A Study in Scarlet: From Crime Scene to Courthouse

Terrific night at the Monkton Theatre, St Georges Hospital with talks by 3 people at the top of their field. Professor Sue Black who heads the department for Forensic Anthropology in Dundee kicked off with an excellent presentation on how her field of expertise has led to solving the mysteries of identity. This applies to the living as well as the dead. International law states that anyone of the age of seventeen or below is given sanctuary, so many attempt to claim that they are that age. Quite a few cases of strapping 25 year olds at secondary schools came to light a couple of years ago,
Professor Black was a gripping speaker, considerate in the way she presented her material, which involved the evidence of a callous murder and a tragic suicide. She succeeds as a speaker while breaking all the rules and clearly has evolved a way of speaking and presenting that she feels comfortable with and therefore her audience feels comfortable with. She remained leaning over on the desk at the side, glancing up at the screen occasionally and was always on mike, clear and defined.
David Reid from the Metropolitan police has been in the police service for 30 years. He had a dry and succinct way of delivery which was not too marred by the fact that the technical person wasn’t able to fit his mike properly and he had to hold it. He gave riveting, detailed information with more than a hint of humour and irony, on how his department solved a grizzly murder that took place in Mayfair. The emphasis was on the importance of leaving crime scenes as untouched as possible.
There are 13 homicide teams in London with 30 staff each.
Dr Jason Payne finished off this instructive evening with a great talk about forensics in the UK where he works, based in North London. The author of many books, he lamented that unlike Scotland, there is no head of a department of Forensic Anthropology in the UK. The detail of his work was fascinating and we were left wondering how on earth does he find the time to do it all. He has a great voice – didn’t really need the mike – but please get a better design for the background of your PowerPoint display, Dr Payne.
New Scotland Yard

Welcome to London President Xi Jinping

Walking down Pall Mall on Saturday night with a Chinese friend, it was exciting when the flags of China – strategically placed along the Mall came into view. President Xi Jinping was about to arrive and there is great excitement and pride among Chinese communities. There is no doubt that working with Chinese people is rewarding and I’ve been lucky. When being introduced to the culture, food and manners of China the mystery always remains. The hidden depths just glimpsed, the distance, even though it’s a hair’s breadth, always present. The privilege of coaching in voice, speech and presentation is grand. Whether a Chinese person wants to learn an English English accent or an American English accent, you can expect to have a lot of fun and to be tested on your own knowledge and abilities. The fun bit is important because this brings colour and increases the profile of the voice. Sometimes the spoken English of a person with Mandarin as a first language is grammatically and phonetically excellent but on one note only.
Derek Arden, a key coach for negotiation skills, has some good tips for those of who negotiate internationally. Our PM is being primed as I write. “Research the country, the customs, expectations, communication response, how to dress and how to address the people you meet. You have to get hierarchy (the status chain) and protocol right. Always show that you have connections with the country and that you are spreading economic benefit in the country as well.”
Most important?
A good interpreter.
Xi Jinping

Status Power

One of best parts of Tate’s Status Power Late night show “From historic royalty to YouTube fame, how has art displayed status,” was the music. A DJ set followed by Native Sun, with Sarina Leah opening their set a capella with arresting beauty. She is soon to become a mother and the idea of status could arguably begin with an unborn child.
Voice is an indication of how we view our status. A healthy baby knows no bounds regarding voice and when a baby cries – we know about it. There is no status here, just a need to survive. Growing up we learn that using our voice is less important than words. Our voices modulate and change with our perceived status. Today, children are given a much better chance of expressing their needs and opinions at school. When children join street gangs where obtaining status means being a bully or being bullied, you can hear almost overnight the change in vocal quality. It’s not until we go into the outside world and desire to belong and succeed, that our voice starts to become an issue because we have to express ourselves among strangers.
It’s “not for nothing” that wealthy parents send their children to public school where pupils are taught to value themselves and express themselves in a way that is destined to be heard.
The poet and performer Byron Vincent, from a background of childhood poverty, makes us laugh with his anecdotes of desperate shyness and inability to talk in social situations. In Drama Comedy situations around the world, much is made of characters who are misunderstood, because they’re either too nervous to say what they mean or have clearly misunderstood their status within a group.
It’s all to do with status and how well we handle it.
Curated by 15-25 year olds the Status Power at the Tate was a great evening with some great idea and some great voices.

Byron Vincent
Byron Vincent