Billy 2.0 – The Beginning of the End

Every cochlear implant blog I’ve read is the same. I thought I’d be the one to buck the trend.

Unfortunately, I’ve done exactly the same thing that everyone blogging about the journey to getting a bionic ear does – stop updating their blog at about six months after switch on.

I don’t know why, but everyone seems to stop writing at around that point. I always wondered why. Was it because they were too freaked by the new sounds to think straight? Or was it because they’d just run out of new things to say?

I haven’t run out of things to say – in fact I have a lot I want to say still… but what’s happened is that I woke up one morning, and the implant was just… normal. Ordinary, even. This is probably one of the last few blogs I’ll write, so I’ll just get it out there. Continue reading “Billy 2.0 – The Beginning of the End”

Deaf Filmmaking: Skyfall, Dummy Jim, Silver Linings Playbook and more


The last time I went to the cinema was to watch Skyfall.

Not a lot of people know this, but I watched it on the day that I was supposed to be going under the knife for my bionic ear. That morning, the roof of the operating theatre developed a leak, so my wife and I decided to go to the movies instead.

Skyfall was the last film I ever watched in a cinema with hearing aids. I was in an operating theatre having unspeakable things done to my skull a couple of days later.

Fast forward six months, and I’m a guest of the Edinburgh Film Festival and 104 Films. I’ve got a tray of extra large nachos on my lap, and I’m watching director Matt Hulse introduce a film that he’s spent 12 years working on. That film is Dummy Jim. Continue reading “Deaf Filmmaking: Skyfall, Dummy Jim, Silver Linings Playbook and more”

The Brand: Developing a new identity with Arthur Kade and Custom Logo Shop

Custom Logo Shop design

Take a moment to familiarise yourself with Arthur Kade. He’s a ‘personality’ whose greatest claim to fame appears to be featuring in Philadelphia magazine’s most-read story of 2009.

He refers to himself as ‘The Brand’. I’m not sure what his brand is, apart from incredible levels of self delusion.

The reason I bring up The Brand is that I recently underwent a rebranding exercise with the help of a 17 year old boy called Luke Hall who runs his own business called Custom Logo Shop.

The reason I decided to rebrand my website, twitter avatar, Tumblr and business cards was because I’m part of 104 Films’ Generator scheme to take filmmakers to the next level, looking at all aspects of their process and helping them to shape their own projects and careers to a point where they’re more likely to get commissioned.

One of the topics that came up for discussion was personal branding. We all have our own personal brand. I want to be associated with slickness, professionalism, quality, excellence, and flexibility in professional life and in my filmmaking. Well, there’s a first time for everything.

So I contacted Luke Hall at Custom Logo Shop and paid him a tiny amount of money to create a logo that embodied the above. He spent over a week sending me various designs which we refined together via email.

The final design evokes a different mental image in everyone who sees it. Some say it looks like an 8-bit barbarian in an RPG; a Decepticon/Autobot; Strong Bad; a Samurai; and so much more. But most of all, it’s me.

If you have a blog, a twitter account or anything that needs its own distinctive visual identity, then there’s worse ways to spend £60. Drop Luke a line here.

Further Reading:
Custom Logo Shop
Justin Edgar and Alex Usborne of 104 Films talk Generator and more

I saw a painting today…

…were the words I read on a friend’s facebook status this morning.

This was the painting, featured on Winship Creations’ facebook page. Click on the painting to read the comments.

Cochlear Implant by Winship Creations

It appears to show a young child having a cochlear implant bolted onto their head with a hand drill, and without any anaesthetic. It’s deliberately shocking, and seems to depict the agony and torture of having a cochlear implant.

It’s obviously designed to shock and provoke, and to reinforce the deaf community’s sense that cochlear implants are innately evil.

The facebook friend who commented this morning said: “The comments I read were sickening. I wish to make my voice heard – controversial or not. How can people make very generalised comments and expect such comment to be relevant to each child or even adult.

It is an individual choice, individual situation, individual beliefs, individual dream. Bottom line is do not judge if you do not know the facts. I’ve stood back and let ignorant people judge me or others, but not anymore. Enough is enough.”

I completely agree.

Google Glass: The Deaf community’s disruptive innovation

The video at the top of this page is an interesting time capsule. It’s Eric Sykes, talking to Jack Ashley on See Hear about his special glasses, which are in fact hearing aids. They use bone conduction technology to transmit sound into his inner ear.

A year from now, Google will be selling a pair of glasses that transmit sound to the wearer through bone conduction. However, unlike the specs that Eric Sykes wore, Google Glass has the potential to change deaf people’s lives forever. Continue reading “Google Glass: The Deaf community’s disruptive innovation”

Billy 2.0 – A Trial Separation

This is one of the most difficult updates I’ve ever had to write. I’ve written and rewritten this, and there’s no easy way of putting it so I’m just going to say it.

When my implant was switched on last December, it was the end of a lifelong relationship.

For the last four months, I’ve been living without my long term companion.

It’s been difficult, but a lot of people agreed it was for the best that we underwent a trial separation. Continue reading “Billy 2.0 – A Trial Separation”

The day I almost went to a deaf school

The other day I started going through my address book in some sort of attempt to be grown up and organised. I was shocked to find that of the 3,500 people in my contacts list, quite a few of them had passed away in the last few years. There was my Grandma’s mobile number, who I used to text every now and then to keep her up to date.

Then there was my Uncle Ging, who passed away a few years ago in South Africa. It was strange to see his email address in my contacts list. I almost reflexively sent him a message, to see if he would reply.

Uncle Ging and Uncle Richard

That’s him on the left. His actual name was Christopher, but my family always had an interesting attitude to naming conventions. He’s pictured here next to my other Uncle, known as Richard, for that is his name. Continue reading “The day I almost went to a deaf school”

Billy 2.0 – Getting my new audiogram

Standard Audiogram

The above is an audiogram. Most deaf people have seen one of these before, but if you’re like me, you won’t have bothered to find out what they mean, other than ‘You are deaf. You are very, very, very deaf.’

From left to right, the audiogram is arranged like the keys on a piano, with low frequencies on the left and higher frequencies on the right.

From top to bottom is a measure of volume, in decibels.

Most people are born with perfect hearing. At the age of 18, your hearing is as good as it’s ever going to be. In fact, you’ll probably hear higher frequencies that people in their 30s and later in life can’t. As people age, they lose more and more hearing in the high frequency range.

Now, let’s look at the hearing that I was born with. My hearing has been more or less the same since I was born. I’m usually tested with a pair of headphones in a soundproofed room, using a cable with a button on the end which I press every time I hear a tone. Continue reading “Billy 2.0 – Getting my new audiogram”