The Inconvenient Truth…

It is an inconvenient and quintessentially modern Truth that while the Internet has empowered anyone to be able to say whatever they damn well please, it is also an instrument of unimaginable power, and unfortunately the cliché is true; with great power comes an equally tall measure of responsibility.

Anyone can say anything on the Internet. I can say, “The world is flat! I know it to be true!”. As long as I write my name you will all know who to blame for the rash of nutters saying in response, “It’s on the Internet. It must be true.”

Of course no one will care about the above, mostly because it’s patent nonsense, but also because it ceased to be interesting roughly 400 years ago.

The real problem, is that if you carelessly, and anonymously, bandy around juicy, scurrilous rumours about an emerging business and do so from the easily achieved hiding place of the Internet and all of its possibilities for anonymity then you are playing a very different game indeed.

I am sure that the shadowy individuals who were able to find my criticism of their activities on this meagre blog firmly believe that their grievances give them every right to pursue Christina Domecq and Daniel Doulton by any means necessary, but I fear that in their anger, and I daresay grief, they have forgotten a very important aspect to what they are doing…

Allow me to explain… Mud, nay even shit, sticks and sometimes when we least expect it can become a deadly and indelible stain. Whoever you are, tossing your mortars of insinuation and doubt into an already questionable milieu of media supposition, that only a fool would assume is less complex than any other media circus we have seen in the past, you are no longer messing solely with CD & DD. Oh no, you are playing with other people’s lives now.

I am not just speaking of my friends who work for SpinVox, or of their families, their children, but of the people who work for their business partners, their investors and even their customers. Are you really prepared to loftily assume that all of these people are complicit in whatever wrong you have experienced? Am I as guilty of the things that you alledge seeing as I worked for SpinVox for a goodly length of time? Are my other friends amongst the SpinVox Alumni also in your sights? Where does your anger end?

For all I know, everything that you say may be true, but we live in a world where truth is in fact only a consensus, where in order for your truth to be held in any esteem, you must prove it to the satisfaction of Society. I venture that if you could prove it, you would do so, and you would have done it already. To stand in the shadows, wearing the mask of a convenient righteousness, whilst doling out judgement and reproof, accusation and insinuation IS an act of cowardice and desperation.

If you have proof, bring it forth. Show the World the triumph of your certitude and in so doing nail your colours firmly to the mast of your endeavour; sign your name and prove your mettle.

If you have no proof, even though you may believe whatever you want, you have a duty of care to my friends, and their families and every single person that you have not considered in your fury, whose livelihoods you are gambling with, to hold your tongue.

Publish and be damned, or trouble not mine eyes with your empty rhetoric. If you can prove what you say then there is no reason for fear of lawyers or the courts; I am afraid to have to tell you that being right (not that I concede you are even close to being so) is simply not enough, and it is no excuse for fucking with people’s lives.

And as a side issue, to my most recent detractor, in comments upon my last post, it is spelt “credibility”. I am far less likely to believe the words of anyone who does not have the good sense and courtesy to check their spelling.

C. Oliver Godby – See it’s not hard to sign something that you have written.

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Don’t believe everything you read…

There has been a LOT of traffic on the web and in the mainstream media over the last few days about SpinVox, and it’s got to the point where I feel very strongly that I need to say something.

If you Google me, and then you hunt around a bit you will probably find my CV, and once you’ve found that, you’ll realise (if you did not already know) that I worked for SpinVox for quite some time, and it behooves me to say that I left there amicably because it was time for me to do something new. I should also point out that I have friends there still, some of them are people that I knew well before SpinVox was a twinkle in Christina’s and Daniel’s eyes, so if you insist on taking what follows as biased then so be it; I’d rather declare than be “found out”…

While I worked at SpinVox I did not work on the speech team, I never worked on the automation system, and so I’m not going to comment at all about conversion rates, the amount of machine involvement versus human involvement beyond the following… Throughout my time at SpinVox the amount of messages that were wholly or in part converted from audio to text by machines increased, in some ways dramatically. Now I am no longer in the business (but I know people well who are still there) I believe my friends when they tell me that the level of machine / automated conversion is getting to the realms of ‘the vast majority’ and as a member of the working world I do understand the myriad of sound commercial reasons why they cannot afford (even in confidence to me) to disclose __actual__ numbers.

Ok, so if I’m not going to speak to that issue, then what am I going to speak to?

Well, there have been a lot of unattributed, “they say”, “un-named sources” claims about mis-treatment of staff and non-payment of expenses. I have two problems with this kind of thing…

1. In my time at SpinVox I do not remember ANY examples of either unpaid expenses or salaries that were not IMMEDIATELY put right and apologised for. If there was one consistent theme in my time there, it was that the staff were treated with respect, paid in a timely fashion and generally had excellent working conditions. I’m sure that you will find people that disagree with that, but my point is that there is never only one story and the coverage lately has been pretty one-sided. I realise that the media has a far greater appetite for negativity and scandal, but I had a great time at SpinVox; sorry 🙂

2. If you are going to make the kinds of claims that essentially amount to accusing your former employer of contract infringement and fraud then PUT YOUR NAME ON IT! If you are worried about getting sued, then ask yourself whether or not the things that you want to say are provable. If they are, say or publish what you like. If they aren’t or they are heavily coloured by spite, anger, residual sour-grapes and so they are only “true” from your twisted point of view, then perhaps your ‘claims’ are not all that helpful…

No company is perfect, no company has made no mistakes, and SpinVox is no different, but one thing is true, SpinVox is a success, it continues to be a success and if you see the amount of negative coverage about a company as we have seen about SpinVox in the last few days then you have to ask yourself, “Who stands to gain from tearing these guys down?”. Their customers, who by the way mostly love the service, don’t benefit. The investors small and large don’t benefit. The carriers across the world who have bought the service lock, stock and barrel after doing their own due dilligence don’t benefit. Just have a think about it… Who benefits? Once you can answer that question, it may be a little clearer as to why all of this negative attention has been focused on a company that in my opinion we should be celebrating as a success story in a tough market, in tough times and as a shining example of innovation that we have every right to be proud of as British innovation.

Ok, break-time is over, you can start pummeling each other again; Round 2!

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And for those that are interested…

A map of this morning’s foot-based odyssey:


View Larger Map

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Walking to work…

Well I had my first go at walking from Paddington to the office today, and I have to say it was really rather lovely… I mean I am knackered, and I’ve realised that this is not going to be a valid use of my morning when I need to meet someone straight from work in the evening (a little bit more sticky that riding on the Tube to be honest), but it was a real delight to walk through the Capital in the morning, and over half the route is along or through Royal Parks, so it’s really lovely.

I marked the occasion by taking this photo:

Walking to Work #1

Sometimes it’s good to be reminded how cool it is and how lucky I am to be in London…

Hope y’all have a great day 🙂

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Upon strange dietary practices, walking and a hope for the future…

So, it is now exactly one week since I last ate bread. This is not all that interesting until I say that since I have been eating solid food this has never happened before. I have never gone as long as seven days without eating bread. So why am I doing this thing, which for me is very hard indeed? Well, I’ve been looking for an approach that will work for me to change my eating habits, and on reflection I decided that copying Stephen Fry might well be something that I could enjoy aspiring to… What do I mean? Well, it has become an open secret, due to the auspices of Twitter and Top Gear in the main, that Mr. Fry has recently lost a good deal of weight by taking two courses of action. Firstly he cut out all bread and potatoes from his diet. He did not adopt a “mad” zero carbohydrate diet, he just drastically reduced his daily carbohydrate intake by removing two of the largest contributor’s of the aforementioned food group from his diet, and I realised that not eating any bread or potatoes that I would generally halve the amount of carbohydrate I eat every day as well. His second choice was to start taking daily walks of at least an hour in duration, off-setting the boredom / loss of time by enjoying audiobooks as he walked. Well I have spent all week making the dietary adjustment, and let me tell you it has been hard, but at the same time I have felt a couple of benefits, one of which has been a real eye-opener. I have some sleep dysfunction (I know who doesn’t in these days of modern life), and I had always put my propensity to nod off in the afternoons on work days down to the fact that I don’t sleep as much as I probably should. Still this week it has not happened once; that’s right, not once. I have also found myself being a LOT more hungry than I am used to being in the run up to meal-times, and as such I have been really enjoying what I have eaten, even though I have often eaten less than I might have done previously and also eaten things that I would not normally choose all week long.

Today I have taken my first “long walk”. Since my injury at the beginning of the year I’ve not driven, and as I became more mobile into March and April I’ve been walking a LOT, but I haven’t walked without stopping for more than an hour since I was in the bush in Kruger, so it was with __some__ trepidation that I set out from my home this afternoon / evening to walk all the way across Reading to Tilehurst Station (in order to ride back on the train). You can see my route here:


View Larger Map

In the mould of the lovely Mr. Stephen Fry I had prepared for this activity by subscribing to Audible, and I had sync’d my first audio book, “The Time Traveller’s Wife” up to my newly charged iPhone. I stepped out of my door as the male narrator read out the epigrams to me, noted the inauspicious looking sky and then set off to walk.

An hour and ten minutes later I had moved through the town where I live, and I was where I had meant to end up – it was easy… Well it wasn’t __easy__. I mean I had broken a sweat, even though the temperature had dropped and it had started to rain gently, and I was tired and looking forward to sitting down on the platform while I awaited the train to take me back to Reading Station, but it was no great sacrifice either. What do I mean by that? Well, my experience with exercise throughout most of my adult life is that I __actually__ enjoy it, but I procrastinate about it (a lot) partly based on the illusion about how much of a sacrifice of time and effort that doing it would represent. Shock horror it is actually was pleasant (even fun), and I enjoyed the walk.

Of course the light rain was a torrential downpour by the time I got back to Reading, so I got a __little__ wet…

Anyway, onwards and upwards with regard to staying on the Stephen Fry bandwagon on the diet front, and as regards walking, I am planning to start walking to the office in the morning. I mean I am still going to ride the train to Paddington, but the plan is to walk from there to the office on Blackfriars Road, and to do that every day if I can. The hope is that I can keep that up, and the money I save on the Travelcard aspect of the monthly ticket I buy can be what I spend on audiobooks… Well it’s a strategy at least.

Hope you all have a good week.
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More Low-Key, Nude Portraiture…

In amongst all of the upheaval and confusion of the last few days I did get a chance to work with a favourite model on some more pictures for my series “Shadow Walkers”…

May I present, Kristin:

Kristin - Dark Nudes
Kristin - Dark Nudes

As ever, dear reader(s), your thoughts would be greatly appreciated…

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We knew that it was coming…

We knew that it was coming, that my Nan’s life was coming to an end; those that read this blog often will remember my entry about visiting her in hospital a few weeks ago.

Anyway, earlier this week my father pre-warned me that he felt things were coming to a head, progressing rather suddenly and more quickly than we had thought, towards the end.

All efforts were made to offer her comfort and calm in her last days. I am supremely confident of that, and incredibly thankful, both for my parents’ fortitude in bringing their professional experience to bear in this distressing time and for the efforts of the local palliative care home team.

And so it was that my last remaining grandparent, my father’s mother, passed away quietly at home late on Friday night, the tenth of July 2009.

She had lived a long and full life, and I will always cherish the fond memories that I have of spending my early childhood in her care. Her stories about the Manchester Blitz; falling from her bicycle when she rode into an unseen house brick during the blackout, or putting mattresses between the beds of her epileptic patients during air raids as they could not be moved to the cellars with the others… These and a hundred more will always be a part of my oral record, although I may perhaps commit them to ‘paper’ at some point.

She was fiercely proud of her family, supportive and understanding to a fault of my choices despite their often being fraught with risk and/or non-conformity, and I am sure that my brother would say the same. She was no pushover either, never shy to tell me that she liked me better with less weight on my bones, or berating me for my somewhat feckless inability to completely remove tobacco from my life.

I think that what I will remember most fondly is her capacity for tolerance and her sense of fairness. As a woman of her generation and background she could have been understood, perhaps even forgiven, if her outlook had been unable to accept the sweeping social changes that her lifetime saw, but I cannot remember a single time that she exhibited intolerance for anything or anyone in my presence, with perhaps the exception of rudeness and rude people.

Of course she was no saint, and there is often a sense of obligation to ignore the negative after someone dies and suddenly they are canonised and celebrated in the odd vacuum created by love, grief and nostalgia. I too am moved to gloss over her failings, if only in deference to how patient she was of mine – which are numerous enough – but also because while we are learning to live without her it is simpler to be fond in our remembrance. Besides, the ties that bind really do run deeper than anything else.

I am on my way up to Chorley to “circle the wagons”, and spend time with my parents and my brother and his partner. We spend so much of our lives apart at this point that it feels imperative to spend some time together while we are coming to terms with Nan’s passing.

I will be back in the southeast between Tuesday and the funeral – there are things that are under the heading of ‘life goes on’ that need my attention, and that is something that my Nan would have understood and approved of unless I miss my guess…

Dorothy Godby 02/02/1921 to 10/07/2009 – At peace; much loved and much missed.


Exciting Things…

Some friends of mine are becoming Festival Promoters…

I know what you are thinking; some of you are thinking “Oh no, I’ve got no more money for Festivals __next__ year, let alone this” and the rest are thinking “What’s the attraction of camping with teenagers and getting everything I own soaked in order to see my heros the size of matchsticks whilst surrounded by aforementioned teenagers making me feel old?”. Okay there may be some of you thinking “Woohoo!” but I reckon that most of you are in column a or b and nowhere near column c.

Anyway, this festival is:

a) Free

b) Indoors

and for good measure

c) For charity.

So what do you need to do?

It’s easy really, head on over to:

The Invisible Festival (although the “Essential Festival Organiser’s Guide” is not quite available yet it will be in the next couple of days)

and / or

Download the early press-release here

and then of course you can follow them on Twitter:

@InvisibleFest

They are __about__ to announce a bunch of really cool stuff, and frankly this is a really cool idea that is going to raise money for Cancer Research UK and give you fun at the same time, so why not give it a waggle?