• Posted on July 03, 2014
State of the Union 2014

State of the union 2014

It’s been more than eighteen months since my last update, but rest assured things have been anything but quiet in the intervening period.  “Better the devil you know”, the old adage goes.  And by that logic, I figured, better the Ben Hanson state of the union update you can read than the one you can’t.  So here’s what I’ve been up to lately. 

Regular visitors will know that I took over the reins of Editor at WhichPLM in 2011, alongside my other freelance work and personal writing projects.  A digital magazine dedicated the technology for the fashion and retail industries, WhichPLM has since become practically my sole client.  I’ve travelled the world with them, and had the opportunity to head up a terrific team and build a real editorial voice – one that’s gone on to win accolades from writers, brands and analysts whom I really respect.

At the start of 2014, my role with WhichPLM stepped up another notch: I became Editorial Director, and had the chance to produce new initiatives like the educational service WhichPLM Academy, and the increasingly popular WhichPLM Annual Reviews.  At the time of writing, I’m hard at work on the 2014 publication, collaborating with companies like Microsoft, Marc Jacobs, AllSaints, Wal-Mart, and a host of retail industry analysts to pull together something really special in print and digital forms.

These have all proven to be virtually all-consuming projects, but luckily I’ve also been able to set aside some time for valued clients and personal projects – both of which I intend to pursue this year and beyond.

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  • Posted on November 13, 2012
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Review – Orbitsound T12v3

A PDF version of Ben Hanson's review of the Orbitsound T12v3This review originally ran in the October issues of Live Magazines, four luxury lifestyle magazines distributed to a readership of more than 120,000 homes and businesses around the Cheshire area. It was my final piece of work for that magazine, after a tenure of more than two years. Hit the jump for the full text or grab the PDF version here.

It can’t have escaped your notice that TVs are getting thinner.  Our recent trips to the department store have seen me sneaking off to peer around the backs of the latest screens and nod approvingly at their razor-thin panels.  And I’m convinced I’m not the only one; I sometimes catch a furtive glance from other men cut loose from their reins and milling conspicuously around the newest Samsung models, and I return a sort of imperceptible brotherly nod – as if to say “I know.  We’re living in the future.  I want one too”.

But while screens are slimmer and lighter than ever before, the march towards slightness hasn’t been without its casualties.  Technology has allowed us to cram more pixels into less space, but unfortunately the laws of physics dictate that we haven’t been able to do the same for sound.  Big sound comes from big speakers, and with space at an absolute premium in today’s LED and plasma chassis, customers have had to accept that pin-sharp cinema visuals and teeth-rattling bass simply can’t co-exist in the same slim housing.

And so it was that almost all screen manufacturers (Samsung, Phillips, Toshiba, LG et al) began to offer their own separate “soundbars” – elongated single-unit speakers designed to sit beneath and match the look of their latest screens, but capable of producing the kind of expansive, room-filling audio that the TVs themselves can only hint at. Continue Reading

  • Posted on September 04, 2012
Weddings 2012

Honeymoon destinations 2012

A PDF version of Ben Hanson's article about 2012's finest wedding and honeymoon destinationsThis article originally ran in the August / September issues of Live Magazines, four luxury lifestyle magazines distributed to a readership of more than 120,000 homes and businesses around the Cheshire area. Hit the jump for the full text or grab the PDF version here.

Your honeymoon should be a once in a lifetime experience – a chance for you and the person closest to your heart to experience the best the world has to offer, unfettered by time constraints and budgets.  For a fortnight (or longer) it’s all about you and the unique opportunity you have to stow your cares, indulge yourselves completely, and begin married life in style.

And from paradisal privacy to luxury dining above the world’s most opulent metropolis, this year’s top honeymoon destinations are all about indulgence.

Top of every expert’s list, the Maldives are picture-postcard-perfection.  An archipelago of more than a thousand islands, the Maldives are home to some of the most luxurious and secluded getaways on earth.  Honeymooners with eyes for nobody but each other can go for days without seeing another soul… besides their masseuse, the beachside chef, and the sea turtles frolicking around the house reef, of course.

With an average elevation of just four feet above sea level, the Maldives are one of very few places on earth suitable for the signature over-water villas you’ll find at the One & Only Reethi Rah and other luxury resorts.  And after a thrilling transfer by yacht or seaplane from bustling Male to your island hideaway, you’ll be ready to melt into your thatched-roof accommodation’s freestanding bath and look out over tranquil and seemingly endless seas.

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  • Posted on September 04, 2012
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Article – Meridian Audio 40th Anniversary System

A PDF version of Ben Hanson's article about Meridian Audio's 40th Anniversay separates systemThis article originally ran in the August / September issues of Live Magazines, four luxury lifestyle magazines distributed to a readership of more than 120,000 homes and businesses around the Cheshire area. Hit the jump for the full text or grab the PDF version here.

Founded by Cambridge alumni Bob Stuart and Allen Boothroyd in 1972, international audio experts Meridian are celebrating the ruby anniversary of that legendary creative partnership by building an extremely limited signature edition of their most advanced system.

Not coincidentally, this exclusive manufacturing run coincides with the launch of Meridian’s Alderley Edge boutique, and owners Sean Roberts and Vincent Bentham were able to procure one of eight remaining unsold 40th Anniversary audio systems.  So, with the initial launch buzz still reverberating along Cheshire’s most prestigious boulevard, I was invited to experience for myself the culmination of forty years’ worth of craftsmanship and expertise.

The Anniversary system comprises a special edition of the 808 CD and network player, bestrode by a pair of Meridian’s flagship DSP8000 digital active speakers in a striking and strictly limited ruby red lacquer finish.

While Meridian are world-renowned and their Alderley Edge boutique has far-flung counterparts in Singapore, Bangalore, Moscow and even further afield, every Meridian piece is conceived, engineered and built in the UK from the absolute finest components.  The DSP8000 speakers, for example, are made in Cambridge from hand-picked Russian birch (growing only at specific altitudes) which was selected not just for its beauty, but for its acoustic neutrality – capable of reproducing sound without introducing any imperfections of its own.

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  • Posted on August 21, 2012
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Profile – Bebb & Sekers gallery

A PDF version of Ben Hanson's profile of the Bebb & Sekers gallery, Alderley EdgeThis company profile originally ran in the August / September issues of Live Magazines, four luxury lifestyle magazines distributed to a readership of more than 120,000 homes and businesses around the Cheshire area. Hit the jump for the full text or grab the PDF version here.

Alderley Edge has built a reputation for the finer things in life.  To some this means bold and luxuriant, but for many the truly fine things are more discrete, delicate and cultured.  Luckily, with Bebb and Sekers Fine Art now ensconced at the centre of its chicest street, Alderley Edge can confidently lay claim to both interpretations.

Bebb and Sekers buy and sell works from the turn of the last century right through to modern marvels.  Their tasteful London Road premises play host to paintings (oil, watercolour and mixed media) as well as bold sculpture, signed screen prints, photography, portraiture and limited edition lithographs.  On a bright weekday afternoon I saw lustrous, energetic bronze forms by Carol Peace, brazen anatomical snapshots in lead and stone by Michael McEntee, and a beautifully kinetic daubing by Joan Miro.  But the ever-changing collections and exhibitions are sure to be just as diverse, eclectic and inspired whenever you visit.

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