Clawbies and a Happy New Year…

A most entertaining New Year’s Eve on Twitter… far better, for me, than going out to Tralfagar Square. It is cold….  and  I’d just end up talking in French to tourists…. Twitter was amusing this evening.  Happy New Year to all

I also won a Clawbie.  Canadian Law Bloggers Award – and I’m delighted because their awards are about blogs!  I usually award things to myself.  I don’t know if a sword is involved at the investiture?

“6) EuroCan Connection Awards – This award was envisioned to recognize some of our European law blog friends who frequently highlight and link to Canadian law blogs. In 2008, Charon QC reached out to many Canadian law bloggers, myself included. The work he did late in the year creating a Canadian Law Blog Pageflake just sealed the deal. Runner Up: Our 2007 winner Nick Holmes became an occasional contributor to Slaw in 2008, and earns a finalist nod this year for doing so.”

Clawbie’s Awards 2008

We sailed against the French… a short *Tweeplay*…

At a loss as to how best I could amuse myself this eve of the New Year, I thought it may be interesting to re-take France for our Nation and report events as they unfolded on TWITTER.

The Scene. A fleet of ships of war and ships of the line, lying at Portsmouth, provisioned and victualled.  The young Captain Hornblower realises that he is the commander of the ship bearing the flag of Admiral Charon, a Vice-Admiral of the Red… naturally.  Admiral Charon is on board and despite the construction of the ship being 1802, it has wi-fi and a superfast broadband connection.  Charon has a large cigar and a glass of red to hand.  He is announcing his unsolicited and wholly unauthorised personal invasion of La France. The report includes combatants on both sides who were responding to Charon’s reports on Twitter. Occasionally, Charon would send a tweet to a friendly follower.

The story starts here…. the raportage is a transcript of events as they unfolded and reported by Charon on Twitter tonight….

***

Shortly before 19.00 GMT: OK… helmets on…. I have a large cigar. I am prepared. I’m a one star general now… by 12.00 I’ll make five stars. That is all.

18.55 GMT: @Infobunny Brigadier Charon here… are you ready…. bayonets… they don’t like steel up ‘em.

The story unfolded as follows… it was, you understand, the heat of battle and reports are transcribed events as reported on Twitter tonight….

Neil_MacKinnon @charonqc You’ve demoted yourself?

Charon: Brigadier General…. just to start proceedings…. I’ll be Lt Gen soon…. count on it.

Neil_MacKinnon @charonqc Maybe you should be a rear admiral?

stupidgirl_no1 Icon_lock @Charonqc do I get a formal position? Or should I listen to Al Murray and assume I’m just a nurse or secretary as I’m female?

Charon: @Neil_MacKinnon Navy you say?…. Good plan…. a bit of rum… sodomy and the lash… just what we all need as Churchill once said.

Charon: @stupidgirl_no1 You can give yourself any rank you like… but not Admiral…. yet…. work up to Admiral like I did.

Charon At the suggestion of @Neil_MacKinnon I have changed my hat and rank … a bit of rum etc etc…. Admiral of The Red… naturally.

Charon: As my famous predecessor Admiral Lord Nelson said ” Desperate affairs require desperate measures. ” We are ready to do our duty

Neil_MacKinnon Yaaar. Beat to Arms!!!

Charon: Splice the mainbrace……. 4 minutes and counting… and we sail for FRANCE again… England expects that every man will do his duty.

Geeklawyer bloody hell. This pheasant has shotgun pellets in it dammit.

Charon: @Geeklawyer Pheasant… pellets? Not good enough, man. A bird like that needs the cannon of a ship of war. Run out the guns, Mr Hornblower

***

Captain’s log
19.00 hrs GMT, 2008

Charonqc: We sail…. make for Calais Bos’n…. set the mainsail and bring me a tot of rum, if you please. We’re off… !!!

Charon: I have only one eye, I have a right to be blind sometimes.. I really do not see the signal! Keep an eye on that bottle, Captain Hornblower.

Neil_MacKinnon @charonqc Can I be Mr Christian?

Charonqc @Neil_MacKinnon Goddamit man…. I’m not Bligh…. You shall have to be my old mate Admiral Villeneuve

Charonqc I see a Frenchie to port…. a cross channel ferry. Sink it, if you please Master at Arms

stupidgirl_no1 Icon_lock @Charonqc Do you have a lovely eye patch like a pirate?! Very rakish!

Charonqc I see a Frenchie to port…. a cross channel ferry. Sink it, if you please Master at Arms.

stupidgirl_no1 Icon_lock @Charonqc should we not board before sinking and steal all their cheap booze? French plonk is rather drinkable

Charonqc: It is warm work; and this day may be the last to any of us at a moment. But mark you! I would not be elsewhere this night than on Twitter.

Charonqc: Let me alone: I have yet my legs and one arm. Tell the surgeon to make haste. I must lose my right arm, so the sooner it’s off the better.

Neil_MacKinnon: Kiss me Hardy

Charonqc @Neil_MacKinnon It is a bit early for the kiss me quick hats, Villeneuve…. I see another Frenchie…. Clear the decks!!! Bring me my bow of burning gold.

Charonqc: I see Prize aboard that ship… Wine, onions, Hermes scarves and Carla Bruni videos. We shall board and take her for our Queen.

Neil_MacKinnon Changing for tonight involved taking off a shirt and putting on a bright pink polo shirt – et voila!

Charonqc @Neil_MacKinnon Trust a Frenchie to choose a pink polo shirt… but as we say in London… chacun a son gout

stupidgirl_no1 Icon_lock @Charonqc bagsy a scarf!! And if there are some pretty shoes to match

Charonqc Our enemies are resourceful. They lose no time in thinking of ways to harm our nation… and neither shall I….. Thank you, Mr Hornblower… This is good news. Signal the fleet. *There are no U-boats out tonight*.

stupidgirl_no1 Icon_lock @Charonqc I hear gun fire…oh no, its fireworks

Charonqc @stupidgirl_no1 You hear gunfire? Trouble not.. I have ordered a broadside on that ridiculous nouveau riche yacht on the starboard quarter.

Charonqc Viking, North Utsire, Humber, German Bight, Lundy and Fastnet….north veering north-east, three or less…… low Finistere

Charonqc Captain’s Log 31st December. WE sail to France to re-take it for ourselves. maybe then I’ll get a knighthood?

Neil_MacKinnon Liberté, égalité, fraternité!

erikmagraken @Charonqc How many stars does the general have now?

Charonqc @erikmagraken I am now a Vice Admiral. Do you like my hat? I am on a ship of war making for Calais. I do not have my passport.

Neil_MacKinnon Dogger bank? tee hee

Neil_MacKinnon @charonqc Vous avez le cervau d’un sandwich au fromage, rosbif!

Charonqc @Neil_MacKinnon Villeneuve….  le fromage et les singes … est que ce que vous dites?

Neil_MacKinnon @charonqc Les Singes?! ha ha. Oui, quoi d’autre?

Neil_MacKinnon La Nation, la Loi, le Roi!

Charonqc It seems the French want to *parler*… avec moi! C’est bon…Mr Hornblower… present my compliments to Admiral Sarkozy and tell the Frenchies… tell  ‘em their Eiffel Tower fireworks must not be better than ours in London.

***

Charonqc I am pleased to report that the Frenchies have struck their colours and are taking me to dinner in Paris. And that is how we re-took France for our Nation.

**

I leave you now… to continue my raportage of New Year’s Eve, in another guise, with my favourite quote from Admiral Lord Nelson…

“I could not tread these perilous paths in safety, if I did not keep a saving sense of humor.”

[It may be, of course, that this holiday period has been rather a long one and the vino is doing the business.]




And… Madness… takes control….

I enjoy Twitter. I appear to have done over 10600 *Tweets* and when I went on to Tweetwaster.com I discovered to my pleasure that the report on me was as follows: “316,980 Seconds or 5,283 Minutes or 88.05 Hours or 3.67 Days using Twitter! Tweetwasters rank: #663 http://tweetwasters.com

Twitter is now going the way of all things net... awards, ranking, influence, authority, popularity – the extent that some people are obsessed. Try Twitority?

In celebration of this new mania for the 21st century…. I don’t worry about these things, but I’ve decided that I need to engage more on Twitter… so I am going to have a NERVOUS BREAKDOWN (an enjoyable one… no nervous shock implications for Tort litigators to worry about)  on Twitter on New Year’s Eve… or maybe 1st Jan…  worrying about authority, influence, ranking and the new GOOG ranking system where we are all doomed to be a number in Google’s database and be RANKED!….   OK…. maybe I won’t…. maybe I have already started.

Anyway… this will give you an idea of what lies ahead… “Making Social Networks profitable.” Hat Tip to @BrettTrout on Twitter… where else?

Madness lies ahead…. and you have to ask…”For whom the bells toll…..” ?

Postcard from Bloomsbury, London

Well… an amusing Christmas. Santa has left British airspace for yet another year and as we career towards the start of the new year and the ascension of Obamassiah* to the presidency of the United States, the newspapers turn their cheery attention to who kicked the bucket this year and talk of the worst recession since WWII Britain in 1946.  I have a plan.  The plan is to fight the good fight…

I’m taking time away from The Boat and I’m in Bloomsbury at the moment. I pen this letter, in fact, near the very heart of legal London.  Twitter continues both to inform and amuse and a number of regulars who I follow were remarkably active over Christmas Day and Boxing Day. The metaphor of the airmail is entirely appropriate.  I appear to have spent much of Christmas Day and Boxing flying, fuelled by a mix of enjoyable wines and a bit of Captain Morgan rum.  It did the business. I was able to produce a few podcasts, including one with Geeklawyer, made a couple of movies (including a short interview with H M The Queen) and went for several walks through a very quiet London; including one to Trafalgar Square where I was able to talk French to two Australian tourists.

My section on New Year resolutions is short: I don’t have any.

I returned from an enjoyable evening in Covent Garden this evening, logged on to Twitter and discovered that I was being *followed* by purveyors of products designed to stiffen one’s resolve and…  rather more interesting – a boat builder.  They may have picked up on a reference in a Tweet that I live on a boat.  I poured myself a glass of wine and had the truly appalling thought… *How am I going to Tweet when I’m dead*.  I did, naturally, have to share this with my followers.

Twitter continued…
@kevinokeefe returned to the fray this evening with an array of useful links and thoughts…. regrettably, I may have committed a Twitter solecism by responding intemperately to one of his posts… This was what is called in the business.. a ReTweet… RT… where one merely copies someone else’s post and re-publishes it to one’s own followers… the theory being a variant of *Six degrees of separation* … and eventually everyone on Twitter will know about the post….  if they actually have time to read it while they are frenetically posting their own tweets.

The post I responded to read:

Kevin OKeefe
kevinokeefe RT @wpollak: I doubt bloggers make 6 figs just from blogging–perhaps as promo for other activities (book sales, consulting, speaking fees).

My response: @kevinokeefe Are you saying, Re followers, that *I am followed, therefore I am?* Surely not? If so, how do spammers know I need Viagra?

Yet again…  I feel that I am, somehow, missing the point of Twitter.. as I keep deleting spammers and people I don’t want following me.

Bishops attack ‘immoral’ Labour…

There is something strangely pleasing to find archbishops, bishops and other assorted clerics popping up on television and the BBC website at this time of year to give us their thoughts on the economy, the state of the nation and other matters temporal. Tonight, I read an article on the BBC website ‘Bishops attack ‘immoral’ Labour.  (I have taken the picture to the right from the BBC report.)

I quote from the BBC report: “The Rt Rev Tom Wright, the Bishop of Durham, told the Sunday Telegraph ministers Labour had not done enough to help the poor…. Labour made a lot of promises, but a lot of them have vanished into thin air,” he said..

“We have not seen a raising of aspirations in the last 13 years, but instead there is a sense of hopelessness. While the rich have got richer, the poor have got poorer”

Another man who wears a Christmas party hat all the year round, the Right Reverend Nigel McCulloch, the Bishop of Manchester, accused Labour “of being “beguiled by money” and “morally corrupt”.

The rather irreverent thought occurred to me… that some may take the view that The Church, founded upon a possibly/probably/almost certainly non existent entity, bears a remarkable similarity to a Ponzi scheme run by Madoff…   and while the lifestyle of clerics at the top isn’t on the scale enjoyed by bankers… it isn’t exactly life in a two up two down in a poor residential area.  Even if Lambeth Palace does decline in value, along with other housing, by 25%… it is unlikely that Lambeth Palace will be repossessed…

Well.. it has been a good day… but now it is time to hit the futon and wake, reborn, to face the run up to New Year.

Best regards, as always.


***

Obamassiah* : I learned of this word when Colin Samuels of the Infamy or Praise blog guested on an episode of West London Man, taking the part of a US Attorney. Episode 24 of West London Man is being written this week.  George has a good run up to New Year.

Fantastic… lawyer advertising in The States

I am grateful to fellow  US bloggers @Gideonstrumpet (A Public Defender blog) and Brian Tannebaum / @MIAMICRIMLAW (Criminal Defense blog) for providing links to three truly astonishing tv adverts for lawyers and one *magical* lawyer website run by a Mr Speer who pulls things out of hats.  It really is worth your time looking at ALL THREE.

1.  Lowell “The Hammer” Stanley film

2. Hal Cook – Attorney at Law

3. Mr Speer…. The Magic Lawyer

The benefits of being on Twitter are many!…

AND… if you want to see some remarkable behaviour and interchanges between lawyers in Texas (And I really recommend this short film) then click here. (Hat Tip to Gideon!)

***

I did podcasts with Gideon and Brian Tannebaum recently on aspects of criminal defense in Connecticut and Miami.

Podcast with Gideon of a Public Defender blog | Podcast with Brian Tannebaum

A brisk walk to Trafalgar Square, London

Podcast version: A brisk walk to Trafalgar Square, London

***

Not surprisingly, given that Britain PLC is in the midst of the great shutdown for two and a bit weeks, London was very quiet this morning. Rising early, after a glass of Rioja from the bottle left by the kindly gentleman in red robes last night (we sorted the unfortunate misunderstanding about him being a burglar) I made  a few Tweets, emailed a few friends, called my brother, and escaped to wander through London… or part of it at least. The great thing about solo Christmas, as it is for me this year, is that one may do as one pleases and it pleases me greatly.  I am staying in Bloomsbury for a week or so to do a small project, so I walked first towards Covent Garden but then changed my mind and made for Trafalgar Square.

For some curious reason I found myself writing very bad French on Twitter this morning and this inspired me to spread some good cheer by talking to tourists, and others I came across, in my even worse spoken French.  I arrived in Trafalgar Square, wearing my Australian Drizeabone and sporting an increasingly luxuriant and increasingly absurd salt and pepper Zapata moustache. The square commemorates the Battle of Trafalgar (1805) and the main feature is Nelson’s Column (and the four lions by Sir Edward Landseer added in 1867).  Checking some facts for my post in Wikipedia, I discovered the heartwarming story  that in 1925 a Scottish confidence trickster, Arthur Furguson, “sold” the landmark to an unknowing American claiming it was for sale to pay off Britain’s war loan to the United States. (He also “sold” Big Ben and Buckingham Palace.)

Some years ago I was in a Black cab with a particularly talkative cabbie. He told me, as we drove up The Mall, that the flagstaffs lining The Mall are topped with ships, representing Nelson’s fleet, and are visible to Nelson standing up there on his column. The statue is 18 ft high and the column is 151 ft.  I put this knowledge to good use later.

Hipflasks are very useful things, and so it was this morning as I took a shot or two of Rioja straight from the flask.  I wandered about, taking in the square and the surrounding architecture.  I quote from Wikipedia: “On the north side of the square is the National Gallery and to its east St Martin-in-the-Fields church. The square adjoins The Mall via Admiralty Arch to the southwest. To the south is Whitehall, to the east Strand and South Africa House, to the north Charing Cross Road and on the west side Canada House.”

OK… enough of the travelogue.  What did I do? I drank the rest of the wine in the hip flask, roughly a third to a half of a bottle, and just enjoyed the scene, the pigeons, the tourists, the cloudy grey sky and the sharp cold wind on my face.  Bracing. It was then I heard two tourists talking to each other.  They were Australian… blokes in their twenties.  I was wearing an Australian Drizeabone, I had drink nearly half a bottle of wine.  My impeccable Christmas morning logic told me that these two tourists were perfect to practice my bad french on.

The conversation went roughly as follows…

Charon: Bonjour, Joyeux Noël à vous. Êtes-vous de l’Australie. Êtes-vous en vacances?

Tourist 1: Hi.  Good Christmas to you as well.

Did he speak French, I asked myself, not wishing to lose  my confidence in the face of a fluent French speaker.  I took a chance and asked a question I did not the answer to.

Tourist 1: No, mate, we’re from Aus.  You got one of our coats on…

This was music to my ears.  I resisted, at this stage, the impulse to talk English with a farcical French accent and continued…

Charon: Vous profitez de Londres? C’est Trafalgar Square. Cette statue est l’un de nos grands héros naval, Nelson.

Tourist 2: I thought Nelson was English?

I started laughing.  The game was up. Two Aussies thought my French was OK to a point they may have even thought I was French… perhaps le moustache I am sporting?   I told them that I was, in fact, a Scot, had lived in London for many years but just felt like speaking bad French to tourists as it was Christmas Day.  They seemed to find the idea amusing. We talked for about ten minutes or so.  They were doing the great Australian trek across Europe and other parts of the world.  Nice guys.  We talked about cricket for a while… the defeat of Australia and England by India and England”s chances of winning The Ashes this summer.  They thought we might do it.  Being British, I tried not to let my real view come out (We are going to stuff the Aussies this summer) and said that it should be a good series. I pointed to The Mall when they asked if Buckingham Palace was quite near and told them to look at the flagpoles on the way down – the ships at the top of each pole representing a ship in Nelson’s fleet at Trafalgar.  They liked that.  A most enjoyable way to work up a thirst for my return…

***

Podcast version: A brisk walk to Trafalgar Square, London



On the eve of Christmas…..

It was quiet… preternaturally quiet… calm almost. I poured some Tempranillo into a large glass, swirled it around and sat back.  Christmas had arrived once again.  I have decided to amuse myself tomorrow by cooking a curry from scratch… a hot one from Southern India. I purchased all the necessary spices, the rice, some chicken breasts, bananas, mango chutney, some peanuts (I follow the Malaysian style of eating nuts, bananas, fruit and other sambals with my curries) and  some Naan bread. But that is tomorrow.  Tonight, I shall have turkey slices, some coleslaw and potato salad.

I have decided not to have Christmas pudding this year and I forgot to buy a Christmas cake. No matter… I shall look at Geeklawyer’s magnificent creation, baked a year ago, he tells me, and matured with alcohol these past twelve months. Geeklawyer drinks a fair bit of mead and has a taste for strawberry flavoured beer.  I know this.  I have seen him drink such a beverage at the Porterhouse pub in Covent Garden.  The consumption of mead  may account for the truly marvellous decoration on the cake, crafted by Geeklawyer himself,… an octopus about to grab what may well be a rabbit.  Regular visitors to my blog will recall that I met up with Geeklawyer only last Saturday for Christmas cocktails – the occasion when he took off a green jacket he was wearing, threw it in a bin on Longacre and put on a purple jacket he had just acquired from Paul Smith nearby. Little did I know, as we drank our way through double vodka shots, an excellent margerita and then red wine, that he was planning to decorate a Christmas cake with an octopus.  Res ipsa loquitur.

There was a plan to go out tonight with a couple of friends. One, unfortunately, has the unpleasant vomiting flu virus, and the other has gone AWOL and is, no doubt, at some club in Chelsea or elsewhere drinking. This has one advantage.  Instead of crashing in at about 6.30 am and then going onto Twitter, I shall awake on Christmas morning to find a large red stocking with a bottle of wine in it, similar to the picture on the header of this blog, at the foot of my bed.  I shall then drink it and listen to carols or Italian opera and then plan my Christmas movie ‘Urbi et Orbi’, ready for publication shortly after 3.00 when HM The Queen has finished her message to us all.

The Archbishop speaks to the nation…

While I do not share the proclivity for believing in non-existent entities enjoyed by many, I do like to keep an eye on what our clerics are up to.  Tomorrow, the BBC reports, the Archbishop of Canterbury is due to tell us…”People should not wait for “larger-than-life” heroes to solve the world’s problems, the Archbishop of Canterbury will say in his Christmas sermon.”

I cannot imagine that he is referring to our prime minister, self-styled Moses and Flash Gordon, saviour of the universe, so this seems to be a reference to some other fantastic creation of imagination rather than reality. The BBC report goes on to state that “The Archbishop is due to say: “History will end when God decides…..The gospel tells us something hard to hear – that there is not going to be a single charismatic leader or a dedicated political campaign or a war to end all wars that will bring the golden age. It tells us that history will end when God decides, not when we think we have sorted all our problems out; that we cannot turn the kingdoms of this world into the kingdom of God and his anointed; that we cannot reverse what has happened and restore a golden age.”

I’m not entirely sure whether the archbishop saw me with 500 loaves and fishes and a great deal of wine, or tap dancing on the Thames one night recently when I had a good night on the boat…. but… whatever the archbishop is having…. make mine a large one.

Christmas podcast to follow…. with Geeklawyer…  Now up on the blog…


Covent Garden, London

Podcast Version: Geeklawyer meeting in Covent Garden

It was shortly after 4.15 pm London time this afternoon when my mobile informed me that I had a message. The message read.. “I’m ite and abite .”

There are only two people I know who would say such a thing. One is the Duke of Edinburgh… the other is Geeklawyer.  I’d like to be able to say that it was The Duke of Edinburgh… but the Duke is rather busy wrapping Christmas presents at Sandringham.  It was Geeklawyer, making a quick trip to London from his lair *somewhere in Southern England*.

I met Geeklawyer outside Covent Garden tube station.  The place was heaving, writhing even, with shoppers, tourists and senior members of the legal profession and, quite possibly former Lord Chancellors and High Court Judges, doing their last minute Christmas shopping. (I did take a photograph, but as it was dark it was not a great pic.  So the pic above shows Covent Garden during daylight hours.)

I have been growing an arctic explorer beard… so….  ineluctably… the beard came with me, as did my Australian Drizeabone. I was standing there, waiting, smoking a woodbine… when I heard …. “Charon”… I turned, and there …. in the twilight mist of pre-Christmas London was … Geeklawyer.

I assume that many of my readers will be familiar with the Spielberg film Close Encounters….. well… think… alien coming down from the spaceship… the music… that was almost exactly what my encounter with Geeklawyer tonight in Covent Garden was like …. except there were no red necks or US Marines / National Guard (or, indeed, anyone) wanting to shoot, kill, arrest or extraordinarily rendite him… as often happens in Hollywood movies.

I gave Geeklawyer a Masonic handshake… but he did not respond. I like to do that when I meet people…. just to see if they are Masons. I’m not a Mason. I dabbled with it when I was young…. but the noose thing, bared breast and trousers rolled up was not for me.

Geeklawyer.. for those of you who need to know these things… was looking *Buff*.  Pour moi…. C’est ne pas faire rien.

We decided to have a cocktail first at Navajo Joe, a cocktail bar in a basement nearby. En route… and something which even I found mildly astonishing… Geeklawyer took off a green jacket he was wearing, walked over to a bin,  and put the jacket in the bin. I enquired as to why he was throwing his clothes in the bin.  He told me, despite the credit-crunch, despite the collapse of Lehman, Woolworth and MFI…  that he had purchased a new jacket from Paul Smith.  It was a purple jacket…. not suitable for court and therefore not tax deductible.  Some people like purple.  Nero and Caligula and  a whole host of roman emperors certainly had a taste for purple.  Chacun à son goût…. went through my mind.

Now wearing the purple Paul Smith jacket, Geeklawyer headed for an ATM in Longacre to get drinking vouchers and we arrived at Navajo Joe’s. Double vodka shots and then an excellent marguerita with added tequila, lime and salt each,  enabled us to cope with the pressures of Covent Garden on a mad pre-Christmas Saturday night – and we repaired (such a good word) to the Porterhouse Pub, also in Covent Garden.

The last time I was at The Porterhouse with Geeklawyer I ended up marrying him to @Jaffne from Twitter in a wonderfully tasteful ceremony, excercising my newly conferred powers as a Vicar of The World, granted by an excellent online institution in the US. I was, somewhat surprisingly, not called on to exercise these powers again tonight… but there we are.

Geeklawyer, not choosing to drink Strawberry flavoured beer, went for a German Weiss bier… I hit the house red.  And then we had another one as we stood outside so that I could smoke a woodbine or two.  We talked of many things – appraising the state of the UK Blawgosphere, politics, the concept of law generally and a most enjoyable early evening meet up it was.  For reasons of discretion I do not discuss what we discussed in any further detail.  Geeklawyer had to go to his meeting in High Holborn.  I escorted him to Holborn Tube, eschewing the delights of being a sardine on the Piccadilly Line.

I bade Geeklawyer goodbye,  watched him wander up the road, nipped back to Longacre, fished out  the green jacket he had thrown in the bin on Longacre and sold it on E-Bay just a few moments ago for £18,000.  WIN!

OK… I made the last bit up.  The jacket is still in the bin in Longacre.

***

Podcast Version: Geeklawyer meeting in Covent Garden

Podcast 84: Brian Tannebaum, US Attorney on Criminal Defense in Miami, Florida

Today I am talking to Brian Tannebaum a US attorney who practises in Miami, Florida as a criminal defense lawyer. Brian is author of the Criminal Defense blog and has written a short book The Truth about hiring a Criminal Defense lawyer.  I use the structure of the book as a base for our podcast.  We discuss Fees, advertising, experience, Federal v State work, the death penalty lawyer  and cover a great deal of ground

Listen to Podcast 84: Brian Tannebaum, US Attorney on Criminal Defense in Miami, Florida

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Brian Tannebaum’s Criminal Defense blog | E-book: The Truth about hiring a Criminal Defense lawyer | Brian Tannebaum on Twitter

Sicilian Avenue, Holborn London

Podcast version:  Charon on London (1)

I’ve always wanted to say that I was sitting, sipping sangiovese and smoking  in Sicilian Avenue this morning….. because I enjoy alliteration when I am in the mood.  I was in Sicilian Avenue this morning, early, for a meeting – but it was black coffee and a very pleasant way to spend half an hour.

I know the area well.  In another life, in my other guise, I helped found what is now the second largest law school in Britain and the law school was nearby in Theobalds Road.  In fact it is still nearby.  I watched as people rushed to work; some earnest,  some burdened by the cares of their day, others quite cheerful.  I waved at a few tourists.  It wasn’t particularly cold, but I was the only person sitting outside The Onion sandwich bar – a well known cafe. I was also the only person wearing an Australian Drizeabone stockman’s coat  and growing on my hitherto hair free face,  the makings of a very fine silver and black arctic explorer beard. My Panama hat was, perhaps, a bit excessive and certainly not quite right for winter – but….  I was a man on a mission and the paradox did not trouble me greatly.

A small group of about twenty Japanese tourists wandered by.  Three of them took photographs of me sitting there enjoying my coffee.  Thank god I was reading The Times and not The Sun or The Mirror.   I raised my hat.  I now know how people from far off lands must have felt when the first American, British and European tourists visited and took photographs of ‘quaint locals’.

One rather pleasant, elederly,  Japanese couple asked if they could have a photograph of me with them. I was more than happy to agree.  So… there I was, at 6ft 1″ in a long *How the West was Won* style of long coat, a panama hat, smoking a woodbine…  towering over the diminutive Japanese couple…  smiling like the Prime Minister, or ‘Prime Mentalist’ as Guido Fawkes calls him.  I shook hands, returned their bows – I even spoke a little Japanese.  (I did Karate and Kendo when I was a younger Charon) and wished them well for their whirlwind tour around Britain.  Shakespeare was next on their list.  I assured them that I knew Shakespeare well.   Language difficulties can be problematic and I had to agree with them that Shakespeare was, indeed, dead, but his spirit lived on…

I even gave them a favourite quote from my favourite play Richard III…

” And therefore, since I cannot prove a lover
To entertain these fair well-spoken days,
I am determined to prove a villain
And hate the idle pleasures of these days.”

Lest the new visitor to my blog should wonder why, on a law blog, I am prattling on about Sicilian Avenue, Japanese tourists and Richard III….  I should explain that I was about to attend a rather useful meeting with lawyers about law and law was discussed with enthusiasm.  And then, in the time honoured tradition of lawyers, I asked them to get their partnership wallet out.  I counted the notes most carefully.

***

Podcast version:  Charon on London (1)