I caught up with an old friend this weekend in 'Blend', his coffee-shop in Perth. There's nothing remarkable about that (other than a very nice cup of coffee!), but I'm intrigued by what he wants to achieve there. Obviously it's a business, but that aside, he wants to make it a gathering place - somewhere that regulars can go to chat, catch up, debate, work and so on. His idea is a combination of the couch in Friends and the bar in Cheers.

He's an architect so it's not a major surprise to me that he wants to be creative with what's possible in the space he's developed and I really enjoyed listening to him explain the direction he wants to take. He's doing the things you might expect (readings, book clubs, open mic evenings etc), but he's also trying for some bigger ideas (as well as serving coffee!). My favourite is that he's organising a series of debates amongst his customers about the upcoming referendum on Scottish independence. As we agreed yesterday when we were chatting, something like this is too important to be left to the politicians...

Although he's my friend and that makes me enormously biased, if you're in Perth and fancy a mug of Joe, I highly recommend popping in.

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