Things You Pick-Up

When possible I like to jot down interesting things I hear as the aim is to give myself an aide-memoir for times like these. My four favourites that I have jotted into Evernote recently are:

  • Mental furniture
  • Running away from yourself
  • Dinner party invitees
  • Getting in references dictated by others

This isn’t really a post designed to weave a clever narrative through these idea but rather to expand on them a bit and explain why I thought they were worthy of record. They made me smile so perhaps they’ll give you a fleeting smirk.

To get an idea of my mental furniture picture an apparently disorganised room with various boxes dotted around it. The boxes are not waiting to be unpacked, quite the opposite. They are where I store various not so great memories. They are still in the room as on occasion I may need to rummage through one, drag out a less than pleasant memory and remind myself what it taught me. Perhaps nothing at the time but now running it through the mental mill might throw up lessons. For me it is important to acknowledge these as they are many and varied. What is life if you can’t learn from your mistakes, or at least understand that you are repeating the same, and the likely outcome? The rest of the clutter is all the stuff I need to run my life on a daily basis. Usually fine and at times stupidly self-inflicted chaos. Generally, I like to hang out in it. You’re welcome to join me there for a chat.

Running away from oneself is a hard concept to explain if you haven’t, or don’t realise that you are doing it. Being a reflective type at times I have looked at what I do, the way I act and the choices I make. Many of the structural decisions I make strike me as just this. The moment to moment interactions with friends and customers are quite different. They are not life shaping choices and I try to enjoy them for what they are. Then you meet a girl, your heart flip-flops and you feel all seventeen, impulsive, irrational and stupid. That’s happened before. The difference with age is that you have better tools (past experiences) to try and weave a credible narrative around the knee-jerk choices that accompany such emotional turmoil. When it passes it is easier to let go, not fun but easier than it was.

Dinner party invitees is just like it sounds and is the well worn concept of who you’d seat next to whom in a room at a dinner party to learn, smile, watch the sparks fly and generally get a kick out of the vibe. I have met many people from all disparate walks of life and classes so have a wide list of choices. The man advocating revolution that I mentioned in the last post was bright, quite nutty to me, but very bright so he made the list. Little does he know that he will be seated between a couple of Tories. Did I mention sparks? There will be at least one policeman who can also help calm people if required. It’s dinner after all.

Radio presenters, police officers, judges, priests, in fact anyone who needs to be heard speaking can play this game. If you sneer at it then you lack creativity and chutzpah, IMO. The trick is to be given a very random word by your contemporaries before speaking. Whether it is broadcasting on Radio 4, interviewing a suspect, passing judgement or giving a sermon the idea is to drop it into the conversation in a way that is not questioned. The fun part is that everyone else chooses. Snozzcumber is a favourite of mine, unless the topic is Dahl.

It would be interesting to know what you think. In the words of the Grauniad, for it is they, Comment Is Free.

Who Are “The Left”?

I went to a very interesting discussion the other night. It was held at Ruskin College, where I start a history degree in September and there were some very interesting people there as well as ordinary members of the public like me. The topic was, “What Happened To The Working Class?” Apparently they didn’t disappear upon purchase of their council houses under The Great Handbag.

What really struck me was the strongly held belief amongst some of the, admittedly self selecting, audience about some sort of non-specific and ill-defined conspiracy against the Working Class/Left. Apparently PR firms are all and only engaged in the suppression of the Working Class. All PR firms. This doesn’t really tie with my first hand experiences of PR firms, but the individual that held this belief was adamant. There is a Right Wing conspiracy and PR firms exists to help make the evil more palatable. Then again; his solution for most of the ills of society, which are visited upon society by the evil capitalist Right Wing establishment, can be fixed if we were to all man-up (should that be person-up in a modern enlightened institution?) and revolt. Revolution is the cure, end of discussion.

As there wasn’t even agreement in the room as to what constituted the working class it was a rather pointless circular discussion IMHO. When the Marxist philosopher explained a Marxist definition as “those that don’t control the means of production”  as the definition there was further debate as that didn’t really do when you try and equate a surgeon with a dustman. There was a quiet discomfort at the suggestion, which made me wonder if this wasn’t a social and wealth based distinction as much as a technical one about who controls the means of production.

The Right don’t need to conspire and hide behind PR firms, they just need to sit back and keep their powder dry. The Left seem perfectly able at suppressing themselves by engaging in endless internal bickering and that makes a revolution very hard to organise.

Perhaps the right are just as bad? In fact, I am sure there are constituents of the Right that bicker endlessly over the minutiae.

Chuck the promise of influencing personal wealth, the ability to choose how to spend ones own resources, responsibility for your own decisions, low taxes, a light touch state into the mix and that sure focuses people’s minds enough to organise themselves into action. I think it’s called Capitalism. After all, the Soviet Union worked out well for the working classes, didn’t it?

Israel ’s New ‘Cutting Edge’ Airport Security

TEL AVIV, Israel :—

The Israelis are developing an airport security device that eliminates the privacy concerns that come with full-body scanners. It’s an armoured booth you step into that will not X-ray you, but will detonate any explosive device you may have on your person.

Israel sees this as a win-win situation for everyone, with none of this crap about racial profiling. It will also eliminate the costs of long and expensive trials.

Imagine that you’re in the airport terminal and you hear a muffled explosion. Shortly thereafter, an announcement: “Attention to all standby passengers, El Al is pleased to announce a seat available on flight 670 to London. Shalom!”

New Age terrorists develop homeopathic bomb

As if...

The world has been placed on a heightened security alert following reports that New Age terrorists have harnessed the power of homeopathy for evil. ‘Homeopathic weapons represent a major threat to world peace,’ said President Barack Obama, ‘they might not cause any actual damage but the placebo effect could be quite devastating.’

The H2O-bomb has been developed by the radical New Age group, The Axis of Aquarius. In a taped message to the world, their leader, Professor Hubert Pennington, said: ‘For too long the New Age movement has been dismissed as a bunch of beardy weirdy cranks and charlatans. But now we have weapons-grade homeopathy and we demand to be taken seriously.’

Homeopathic bombs are comprised of 99.9% water but contain the merest trace element of explosive. The solution is then repeatedly diluted so as to leave only the memory of the explosive in the water molecules. According…

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Charon QC

The piece below is re-blogged with the permission of the Criminal Bar Association.  It is important that the government listens and upholds the Rule of Law….



We received this yesterday, 11th June, before the Justice Select Committee hearing, and before Lord McNally’s “hysterical” outburst on Law in Action, in an admirable interview by @joshuarozenberg.

Then this morning, Quentin Letts in the Daily Mail attacks the “ashtray” voice of Michael Turner QC, and the “Biker” Lucy Scott Moncrieff whilst railing about legal aid lawyers in sharp suits on £200 per hour.

Who knows how far into the public arena this blog reaches? This post is certainly not one likely to feature in the Mail, as they do not have the wit or the guts to publish anything that offends…

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