Author: tony

  • Two Poles

    The last six years of my life have been so singlemindedly focused on the poles, so caught up with snow, cold and ice that I sometimes manage to forget that there is a polar opposite to this world. Recently I was lucky enough to head briefly down to Naples, Florida where i met some incredible […]

  • John

    John was one of those people who seemed to lead a charmed life. Always the centre and light of the room at any party, he received a first from Oxford University, spoke Italian like a native and went on to become one of the leading lights of his year at the prestigious LAMDA drama school. […]

  • Talent in context

    There is always a question for me as to how we perceive talent when it is something that is difficult to measure mathematically. With a sprinter we can measure his time, but it becomes progressively more difficult with more abstract things such as musical talent that rely on perception. In Malcolm Gladwell’s book Blink, he […]

  • Paralysis

    There’s a certain blog paralysis that creeps in after a certain amount of time has passed that makes going back to the blog yet more difficult. The urge to precis events is suffocated beneath yet more events, none of which necessarily make for a particularly coherent story. On reflection, I have decided to provide some […]

  • The Blank Slate

    Blank Slate by Stephen Pinker is one of those books that you should never read before heading out to meet friends. Quite pleasant conversations about gardening or sports will be interrupted by a diatribe as you attempt to explain the mind-blowing chapter you have just read. This will inevitably lead to an argument as Pinker […]

  • Inching SOUTH

    Winston Churchill once said that success is merely the ability to hold on one minute longer than anyone else. I feel that recently Ben and I have been testing that out. We’ve met some incredible people over the last six months from some of the most powerful media players in the world to ultra-connected corporate […]

  • Tony Haile, Ironman

    Ben and I took the red-eye back from New York on Thursday after an exhausting barrage of meetings and facing a mountain of work to get done. However, before we got down to that, I knew somehow, somewhere I had to find a wetsuit for the weekend. In a fit of madness some months earlier, […]

  • Riding our luck

    Yesterday, our flight experience consisted of getting upgraded, blagging our way through fast-track with cheeky smiles and not being blown up. This was a good start to the day. Heathrow apparently shut up shop shortly after we left because of a massive terrorist attack attempt that would have either cancelled or massively delayed our flight. […]

  • Self Reliance and other Essays

    ‘Every man is an impossibility, until he is born; everything impossible, until we see a success.’ Ralph Waldo Emerson rocks. I’d read about Emerson in Louis Menand’s The Metaphysical Club and made a note to find out more about this polymath of the 19th Century. Reading his essays on Self Reliance, History and his controversial […]

  • Tony Haile, roadie.

    Living with the bassist of London’s hottest new band, Mr Hudson & the Library, has its advantages. It means you get to hear when there will be an impromptu rooftop gig for the denizens of Kentish Town road. It means you get to stand with three hundred people completely disrupting the traffic for a few short […]

  • The Invisible People

    “A century from now, when historians write about our era, one question will dwarf all others, and it won’t be about finance or politics or even terrorism. The question will be, simply, how could our rich and civilised society allow a known and beatable enemy to kill millions of people.” This is the question Greg […]

  • Last night a helmet saved my life

    Last Thursday, Ben mentioned that we had better start getting everything we would need for the weekend ready. The only thing I could think of that was happening on the weekend was the England-Ecuador match and Ben is hardly the kind of football fan to need four days preparation time so I asked him what […]

  • The Metaphysical Club

      I was a bit of a late bloomer when it comes to philosophy. I think the first book that really got me thinking about the subject (if we don’t count Dawkin’s Selfish Gene, which got me thinking about everything) was A.C. Grayling’s What is Good?, a superb and accessible read. Since then, I’ve been […]

  • Saying goodbye to Greenland

    This morning, lying in our tent at the top of the Hann Glacier we heard the familiar whup-whup of a helicopter heading our way. Our taxi had arrived. We jumped into action, threw sleeping bags in sledges and dismantled our tent in short order. Helicopter pilots do not like to hang around in the cold […]

  • In Greenland

    We touched down this morning in Kulusuk East Greenland and immediately made our way over to the helicopter taking us to Tasiilaq. We went, but our kit didn’t as the helicopter was overloaded. We are now waiting for the rest of the kit to turn up tomorrow. Good news is that we have seen our sledges […]

  • Foiled again!

    When I was managing Ben’s solo expedition in 2004, we were stuck in Khatanga, a town that is best described as the armpit of Northern Siberia. Each day we would head for the airport in the hope that the vodka-fuelled disagreements between the owners of the helicopters and the pilots had resolved themselves. On the […]

  • Closer to Greenland

    We got the all clear this morning for a flight into Greenland at midday. It’s hard to say how I am feeling at this point so I will let John Masefield have a go for me. “I must down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide Is a wild call and […]

  • New York

    Ben and I touched down from New York early on Wednesday morning knowing that between us we had two days to attend six different meetings, give two speeches, MC an awards ceremony, hire an assistant and pack everything we would need for a month-long unsupported training expedition to Greenland. To say that we were not approaching these […]

  • Greenland

    Life has taken a turn for the hectic here as I once again get into expedition mode. Ben and I are off to Greenland for a month for our final test and training phase before we go SOUTH and I am juggling phonecalls, kit orders and eccentric email servers. In mid May we are taking a […]

  • Rachel Corrie

      This week I went back to Gaza. I sat watching a young American woman on a barely-lit stage exploding old memories with each name she uttered against a background of bullet-ridden concrete. My Name is Rachel Corrie, a play based on the writing of a young American observer killed by an IDF bulldozer in […]

  • The little blue passport

    Let me start with a disclaimer: Bribery is bad, really bad. In fact, it should only ever be used with small children. The trouble is, when you sometimes operate in areas that have a morally ambiguous  business environment combined with a weaponised bureaucracy, the requests can get pretty persistent and persuasive. Having had to get […]

  • Purple plus

    I am lucky enough to rent a beautiful Victorian house in vibrant/violent Kentish Town. I’ve been there a few years now and have had (with my flatmates) the bottom two floors, while the top floor was taken by a man in his sixties called Michael. Michael had been a librarian at the University of London […]

  • Dad

    Today is my father’s birthday. 59 years ago today in a mudhut on the shores of Lake Victoria in Tanganyika (now Tanzania), he came squealing into this world and became the scion of the Haile family. I have always been fascinated by his childhood, spent in an alien country during the sunset of the British […]

  • 13.1 miles in Milton Keynes. . .

    and not one of those miles passed through anywhere one could class as an area of outstanding natural beauty. Lots of underpasses though, those were nice. The way they prominently named each one of these identical concrete monuments to Le Corbusier (who has a lot to answer for) so that you wouldn’t think you were running […]