Award-winning tech, business, sport & culture journalist and director of Pickup Media Limited
Oliver is an award-winning journalist, ghostwriter, media consultant and editor based in south-east London. He specialises in tech, business, sport, and culture. He regularly appears on television and radio as a commentator and is director of Pickup Media Limited, an organisation he launched in 2015.
Sweden, the Scandinavian nation famous for ABBA, Björn Borg, and Volvo, is leading the way when it comes to becoming the world's first cashless country - and the technology behind Bitcoin, and the cryptocurrencies it has spawned, is catalysing the process.
When figures released in August 2016 indicated that there were a million fewer visitors to Paris between January and June of last year compared to the same period in 2015, the regional tourist board head labelled it "an industrial disaster". The situation has drastically improved, thankfully.
Ten years ago this summer I enjoyed my first full-blown festival in Britain. Aged 25, I excitedly packed my tent, wellies, and - argh! - a pirate costume (there was a nautical theme) before tripping to the Isle of Wight, where Bestival was, and still is, held.
South Africa may have already won the 10-stop 2016-17 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, with last Sunday's Paris victory - the fifth in a remarkable season - confirming their first championship since 2009, but on the eve of the London curtain-closing tournament there is still so much to celebrate in a campaign propelled by the golden afterglow of the Olympics.
Realistically, can the British and Irish Lions triumph in New Zealand this summer against the mighty All Blacks, the reigning back-to-back world champions and rugby union's perennial number-one-ranked team - and on their own patch, to boot?
Simon Amor knows precisely what is required to prevail in the Hong Kong Sevens, perennially the most-coveted prize on the circuit. England have won at the sport's mecca on four occasions, in a golden five-year spell between 2002 and 2006; Amor, now the country's head coach, starred as the playmaker in each success, and even skippered the side in their last triumph 11 years ago.
With just four rounds of the 10-stop HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series remaining, South Africa lead the pack by an astonishing distance and are well on course to add to the country's solitary title, achieved back in 2009. A maiden triumph at the Hong Kong Sevens - the most-coveted prize on the circuit - this weekend would provide the fillip to ensure the side complete the season as champions, surely.
With the backing of the RFU and aided by HSBC's continued investment in grass roots initiates across the globe - including the Rosslyn Park tournament - as well as title sponsorship of the Sevens Series, the short- and long-term future for England looks incredibly promising.
Mike Friday, the head coach of the USA men's rugby sevens team, joked on the eve of last summer's Olympics that if his team managed to achieve a dream podium finish he would anoint fellow Englishman Tom Hardy as the actor he would most like to portray him in the inevitable Hollywood movie depicting the against-the-odds triumph.
A Six Nations Championship on the eve of a British and Irish Lions campaign always fizzes with more intensity than usual. Players push themselves to the very limit of their athletic abilities in a bid to impress the selectors and gain a coveted place on the aeroplane for a tour which, for most, is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and the pinnacle of their rugby career.
Ten months ahead of the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, where rugby sevens made its Games debut last August, only a fool would have placed a wager against New Zealand triumphing in the women's competition.
More than nine million people in England drink in excess of the recommended daily limits, according the latest Alcohol Concern statistics, published in October. Considering the population is just over 53 million, that's one in six of us, alarmingly.
Of all the 133 years since two Scottish butchers from Melrose invented rugby sevens, and hosted a fund-raising tournament for their local club, 2016 will be vigorously ringed as the most sensational, successful, and significant in its long and - until recently - largely uneventful history.
Selection for the British and Irish Lions is "the pinnacle of your career", according to Rob Howley, who on Wednesday was confirmed as Warren Gatland's backs coach for next summer's series in New Zealand, where the world's most-famous rugby-playing tourists have won only one previous campaign.
09/12/2016 11:42 GMT
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