It was shortly after 7.00 this morning. I was seated, as usual, outside The Hothouse Cafe reading the Sunday papers. Suddenly, a shaft of bright light flooded down through the cloud. I saw the Aten, a disc of fiery light in the sky – the rays bathing Chiswick High Street in brilliant sunshine. I subscribe to no faith. But this morning I could understand why the Pharaoh Akhenaten rejected the non-existent in favour of the reality of the Sun.
Having rejected the utterly ludicrous suggestion made last week by The Bishop of Carlisle (pictured in The Telegraph article ‘going equipped’), that the floods had been sent by god to punish us, I could not, of course, take the view that this same god had obviously tired of vengeance – so, lighting a Silk Cut, I put the re-appearance of the Sun over Chiswick down to rather more plausible science.
And so, now, I find myself outside The Bollo, a glass of Rioja, Silk Cut (cigarettes) and an ashtray to my right; delighted to be mentioned by Times journo, Alex Aldridge, in his article in Times Online ” Seven steps to interview heaven” where he imparts advice to those baffled or being crushed by the rigours of applying for pupillage. Alex also suggests that interviewees remove pictures of their testicles from their Facebook profiles before attending interviews. I am in good, if mildly anarchic, company. Geeklawyer’s ‘punctuation-lite’ blog (as Alex puts it) also gets a mention. Alex… I, who am about to drink, salute you - an amusing article!
The news that Peter Mandelson, erstwhile prince of darkness, is to be sent to The Lords, diverted me for a moment – but even such irony, in Blair’s last official act (Honours List) to annoy Brown, was not enough for me this day. Live Earth and the troupe of ageing rock stars did nothing to attract me yesterday: But there is something touching about some of the most conspicuous consumers on the planet ( I would imagine) telling us to watch our carbon footprint and save the World. At least BBC presenter, Chris Moyles, had sufficient sense of humour left to announce that he was selling his 4 x 4, as it wasn’t good for the environment, and ask if anyone wanted to buy it.
The Sunday Times reports today: “Senior doctors avoid being treated on the NHS” and found that over 55% of senior doctors pay medical insurance to provide for private medical care! This is good to know. At least they will be well enough to ensure that medics beat the British Medical Journal figure of 30,000 killed by medical errors and the 5000 more killed by superbugs (Source: Rod Liddle, Sunday Times) Rod Liddle wonders if all British doctors are members of Al-Qaeda, given recent events.
Boris Johnson for Mayor, even though I am not a Tory, seemed to me a good idea – and I have joined the Facebook group of that name. [Yes... at the risk of becoming delusional and speaking about myself in the third person... Charon has a place on Facebook where he wastes a few moments each day.] Michael Portillo, a commentator I enjoy listening to, states “It is another question whether the Henley MP (an intelligent writer, but whose shambling manner is entirely convincing) could be taken seriously as the potential boss of one of the world’s great cities.” He has a point.
A book on my list for tomorrow will be Alastair Campbell’s The Blair Years. For some curious reason I read far too many political biographies.
While Britain faces a “15 year fight against terror“, Admiral Sir Alan West, our new security/terror minister, advises that it is time for a new approach – time to be “Un-British” and “snitch” – by which he means, inform the authorities about anything and everything likely to be a threat to Britain. It is a bit baffling (even after a bottle of Rioja) to read that our new Minister is recalling the values of of Billy Bunter and Greyfriars Preparatory School Britain of the 1950s to tackle the dangers ahead.
I simply quote from The Sunday Times and hope the Admiral has something up his sleeve. Unlike Admiral Lord Nelson – he has two of them: “Britishness does not normally involve snitching or talking about someone. I’m afraid, in this situation, anyone who’s got any information should say something because the people we are talking about are trying to destroy our entire way of life.
“We’ll have to be a little bit un-British, I think … and say something and tell something.”
Anyway… moving on.
I wish, now, that I had not done so – but I did. I visited the BBC website and hit the link to Alastair Campbell’s diaries – which he has now published. This is but one extract. I had to go back to The Bollo and order another glass of Rioja, such was my condition after reading this extract about meeting Princess Diana (1995):
“She’s standing there absolutely, spellbindingly, drop-dead gorgeous, in a way that the millions of photos didn’t quite get.
“She said ‘Hello’, held out her hand and said she was really pleased to meet me, so I mumbled something back about being more pleased.
“‘It would make a very funny picture if there were any paparazzi in those trees,’ she said.”
More pleased?…. I do hope this is not representative of the rest of the book. Alan Clark knew how to write a diary.
Moving on again… at this rate… I’ll get an ASBO. I may even have to give myself one.
I went to The Bar Council Blog to see if I could find anything for you by Bar Council Chairman and blogger, Geoffrey Vos QC. Unfortunately, at the time of writing, the ‘Chairman’s diary is still very busy.’
So… it was on to THE BLAWGS for my review of the week gone by:
Thankfully, Belle de Jure (Edited: see comments) came up trumps. Belle de Jure reports on the difficulties faced by Stephen Fry when he joined Facebook. I shall leave you to visit BdJ’s blog to discover exactly what Mr Fry faced. ( BdJ uses an online Russian translation tool to sing his praises in Russian – which even I would not have managed to think of after two bottles of Rioja – so… Hat Tip to Belle de Jour!)
Corporate Blawg is about to sing like a swan – for tomorrow he hosts US based Blawg Review 116. Barrister Blog has a piece on unfair Bank overdraft charges… so if you want to know what rights you have with your bank: have a look. My fellow smoker, John Bolch, over at Family Lore, has a view on “Roasting the Turkey” about the Child Support Agency. Justin Patten, writer of the Human law Mediation blog, has a new website for mediation. Leagle Beagle catches a die-hard smoker smoking in the doorway to her Chambers which is, apparently, forbidden at that Set, on ‘pain of a public flogging’. You see… diversity really is needed in the law. If we had more non public school types involved at the Bar there would be less flogging in public places etc etc. Lo-fi Librarian enthuses about the fact that The New York Times says “librarians are cool”. Martin George is ‘en vacances’ and cannot blog. His wife thinks this is a good thing.
Nearly Legal, after his almost Sysiphean efforts hosting Blawg Review 115, is relaxing, but notes that an american finds the UK ‘surprisingly interesting’. I am sure Nearly Legal will accept my ‘Sysiphus’ reference as a compliment – It is intended to be. Prisonlawinsideout notes that The Tories plan to put 7p on a pint and use superglue as their secret weapon to fix a broken society. Pupilblog is concerned about tenancy and wonders whether he may have prejudiced his position.
Reactionary Snob, a Scots advocate, has, as usual, something interesting to say – in this post: about why should we listen to Catholic priests about life and many other important matters: Food for thought.
And finally… for this extended post at least, always a pleasure to get a mention from my friend over at The Virginity Project… who continues to remember me as “Table 3 Mike” … whoever he is
I am also grateful for a very subtle link on Dan Hull’s What About Clients? blog when he mentions Rioja in the context of the bull running at Pamplona (and… middle-aged angst.) It may not be immediately obvious… but I like a bit of subtlety.