So when does ‘On the Record’ begin?

A news story appeared today, where the head of Sainsbury’s Mike Coupe was filmed singing “We’re in the Money” ahead of a press interview.


You may think that is outrageous, but what is more outrageous is the fact that this has turned into a news story when the interview had not begun. Does this cloud the time when an interviewee is “on the record”, or should they assume that they are permanently on the record?


Another example of this is from 2016, ahead of Theresa May becoming Prime Minister, and Ken Clarke and Malcolm Rifkind discussed her off the record and this became a media storm.


The question I have here is at what point does the person you’re interviewing become something that is on the record? Is it from the moment they are sat in front of the camera, from when they first appear on the screen or from when the question is asked? I’ve appeared on television from time to time and in one instance, was in a remote Sky News studio and left there for a few minutes before and after the interview took place. Does that count as being on the record? Is there Sky News footage of me sitting looking at my phone waiting to be escorted from the studio?


My concern here is that is breaks down the trust between the interviewee and the journalist. I don’t do many video interviews these days, but when I did in a previous job I made it clear on what we would talk about and from my introduction we were on the record. These days on phone interviews there is always some small talk before we get to the point, that’s just human nature surely?


Of course there is always a grab for a story and I appreciate that this has become a media sensation, but my concern is that if everyone can be recorded and wrapped into a news story these days, the trust barriers break down.


The Human Factor podcast interview

On Friday, an interview podcast was published which featured yours truly, being interviewed by the magnificent Jenny Radcliffe.


What I don’t want to do is give you spoilers on this, and I definitely recommend that you listen to this if you want to learn more about me and my career path, but also listen to the 50+ episodes that Jenny has done to date and work through them, I can’t recall a bad episode.


A couple of things I do want to highlight from it though: firstly I mentioned about the need for supporting new and upcoming speakers, and when you next go to a conference look for the name you don’t know and give them your support.


Secondly I talked about my break into journalism and I think that the concept of ‘sending the elevator back down’ needs to apply not only to more established editors and reporters, but also to industry and attitudes (which I’ve witnessed) of “I’ll only give my story [insert name of major journalist]” are not supporting the next generation of writer, who will see a barrier in getting to talk to certain people.


Anyway, the final thing I wanted do about the podcast was share some of the links which I mentioned in the podcast, as they may prove useful:



The podcast –


Lesley Carhart tweet on ‘old news’


Marcin from Malwarebytes, at Infosecurity Europe on WannaCry


Infosecurity Magazine Security Evangelist webinar


IT Security Guru video with Proofpoint, filmed in the fire escape in Las Vegas


SC Magazine interview with Jack Daniel


44CON 2014 talk “Top 5 Media Fails”


IT Security Guru video on phishing


IT Security Guru story Camelot and social engineering


NBC Dateline undercover reporter intercepts, and escapes Def Con


Infosecurity Magazine story from RSA USA 2016 on Mr Robot’s Rami Malek’s interview









John Oliver’s YouTube channel for Last Week Tonight


Def Con documentary




Silk Road takedown documentary


Thom Langford and Lee Munson’s 2017 Irisscon talk

The Final Cut

I updated my 2015 blog this week following the news that the NME’s final print edition would be coming out this week.


I did start to read the print edition when it first moved to the free version, and disappointment didn’t come true as it contained vox pops and barely any news. Assuming that was 2015, and with this being the momentous final edition, I decided to take a final look.


From the start, you can see where it failed. It’s a 40 page magazine, with no shortage of advertising and a strong front cover featuring Stefflon Don. We have a problem here though, flicking through the pages it is page 22 before I get to that cover interview – and that is the first proper music feature in the magazine. After articles on a new Nicholas Cage film, series two of This Country, an editorial  comment and shopping options before we get to an actual music feature in the New Musical Express.


Taking the eye off the ball doesn’t seem to come close.


Come to page 28 and things take an upward step: an interview with Kim Deal, followed by a top tracks and album reviews – well you’ve got to keep the freelancers in business I suppose. Two of the three reviews are for ‘older artists’, namely David Byrne and Albert Hammond Jr. Hardly ‘new music’ acts.


After that it is gig listings, more film news and a concluding Q&A with Moby; and that is it. That’s the end of the once great weekly music magazine.


It’s pretty obvious this had gone to press before the decision was made about it being the final edition, and it is a shame that the editorial team were apparently not given the opportunity to sign off with a ‘last ever’ copy. I hope this is not the legacy of the NME, but it does feel like a slow decline.


Happy New Yearwood

Back in January I proposed to make four new year’s resolutions: – to read a book a month; listen to an album a week; be fitter and get more exercise; and listen to a new band a week. I’ve mostly failed on the artist options, but I did join my local gym in the summer and have made a concerted effort to increase my capabilities there.

So I’ll plan to continue those into 2018. The album option is one we need to action and with a vested interest in vinyl, it’s not hard to achieve. I also got a Spotify account as a Christmas present so the new band option can also be achieved – maybe I’ll try to make this blog as a place to record my achievements.

I reckon I got through four books in 2017. I’m currently working through two, so I’ll maybe set myself a more realistic option of six a year considering podcasts dominate my journey to and from work!

Work wise, there are some achievements I still want make, but they are generally in the hands of other people.

Looking back at the year gone by, I’ll pick out my best. The best gig I went to was Guns n’ Roses at London’s Olympic Stadium, closely followed by Gary Numan at Brixton Academy. The best film, in a rare tie between three superhero films but I reckon Guardians of the Galaxy 2 just beats Wonder Woman and Thor Ragnarok. Special mention for the Death of Stalin also.

In terms of this blog, my greatest achievement was completing NaBloPo month, and I’ll make another declaration to do better with this blog in 2018. Perhaps actually sticking to my aims is the way to do that! 

Happy New Year everyone!

National Blog Posting Month 2017

At the end of October I heard of National Blog Posting Month, and having not written regularly for this blog or others I produce guest posts for in some time, I decided to take on this challenge. Today on the 1st December, I’m delighted to report that I completed it, and below is a list of each entry.

The concept sounds simple, but the biggest challenges I found (apart from connectivity) was finding something I was interested in every day, and sharing some thoughts on those subjects. Hence some posts were a bit shorter than others, one was effectively a series of photos and some others were done on the spare of the moment. Some however, I was delighted to write and it felt appropriate that I was able to cover football, politics, music and news analysis in the last month.

I may give this another go in a year, but this has at least stimulated me to do more writing, and realise that guest blogging isn’t such a big challenge after all.



1 Bake Off spoiled (LinkedIn)


2 Spurs v Real Madrid review (Everybody Loves Raywood)


3 Papa Johns PR fail (Everybody Loves Raywood)


4 Gunpowder TV series reality (Everybody Loves Raywood)​everythings-gone-hollywood-now/


5 Spurs v Palace (Match of the Doy)


6 Email mistakes (LinkedIn)


7 Rafal Nadal’s lookalike pass (LinkedIn)


8 Disney and the LA Times report (Everybody Loves Raywood)


9 New Who (Everybody Loves Raywood)


10 T-Shirt Day (Everybody Loves Raywood)


11 2 Minute Silence (Everybody Loves Raywood)


12 Remembrance Sunday Littlehampton (Everybody Loves Raywood)


13 Spurs remembrance Sunday (Everybody Loves Raywood)


14 Don’t appoint your heroes (Match of the Doy)


15 Girl on the Net availability (LinkedIn)


16 Dennis Wise hard nut (Everybody Loves Raywood)


17 Cyber Geneva Conventions (LinkedIn)


18 North London Derby (Match of the Doy)


19 Kings Cross fire 30th anniversary (Everybody Loves Raywood)


20 Tony Pulis fired (Match of the Doy)


21 RIP Jana Novotna (Everybody Loves Raywood)


22 Suing Oxford Uni (Everybody Loves Raywood)


23 Uber’s breach (LinkedIn)


24 The end of Black Friday (Everybody Loves Raywood)


25 German Christmas Markets (Everybody Loves Raywood)


26 Customer service and train stations (Everybody Loves Raywood)


27 Meghan and Harry (Everybody Loves Raywood)


28 Visit to the Wannsee Conference House (Everybody Loves Raywood)


29 My first non UK gig (Everybody Loves Raywood)


30 Trump and Britain First (Everybody Loves Raywood)

Trump Retweeted the Fascists

The last post of National Blog Posting month from me comes at a time when the world’s most powerful man backs the views of a fascist and racist organisation, and when challenged over his online support for them by the UK Prime Minister, he defended his actions. 

There was no ‘mea culpa’ by Donald Trump, no undoing of the retweets, just a defence of his actions. As a result, Britain First got its largest slice of publicity to date, with all of the major TV networks queing up to talk to them and undoubtedly pushing their twitter following a boost and web traffic a massive spike. That’s not to say that there is a secret band of supporters waiting to join them, instead those who follow the lead of a President will look at Britain First as a reputable organisation that he supports, and not a gang of horrible people determined to divide communities and stir up hatred.

If there is any fortunate guidance to take from this action, it’s that few people really do take what Trump says seriously. He’s become a subject of satire in less than a year in the White House, has seen multiple changes in his administration and is stirring up a war of words with another world leader in Kim Jong-Un. Is the man fit to be in politics? Of course not, he’s a business man used to making decisions and having them happen, and in politics things move slower and much more democratically.

However, in this case, Trump did tweet from his personal account, rather than from the official Presidential account which does suggest that this even if this is not the view of the government, with ultimate power it is the view of its most senior person. Of course you could have asked if Obama or even Hillary Clinton would have supported a far right party, and the answer would certainly be no. However in his actions Trump has legitimised their raison d’etre and policies, and until he realises the gravity of such a simple action of the retweet button, this world seems to be a worse place day by day.

My First non-UK Gig

After 27 years of going to live gigs, during which time I reckon I’ve been to at least one every year, last night I achieved quite a remarkable aim – my first gig outside of the UK. My first gig outside of England was a Christmas present when the wife got us tickets to see Manic Street Preachers in Swansea back on 2016, but this was the first outside of the UK and was the main point of visiting Berlin this week.

A small venue on Karl Marx Strasse hosted Billy Bragg, an artist I’ve seen numerous times but not in a capacity where the audience are not in a singing-along mood. Billy did point out that it was a Tuesday night, I think it was more of an “we want to stand and watch and enjoy” attitude to the performance. The venue was the Heimathafen which is kind of a cross between the Bush Hall and Islington Assembly Hall.

I’m not going to make an effort to review the gig, but Billy did turn out a large number of his early hits interspersed with some of the country-influenced material from recent years. His album of American railroad classics barely got an airing despite him bringing second guitarist and steel guitar player CJ along with him.

No, what I want to focus on is the environment. Like Islington Assembly Hall, the social area and “dancefloor” are in same room, meaning that through the support act all you could hear was the mumble of conversation. Regardless of the language, this is distracting for the rest of the audience and I don’t like to think about the affect it has upon the artist.

To be honest, there was not a whole lot different between a UK and German gig experience. In both cases the security checks were the same, the merchandise prices are set by the artist, the beer does contain some pretty terrible lager (although the Schneider Weisse was one of the best gig beers I’ve ever had, and came in at 💶 3.50) and the performance was as great as expected. The trick would be to see a non English speaking performer outside of the UK, and see what the experience is like in that instance.

For me, I’m glad I finally got round to achieving this aim and my next step will be to see someone on a totally different continent.