Standen marries - Wife wants me out
I got my first indication of trouble on the day we paid for the rental of our very first server. Jules and I had just finished a meeting in my Soho flat. His new girlfriend Yasmin dropped in to join him. According to Jules, she'd failed her bar exam a number of times but worked in the legal field and was well connected within it.
The pair surprised me with news of their engagement. Yasmin said "Don't take this personally Meg but we can't invite you to the wedding. It's only going to be for our family." This was a slight blow that was to get worse. Before they left Yasmin turned around and gushed "I'm so happy about the new business you two! Work real hard and make a lot of money because I want to have a big wedding!"
Soon after the marriage, things changed. My bones sensed trouble so I pressed Julian to finalize our verbal agreement with a contract. He complained about the cost of lawyers.
Then he stalled and stalled and stalled.
Months passed and then one day Standen appeared with a contract - apparently drafted by his wife. The document stated that I was a contractor rather than a partner. Though I'd still get my 1/3 share I would have no ownership and hence no ongoing founders royalty.
I stared at the piece of paper he handed me. My fixed smile began to crumble. I sat down to take it all in. I was furious. At that point, I had already worked on GS for 2 whole years. I'd done no music and barely left my flat.
But Jules pleaded with me to be patient. He promised he could eventually "get Yasmin to warm to me". Apparently, she was upset that her husband was in business with an ex-girlfriend. (However, she seemed happy to spend the money we made).
As a woman, I could sympathize. I couldn't really blame Yasmin because I would've probably been jealous too. Jules and I often behaved more like squabbling siblings than as business partners. We had been lucky so far that we'd both had tolerant girlfriends/boyfriends.
For as was normal in our friendship and indeed in the music business, I was used to this sort of thing. I was a female music maker in a genre dominated by men and jealous girlfriends were not uncommon. This wasn't the first time I had to wait patiently for the girlfriend or wife to "allow" me to work with their man. So as a loyal old friend, I grudgingly agreed to wait for Jules to get his wife to "come around" to accept me. Besides I had already invested 2 years of my life and lost 2 years of touring at this point.
Later down the road, during court proceedings, Julian would go on to cite my "grumpiness" throughout this period as an excuse.
Oddly he didn't see the connection between reneging on a business partner and their subsequent level of cheeriness.
Eventually, Standen managed to convince Yasmin to "let me" have 10% ownership. Unable to afford legal advice, I had by then already invested two years of my time in the business. So I figured that 10% was better than nothing. So on 25 August 2004, I signed their agreement through gritted teeth. Jules continued to assure me he'd eventually make things right and I'd get my rightful share.
I made clear I was not happy and continued to press for the return of my full agreed-upon share.