Here is just one example of what is essentially a daily occurrence in one vein or another: I was commissioned to produce and record a radio ad using my voice. It was for an Advertising Agency by the name of Gulf Saatchi. They have since dropped that tag and go about their business as something else now. At that time they hired a South African chap who I believe was their copywriter and now in the studio to produce this ad and ostensibly direct me. The script was full of the PRONOUN VIRUS and I refused to read it. I offered my services to simply re-arrange the script to avoid all the ‘WE’s and ‘Call US’ stuff. It would have taken two seconds and the resulting script would have sounded much slicker, more dynamic with better flow.  On top of that, the product/subject would have dominated as a name. Hello?  Is that not the principle? Well as is often the case when you challenge Read more


Growing older:

I’m actually the Master/Slave at ADmaze Media WLL studio and www.whodoeswhat.tv  for most of my life.  My job, as it has always been is to write, direct and produce thousands more commercials and programmes than I voice. It is not only voice-overs, but with my best mate Allan Jennings, we have written loads of original music jingles and even songs, airline music, you name it.

I ‘was’ British before circumcision and Elvis Presley’s love child.  Old now, but before a gorgeous, a 2.3 metre tall, 22 year old Adonis based in Outer Mongolia with a warm ISDN machine/codec.  The first and for most the ONLY one in Bahrain, being the only one who understood such technology and the need to use world wide professional voice talent with my studio live linked to other studios around the globe.  All real time baby . Then came Audio TX, then  Source Connect, ipDTL  and no more need to DHL heavy tape reels around the world. Tommy Vance (the deep voice BBC Radio One rock show DJ and VH1 stalwart) was actually my best mate (or so I thought – he was also my girl friend’s while I was away at the time as well.  Hmmmm! Shhhh!) and in the hay days, we had up to 10 tapes a week going back and forth. Add all that to a rockin’ ‘kick ass’  studio in which we did all sorts of audio and video recording and times were sooooooooooooo good!

Those discerning among the business community (and there were many then) knew what quality was and my life was delightful murder, working 48 hours a day year after year, but by God I loved it.  I invented strawberries as well – what an incredible guy I am!  Ok, I  lied slightly.  I have the perfect face for radio and a bit of voice, but the ISDN and the studio bit is true.



If you slag me or someone/anyone, an individual or a company, you had better have your facts on your key board or shut the **** up, because we’ll be taking names and want the full gorey juice on it.  If it is bollocks, don’t waste your time.  Debate is fine,  Political Correctness, racial harmony and all that bumf is entirely optional but we’ve all been so dumbed down that most of us will surely adhere. Why? In the worst case scenario, don’t accuse someone of being a shirt lifter if in fact they are a pillow biter for example.

Registrations are really welcome as I’d like a bit of a voice-over and advertising family, community thing going if I can. So your real name and email is preferred but not essential, eitherway, NOBODY will ever find out who you are unless  you yourself, thee, the bloggee prints your name – yourself! Torture me all they like, I will never personally know as the site is administered in far off lands that have not been discovered yet.

This page is open to all and although your post has to be approved, very little if any will not be,  no matter what you say and the folks at ADmaze Media will approve it (or not) as fast as possible. Behave! Be factual! Like you, I accept that creative art is wholly abstract so without patronizing you,  your opinion is totally valued. But unlike every sickly IVR system in the world (except our’s)  ‘your call is NOT important to US’‘  and nobody cares whether you participate or not, but it would be nice if you did.


The Juice:

So I am nearly famous: I am locally more infamous for my often direct approach to Advertising Agencies and those manipulating the media and more about that as this blog matures and I am sure it will get juicy so have no fears.  I have plenty of pet media hates, but upfront ‘THE PRONOUN VIRUS’ is my biggest campaign to date.  Scroll, or better read to the bottom of this particular post and you will see how much I rant about it.

Sometimes I get a little short with clients when they insist on streams of unnecessary, pointless information within a script, such as this endless patronizing clap-trap experienced these days and telephone numbers etc.  YOU KNOW IT, YOU HATE IT TOO, when it is not your own service, because you think ‘you are the best’, so naively, (I would say ‘stupidly’ but it upsets people)  go right out there and follow suit and do the same. “YOUR CALL IS IMPORTANT TO US”. ‘VISIT OUR WEB SITE ON…’  ‘CALL US’   ‘ABOUT US’. It is NOTHING BUT VOMIT. Who the hell is ‘US’? It is endemic though and dreadfully lacks credibility, creativity, just everything!  My bitching about it so often intimidates some clients,  but surprisingly most will agree to it as being superfluous as if a light in their creative cavity within their brain got switched on. Retorts like; But this is what I see and hear all the time, is that not what we should do also?’ In a word; ‘NO!’

So rather than rattle on for now – and I’ve got plenty to say and lots which will intimidate some into hate and elate others into love.  Firstly, NOT ONE, NO MAJOR or even WELL READ site has ever given me credit, but the word is obviously spreading.  The best I could do was some recognition and accreditation on another site and another media blog where you can read THE PRONOUN VIRUS saga and how they mentioned my comments. The site is  ‘Bollix Media‘  and has a lot of visitors, it is considered radical, unlike this tribe, so good exposure from a media standpoint, but might not always be my personal viewpoint.



Just before we get into my favourite rant about the world’s infestation of the ‘PRONOUN VIRUS‘ and you being witness to my obsession, let’s get back to me! How’s that for narcissism?   Who cares about me? If I had 3 eyes and 17 toes what difference would it make to the price of eggs? [I’ve actually got 4 eyes and only 15 toes]. It is probably the voice you want to hear and better still the type of product I produce.  The End!


IVR – Telecom/Bank voice response systems:

More than music and radio ads, you can get the WORLD’S MOST BRILLIANT TELEPHONE & IVR SYSTEMS designed, programmed, recorded and installed. Yes! right down to; just stick ’em in your system, no conversions or changes needed. That is, unless it is a Nokia-Siemens core/network,  then depending where you are, there might be some scum bag area representative managing it who will charge the telecom operator $100,000 to release a ‘special software’ which basically only changes the dot suffix.    Oh yeah!  Been there, experienced that. We know those old tricks, for in this little ‘ole shack, we have seen it all! Indeed, it comes as a bit of a surprise to operators using ADmaze Media for the first time, that when we attend initial briefings and we already know all the lines, the pitfalls, the work involved, the frustrations with pin-point accuracy.  This is what you pay for I guess.  The fact that the team can spew out a very professional system, be it Ring Tones, to Network from their heads and always to the highest standard, still doesn’t justify the price according to accountants and the uninitiated. The moral to the story; NEVER let accountants attend the project meetings!

It is sound, not the written word. Why are ADmaze Media award winning systems so good?  More than good –  probably the pièce de résistance of systems in the entire world – no boast!  Output from ADmaze Media for telephone network and systems, be it Cisco, Avaya et al.  is the aspiration level for the serious and talented and the bench-mark to beat. Unfortunately for  copy-cats and opportunists it is a nightmare hoping that the client doesn’t know or notice the difference.  Of course all cowboy facilities and Agencies think it is easy and profess to be experts.  Absolute dirge!  By and large, it seems to be all monkey see-monkey do and most clients know no better either, so blindly pay up and as cheap as they can get it with no perception of the art involved. There are very few good facilities who do this work well, very few indeed.    (Are you getting the message?) .  It is all in the direction and scripting and ‘Don’t bore us, get to the chorus’ flow, but so few attach importance to this work. A bad telephone or Call Centre system destroys your image instantaneously – SUBLIMINALLY and most out there are simply BAD! I actually hate this work, but I happen to be extremely good at it and few if any can beat the flow and quality, although  it is extremely difficult to do if you want to do it well.

Yes, ADmaze Media WLL is your baby, but if you want a $10 system and your secretary reading the prompts, don’t come here.


Drum Millennium:

I mentioned songs and jingles above. Between Allan and I, we have not really bothered to write full songs, although Allan has written many for himself.  Allan and I even wrote what many would say was the best, if not the only melodic ‘Millennium’ song of all the dirge that was put out there at the time. It was for a massive ‘live aid’ like concert to be staged in Cape Town on Dec. 31st 1999. It was called ‘Drum Millennium’  It all got rained out at the last moment and Nelson Mandela was rowed out to Robben Island in the end, from his house, since all the roads were totally flooded and the rain did not abate for days. Besides, I fell out with the ‘drum producer’ they hired at my request.  His name; Cedric Samson.  I am not so good with drum sequences and since this theme was heavy on drums, I thought I’d best get someone in who could play. Dear Cedric and I didn’t see eye to eye or ear to ear from the moment we met. He thought he was the ‘producer’ full stop.  I didn’t like his, earring, pony tail or sari either. Cedric is quite brilliant no doubt, certainly far far more adept than me, but there are tiny nuances in vocals that to me mean everything and a singer with an incredible voice but with a strong South African accent trying to sing flat English, pronouncing all the consonants and vowels (or not) as one should my dear subjects – became a challenge. So Cedric attacked me yelling that he was going to;’Beat me’ for criticizing the man’s art (the rather very good black singer from a Cape Town township), while I was yelling to ‘stripe another tape’ and let’s get the pronunciations right.  Good singers, slick production, to me is better than sex.  I live it!  I’d marry a hideous looking, fat hairy old lady with warts, if she had a good voice, or was musically talented. That is what turns me on.  Anyway, it was fun (not so much).

Talking of sex (don’t we always?), the only assets I had with SBC studios, was the man putting up the money Jean Marie Jullienne,…   Oh! And a young  girl who seemed to be training or something… or something with the engineer.  Well I thought she was more warm to my humour and chattiness.  Obviously not, since I invited her to dinner with my family and was promptly accused of being a paedophile by the studio crew. Good game folks! No Sir!  I like ’em old and mature, but it was sort of funnily sad at the time.  Eventually, the recording and the event all got dropped and we are poorer for it. (You can hear the demo on the ‘production demo’ tab).


Sales and Public Relations:

What is it they say about the ‘sincerest form of flattery’? We used to hear many upstarts ‘trying to emulate’ but not so much these days as what we hear or see out there is mostly done on an iPhone.  I/ADmaze Media still produce slick, professional documentary or light entertainment type video for television. Events and reports too when we get it. Maybe your company or concern has never heard of ADmaze Media doing video? If you go to www.whodoeswhat.tv you will see plenty. Or it could be because we do not have sales reps knocking on your door claiming to be the greatest! There is little point actually as those who commission need an appreciation and perceive the difference creatively, artistically and in overall standard rather than rub their hands together at a stupidly low price they might be offered. If you want one of those bouncing, thumping fast frame, jumping videos which you are led to believe is the trend, then we can do that too, but our staple is ‘Broadcast style’ and that has much more staying power.

Reputation precedes (locally in particular) and  before we walk in the door many clients have already been primed by self assumed competitors with the notion that ‘ADmaze Media (especially the name Geg Hopkins) is good, but rather expensive’. One gets used to this onslaught while others are pitching for the sale, but I guess it is does get a bit annoying, but tolerated as a sort of back handed compliment. So sometimes we are a half a dollar more than the rest. What you get is noticeably superior. If an IVR system, then constant commitment and awareness of everything about your system. But if you cannot perceive the difference as a client, then you will never warrant the price so go for the cheap and kill your image.

However, as with audio, everyone with a computer and a bedroom  is an instant expert these days, so sadly it is a waste of time competing at the lowest common denominator price, but  that is what has happened, so ADmaze has become a little closeted itself concentrating on only in-house stuff. Maybe it is time to GET OUT THERE! Ho Ho Ho!

Clients who get on board, be it Telephone IVR systems, radio, video or even TV; once with ADmaze Media, most never leave unless they are taken over by our Lebanese friends for example, then it is normally goodbye as they appear to have their own clique and methods of spending their client’s money.


The Studio:

There are a few pictures on one of the tabs. They need updating, but what to show?  Nowadays a studio is a computer. That is it.  Put up some curtains in your bedroom to deaden the sound, have a good computer with professional sound interface, good studio speakers, quality mic (expensive) and a relatively expensive audio or video editing programme and you need nothing else. It is not the kit, it is the eyes and ears with a bit of creative brain.

Saying that though, if anyone is interested in the more physical studio equipment from high-end digital mixers to very old, great sounding analogue multi tracks, along with dozens of outboards racks all worth a million Dollars when new…………..then come and look in our cupboards. Bring your wallet and you can buy it.  I will still make better output that you with our macs or PCs.


More on the ‘PRONOUN VIRUS’:

Needless to say, I even hate the Google search essential on pronoun requirements for the ‘ABOUT US’ tab. Ridiculous!  Who is ‘Us’ – Who is ‘We’- Who is ‘Our’?  But on every single advertisement or copy you will see; ‘Call Us’.  Listen to your radio and hear probably the same silly, girly voice shouting out a commercial for different cars, different banks, different stores and so on, yet end each ad with ‘Call Us now on’. Even more incredulous yet abundantly swamped (tautology), is the outrageous claim by one and all companies from tiny one person operation (who just copies) to huge corporations is the tag line; only in existence for YOU!!!   It is everywhere and I was lambasted and taken off stage at a conference one day because I did a skit on Hyundai when they sponsored the Olympics in 2012 (was it?), whereby I lampooned their corporate sign off.  I said that my Mother was still a prostitute at 65, my eldest sister followed suit and is now terminally ill, as is my gay brother who suffers from aids. My father is in prison for robbery, my younger brother for murder. I lost my job 2 years ago and nobody will employ me. My wife sold the house without my knowledge, took all the money and left me to sleep under cardboard boxes beneath ‘Charing Cross Bridge’ and they wont let me in the soup kitchens because I smell. What the hell am I supposed to do?  Pause, looking skyward, then it dawns. ‘I know, call Hyundai, ‘HERE FOR YOU’.  This was their sign off absolutely everywhere you looked or listened during that period.

It is the same with IVR telephone systems. You don’t know which entity you are dealing with half the time, because it is the same voice who shouts out the Departure flights at an airport as you hear on 5 of the Telephone company Call Centre IVRs and more and more. Inexperienced, incompetent, nervous PR and marketing personnel in companies are afraid to be ‘INDIVIDUAL’.  Again, who is ‘US’… Who is ‘OUR’…  Who is ‘WE’.  It makes no sense but these amateur (and even so called top professionals) advertising agencies are run by the Account Executives who just want your money. Even if the rare, but decent copywriter decides not to put a Pronoun in the copy, someone within will brainwash the client that; ‘Use ‘WE’, it is more personal, warmer and interacts with the reader, viewer or listener’.  What a crock!  It is like Fabian or ‘Common Purpose’ indoctrination. Stop it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Any professional voice actor/over should absolutely refuse to read a pronoun associated with the script.  They don’t work for the company they are advertising, yet we see many famous actors mouthing; ‘Call us’, “We can help’.  As of 2017 we have Morgan Freeman sitting in a Turkish Airlines jet waxing lyrical about the airline and beckoning viewers to ‘Fly with us’.  Take the money Morgan honey.  I know why you do it.

Using famous actors can be fun, but not for literal ‘ENDORSEMENT’, it has no credibility whatsoever. Nespresso do a good one with that  luvvie clown ‘George Clooney’. Indeed Turkish used ‘Kevin Coster” whereby people thought they recognized him at airports. Yeah, that’s fun and memorable.  It endorses the airline by association, but Coster is not heard to say stupid incredulous lines pertaining to him owning or working for the airline. [By the way, I suspect that wherever you are in the world, if you Google for ‘Nespresso’, which is part of the huge Nestlé network, you are automatically directed to your local Nespresso web site to the orders page.  Nice touch!  Nice stuff, we have two machines in the house and it saves about $600 a month from the family budget which I might have spent in Starbucks with my addition].


Yes, the ‘PRONOUN VIRUS‘ is but one phrase I have inadvertently coined in the pursuit of my passion, but apparently I’ve coined a few others as well.  which I have heard people use, one being; “AUDIO MAKES VIDEO – NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND’. Again, if you cannot see or should we say ‘hear’ that, then you should NOT be considering a career in this line of work nor be interfering in its progress as a client.

If you care to ask those top names that have worked with ADmaze Media or me, I’m confident that you’ll get good feedback. When I was based in London (I’m not now), loads of well known actors with good voices (or they thought so) got to hear of me and came knocking on my apartment door asking me to voice direct them.  It was quite bizarre because I am nobody, just an acquired, ‘non’ formatted radio DJ known by a few million ‘non’ main stream people. I can’t dance, can’t cook, horizontal jogging is a big iffy and I can’t sing, but I CAN stick good radio programmes together, do voice-overs for myself and have an ear to direct to near perfection if not perfection itself.

All of the crew at ADmaze Media and www.whodoeswhat.tv are dab hand at each other’s specialties, just in case.  I use the camera a lot as does Svetlana Prodanova the Operations Manager (NYIP trained).  I edit and well, but my strength is audio, AND TELEPHONE SYSTEMS.  Julian (The third degree) is a brilliant cameraman and editor, with audio a side-line. So we are all dab-hand, well at least my mother always thought so, but I think it is true!

I like doing documentaries, but so do all voice-overs if they can get the job and they all think they are the best, so why pick me?  Well it is like this; I can make even the others sound better if I was directing it and that applies to your secretary if you still want to go that way, so surely I should be able to make myself sound perfect. Cough cough!


The demise of ISDN:

ADmaze media works world wide and we now have sophisticated (not cheap) software to implement the studio to studio facilities. ISDN is still around but dead. It is a shame as it was so stupendously perfect in every way.  So why mention it?

Good question I suppose. I did not consider it a vision, more technical logic, but if you search for my many blogs around the web about the demise of ISDN, due to Chinese ability to produce all singing all dancing (asynchronous) , very pretty rubbish and a great inability to fix something that is not broken, then you will be (slightly) amazed at my insight, but more shocked at the troll comments I got hit with.  Professional, very well known voices in full oblivious denial telling me to ‘get off’ and that I did not know what I was talking about. Of course now, those same big-heads are boasting they were the first with ‘asynchronous’ links although none knew and still don’t know what the hell is the difference or why ISDN died.

During the transition period, several banks and brokers in Bahrain ‘who depended on ISDN disastrously went off line for a week or two and the telecom company had no idea why. Costing bucks and having to use the normal telephone lines instead of their multiplex boxes which linked them to several other banks around the world, they sat there waiting for the telecom company to sort it out. Little ‘ole Geggyboy in his studio was pulling his hair our wondering why our ISDN was off line. I had no idea, I just reported the fault. New cables were rapidly run, new routing, you name it, but still nothing. I thought that this was a bit funny, why would the telco be attentive to me, the ONLY ONE in Bahrain using ISDN for anything other than bank to bank. Eventually, one old mate who worked with me during the early days at the telco mentioned quietly in conversation that this only happened when they installed the new Huawei network a week or so earlier. DING DING DING!  The light came on.

To me it was obvious. This is now what is commonly known as ADSL and not SDN. Without boring the pants of readers more than I already have, there is a thing in telecommunications and computer networks called ‘protocol’. We can all now make international calls free with ‘Whatsapp’ and the like. (See my other posts – ahead of their time). Telecom companies can not longer extort us all with high cost international calling. They are in the INTERNET just the same as we are, but using their networks.

The Chinese are a bit insular when it comes to catering for all the backend nitty-gritty elements. Nobody in the Telco could fathom why the banks or me went off line. Millions being lost. Why oh why oh why did I tell them free of charge? It ended up with me physically chasing a Chinese anorak around the huge telecom network switch and pinning him to the ground begging him to go back to Beijing immediately and send a software patch to match the European protocols for ISDN. Pretty basic when all is said and done, but nobody could believe that they installed an entire network without the correct protocol.  Huawei learned and saved millions as they ooze across Africa. They saved face in Bahrain.  I made nothing from the reveal. It took them a day or so to work it out and suddenly, all banks and so on came back on line.

But or course, sad for voice over or music to music studios, some more complex multiplex coding does not work with ADSL.  Mpeg2 or Mpeg4 for example. This is point to point real time. The banks are OK as it is simple eight pole multiplex (now probably 64 or 128 pole who knows), but Geggyboy was stuffed. Magic software had to be developed to accommodate ADSL. We never really recovered.