Chris Middleton contact details, links, and full professional bio
Music (‘christopher rye’)
Chris Middleton: Full Biography
Chris is what used to be called a ‘Renaissance man’: a polymath with multiple ‘portfolio’ careers and interests: journalist, author, magazine/book editor, designer, robotics expert, musician, and more – even a published photographer and poet. This is his personal website.
For a short bio for use on websites and conference programmes, please go to the Press Area.
Chris Middleton always had three callings: English, Art, and Music. He excelled at all three, and won a Barclays national short story prize in his teens. After attending one of the UK’s leading independent schools, Reigate Grammar, Chris turned down a place at art school to study English and Drama at Kent University.
After working as a session guitarist in London, Chris started out in publishing. His first full-time job was as publisher’s assistant on Country Homes & Interiors and Woman’s World magazines. He then worked for several years as a production editor, copywriter, and designer in both magazines and books – for Europa Publications, Longman, and publishing industry organ The Bookseller, among others – and also for a Camden advertising agency.
Journalist and magazine editor
But in the mid-Nineties his career took off at Dennis Publishing, where he found himself on the road to becoming one of the UK’s leading business and technology journalists.
The move wasn’t planned: while working as production editor of Business & Technology magazine (B&T), Chris stepped in at the last minute to interview an Apple executive when the reporter was sick. Impressed by his writing, the editor commissioned another. It was excerpted in The Guardian (a paper that Chris would later write for). He never looked back, and a few months later he was made features editor of B&T, which in the mid-90s was a leading print monthly in the emerging world of digital business.
At B&T in the mid-90s, Chris wrote arguably the first in-depth feature on the internet’s threat to the music industry, interviewing George Michael, the Cocteau Twins, and record label CEOs.
Just two years later, Chris was made editor of one of the UK’s leading technology monthlies, Computer Business Review (CBR) and led it to its most successful year – in which he oversaw the launches of cbronline.com, a Mandarin edition in China, and range of successful supplements, helping to secure £4m in venture capital investment. He was deputy editor, and later editor, of another of the UK’s big technology titles, Computing. He was also co-founding editor of sourcingfocus.com, co-founding managing editor of Child Internet Safety magazine, and co-editor of UCInsight.com.
One of Chris’ biggest successes was his four-year tenure as co-founding managing editor, designer, and chief writer of Professional Outsourcing – the market-leading print title he developed from scratch for its publishers, along with its spinoff events and supplements. Chris produced the quarterly magazine (now known as Intelligent Sourcing) single-handedly, handling everything except ad sales and proofreading.
Another success was in 2018 as (freelance) editor of InternetofBusiness.com, where he doubled the readership in less than a year, added the ‘Internet of Business says…’ feature to every story, and doubled the site’s engagement figures.
Chris is currently a contributing editor for diginomica (two million unique visitors), Computing, Transform Finance, and Transform Industry.
Over the years, Chris has freelanced for: The Guardian; the BBC’s Tomorrow’s World; The Times; Computing; V3; The Inquirer; Computer Weekly; Hack & Craft News (which he edited); diginomica; i-CIO; Publishing News; Personnel Today; Citywire; BusinessCloud9; the Digital Marketing World Forum (DMWF); and PC World, among many others.
He has also produced over 100 white papers and bespoke research projects for Incisive Media, Innovate UK (see below), and other clients.
In recent years, Chris has become one of the UK’s leading commentators on robots, artificial intelligence, and automation. He has written numerous articles about robotics, spoken to many of the world’s top experts, and edited (and contributed to) the illustrated book, Ultimate Robot, for DK.
In 2019, Chris helped lead an Expert Mission, on robotics and AI in extreme environments, to the US, on behalf of Innovate UK and the Knowledge Transfer Network. The week-long trip brought together a cohort of academics, startups and blue-chip companies and visited potential partners in California and Texas, including NASA. Chris produced a detailed policy report for the government on the back of the Mission, and was involved in a similar trip and report in 2018, on digital health.
Chris has been interviewed about the societal impacts of robotics on BBC1, ITN, Talk Radio, Radio 2, Radio 5Live, and local BBC stations, and in the press, including The Sun, the Evening Standard, and ShortList magazine.
Chris collects robots, and – unusually – is one of the few private individuals in the UK to own a number of real humanoid machines. These include his famous NAO-25 robot, Stanley Qubit.
(For more on Chris’ work in this field, go to the Robotics Expert page on this site, and see the free robotics reports on the home page.)
Public speaker and conference host
Chris is an experienced public speaker and event host. In 2018, he hosted events on blockchain (Berlin) and Internet of Things investment (London). In 2017, he hosted AI/robotics event ‘Rise of the Machines’ in London for The Crowd, and gave speeches on AI and robotics at the Sensors Show (NEC Birmingham) and the Industrial and Logistics Summit. In 2016, he hosted the Space Innovation Congress in London, at which he interviewed a panel of NASA and ESA astronauts, and held his own in discussions with technologists and astrophysicists. Chris also hosted the Digital Marketing World Forum London 2016, at which he gave the keynote address. Chris is a member of a voiceover agency and recently recorded the narration for a forthcoming animated movie.
Author and commissioning book editor
Chris is the author of several illustrated books, including: Creating Digital Music and Sound; The Complete Guide to Digital Audio; Instant Graphics (with Luke Herriott); and, as ghostwriter, First Steps in Digital Design and a book on manga robots. All have been translated into several languages. In the Noughties, he was a contributing editor of The Big Read Book of Books, a tie-in with the BBC TV series on the nation’s favourite reads.
In total, Chris has edited and contributed to more than 50 books on robotics, photography, illustration, graphic design, architecture, industrial design, movie special effects, video-making, and print production, for publishers such as Dorling Kindersley, Mitchell Beazley, Ilex Press, Amphoto Books, and Focal Press.
For two years, he was in-house commissioning editor for illustrated books publisher RotoVision (when it specialised in design books) developing ideas, finding writers, and project-managing a list of titles for global co-editions. Before that, he freelanced in a similar role at Ilex Press.
Chris is also developing a book on robots.
Mentor and trainer
Chris trained as a music mentor with foundation learning centre DV8 Training in Sussex, which helps young people who have left the education system early to acquire creative skills and basic qualifications. He was mentor to singer/songwriter Marie White, who won a national competition to perform at Glastonbury in 2019. He has also run courses on media management and copywriting for a number of blue-chip clients.
Musician and producer
Under the pseudonym ‘christopher rye‘, Chris is a songwriter, session rock guitarist, and freelance electronic music producer working with up-and-coming artists in Brighton.
Several of his solo songs have received radio airplay. ‘Rainy Night Sunday’ and ‘Big Sky! Keep Turning’ both received multiple plays on BBC 6Music, with the support of presenter Tom Robinson, who described ‘Rainy Night Sunday’ as “a classic” and “a favourite of this show”, giving it 10 out of 10 and comparing it to the Blue Nile.
Other stations, including BBC Introducing on Radio Sussex and Radio Surrey, have played Chris’ tracks ‘Beat-up Car’ , ‘Et tu, Babe?’, and ‘I Tell the Moon’, while a clip from one of his live shows was broadcast on Radio 1. Recently, the promo for the christopher rye song ‘Splinter Cell’ was featured for a month on the Latest TV channel. In 2021, Chris’ single ‘I Am Other‘ was chosen as one of broadcaster Tom Robinson’s favourite tracks that month.
Chris has written and recorded the music for a number of films, including a US-award-winning short, and for several corporate videos, including for the Millennium Dome and CTRL. One of his tracks was acquired by a major car manufacturer for a US East Coast advertising campaign.
The 2017 christopher rye album ‘Night Machines’ is available from iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, and other digital outlets, and he is working on a follow-up, ‘Unnatural Blonde’ (2022). Chris is also co-singer and lead guitarist for new Brighton four-piece, Space Angel.
Photographer and painter
For several years, Chris worked semi-professionally as a photographer, specialising in high-speed black and white film portraits for a range of private clients, including actors, writers, and musicians. Some of his work was published in magazines, including The Bookseller and Sussex Life, and (ironically, as the images were shot on film) in a book called ‘Digital Photography Workshops: Portraits’. You can find a selection of Chris’ photos here.
Chris also paints abstract canvases in oil, acrylics, and mixed media, and rented a studio in Hove from Brighton artist, Kellie Miller for two years. A small selection of his paintings is included in a separate gallery on the Photography page.
Stanley Qubit the robot (and TV/radio star)
Chris is one of the few private individuals (and perhaps the only journalist) in the UK to own a number of real humanoid robots, including the next-gen NAO-25 machine known as ‘Stanley Qubit’.
In February 2017, Stanley Qubit became the first real robot ever to appear in a dramatisation of Asimov’s ‘I, Robot’ stories, on BBC Radio 4. And in 2015, the robot co-hosted the BBC1 show Sunday Morning Live with Sian Williams and Ana Matronic.
Chris collects the work of Japanese robotics legend Tomotaka Takahashi, including Robi (three versions), RoboHon (a smartphone robot), and Kirobo (the robot that visited the International Space Station), and also owns an Albert Einstein android and a Chinese humanoid machine.
Chris hires all of the robots out to conferences, events, companies, PR agencies, public sector organisations, charities, and educators, and can incorporate them into presentations on robotics, AI, and new technologies. (For more go to StanleyQubit.com.)
Directory/listings companies: Instead of just scraping all the information off this page and selling it for money, why not contact Chris directly and invite him to join your service? Be a good citizen online. It’s good for your company’s reputation.