Tuesday night… a bit of politics and shooting bees…

And so, on a cold Tuesday night at the end of April, rain spattering on the windows of my bunker, I find myself looking at an amusing YouTube video of Boris on Have I Got News For You admitting that he once sneezed cocaine many years ago. It is a rather good video if you haven’t seen it.

It was, Boris said, “a very long time ago… and very very wrong and bad…. ”

When commended for being ‘commendably honest”… Boris laughed and replied… “Recklessly honest.”

***

When I saw this headline on Google: ” Blair Man’s Self Inflicted Gunshot Wound Alcohol Related”… I just had to look further. It was not a revelation about Lord Levy, Peter Mandelson or any other Blairite / or recently converted ‘anti-Blairite’. It was, however, a quite remarkable story and I quote in full from the original source:

“A combination of alcohol, bees and a gun resulted in a Williamsburg man making a trip to the hospital Sunday.

The incident happened around 2:00 Sunday yesterday afternoon in Frankstown Township in the Canoe Creek area.

According to police 57-year-old David Walls had been drinking when he tried to shoot down some bees flying above him using a .22 caliber revolver loaded with buckshot. Walls ended up shooting himself in the left hand causing soft tissue damage.”

Wow… now that must have been some drink.

BUT… in the interests of political balance I also enjoyed this YouTube snippet from Newsnight when Paxo puts The Invisible Man to the sword and says “You can’t be serious” when Paddick was unable to distinguish between Ken and Boris for second preference vote purposes. Worth a look. Almost as good as the cocaine sneezing clip. The Invisible Man may have been a good copper and is, almost certainly, a thoroughly decent bloke – but standing beside two of London’s finest political pantomime villains – he looked a touch out of place. Paxo – at his best.

AND… since this is supposed to be law blog… if you really want a masterclass in asking questions and following through…. then this “Best of Paxo” made me laugh and it may well make you laugh as well. Definitely worth a bit of your time. You may have seen it already – but if you haven’t – here it is.

Right… I’m orf to do something more sensible….

a piu tarde.

Gordon Brown – The Prime Minister that never was….

Daily news podcast, legal news, law reports and who’s writing what on the blogs is now up on insitelaw newswire. Here

I got up at 3.00 this morning, as I usually do, to look at blogs and newspapers for my vaguely sensible coverage of the events of the day [In another place].

This morning, I read, in The Independent, that Brown, having solved all the problems of his increasingly inadequate and unelected ‘premiership’, is focused on re-classifying cannabis from C to B, arseing around with the extension on detention from 28-42 days and, no doubt, if political pundits are to be believed, dithering about whether he will serve up porridge or porridge to us today. I do not tend to drink at 3.00 in the morning, save, on occasion, on a Friday night when I stay up late, so I can’t even plead mild intoxication…. (and I’ve voted Labour for 28 years) for what follows…. (or the graphic)

Gordon Brown, skulking away in the bowels of The Treasury, may well be shown by history to be one of the great Chancellors. As a Prime Minister he is shaping up to be a disaster – with no peer or rival in the last 200 years. Retreat after retreat. First he bottled the election last Summer. Now he retreats on the 10p tax issue. Soon he may well be defeated on the extension of terror detention from 28 to 42 days because people who know what they are talking about oppose it and MPs are beginning to listen. Now Gordon Brown, despite evidence and opposition, again from people who know what they are talking about, wants to re-classify Cannabis from Group C to Group B.

There are rather more important matters, one would have thought, for Brown to address – credit-crunch, house prices, Iraq, Afghanistan, employment, not being a fun guy… to name but a few. Police may well want the drug re-classified (but have they produced any sensible, compelling, evidence for this – or is this yet another bit of plod opportunism to go back to the good old days?) – but it can’t possibly be the case that cannabis is contributing, markedly or at all, to the crime wave?

Ironically, crime is actually falling according to recent reports. (Here | Here | And in Liverpool? ) Cheap booze may well be a cause of juvenile delinquency, but, again, is hardly likely to be the only cause of mainstream crime. It cannot be easy to commit serious crimes or robbery, rape, fraud, etc when spliffed up or pissed. But what would I know? I’m only a voter. I’ve never been partial to porridge, despite my Scots ancestry, and the present lumpy stuff being dished up by a tired and, frankly, rather dull and inconsistent government is not appetising. And they wonder why Boris may (possibly), despite all of his antics, be elected as Mayor on Thursday.

(*) Brown refutes Lord Levy story about being gay.

***

If you are in London: Who are you going to vote for: Boris | Ken | Invisible Man | Putin | Other? One hopes the election results will not take four weeks to be declared.

***

Grammar Note for members of The Apostophe Fanciers Club: Focused or focussed?

Charon QC reviews….

Coming soon…
I appear to be a restaurant reviewer now and had a great time last Wednesday visiting Battersea to review a very good restaurant. My review will be up on LawandMore soon… but, to give you a foretaste / forewarning…. here is an extract:

“Should I wear a dinner jacket ?… a suit?… I wondered, as I shaved and thought about my trip to South London. It was South London I had to go to … so the black suit, black tie, Ronnie Kray look would have to stay in the wardrobe for my trip out of the manor that night. In the end I decided on a Chiswick ‘artiste’ look – jeans, black polo neck and an implausible battered brown drizeabone coat to give that High Plains Drifter feel to my arrival south of the river. After contacting the Foreign Office website to see if there were any travel warnings about trips to South London, I made my way to Chancery Lane for a meeting before going down to The ….. “

I am able to reveal that the restaurant gets 4.5 riojas as a rating.

I am also pleased to announce

That Wildy & Sons have accepted my invitation to sponsor the occasional caption competitions I run on here. The prize will be a book involving legal humour; modest in price, but rich on reading – entirely in keeping with this almost law free blawg.

Weekend Review: 26-27 April 2008

I’ve heard of Tupperware parties. I’ve even heard of Ann Summers parties. I have not been a participant – but now there are Taser Parties

The Telegraph reports: “Miss Shafman, 35, is on a mission to persuade the fearful, but fashion-conscious, women of America to pack 50,000 volts of self-defence in their handbags.”

Excellent nonsense. The Land of The Free? I appreciate that quite a few people in the United States are armed, and some heavily, as they go to work or go out socially but it is somewhat ironic, in the world’s biggest democracy, that people feel the need to be armed with guns and, now, tasers.

I had an excellent lunch on Friday with the team at LawandMore to discuss restaurant reviews, life, the universe and everything. We enjoyed our wines. Not a Taser in sight.

Excuse me… I’m trying to smoke!…

So there I was, shortly after 8.30 this morning, sitting outside a cafe in Chiswick High Road, enjoying a coffee and perfecting my smoking technique – or ‘Smokedo’ as I like to describe it now – ‘The way of the smoker’.

I was reading about Lord Laidlaw’s excellent and stylish Monaco based bondage / sex / drugs parties in The News of The World before turning my attention to rather more serious matters in The Observer.

A Chiswickmummy with two E-numbered up children (boys) sat down. One of the spawn was still in a pushchair. The other was not. I was smoking – as one is entitled to do outside and was three tables away. The woman looked at me with a degree of disdain and then at her children as if to suggest that I was going to give them emphysema immediately.

Brat 1 in pushchair starts screaming because his egg yuck mix, or whatever it was his mother gave him, was not to his precocious middle class taste. Brat 2 then threw a strop because his mother told him to stop banging the salt and pepper containers on the table. This went on for several minutes. I glanced at the woman who was beaming away at these spawn of satan but she did not catch the malevolence in my gaze. I wanted to say “Excuse me, Madam, but would you be kind enough to control your child accessories, please”. Instead, I said, taking a full frontal approach: “Excuse me, I’m trying to smoke – and it is too early for screaming children. Please… I surrender. Can you quieten them down?” The woman was not too impressed by this attempt at black humour  and took the children inside. No apology, just another look of disdain. Result.

After breakfast I nipped over to The Inconvenience Store to buy a bottle of Rioja and some smoking equipment. I stood patiently in the queue while a f**kwit, Russian from the language he was using to SHOUT into his mobile phone, f**ked about trying to find loose change to pay for his provisions. F**kwit then dropped his change all over the sweets on display in the cabinet in front of him. Making no effort at all to hurry, mobile phone cradled between shoulder and very large right ear, f**kwit then starts rummaging around trying to find his change and – there is a god – mobile phone drops onto the floor and the battery falls off the phone. Result.

It was, perhaps, rude of me to start laughing uncontrollably, triggering off laughter from the shop assistant behind the counter and someone behind me. Russian looked completely baffled, puts his phone together and redials, at which point the shopkeeper told him that he had other customers to serve and voided the transaction on the till. The British may be polite and tolerant on the whole – but this morning I decided not to be after my smoking / newspaper reading session had been ruined by Lady Disdain and her progeny.

I shall return to Weekend Review later. I feel like a quick walk.

Weekend Review 26-27 April – Trailer…

I thought I’d kick off this week’s Weekend Review with a trailer….

Here we have a story from RollonFriday about Freshfield’s partner Chris Mort. I can do no better than quote from the RollonFriday news story:

“A video has been posted on YouTube showing Chris Mort, a leading Freshfields corporate partner, on stage leading the singing of a drunken crowd. Mort, who is also chairman of Newcastle United FC, lurched into a series of football chants at the Blu Bambu nightclub in Newcastle. He can be seen below, entertaining the crowds alongside a gentleman who’s singing “shut your f*cking face girl, la la la la“.”

The Telegraph covers the story | Chris Mort biography

In the interests of legal research – you may feel that it is appropriate for you to click this link to RoF to view the YouTube video. Excellent nonsense – good to see that serious lawyers can get away from the heavy stuff from time to time and have a good evening. I enjoyed the video – not a football fan but after this…. I may well take up a bit karaoke myself … in a podcast?

Matt Muttley, managing partner of Muttley Dastardly LLP, is away in Amsterdam visiting European banks to see how they are coping with sub-prime securities and is not available or comment.

***

25 April: Daily news and podcast

Listen to the daily news podcast

Law Actually picks up on the new Office for Government Commerce (OGC) logo – left. Fine when horizontal. Not so good when turned 90 degrees. The Times states that the OGC are pressing ahead with the logo. A spokesman for the OGC said: “We concluded that the effect was generic to the particular combination of the letters ‘OGC’ – and is not inappropriate to an organisation that’s looking to have a firm grip on government spend.”

The insitelaw newswire is growing rapidly with links to the latest blog reports, law reports, news, and legal round ups. The Daily news podcast continues….

Out of the manor…

I dined well last night at a very good restaurant. The restaurant was out of my manor. It is rare, these days, for me to make ‘house calls’ – but I was reviewing a restaurant for LawandMore. The food was superb. The wine excellent. I shall be writing my review tonight…

In the meantime…. let me tell you what we had to eat and drink. It was important… to do a detailed and thorough investigation….

Pan-fried lemon scented squid, served on a bed of rocket salad with wine must and tomato tartare.
Rose of smoked salmon with red caramelized onions and poached quail’s eggs, served with summer salad.
Timbale of grilled vegetables, courgettes and peppers, served on a bed of Scamorza cheese with basil olive oil.
Homemade pumpkin ravioli made with red pesto sauce and truffle olive oil.
Black ink homemade Tagliolini served with courgettes and cherry tomatoes, with Tuscan olive oil.
Pan – fried breast of Duck with rhubarb zest and dried plums, in his own juice.
Homemade pannacotta, with kuzu lime sauce from Japan and fresh strawberries basket.
Pizza With Bottarga and Sturgeon eggs and taleggio cheese.

The wines:

Prosecco
Pinot grigio Blush from Forchir,
Dolcetto d’Alba di Montezemolo
Brunello 2003 Casanova di Neri

Podcasts! – an update

I have now put a list of 52+ podcasts on the  insitelaw newswire and there is a link to the podcast on the top right hand side of the newswire.  If you did a podcast with me and wish to re-do your podcast link – please go here.

I have yet to re-do all the links on the blog.  This is rather a big task – and will take some time.  In the meantime – you can access the podcasts (Weekend review podcasts will be put up later this week) by visiting insitelaw.

22 April: Daily news and podcast up on insitelaw newswire

Daily Legal news links and daily news podcast now up on insitelaw newswire (insite blog to follow)

List of blogs on insitelaw newswire
I have copied my blogroll to the insitelaw newswire website.  If you are not on my blogroll and would like to be included (and on the insitelaw newswire – please visit the insitelawnewswire and email me.

League tables to irritate the legal profession
It has been done in the health service, the media and the City. Professionals — lawyers included — are increasingly victims of league tables. So braving the ire of that most litigious of groups, today The Times Law section offers its own list: Law 100: the UK’s most powerful lawyers

With a legal profession of over 120,000 and even if some members of the profession are modest enough (or young enough) not to worry about their place in the firmament – this list is going to irritate a fair number of lawyers. Maybe this is a good thing!
See: Insitelaw newswire

Shepherd’s pie does not need layer of tomatoes on top… official

“District Judge Peter Ward told the defendant that, in his view, there was no need for a layer of tomatoes on a shepherd’s pie.”

The issues in this case, as far as I can gather from the original report in The Telegraph, turn on the recipe for “Shepherd’s Pie”.

The facts are relatively straightforward, if somewhat bizarre. Two brothers, Michael and John Garvin, had been drinking all day. Despite this, Michael (a chef) cooked his brother a Shepherd’s Pie and sat back to bask in gratitude. John, however, “voiced his disquiet that the pie was not topped with a layer of sliced tomatoes.”

Michael responded by saying that a “layer of tomatoes was not the appropriate way to finish off a shepherd’s pie, and responded by hitting him over the head with a shovel.”

The Telegraph report continues: “As the argument got out of control, John threatened to petrol bomb his brother’s flat and was arrested.”

Hat Tip to The Prisoner’s Voice blog for alerting me to this important judgment.

Jolly voting weather…

Inspired and amused by tonight’s Bremner, Bird & Fortune – I write about the forthcoming London Mayoral election and other matters.

We have the three frontrunners: Ken, Boris and PC PC whose name name I can never remember. Sex appears to play a fair part in their electoral campaigns.

Ken, it appears, seems to have had quite a few children by different women. Boris has built a reputation on extra-curricular shagging and The Invisible Man takes a different line on matters sexual but seems to be backed by the Russell Brand of the Lib-Dems, Genghis Cleggover. The Labour Party, not known in recent years for their sexual energy (with the exception of “Two Shags” Prescott), may be drooping in the polls generally but cannot even begin to compete with Boris and his political… but only political… bedmate – Shagger Norris – who ran for Mayor several times.

Curiously, I find it reassuring in these credit-crunch times, that we could wake up in early May to find ourseleves, in London, with Mayor Boris – perhaps even with joyful Londoners singing the The Eton Boating song – an mp3 version is available for you to practice singing along with here

These, of course, are not the official words – but I just had to adapt them to meet modern political conditons:

Jolly voting weather,
And a banking credit wheeze,
Blade on the feather,
10 percent on the fees,
Swing swing together,
With your nuts between your knees,
Swing swing together,
With your mortage putting you on your knees

Fancy an Eton Mess on May 1st?

***

Thought for Today…

I’m not a religious man. In fact I am baffled as to why so many products of evolution believe in so many different Gods. But…. each to their own so long as they don’t ring my doorbell flogging relics. I appear to be suffering from “captionitis”. Apologies.

John Bolch of Family Lore is keeping the flag of rational thought flying with a thoughtful piece on his blog.

Geeklawyer, meanwhile, has decided to run with the Prezza Bulimia story and demonstrates that he too is able to use pictures on his blog – a first for him, I think – at least in the main body, if you forgive the pun, of his posts.

And White Rabbit – has done some pretty powerful short pieces on the crisis in Zimbabwe.

***

Tomorrow is another Monday…

Weekend Review: 18-19th April

I’ll kick off with a brief report about a solicitor MP who has been charged with criminal damage for clambering over the bonnet of a van to get onto a bus. I won’t dwell on it – but it does seem a rather bizarre thing for a lawmaker and lawyer to do. Curiously, for Wolverhampton has been in my thoughts recently (I know not why), the solicitor MP represents the town.

And then we have The Times reporting that an accountant who stole £70,000 from two churches has been ordered by a judge to repay the money by selling his huge stamp collection on eBay. Apparently, the accountant stole money from church fetes and spent the money on his stamp collection and gambling. “The court heard that Klein made many of his losses on an internet gambling site where his online nickname was The Bishop.”

I was having a drink recently with an actress friend of mine. She suggested that my voice would be good for voice overs. I was open to the idea after a bottle of vino, so she texted me a number and contact details. I did actually ring the number and was told that I could have a ‘studio test’! My enthusiasm waned a bit when I asked what sort of voice overs they did. I was told – for automated phone systems! Excellent! I can think of nothing worse than having “Charon” answer the phone… I have in mind the following…

Ringggg….ringggg…. ringgggg ringggg…

“Good morning, this is Muttley Dastardly LLP. If you would like to settle your fee note… press One. If you would like to sue someone…press Two…. if you are being sued…press Three. If you would like to talk to one of our lawyers….press Four. Calls to this number are recorded for arse covering purposes and for our amusement and are charged at £150 an hour for the first fifteen minutes and £200 per hour thereafter. Please be aware that our fee rates range from £200 – £650 per hour if you instruct us to act on your behalf. We are an equal opportunity law firm and never knowingly undercharge. Thank you for calling.”

Euro-stench
The unseasonal cold weather is coming from the east winds currently passing over British sovereign territory. Unfortunately, it appears, the winds are also bringing a foul smell from Europe; creating an epidemic of europhobia among the residents of West London. The BBC reports that:

Stu Maddison of Ealing, west London, said he noticed the stench as soon as he stepped out the door this morning. Mr Maddison said the smell was still in the air when he arrived for work in Notting Hill. “It’s a bit rude really,” he said of the air. “Various colleagues thought they’d trod in something but no, it’s the air.”

I’m a bit surprised that Boris, with only two weeks to go before he ascends to the London throne and be crowned as the “People’s Dick Wittington”, hasn’t yet jumped on the bandwagon. Perhaps the News of The World tomorrow will have his opinion on this. The BBC spent a bit more taxpayer money on interviewing the people about their reaction to the ‘vomit to poo’ like smell. What worries me is that I watched the clip.

Geeklawyer has an amusing piece on the restoration of the Da Vinci code judge to grace. The “Office for Naughty Judges”,  as he calls it,  has merely reprimanded Mr Justice Smith for his Addleshaws episode. Full story on Geeklawyer’s blog.

***

TIME FOR ANOTHER CAPTION COMPETITION

I haven’t had a caption competition for some time – largely because I appear to be drinking all the prizes myself.

However – the prize here will be one bottle of Bourbon’s finest – a Rioja from my dwindling private collection. The only snag is that you will have to drink it with me in West London.

An alternative prize – to accompany me to a restaurant when I do a restaurant review for LawandMore. We will eat and drink and, of course, I’ll even consult you for your opinion. I’m entitled to bring a guest for each dinner I eat. (I’m doing my first restaurant review for LawandMore this Wednesday – and I’m looking forward to dinner and the writing afterwards!)

And if you really don’t want to win either of these prizes, but simply want to win the competition – just say so in your comment!

Over to you. I shall resist putting my own caption up this time.