday evening. Soho. Raining. Tower Street. Dark Dates, anyone? Zoe Cunningham, member of the Techerati by day, performer and presenter by night, and director Peta Lily put on an excellent adaptation of Tracey Sinclair’s novel at the Tristan Bates Theatre, which looks and, appropriately feels like the inside of a coffin. Good start.

Dark Dates.Still018

Or rather, bad start, because badness is what Dark Dates, the play, is all about. It’s really rather pathetic. In the poetic sense of course. Zoe, beautifully ironic, totally deadpan, is Cassandra, the over-nice, caring and Sensitive (as in, in possession of the dubious honour of being able to tell when somebody passing as human is actually supernatural) proprietor of a dating agency, for humans, and blood sucking, ghoulish vampires; but who are the real victims? Zoe, or, depending on how you look at it, Cassandra’s performance is bewitching; the script asks a lot of questions of the actor, answered politely yet emphatically with a sense of timing perfectly attuned to the excellent sound and lighting.

The evening begins unexpectedly. The audience invited to file into the theatre, and here’s Casandra to greet them, all smiles and nervous energy. Everyone must identify themselves, and then there’s the house rules. Its comic, and yet somewhere, somehow, there are undertones of menace. Where are they coming from?

The bar, as it turns out, because that is where Medea has gone, to fix us some drinks. Medea is Cassandra’s…best friend? Business partner? Nemesis? Nothing is given away, the audience are made to work at it. And work they do; a “couple” of them end up on stage. It’s funny, irreverent. Cassandra’s determination to carry out her duties in spite of the mysterious and elemental elephant in the room creates an awesome tension.

Nobody wants to break the spell, but there are so many questions that ought to be answered. Are any of us safe? All of a sudden Soho on a wet and moody Monday night seems laden with foreboding, especially if you are heading home alone, or somebody who might be considered, a sucker? All we can do is listen and learn from Cassandra, and she is a far from reliable narrator, given to flights of fancy. Or so it seemed at first.

Zoe’s portrayal of Cassandra is a classy theatrical tour de force. She works all kinds of unsettling neuroses into a superficially simple character, and, as her story unfolds, we begin to understand that, in life, in London, being “nice” is as deadly and dangerous as being, well a vampire.

Cassandra’s wounds aren’t quite self-inflicted, but there is a rabbit in the headlights feel to Cassandra’s rambling yet strangely perceptive soliloquising that is deeply unsettling. Perhaps, after all, she might be better off…dead? Undead? No body is safe. And what will become of her? In a neat way, Cassandra, just like Zoe, is being manipulated by somebody off stage. Where will it all end?

dark dates 3Short but sweet, touching and close to home (especially if you live in East London), Dark Dates more than holds its own as a piece of theatre, and as a fantastic advert for the 2 novels written by Tracey Sinclair. The humour is unpredictable, from the air-kissing that accompanies the agencies theme tune, to some classic slapstick as the terminally confused Cassandra overdoses on an intoxicating whirlwind of emotions and considerations that are completely beyond her intellectual capacity. Hilariously tragi-comic.

Zoe / Cassandra’s final flourish piece is delivered in an almost matter of fact fashion, as if the team sense that they have been working with good material; it’s deliberate, and it works; a packed audience, in on the joke, never appeared anything other than won over. No mean achievement. No mean play.

Zoe Cunningham was performing as Cassandra Bick in Dark Dates, adapted by Zoe Cunningham and Peta Lily for stage and based on the novel Dark Dates by Tracey Sinclair. You can catch Dark Dates at the Brighton Fringe, for details, click here.

The future is mobile! KPMG, alongside UKTI, are sending the best of British mobile start-ups to the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona

kpmg mobileKPMG are collaborating with UKTI and helping to exploit the phenomenal recent growth in the mobile applications space, by sending 8 of the most promising UK based mobile start-ups to the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona; the initiative began with over 60 applicants, whittled down to a shortlist of 20 companies, with 8 finalists eventually making it through to compete for the title of Best British Mobile start-up. The winner will be decided, after a final pitch in Barcelona, by a panel of 3 judges; the startups will also be showcased to as many as 11,000 KPMG employees.

The Haggerston Times Podcast #5

If content is King, then call us Kong! The Haggerston Times Podcast is back after an extended winter break, with regular panelists Robin Rathore of newly launched Bamboo Auctions and David Hardman, co-founder of Launch 22,  joined this week by Investor and all round Techie evangelist Ben Wynne Simmons, and Douglas Bell, founder of start-up Epic, and President of The London Innovators Network.

You will find Tech City at a crossroads, not a roundabout

  tech city 3Last week Haggerston Times came across a report from 2012 entitled “A Tale of Tech City: The Future of Inner East London’s Digital Economy”. The report was released by not for profit think tank Centre for London, in association with the British Venture Capital Association, British Telecommunications Plc, London & Partners and the Federation of Small Businesses, and put together by Dr Max Nathan, a research fellow at LSE’s Spatial Economics Research Centre, urbanist and writer Emma Vandore, and Rob Whitehead, deputy director of research at the Centre for London.

Want to change what the web is talking about for less than 10 pounds? Be a smart “tibber”!

tibditOk, so we are living in the age of austerity. We were warned about it! The bankers got greedy and the rest is history, or at least the rest of us were history as far as the bankers were concerned! The public sector shrunk, wages went down, prices up, and the worst of it is the politicians tell us to expect more of the same!

You don’t need a coder to build a mobile app for your business, you need a GoodBarber!

good barberThe future is mobile. It’s been said so many times in the last few years that we have almost become immune to the fact that it’s true! Increasingly we get the information that we need to help us live our lives to the full from our mobile home screens. This is happening more and more with business apps too. Whatever industry you are working in, the likelihood is that it’s “going mobile”. So welcome to the future! Now let me ask you 3 questions:

TheJobPost is helping recruitment be more tech, but it’s all in the best possible taste, and recruiters get to keep all their commissions

the job post 2

Recently an awful lot of industries are seemingly very happy to be “disrupted”; prefix them with the word tech, build an app, collect some big data, and hey presto you’ve got yourself a FinTech, FashTech, SportsTech or HealthTech start-up! But HRTech? Me neither.

Tip TV founders to launch Intelligent Crowd, a TV show for discerning Crowdfunders

Ever wanted to begin crowdlogo_strapline__bigfund investing, but didn’t know how to find the heroes amongst the zeroes? Maybe you should spend an hour in the company of Shane Smith, the driver behind Intelligent Crowd TV. Not only does he have an expert’s knowledge of how equity crowdfunding really works, his latest venture is making it easier for the rest of us to make better informed decisions about which projects are truly deserving of our cash.

Hello World launches Indiegogo campaign to bring solar powered digital education hubs to 2 million children by 2019

projects for all 1When Dr. Sugata Mitra left a computer connected to the internet in a hole in the wall in a New Delhi slum in 1999, he wasn’t quite sure what the results might be. He had done so in order to test his belief that, even in the absence of a formal education system, children would still demonstrate a thirst for learning and a desire to educate themselves. To all intents and purposes he was proved right.

Here’s 5 types of Angel Investor that might invest in your company, but is it a good idea to let them?

beggarIts Monday again, and we’re back on the treadmill. Many of us will be sat at our desks, wondering how we found the energy to make the commute, leaving our families and loved ones behind, when the weekend didn’t allow us half the time to do all the things we had planned to do.

HoxTech Angels launches as 6 start-ups pitch to 20 investors at the Hoxton

HoxTechDreamstake Founder Paul Dowling has written about the need for the UK and London to address a growing start-up funding gap between £150k and £1 million; government Seed Enterprise Investment Schemes (SEIS) and Enterprise Investment Schemes (EIS), as well as the growth of accelerators and crowdfunding sites have made it easier for start-ups to attract early stage funding, whilst VCs can provide investment for more developed companies requiring larger sums, if they can demonstrate sufficient traction and growth potential.

Profile: Studio Graphene: How do you start a start-up? Ask a team of experts?

studio graphene 1You would if you could right? A bit like this article, the process of launching a new business begins with a lot of questions. Firstly, what’s my idea? Then, what problem does it solve? Next, how do I build a minimum viable product, how can I prove concept, and how can I find a product market fit? And finally, how will I tell people about it? Of course that is still vastly oversimplifying how complex and challenging it can be to get a business off the ground. And you thought all you needed was an idea!

EIP launch the Enterprise Network at Nabarro offices, London Wall

eip team

Matt Lenzie and Jeri Dutz put on a great show last night at law firm Nabarro’s stunning new offices on London Wall. The occasion was the launch of The Enterprise Network, or TEN for short, an exciting opportunity for investors to have first refusal on Leisure and Entertainment opportunities in central London, sourced by TEN’s highly experienced advisory team, which includes former Chief Executive of the British Hospitality Association, Bob Cotton OBE, Paul Clark, Director of Luxury Family Hotels, and hotelier and former winner of the RAC Hotel of the Year award, Robin Sheppard.

Match Capital showcases contacts, fills WeWork with start-ups and investors at MatchUp 1

match introIt’s halfway through January and, surprise surprise, London’s start-ups have funding on their minds. Plus ca change, eh; despite having attracted record levels of Venture Capital funding in 2014, £1.4 billion to be precise (that’s 20 times more than a decade ago), the promise of 5 minutes in the Company of a Balderton, DN, or Passion Capital representative will still bring founders out in large numbers, eager to share their vision for the coming year, which usually involves a cash injection somewhere along the line.

Announcing the launch of The Enterprise Network from Enterprise Investment Partners

eipThey say that nothing is certain in life except death and taxes, and we are the poorer for it, but looking on the bright side, some things never go out of fashion, and London is one of those things. Entertainment, leisure, bread and circuses, call it what you will, is another. That is why Enterprise Investment Partners (EIP) have high hopes as they prepare to launch The Enterprise Network next Tuesday at Nabarro’s offices at 125 London Wall. A limited number of places are still available;

Chelsea apps talks season begins with visit from Mansoor Hanif, Director of RAN & Programmes at EE

MansoorThe Meetup phenomenon must have done wonders for rooms above pubs. One wonders what they were ever used for back in the dark ages when people went straight home after work and sat sadly in their living rooms, curtains drawn, bathed in the glow of the telly, waiting for Newsnight to finish so that they could check all of the doors in the house were locked before they went to bed and thought about their next day’s work.

MAQTOOB is the app discovery platform enabling a new breed of entrepreneurs


“If you don’t build your dream, someone else will hire you to help them build theirs,” (anon)
maqtoob2Most entrepreneurs looking back to when they first went into business tend to cringe with embarrassment. “If I only knew then what I know now”, they say, wistfully, “I’d be making twice what I make now, I’d reach more customers, and my business would be more streamlined, efficient, and secure. I don’t know how I ever made it this far!”

Jorlio is the platform helping us to redefine how we think about events

jorlio1What 3 things do we all want today, and how can we get them? The first part is easy: we want to be more efficient, we want to be in the know, and we want to have fun! The second question is a much harder one. In theory, it’s never been easier to find out what we should be doing, who we should be talking to, and where the best places are to hangout. We all have smartphones, PCs, laptops, even watches and jewellery bombarding us with “important” and “urgent” messages all day long. So why is it so hard to make the right choices? In reality the answer is simple. We don’t have the right filters.

Silicon Round up: Coming down a chimney near you! The best tech Christmas presents, plus amazing new campaign from Apprentice contestant

amateur british toysThere is something refreshingly amateur about many of the best techie, raspberry-pi, internet-of-things inspired Christmas goodies hitting the supermarket shelves this year. The Brits have always been proud of their unprofessional, just a bit of fun, it’s only a game style approach to many aspects of their lives, from the old “gentlemen vs players” days of cricket, where those who played for cash were looked down upon and sneered at (even though they did so mainly because they were working class and skint, unlike the players, who were probably the ones suppressing their wages!), to crazy, not to mention hair-raisingly dangerous hobbies such as hunting, shooting, and horse racing. So, it should come as no surprise that the presents the British like to give their kids can be a little eccentric.