24hourlondon meets social media influencer tikichris

"I'm not a twenty-something blonde girl," Chris Osburn tells me in his soft American accent.

He is responding to a question about where he fits in to the rapidly developing digital landscape and explaining – odd as it may seem – his unique selling point. We have met at The Dove pub on Broadway Market in Hackney because much of the advice I have been receiving about how to market 24hourlondon has included intriguing references to co-opting "social media influencers". Which is all very well but my ideas about them come nearly entirely from reading arch articles in the Guardian about jet-setting glamourpusses wth vlogs. Whereas, to the naked eye at least, Chris seems more like one of the guys who would write about them in print and I find this oddly reassuring.

So I'm trying to find out more about these exotic creatures and what they do? How can Chris – exotic on the inside – help me and how can I help him in return?

I'd found him on a list of the UK's…

It's competition time at 24hourlondon

Right you hairy lot. Call this a late conversion to the art of marketing. For at 24hourlondon we need to grow our app downloads. To this end we have devised a competition - or at least a clever man called Rishi Lakhani, whom we met on the London Startups site, has - which we are hoping will do the trick.

Yes! You can win £500 and a crate of craft ale brewed by 24hourlondon's very own Dr Dean – at his microbrewery in Cornwall – by following this link, downloading the app, telling us the name of your favourite late-night London haunt that is currently missing from our database. Then email us with its name and say what you like about it.

The winner will be chosen on October 1 by an independent judge and informed on October 2. Then I'll blog about it so the whole thing is seen to be completely transparent. What could possibly go wrong?

Tell your friends.


* Here isa link to the competition page.

* If you'd like to receive updates from the 24hourlondon blog you could *lik…

24hourlondoners: last night's events at London Bridge and Borough Market involved us all

Tonight's been memorable for me and for nearly all the wrong reasons.

I was doing a shift on the night news web desk of the Guardian in King's Cross, which is not most people's idea of a day job but I've been doing it for a while now. And I'd gone on my break early. So at about 10.15pm, when Twitter began to light up with horrible news from London Bridge – shortly after a false alarm along the same lines from Turin – I was at my desk.

My colleague and line manager Paul Gallagher was initially the only other person there but by the time our three other colleagues returned from their breaks a few minutes later – propelled back to their work stations by an online news alert – he had already fielded messages from several senior editors, including the editor-in-chief, pitching in or offering to come in to the office.

In the next few hours the web desk filled out, reporters' offers of copy from Borough Market a mile or so down the road were accepted and the division …

Why are London's licensing laws so restrictive?

24hourlondon is a solution to a problem: how to get the best from a city where the licensing laws often seem stacked against you. You can download the app in Android or iOSfrom here.

But why is London like this? What got us to this point?

James Nicholls' book,The politics of alcohol: a history of the drink question in England, suggests that the recent move to allow pubs to stay open later is a break with the deep past and that restricting pub opening hours has traditionally been seen by the government here as a way of restricting the alcohol intake of working people – to make us more productive capitalist worker bees.

As evidence for this theory, Nicholls points to what happened during the first world war, when the temperance - anti-booze - movement was big internationally. In the US it led to an unsuccessful attempt at complete Prohibition but in the UK its high water mark was the creation of the Central Control Board (CCB) in 1915, whose job it was to address the effect of drink…

Tell your friends that 24hourlondon is back in the saddle

It's been a long road for24hourlondon.

Back in 2012 we had had around 4,000 downloads but couldn't seem to make any headway on the business side. Often when we spoke to other companies about the next step for us they couldn't see the relevance of an app to their sector: in particular I remember a conversation with a taxi firm who couldn't see why digital marketing would be beneficial.

Since then Uber has happened and I guess it isn't a mystery to them any more.

It felt a lot like banging one's head against a wall.

Maybe we were just too early? It was dispiriting after all the time, energy and money we'd spent.

Then last year I wrote a piece for the Financial Times about unicorns in Europe. And I realised that the whole tech landscape had changed in four years: there was something resembling an ecosystem. My research led me through a labyrinth of accelerators, incubators and angel investor networks. I felt like Alice in Wonderland.

Maybe it was time to give …

An easy way to upgrade your iPhone and keep Google maps

Londoners - particularly those of you with iPhones and who've already downloaded 24hourlondon - I feel your pain. It is also my pain.

Not because the app was affected, it wasn't, but because of the kerfuffle with Google maps.

Londoners need Google maps more than nearly anyone else. It's like a space age version of the A to Z and London is a big, complicated place that's hard to get around quickly.

It has a lot of public transport options, including many you wouldn't necessarily think of because they're new or you're in an unfamiliar part of town. For getting from A to B Google maps gives you the quickest routes on public transport, including buses and overground railways.

So Google maps is a perfect example of something I didn't know I needed until I had a smartphone but which has enhanced the quality of my life immeasurably, saving oodles of time.

So living without Google maps in London was not something I was looking forward to.

None of the other opti…

The London Foodie's Japanese Supper Club and The Art of Dining

I've had two extraordinary foody experiences over the last couple of weeks, both of which I'd recommend. I'd do this on the grounds that every once in a while you need Shakabuku, or a swift spiritual kick in the head. I know this becauseI've watched Grosse Point Blank.

First up was the London Foodie's Japanese supper club. Held in Islington in one of those enormous homes with the basement kitchen visible from the street, the London Foodie - aka Luiz Hara - used to be an investment banker but is now using the money he earnt to devote himself to something that he loves. This is the best reason I can think of for having been an investment banker and he's a charming host with it. Plus he's renovated his basement with the supper club in mind, which demonstrates unusual commitment and should give you some idea of the seriousness he brings to his project. He'll probably end up on the telly.
Other people have written about this supper club very welland done the f…