Hedge Funding

Hedge Funding

A week into this journey of creating a completely new film studio out of nothing and it’s been both lovely (see the comments building on the Ko-Fi page, which is how you support the project) and interesting…on a lot of levels.

There’s a learning curve with film-making, that much I’ll give you, but it’s in realising just how different Hedge Fund Studio that all the lights go on.

I had no idea, at least not at first, films are largely privately funded through an elaborate investment tax relief scheme for people already wealthy. (It’s called EIS if you want to look it up). That’s definitely not what Hedge Fund is about, which immediately creates our biggest asset and biggest challenge: whether it works or not is entirely reliant on the community it grows from.

Then there’s the whole tax relief set up, which isn’t something Hedge Fund will be structured to take advantage of. It’s all quite off-putting when you start to look into it.

Thankfully, I guess, we’re doing it ALL differently. I crowdfund, I pay my taxes in the absolutely normal way and we make films. There’s no magic, no schemes. I’ll admit it is the hard way, but what’s the point in doing anything in good heart if there’s no mild peril? It’s something every film we’ve ever watched has told us, ironically.

You can get more detail on the project as a whole here.

So far, over a hundred people have joined our fledgling community and we’re hovering around 3% of the overall budget needed to make our first feature. 

And those lovely people are already helping build the script for our first film, Naked Bears – something everyone who joins in will be able to do.

The members’ votes on the environmental project the first film will help support are also well underway, and it’s a close run contest at the moment. If you want to be part of it too, all you have to do is become part of the family.

However, there’s a long way to go and the project has been swallowed up in the week’s Brexit news cycle madness, which is a shame. I hope we’ll get it back on track now, but it’s all down to you.

So, if you feel like it’s something you want to get involved in, it would be a pleasure to have you aboard.

I’ll check in at the end of next week with an update and some news on distribution options and what we’re aiming for as a return on the first film. Until then, here’s a short video I made earlier, having a bit of quiet time.

Have a great weekend and be good to one another.

Page To Screen, Times Are Changing

Page To Screen, Times Are Changing

Hello all.

It turns out the pickle we are in, internationally, is unlikely to end well.

Worse still, it turns out the written word isn’t having the impact it needs to. Because people are turning off to it.

This is, sadly, part of what the disinformation barrage which is integral to the world’s ongoing hybrid war is for. Fighting disinformation with information in the same format just creates a tornado of white noise, rather than one triumphing over the other.

I still believe the traditional structures of news delivery are failing us and I still believe there is a better way, in spite of everything.

Subsequently, for me it’s time to try something different. So, I’m making my first feature length documentary. It’s not going to be rushed, not going to be bodged, and the intention is it will be the first of many – which will become self-funding.

The script is written, the production company has a name (Bedsit Genius), and the equipment is all in place. What I need to do now is make the film, working title “Malware For Humans.”

To do this, and do it properly, there are a few things which need to be paid out up front – such as location fees (for disused bunkers, etc) and weapons hire (because bringing this topic to life in a way people will “get it” is quite a challenge).

The budget for this is £5,000 and I’m trying a new way of raising this: through cups of coffee…

You can visit my Ko-Fi page here and contribute to this project through cups of coffee rather than fixed amounts. It’s fast, secure, and doesn’t charge any fees so everything goes to the budget.

Unlike any of the other crowdfunders I’ve done, there’s no time pressure or all or nothing, but without the funds I have to adjust the end product down and the topic deserves the best shot I can give it.

I aim to be shooting in September/October and working on post production through the winter. I’d like to be able to have it released in February, ahead of the UK’s looming destruction. But this depends largely on you.

In terms of how people can watch the film when it’s done, I’m leaning towards distribution through Prime for international streaming and downloads, with an option for DVD’s here in the UK. Mainly because it appears to be the easiest route to the largest audience, without having to unleash YouTube’s adverts on the finished film.

I intend to give 10% of any net proceeds to charity, and will pick one when the time comes with the help of the good people of Twitter.

I hope you can see some potential good in this project and can throw a coffee at it.

Much love,


Come Home…Part 2

Come Home…Part 2

…I didn’t have a lot of anything in the spring of 2017. Well, with the exception of love from a soulmate who not only believed in me, but who stood by me through the damage and panic attacks and self-loathing which was the legacy of the old life’s grisly end.

And the reason my love believed in me? Beneath all the rubble, a light was still shining through the cracked fragments. That promise I made to myself was about to be broken by that cursedly curious mind of mine, abetted by the same defect which meant the whistleblowing was possible in the first place.

And so I turned my attentions to disinformation, elections, the far-right, and Russia.

Starting from nothing, I battered my way into journalism. Gathered a following and crowdfunding at Byline, and eventually managed to scoop the story which changed everything: Russia had engaged the West in hybrid warfare and won, destabilising its long-term adversaries with electoral interference planned over years. Deploying the most ruthless of all psychological weapons to drive wedges into every seam of our society, creating chaos. The installation of malware for the soul. A virus for the human mind.

When Alternative War was first released as a public interest project in 2017, barely anybody believed it. The trolling was intense, tasked, and incredibly damaging. I was dismissed and disbelieved at every step, leaving me burnt-out and demoralised.

And worse still, because I had started to come around to the idea of people being better than I dared believe, some other journalists laid into me to. From their privileged positions of stable jobs with nothing to lose.

This is only a shadow of the privilege which affects billions every day, and it was soul destroying.

Though the security services eventually caught up, and the media sneering was replaced with growing acceptance, I had seen enough. And the echoes from my time before the truth came out in the parliamentary inquiry were too much. Old scars had been re-opened – because in this world you can’t really do right until it also suits somebody else’s agenda. Or circulation figures.

We truly deserve better in this world, but we don’t have better yet. And who knows if we ever will. Battered and bruised, exhausted, I resigned myself to near defeat.

But that soft voice was still there. That love of mine. Whispering to me carry on the journey home. Smiling at me gently as she told me to take as many people along as possible.

And so I opened more doors. And now I’m opening them to you.

Because we do deserve better. And they only way we can get there is together…

Come Home continues tomorrow.



Come Home…Part 1

Come Home…Part 1

I once made a promise to myself. Lying in a ball on a rug, hoodie pulled up over my face, panicked breathing refusing to ease.

It was a fortnight after I left the police on the tenth anniversary of my starting in the service, and I was broken. Blowing the whistle to Parliament on the national failure to record crime properly and the manipulation of resource statistics had taken years but, by May 2014, it was done and I’d forced things to change for the better for victims of crime. The price was a heavy one: the loss of the career I loved, the loss of financial security, the unemployability which comes with doing the right thing.

The promise was a simple one, a child’s almost. I’m never doing that again, it’s just too much.

Just under two years later, I was lying in a bedsit in the dark, listening to the night-sounds of the sink estate and the alcoholic Scotsman screaming to the dark in the room above, stopping to urinate on the floor in elongated blasts. I had been bankrupt for a fortnight, after a road closure of several months killed off the pub I’d managed to renovate and restore.

Life really can be peculiar, because it’s there I found peace in myself for the first time in many years and started to write Forever Completely, a catharsis in fiction. An escape. Oddly, this running away had the effect of opening the door on a journey. A road home to a place where I belonged. A place I could build for my family. The Welsh word for this is Cynefin.

And so it was, in the most miserable of circumstances, Cynefin Road was born. A small, independent publisher working to make book magic on a wing and a prayer.

But this wasn’t intended to be some vanity project, nor a money making escapade. Just a place for beautifully written stories which gives authors a fair deal – a 40% royalty – though advances are still well beyond reach. And it’s slowly building into something wonderful.

My soulmate works full-time while we face the precarious nature of my work as a publisher and crowfunded journalist, but that’s part of the path to building something truly special and, though it causes its stresses, we are committed to the long term dream.

Cynefin Road now has a growing collection of titles, from a wonderful authors, from children’s stories, to sci-fi, to non-fiction – it’s a privilege to have writers like Stephanie Shields, Lu Thomson, Thomas Heasman-Hunt, Soledad Osraige coming home, with others on their way. And then there’s our fabulous house illustrator, Kathleen Day. Best of all, we are receiving new submissions all the time.

But what is home without people to share it with?

And that is why I want you to come home too.

But, I suppose, I should probably explain why things need to change from how they are now, especially as the things I’ve been writing about as a journalist take new turns and the tide seems to have turned. And I have to do that before I explain exactly where we are headed.

It all started because the promise I made to myself on the floor, laying there with palpitations, wasn’t one I kept. And after the door was opened an unexpected trip began…

Come Home continues tomorrow.




It’s not a great time of year for me, or should I say it hasn’t been in the historical sense.

My mum passed away on February 6, 2001 and I’ve missed her every day since.

Lord knows there have been times when I genuinely believe one cuddle could have changed things but, just as you have to let go of pain, you have to let go of dreams of unrecieved hugs too.

You make peace, when you stop falling. You breathe.

Then, of course, March looms. The 17th to be precise – and ironically what would have been mum’s birthday.

It was this day, in 2016, I walked into Colchester County Court, broken, and was declared bankrupt after a three month road closure saw to the end of my pub – a business opened to claw myself back from the brink after whistleblowing and losing the career I had loved in the police.

But you make peace, when you stop falling. You breathe.

I was left with nothing – selling even childhood posessions for food – and served my time in a “shared house.”

The soundtrack to my nights were the shouts and screams of the man upstairs as he fought his alcholic demons and urinated on the floor above my head in long, deafening streams. My days were filled with the sharp, omnipresent headache and perma-tiredness of malnutrition while doing a physical job. I was a wreck, living on rationed biscuits.

But you make peace, when you stop falling. You breathe.

Knowing that there are people who will never forgive the loss of money is something which simply takes time to get over and there is no easy reconciliation with your sense of self-worth, I assure you. But I found happiness after the horror, once shame faded away and all the emotional pain stopped.

The social leprosy of a court ruling does its work in this.

But you make peace, when you stop falling. You breathe.

I was discharged from Bankruptcy a year on, on mum’s birthday, and soon it will be another year down. In four years I will have served my credit sentence and return to being a financially acceptable human once more.

It is a relief, the weight of a quarter of million of debt being lifted, but nobody must ever think this comes for free. The worst of it isn’t the public record, the sneering, or the assumptions, either. It’s what you do to yourself.

But you make peace, when you stop falling. You breathe.

Rather than spiral to terminal velocity, I stopped the sharp descent and even fell in love, real love. Which was just coming home in truth.

One day, I may even be to soften up on myself too. Because once you can breathe again, and you come home, you can move.

And I haven’t stopped moving since.

I’m flying, I suppose. Completely free for the first time in almost forty years of life.

Shatter The Night

Shatter The Night

Love belongs to no single day,

Resides in no single heart,

Fills no single soul.

The love I know is home.

The sun,

The moon.

The earth beneath my feet does not ground me,

Family provides me roots.

The skies cannot contain my flight.

My love soars with me to the stars,

For we were born of a dance in darkness,

And our glow shatters night.

My heart is set within a ruby,

For now.