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AW: This came up a while back. Archive always has had that little tag about it being nothing to do with RISC OS, but the Christian faith. It's clear and you can skip it if you want (I always did). Paul has never made a secret of his faith and to be honest, he is to be admired for his candor in this matter.

This was never the case for AU.

I remember just after the Acorn auction for Comic Relief going to Tau Press looking for a job (Steve had actually offered me one). I recall being sat in a nice big room and Steve start up saying that AU was run along the business lines of L. Ron Hubbard and the Scientology religeon. My reply - I don't go in for all of this mumbo jumbo. As long as I can get my job done unhindered and without fuss, then I'm happy and work well.

I'd heard of Hubbard in passing. The business looked good - lots of people, back issues, good bank balance and lots of good feeling to it - this despite Black Thursday happening a couple of months before hand.

The next time I saw AU it was in Stockport (where it was before Finnybank took it over). Not so many people, crowded offices (two offices, a couple of desks, still lots of graphs). This was *just* before the big cash crisis where they'd not been paying people for ages. It was best described as "disorganised mayhem". Things worked, but not in a good way. Steve seemed to be snowed under and there was a lack of control or order.

The brown stuff hit the fan. Just about everyone went. The production editor was still there on a part time basis, the rest of the time Steve spent learning the production editor's job. This is probably when things started to rocket down hill - there was no-one there to check on spelling and grammar. Actually, that's not true, there was one other person there - someone the other Tau partners had brought in to rescue things. She did by (from what I can gather) being unpleasant to long time advertisers and other such people. Whenever I went in though, she seemed to do very little except watch Steve. It was creepy!

A small example. The first couple of AU CDs I did were paid for. The cash problems hit and I said that as long as Tau covered my expenses, I'd carry on. No charge for internet access or the likes, but I would need replacement CDs and postage. Steve agreed this (apologetically - I think he knew that I was doing this because we'd known each other since the launch of the A5000). A bill was sent from a local RISC OS company for a box of 10 CDs and apparently, she went ape having never agreed it! Controlling or what!

Back to the adverts...

The Dianetics adverts came with no warning. There was also the problem that with AU going down the tubes with revenues and bank balances (though the graphs on the walls were nice to look at - lots of pretty colours signifying nothing). The Dianetics adverts were freebies. The cult would not have paid for them - certainly not with the cult controlling the magazine. If anything, they cost the magazine as people actually stopped getting it when they appeared and if memory serves correctly, the company would pay the cult for "business advice" and other such garbage.

The saddest part of this is that Steve could not see how much damage the cult had cost his magazine. I remember getting an email before Tau came into being asking for advice on the wording of a press release. He was over the moon, overjoyed and elated. The last time we spoke, he sounded at breaking point. Not the man I'd known, but one sorely put upon and unable to see the root cause of the problems. If he'd have spoken to a real business advisor rather than one from the cult, who knows - the community may still have a 4 weekly magazine!

 is a RISC OS UserNodoid on 26/09/06 11:24PM
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