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Truly a pathetic settlement. | Hot Air | Mike Stock Blog | Monday November 17 2008
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I bought a building in Union Street SE1 in December 1993.By August 1994 my studio was installed and I began work launching Love This Records, Modal Productions, Love This Songs and a range of ancillary companies.  We recorded Nicki French singing "Total Eclipse of the Heart" in September 1994 and promoted it into the clubs over the Xmas period, and commercially released it in January 1995.   Several other hit singles released by Love This had by March ,given the fledgling label a 3% market share across the whole singles market in the UK.   At the same time, for Simon Cowell, we produced Robson and Jerome and I remember by May we were massively successful on both sides of the Atlantic and around the world.  By June I notice the tiles are falling off the walls in the toilets.   No, that's not a euphemism or a figure of speech.   I mean it literally.   Cracks were appearing in the murals I had specially commissioned to be painted in our reception area.    There were holes developing in the slip road to our car park.   But, what was worse, the sound in our recording studio appeared to be changing on a daily basis.  Strange acoustic anomalies were being noticed and, by September, I was blaming everybody, designers, builders, engineers and others, apart from the real culprit.  It was becoming embarrassing.  You could hear the trains and the traffic noise from outside, and we were inside Europe's most successful new recording studio.  Simon Cowell was suggesting we should work with a few major international stars, but I was too embarrassed to allow them into our studio.  The noise problems got worse.  Cracks appeared in my office upstairs, in the main office area and those tiles kept popping off the walls in the toilets.  All I could do in the studio was work with unknowns until the embarrassing noise problem was sorted.  We had months of investigations.  Engineers crawling all over the place.  People probing in deep dark holes.  Test pits excavated in various locations despoiling my fantastic new facility.  For God's sake, I thought, we had only been operating a few short months.  In that glorious short spell we'd had four UK number ones and dozens of hits all over the world.  For a tiny period my new studio had operated as it should.  What on earth had gone wrong?  What was the cause of the strange acoustic variables, the vibrations and the strange noises?  What was making me stop dead in my tracks?  What put an end to my creative juices and pushed the pause button on my career?  It dawned on me in mid 1996 that, in fact, there was something affecting my whole building from the outside.  Whatever was happening, it was not emanating from inside.  Eventually we realised that the London Underground tunnelling of the Jubilee line extension was the cause of our problem.  My lawyers called their lawyers.  I begged them to buy me out.  Take the building off my hands, so that I could go elsewhere and set up again.  But no, they flatly refused.  At this time, I agreed terms with Simon Cowell and BMG that we should work together on a 50/50 joint venture basis with a new Irish boy band managed by Louis Walsh.  At the time they were known as Westside.  Later having to change their name to Westlife.  Due to the problems I was having, I was forced to ask Simon to delay things until I had resolved the situation.  Simon tried to help, but the Pop industry waits for no man and we lost the deal with Westlife.  I became an expert on subsidence and learned that this was different from settlement.  One was vertical, the other lateral.  By November 1996 the dream was over.  I could not concentrate on music when Barristers and lawyers were slowly relieving me of a million pounds in cash in a desperate fight against The London Underground.  It wasn't the only fight I was involved with and ,by 1998, I was really stretched.  I was fed up with arguing that settlement caused by tunnelling under my studio had lost me my business.  Even the London Underground had admitted they had damaged the building.  But that was a long way from them accepting the consequential loss to my career.Over a barrel, tired, worn out and under severe financial pressure I accepted a derisory offer in settlement from the London Underground... The lawyers all had a field day.  The experts, engineers, barristers and hangers-on all crawled away.  I was left to pick up the pieces.  Looking back, I see now that what should have been the best years of my life were in fact, some of the worst.  In 1999, I gave up.  It was all so costly in every way.  The London Underground had offered me £170,000 to repair the cracks and restore my decorations.  For a guy who had become an expert in subsidence, I am sorry to say this was truly a pathetic settlement.

(c)2008 M Stock 

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