Weekend video: Carl Sagan – COSMOS – Evolution

May 30, 2015 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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Drawn swords and driving sheep

“I hear you’re about to be made a freeman of the City of London,” said UpTights today.

“Yes,” said OldSmoothie puffing out his chest as if we were meant to be impressed. “Should help my case for becoming a people’s peer as well.”

“Yeh, right,” said BusyBody. “Because being given some sort of masonic award for having eaten lots of dinners in an obscure City livery company is really in touch and down with the, er, people.”

“What, are you in some way suggesting that it’s a meaningless, out-dated and irrelevant title given by a group of pompous non-entities to one of their own?” asked UpTights sarcastically.

“Although when you put it like that, I can see why he might draw the parallel with the Lords,” smiled TheVamp.

“But doesn’t it come with all sorts of rights?” said TheCreep. “Like driving sheep over London Bridge and going about the City with a drawn sword.”

“I’m afraid not,” said HeadofChambers. “I once had to advise on these rights and I’m afraid they’re all bunkum. Exemption from tolls on animals and a few other minor things were about your lot even back in the day.”

“Oh don’t worry Mr CreepyWeepy,” said TheVamp with mock sympathy. “You can draw your sword for me any time you like.”

With which he went bright red and disappeared into the corner of the room.

May 27, 2015 · Tim Kevan · No Comments
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Book recommendation: Winners: And How They Succeed Hardcover by Alastair Campbell

Alastair Campbell knows all about winning. As Tony Blair’s chief spokesman and strategist he helped guide the Labour Party to victory in three successive general elections, and he’s fascinated by what it takes to win. How do sports stars excel, entrepreneurs thrive, or individuals achieve their ambition? Is their ability to win innate? Or is the winning mindset something we can all develop? Drawing on the wisdom of an astonishing array of talented people – from elite athletes to top managers, from rulers of countries to rulers of global business empires – Alastair Campbell uses his forensic skills, as well as his own experience of politics and sport, to get to the heart of success. He examines how winners tick. He considers how they build great teams. He analyses how they deal with unexpected setbacks and new challenges. He judges what the very different worlds of politics, business and sport can learn from one another. And he sets out a blueprint for winning that we can all follow.

Available from Amazon.

May 27, 2015 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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Monday morning with Alex Williams’ cartoons

This cartoon is by Alex Williams who draws the Queen’s Counsel cartoons for The Times and in numerous books including The Queen’s Counsel Lawyer’s Omnibus. He offers almost all of his cartoons for sale at £120 for originals and £40 for copies and they can be obtained from this email info@qccartoon.com.

May 25, 2015 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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Weekend video: J.K. Rowling Speaks at Harvard Commencement

May 23, 2015 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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Book recommendation: May it Please Your Lordship by Toby Potts

Toby Potts has just qualified as a barrister and is about to embark on a career in one of the world’s oldest professions. Stirring speeches to rapt juries, triumphant press interviews and enormous fees paid by grateful clients. he can see it all. But unfortunately, he has reckoned without Judge ‘Bonkers’ Clarke, The Honourable Mr ‘Sourpuss’ Boniface and a range of other equally terrifying, grumpy and borderline insane judges – not to mention tricky solicitors, bent coppers and dodgy defendants.

Available from Amazon.

May 20, 2015 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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The pupil strikes back

I felt sorry for my opponent today at least at the start. He’s a tall skinny fresh-faced pupil who looks as if he’d completely topple over if you were even to blow in his direction. Kind of a posh English version of Napoleon Dynamite with the sort of face which looks as if it’s constantly about to burst into tears or what OldSmoothie might describe as “an invitation to treat it to a good punching”.

Worst of all for his calling as a barrister, he can’t even get to the end of a sentence without raising his voice a notch as if to make everything he says a question. Like he’s not sure of whether what he’s saying is correct and so he figures he’ll ask for your reassurance each time. Maybe it’s due to too many OldSmoothies having punched him but whatever the reason you just can’t help but feel sorry for him. So when he introduced himself as “Hello, I’m Giles and I’m representing Mr Jones” I immediately felt the need to reassure him that he was indeed Mr Jones’ barrister with “I’m sure you are”. Given his delicate nature, I also thought I’d call him FraGiles from now on.

Anyway, once into court, he had the bad luck to be in front of a man who has quite justifiably garnered the nickname of JudgeDread of the “I am the law” fame. It really couldn’t have been a worse combination and that was absolutely clear right from the off when FraGiles perked up with:
“Your Honour, I represent the claimant Mr Jones in this small road traffic matter…”

Inevitable his voice rose which was followed by Judge Dread’s eyes also rising to the ceiling whilst his tight lips showed off his impatience. He then looked directly at FraGiles and said,

“Well, are you sure about that? Perhaps you’re in fact for the defendant? Or maybe it isn’t a road traffic matter?”

FraGiles visibly wilted and he replied,
“Yes, you Honour, I’m very sure I represent the claimant and it is a road traffic matter…”

But his voice was still rising as he said it.

“So why are you saying it as if it’s a question. Don’t they even teach you how to speak in Bar School these days?” said JudgeDread, never one to mince his words.

“Your Honour, I certainly didn’t mean it as a question.”

“Well why are you speaking in that ridiculous namby-pamby, mummy’s boy rising little voice of yours then? Go on, let’s see if you can say anything with any degree of confidence at all.”

Then it was as if FraGiles suddenly cracked.

“Your Honour, I am well aware of the impediment in my speech and have spent many years trying to correct it. Your reputation had already preceded you as a bully but even I hadn’t imagined quite how accurate the caricature really was. So Your Honour, let me tell you one thing with absolute confidence. At the end of this hearing I will obtain a transcript of your unseemly little outburst. You will then receive notice from the Office of Judicial Supervision seeking your answer to a formal complaint which will have been made against you. This will then give you the opportunity to reflect on what you have just said at your leisure. In the meantime, I would like to see that my client Mr Jones gets the fair hearing to which he is entitled in our great system of justice.”

Well, I looked at FraGiles in awe as JudgeDread was utterly silenced. Not only that but inevitably after the judge had been put on notice that the case would be scrutinised by the powers that be for fairness he quite unfairly found in favour of FraGiles’ actually pretty hopeless case. Which did make me wonder if it’s a tactic he’s used before…

May 19, 2015 · Tim Kevan · 8 Comments
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Monday morning with Alex Williams’ cartoons

This cartoon is by Alex Williams who draws the Queen’s Counsel cartoons for The Times and in numerous books including The Queen’s Counsel Lawyer’s Omnibus. He offers almost all of his cartoons for sale at £120 for originals and £40 for copies and they can be obtained from this email info@qccartoon.com.

May 18, 2015 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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Weekend video: Lee Child: Man of Mystery

May 16, 2015 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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Book recommendation: The Shepherd’s Life: A Tale of the Lake District by James Rebanks

Some people’s lives are entirely their own creations. James Rebanks’ isn’t. The first son of a shepherd, who was the first son of a shepherd himself, he and his family have lived and worked in and around the Lake District for generations. Their way of life is ordered by the seasons and the work they demand, and has been for hundreds of years. A Viking would understand the work they do: sending the sheep to the fells in the summer and making the hay; the autumn fairs where the flocks are replenished; the gruelling toil of winter when the sheep must be kept alive, and the light-headedness that comes with spring, as the lambs are born and the sheep get ready to return to the fells. These modern dispatches from an ancient landscape tell the story of a deep-rooted attachment to place, describing a way of life that is little noticed and yet has profoundly shaped this landscape. In evocative and lucid prose, James Rebanks takes us through a shepherd’s year, offering a unique account of rural life and a fundamental connection with the land that most of us have lost. It is a story of working lives, the people around him, his childhood, his parents and grandparents, a people who exist and endure even as the world changes around them. Many stories are of people working desperately hard to leave a place. This is the story of someone trying desperately hard to stay. James Rebanks is the Herdwick Shepherd, whose account of shepherding has a strong following on Twitter (@herdyshepherd1). His family has farmed in the same area for more than six hundred years.

Available from Amazon.

May 13, 2015 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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