A bit of New Year’s Eve Rive Gauche for you…

And so we arrive at New Year’s Eve and 2014, thankfully, will soon be consigned to the past.  For my part, it was not a great year.

And many will drink and enjoy themselves..

And here is an observation I made this time last year…

2015 is coming soon and the current government will have to see what can be done with the electorate.  I am not a spin doctor, but given the increasing rise of the Kippers, David Cameron may like to reach out to some of them and the Storm Trooper Wing of his own party?

This may inspire the Tory Grandees?:  Springtime for Hitler for their version of The Producers ?

And as I ‘resolve’ to actually write about some LAW in 2015…here is a bit of utilitarian felicific calculus….

I wish you a good New Year’s Eve and a fine 2015…

Mea culpa… I just could resist digging up a Justice Secretary Lord Chancellor Grayling bit of nonsense…

A good new year to you… my last post of 2014…

 

RD Charon: “Legal Nihilism: Taking Rights Seriously, seriously”, Maninahat Press, 2014

The Creation

BY Professor R.D. Charon LLB (Cantab), BCL, Ph.d,  FRSA
Emeritus Professor of Jurisprudence, University of The Rive Gauche, London Faculty, London

Author: “Legal Nihilism: Taking Rights Seriously, seriously”, Maninahat Press, 2014

While I marvel at the ability of regulatory committees to achieve anything of value in my book,   I consider the value of The Bar Standards Board to the man on the Clapham Omnibus.

Prologue

1. In the beginning Mammon created the law and the Bar

2. And  The Bar was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of mammon moved upon the face of the waters.

3. And Mammon said, Let there be a Bar Standards Board to regulate all the barristers: and there was  The Bar Standards Board.

4. And Mammon saw the light, that it was good: and Mammon divided the light from the darkness.

5. And Mammon called the light barristers, and the darkness he called those wishing to be barristers. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

6. And Mammon said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.

7. And Mammon made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament with a Bar Course Aptitude test: and it was so.

 

***

Note from Charon QC – Please don’t buy his book.  It will only encourage him to write more of them.

Rive Gauche: A look back at some nonsense I wrote back in the day…

It may be that you have not seen Mr Vince Cable and me in the same room.  I hope that this state of affairs continues.

While Christmas has passed, I cannot resist posting this from Catherine Tate which I put up on the blog seven years ago….  I still like it. Roll on 2015 when I can get back to being a ‘proper law blogger’….

THE CHAV NATIVITY:

There’s this bird called Mary, yeah? She’s a virgin (wossat then?) She’s not married or nuffink, but she’s got this boyfriend, Joe, innit? He does joinery an’ that. Mary lives with him in a crib dahn Nazaref. One day Mary meets this bloke Gabriel. She’s like ‘Oo ya lookin at?’ Gabriel just goes ‘You got one up the duff, you have.’ Mary’s totally gobsmacked. She gives it to him large ‘Stop dissin’ me yeah? I ain’t no Kappa-slapper. I never bin wiv no one!’

So Mary goes and sees her cousin Liz, who’s six months gone herself. Liz is largin’ it. She’s filled with spirits, Barcardi Breezers an’ that. She’s like ‘Orright, Mary, I can feel me bay-bee in me tummy and I reckon I’m well blessed. Think of all the extra benefits an’ that we are gonna get.’ Mary goes ‘Yeah, s’pose you’re right’
Mary an’ Joe ain’t got no money so they have to ponse a donkey, an’ go dahn Bethlehem on that. They get to this pub an’ Mary wants to stop, yeah? To have her bay-bee an’ that.
But there ain’t no room at the inn, innit? So Mary an’ Joe break an’ enter into this garridge, only it’s filled wiv animals. Cahs an’ sheep an’ that.

Then these three geezers turn up, looking proper bling, wiv crowns on their heads. They’re like ‘Respect, bay-bee Jesus’, an’ say they’re wise men from the East End.
Joe goes: ‘If you’re so wise, wotchoo doin’ wiv this Frankenstein an’ myrrh?
Why dincha just bring gold, Adidas and Burberry?’

It’s all about to kick off when Gabriel turns up again an’ sez he’s got another message from this Lord geezer. He’s like ‘The police is comin an’ they’re killin all the bay-bees. You better nash off to Egypt.’ Joe goes ‘You must be monged if you think I’m goin’ dahn Egypt on a minging donkey’. Gabriel sez ‘Suit yerself, pal. But it’s your look out if you stay.’

So they go dahn Egypt till they’ve stopped killin the first-born an’ it’s safe an’that.
Then Joe and Mary and Jesus go back to Nazaref, an’ Jesus turns water into Stella.

I accept that I am being a bit lazy in the dying embers of 2014 by digging up old posts from the blog – but a few events of our past continue to amuse me…

And finally…another post from the past which I enjoyed writing at the time (2007)

 

A Bar & Dining Room
Somewhere in London
Meal for two with wine: £90
Nil points

 

“Have you booked?” asked the black silk shirted Maitre D’ guarding the entrance. The abruptness of the greeting took me by surprise.

“I have not booked. Do you have a table?” Blackshirt’s eyes narrowed as he flicked open the diary. The page had one entry. Blackshirt looked up, eyes darting. “How many of you are there?” It may seem to the casual observer that I suffer from dissociative identity disorder, but I was alone. I heard Sir Alec Guinness in the recess of my mind: “Charon” he said, “Use the Force….”

“I am one.”

The Maitre D’ surveyed the dining room. It was that sort of place… Not a restaurant, but a Bar and Dining Room. It was 12.30. Only two tables were occupied. “Do you smoke?” Blackshirt snapped.

“For England.” I replied.

I was escorted to a table in the corner of the room – a table for two. An East European border guard, dressed as a waitress, appeared with a menu. I selected a bottle of Claret and asked for two espressos and a glass of tap water, no ice. “You want espresso?” the waitress asked, unsmiling. “Now?”

“Yes please.” I watched her walk towards the bar. Well it was more of a march… more Red Square than Sandhurst. I was not invited to taste the wine when it arrived.

The menu was fairly typical of many gastros – a mix of “Confu**tion cooking” with a bit of thai/vietnamese nonsense thrown in. I enjoy reading Anthony Bourdain… but his books, do on occasion, get into the wrong hands… and so it was, today. Couscous and polenta featured heavily. One day I am sure that I will find a gastro pub with a dish called “Irish tagine”.

A couple were seated at a table nearby – both late twenties, both City professionals. I know this because they managed to tell me, indirectly, by relating events to each other of their successes during the week. They talked at each other; he admiring himself repeatedly in the mirrors lining the walls on our side of the restaurant. They obviously knew each other well – at least one assumes so, because, later, declining the offer of pudding, they started eating each other.

I have no idea why nutters on trains, tubes, buses and restaurants gravitate towards me – but it happend again today. The East European border guard escorted another customer to the adjacent table – a man in his early sixties, blazered, highly polished Oxford shoes, grey trousers, Turnbull & Asser shirt, silk tie and a traditional ‘British’ haircut. One could almost smell the George Trumper cologne.

“Good day to you.”

“And to you.” I replied.

“Writer?” the man asked, pointing at my laptop. I learned long ago not to answer that question.

“Just doing a bit of surfing.”

“Surfing Eh?…. yes… I used to surf when I was a junior partner with X&Y in Hong Kong…. on trips to Australia…. tied up a few M&A deals, I can tell you… out there…. those were the days…”

God in heaven. I know I drank a bottle of cider in Church once when I was at Prep school… but I had no idea, then, that I would continue to be punished for that sin nearly 40 odd years later on Easter Sunday 2007… in the form of a retired City lawyer, from the days of Tai Pan, sitting at the next table.

“Really…? good stuff.. ” I replied, affably, but with what I hoped was the correct tone to indicate that I wished ‘to be alone’. It was too late to pretend I was Bulgarian and could not speak English.

So there I was… a couple of young professionals, but a few tables away, talking at each other and Mr Drone, to my right.

“Been to Church?”

I was looking intently at my laptop screen. The words appeared to come from above. I looked at the ceiling. I looked at my bottle of Claret. I had only had one glass.

“The Vicar had a few of us back for a glass of sherry after the service”

“Really…?”

“Yes… quite a few actually. Have to splice the mainbrace after sitting through all that without being able to charge fees at the end of it! ” a statement which provoked so much laughter from the speaker that I was concerned I may have to do a Heimlich manoeuvre on him.

“Oh Yes… Vicar did us a good sermon today…”

Mr Drone told me at length that he would have been in New York to advise on a merger but the US firm had ‘cocked up’ on timing… adding that he liked to take on important cases on a consultancy basis from time to time…

“Ah….”

I drained my glass, re-filled and lit a cigarette.

“Smoker Eh?…yes… used to smoke until the Doc said to me ‘My dear chap, unless you pack in the gaspers now you won’t be able to get it up when you are 65′.” Another burst of self satisfied laughter, gave me the opportunity to wave at the waitress and explain to the gentleman seated at the next table that I needed to concentrate on my work. He made a curious signal, tapping his finger against his nose and said “Got it…Roger… mustn’t stop a chap from his work “

“You are ready with your orders?”

I smiled at the waitress, trying not to look as if I had something to declare, and ordered a main course. I justified my lack of a first course, when questioned, by explaining that I may have a pudding. She seemed satisfied with my explanation and marched off.

It takes a rare talent to cook roast lamb badly, but only inhalation of super strength cannabis would suggest beetroot risotto and chilli jam is a sensible, or even suitable, accompaniment to lamb. The waitress looked at my plate, barely touched. The lemon meringue pie had the merit of being bought in. The wine was more than drinkable and, after negotiating my release without the aid of the Foreign Office, I returned to familiar surroundings.

 

***

I will be back before new year and should be able to write something ….new

Adios for now.

A SALE of ‘paintings’…true story…

Two ‘paintings’ by Charonasso have come into the showroom today to be flogged off at 2014 prices…

Barristerman with mixed media and an out of date bank card
2014
Charonasso

 

Vaping Fags and fag packets
2014
Charonasso

Each of these ‘artworks’ are generously priced at £20.
Add to or even start your collection?  I’ll even sign them…or you can sign them yourself!

Email me if you fancy either or both. Email (click left) or on the blog top right or DM on Twitter (https://twitter.com/Charonqc)   If not – they’ll go back on my wall and I’ll just have to contact Sotheby’s…again!

I am selling to make room for the 2015 ‘collection’

Statement from The Bunker – Ignorance of the law excuses no man from impersonating a Lord Chancellor

 

I have seen the original sculpture in situ and I am not sure that my ‘modification’ adds much to the sum of human achievement…but be that as it may.  It is the period between Christmas and the new year and there is not a lot of law about…. being that I continue to pass myself off as a ‘law blogger’. I will get back to LAW in the new year. There will be much to write about and our revered Lord Chancellor KillaBurglar Grayling will, inevitably, provide some humour for me to write about.  He is unlikely to advance the cause of ‘Justice’, however you define it, forward.  Hopefully, it being election year next year, he will be returned to the back benches…in opposition.

Ignorance of the law excuses no man — from practicing it. Adison Mizner – to which may be added…’Or impersonating a Lord Chancellor in Britain’.

 

Well…there we are.  Back on the morrow…

 

A Statement from The Bunker…

Christmas…the pagan season for gift receivers worrying if the gift they gave in return for the gift received was ‘sufficient’ (middle class ‘angst’?)  is over.  Hallelujah!

Very pleased with the yellow frames for my specs that good friends gave me as a present.  The only problem is that I have to trust an optician to get the lens right.  Experience has taught me that the cheap Reader glasses available at all good pharmacists are far better than the prescription lenses dispensed by opticians I have been to in the past.

 

I am not a doctor of medicine – but here is some advice I found some years ago which you may find helpful in time of need over the holiday period…

One too many drinks left you dizzy?Put your hand on something stable. The part of your ear responsible for balance — the cupula — floats in a fluid of the same density as blood. “As alcohol dilutes blood in the cupula, the cupula becomes less dense and rises,” says Dr. Schaffer. This confuses your brain. The tactile input from a stable object gives the brain a second opinion, and you feel more in balance. Because the nerves in the hand are so sensitive, this works better than the conventional foot-on-the-floor wisdom.

I found this advice on the internet – so it may well be a load of seasonal nonsense. (No liability accepted etc etc…. in fact, I will exempt myself for everything)

I am not bereft of inspiration.  I just happened to be looking through December  blog posts from years gone by (2006).  I came across this in one of my blog posts…

I put to you this postulate: If a ‘person in need of legal advice’ briefed a famous Silk and then found that ‘famous Silk’ had told his ‘sous-barrister’ to handle it… would that be fair? One cannot imagine such a situation ever arising in our ‘beautiful Game’ – yet Chefs get away with it all the time.

I went to High Road Brasserie in Chiswick this morning. I was wearing motorbike leathers – simply because I was riding a motorbike and my usual breakfast establishments were closed. The fact that my usual establishments were closed was not the reason I decided to put my leathers on. I simply felt that I should look the part…in case I bumped into King Herod, ruining Christmas for the children of West London, or handing out tax returns, or Good King Wenceslas – and…anything is possible in Chiswick since  ‘High Road House’ opened on the high street.

I looked at the breakfast menu at High Road Brasserie: Good value, I am sure… but…when I saw the people sitting in there, at 9.15 this morning, and the ‘faux Parisien’ staff in their black and white outfits, with aprons, I thought… ‘Sod it’… I might not see another White Christmas (Apparently most Brits only see eight of these in a lifetime) and I really do not need to have breakfast in a trendy Chiswick brasserie simply because I was hungry. The truth is… I was worried about committing a solecism by actually wanting to eat something… and… I had the feeling that entering this hallowed establishment with those thoughts in mind, this morning, was not appropriate. [The Heinz tomato sauce and HP sauce bottles on each table – looked like a ‘homage’ to Damien Hurst but may have had a utility beyond the ken of some diners, unused to smearing sauce over their Oeufs Benedict]

Of course, I accept that many people who go to this establishment do actually eat… but… having been interested in Law for nearly 30 years… I always like to think about the mens rea and actus reus. I felt that I did not have either this morning.

I went, in the end, to Cafe Rouge and poured so much pepper on my scrambled eggs that I made the dish inedible. ‘C’est la vie’… but, having been to a detention centre in Perthshire (13 – 18 years old) which provided excellent teaching, the odd Scotland Rugby Captain, and other luminaries – and truly appalling food (things may well have changed) – I coped.

Dumbass story: “A robbery at a Git-N-Go Convenience Store on the south side of Des Moines on Thursday morning was called off for lack of convincing theatrics.

“Well, I could tell he didn’t have a gun,” said Terry Cook, a clerk at the store at 2140 S.E. Park Ave. “I knew it was his finger. I could see his thumb sticking out of his coat pocket.”

The would-be robber, who acted tough and even inserted a harsh expletive in his demand for cash, wanted to argue. It is a gun, he told Cook. No it isn’t, Cook said.”

 

I received this from a friend…I enjoyed it, so repeat it here:

Dear Charon,

Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially cohesive, trans-national, gender neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, exercised according to accepted best practice traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all and a fiscally successful, financially prudent, personally fulfilling, and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2007, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society are helping build a fully inclusive and socially democratic European Union (not to imply that the European Union is necessarily more inclusive or socially democratic than any other place, country or region of choice), and without regard to the race, creed, colour, age, physical ability, religious faith, or sexual orientation of the wishee or wishees.

This wish is limited to the customary and usual good tidings for a period of one year, or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first. ‘Holiday’ is not intended to, nor shall it be considered, limited to the usual Judeo-Christian celebrations or observances, or to such activities of any organized or ad hoc religious community, group, individual or belief (or lack thereof).

Note: By accepting this greeting, you are accepting these terms. This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal, and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher at any time, for any reason or for no reason at all. This greeting is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. This greeting implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for the wishee her/himself or others, or responsibility for the consequences which may arise from the implementation or non-implementation of same. This greeting is void where prohibited by law.

Not only that, Merry Christmas……
Mark

I leave you with this…

Back later…the Chrimbo television on the revered BBC is barely watchable – even the news programme is dull…so I may write to keep myself occupied.

Adios for now…

The Social Media Maven pronounces … a painting from my past…

The Social Media Maven pronounces (2010)
Oil on Canvas
Charon

In the Collection of @ScottGreenfield

And it came to pass, when the Maven came down from the mount with the two tables of twitter rules  in Maven’s hand, when he came down from the mount, that Maven wist not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him. And when@stephenfry and all the children of twitter saw the Maven, behold, the skin of his face shone; and they were afraid to come nigh him.

And the Maven said… I have been a stranger in a strange land…. and I say unto you…whatever you tweet…happens…

Rive Gauche: A few paintings wot I did in the past….Happy Chrimbo etc etc…

I did paint ‘reasonably’ sensibly while at School well back into the last Century.  I am going to start painting again in the New Year.  It is unlikely that I will paint sensibly…. more of this sort of thing, I suspect:

But I may also do a few in this ‘style’….

Or even…this style…

I’ll Passmore on this (2009)
Oil on Canvas
Charon

Geometry was a bit of a mystery to the young Charon – but over time, and through necessity,  he came to understand the principles.  Now geometry fascinates Charon more in the shape than the practical application and for the possibilities of optical illusion. If one looks at the two circles in the middle of the painting;  soon one sees a cylinder, for the brain fills in the lines to connect the circles…and then the cylinders appear to change direction.  I put this to Charon.  He told me:  “See what you like, mate…. When I look into the circle at the bottom left, I am looking down into a wine bottle and it has wine in it… this is good.  When I look at the circle on the right, I am looking down into the bottle and there is no wine in it and I can even see the bar code.  This is not good.  When I look at the circle top right… it is the morning after and things, sometimes, are a bit bright.  I have no idea who did the circles and geometry in the middle… it is possible that I may have been burgled during the night.”

Au revoir for now... I am certain that I shall post on the morrow…I am not a great fan of Chrimbo…

Rive Gauche: On the eve of Christmas Eve and other matters…

Going to trial with a lawyer who considers your whole life-style a Crime in Progress is not a happy prospect.

Hunter S. Thompson

I often listen to The Shipping Forecast on Radio 4 before heading for sleep.  Here is my Drinking Forecast, complete with ‘Drinking By’

Listen (3-4 mins)

And…if you are struggling to keep yourself amused on Christmas morning…why not try a bit of cooking with Chef Charon…?

 

I consider the middle painting my finest artwork…a study in efficient time management etc etc…

And a bit of carol singing for you? 

O Come All Ye Lawyers
Joyful and litigious
O come ye, O come ye to Chancery Lane
Come and behold Him,
Born the Best of Clients;
O come, let us bill Him,
O come, let us bill Him,
O come, let us bill Him,
Profits are the Lord.

And I shall end this post with…

“Law is an imperfect profession in which success can rarely be achieved without some sacrifice of principle. Thus all practicing lawyers — and most others in the profession — will necessarily be imperfect, especially in the eyes of young idealists. There is no perfect justice, just as there is no absolute in ethics. But there is perfect injustice, and we know it when we see it.”

ALAN DERSHOWITZ, Letters to a Young Lawyer