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Archive for September 28th, 2006

I don’t know … (Reflective… and almost sensible.. with the warmth of Rioja in my heart, as I write) … I get up at 4.30 am every day and work until 6.00 pm…( I call it the ‘Time of the yardarm’) … write/work/administer and produce … in other words, get on with all the things which I have to get on with – do my best to fit in wine tastings at The Swan/ The Bollo and then…when I return to my staterooms, after a hard day of toil, replete (such a good word) with wine, I find a need to comment on the Labour Party Conference in Manchester. Why ? I could do something far more uplifting.

I might take the view… given that John ‘Witchfinder General’ Reid has to sit there smiling thinly at the Labour Party Conference – that he may well be thinking “I might have a chance to be the next PM.”

Can you imagine the pressure of getting into bed at night thinking you are going to be the next Prime Minister of Great Britain? I rarely think of this possibility – a great relief to my relationship manager at my Bank and others who know me well.

Rev G Brown (as I like to think of him) has had to do it for years… and, look what happened. ‘The Minotaur” ( It doesn’t make me a bad person to think of Knossos, Crete, whenever I see Gordon Brown on television does it?) sits there at the Labour Party conference… rather like a ‘wuthering height’ (origin: Sir Winston Churchill about Lord Reith – first DG of the Beeb) and ‘wuthers’.

He didn’t even find Tony’s joke about not having to worry about ‘Cherie running off with the bloke next door’ funny. I did. It was a good joke.. but, there again, I am easily amused after a dash of Rioja. Will he really be able to walk tall on the world stage with a group of bizarre world leaders? I give a few examples: Chirac, Berlusconi, Blair, George Dubya, Kim Il Sung, that guy from Iran who everyone knows but cannot pronounce his name, and the very weird guy from Venezuela. (Regular viewers of The History Channel will be able to quote examples of other world leaders who made an impact. None of them were as sensible as Gordon Brown.)

Sorry Gordon – you are just too normal, just too good at your job as Chancellor, just too sensible – to be PM.

Thankfully it doesn’t really matter what Charon thinks… all I can say…“is that you, the people of Britain, are the future($)”… England expects.

Buona notte. Absum (Thank you – to coin a phrase much used at the Labour Conference – Geeklawyer, for reminding me of the latin word ‘Absum’)

$ – (Copyright: William Jefferson Clinton III, former President of The United States of America – Cameo appearance at The Labour Party Conference September 28 2006)

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The twenty-something blogspot…yes….liked it…

I like this blog – the style and Miss H’s use of photography and Photoshop is excellent. Amused by her tales from her mini-pupillage. I can’t see her joining Muttley Dastardly LLP however!  Not quite her style.
Definitely worth a good look around…

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Wednesday 27th September: Cocktail Party

Continuing the reports by trainees on life at ‘MD’… James writes… (His offering was not actually published on the firm’s website, but he did keep his write up on his PC for his own record of life at MD.

The trainees were gathered together in the main conference room shortly after 5.30 by Matt Muttley’s PA, Eva Brown. We were to be briefed on etiquette and behaviour at firm cocktail parties. Eva Brown picked up a house telephone and spoke briefly. A moment later, two waiters came in with a large tray, on which were plates of canapes and two with glasses full of water.

With a cheerful smile, Eva asked us if any of us had experience of working in cafes or restaurants. No-one put up their hand. “Pity” she said sharply. It was a bit puzzling at first when one of the waiters stepped forward and told us “You holda the plate like this, you walk slowly so as not to spilla the drink and you hold the tray forward. It is not difficult. I think you must all practice this?”

And practice we did, for about twenty minutes. Eva explained that while the catering staff would handle the serving of guests, it was important to keep an eye on any clients who were looking around for a drink and, if no waiter was available to respond, to step in and keep the client happy. Her final words of briefing were “If the client wishes to get hammered, as many of them do, that is his or her prerogative and it is only good manners to ensure they are kept supplied. Drink by all means, but don’t overdo it. Engage with the clients when you speak to them. Ask them about themselves – most people like nothing better than talking about themselves, as you will discover when you finally meet the senior partners.” With a smile, she wished us ‘Good Luck’.

And so, I attended my first firm client party. As it happens, none of us had to hand around food or drinks. The staff were amazing. We didn’t get to meet the senior partners – they were in a roped off area of the main dining room, closeted in conversation with American bankers – “The Triple ‘A’s” – so called for their ‘ability, acumen and anonymity’. They were also extremely important clients of the firm.

It was very different from the parties I had attended on my LPC course. I suppose the partners and clients were real, as opposed to law lecturers pretending to be clients and law firm partners. But it was not just that. This was ‘for real’. These clients mattered to the firm. It was quite difficult at first, but as I felt the warm glow of champagne coursing through my veins I felt at home. This was a world I could cope with. I had read about ‘working the room’; I grabbed another glass from a passing waiter and then another and sauntered over to an elderly gentleman in a black jacket and pinstripe trousers, who was standing alone, surveying the room keenly. It was a bit embarrassing in retrospect.

“Good event you have organised here for our clients. Extremely efficient.”

“Good event I have organised?…what are you talking about?.” replied Jeeves, as I had named him in my mind.

“This cocktail party…excellent bubbly, fantastic grub… yes, very well organised. Well done.”

Jeeves’s face seem to redden suddenly.
“I’m a High Court Judge…. I don’t organise cocktail parties. I’m giving the keynote speech at the dinner.”

The LPC hadn’t prepared me for this. My pulse raced like it did at those dodgy parties in Notting Hill. I felt almost sick. There was nothing in the course manual about coping with embarrassing situations. I was, mercifully, ushered away by one of the junior partners who whispered in my ear. “Brilliant start to your career with us. I’d advise you to go and drink a lot water.”

As I scurried from the room, I heard the junior partner say, suavely “Sorry about that Judge. One of the newboys I’m afraid. Nerves. Happens to us all. Now… how many people have you been able to put away for The Home secretary this week?”

I heard the Judge roar with laughter.

*****

James is still with the firm – but has to attend a ‘Social deportment’ course and is on the warned list for random drug and alcohol testing.

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