Archive for March, 2008

Charlotte Green gets the giggles on BBC Radio 4

BBC newsreader Charlotte Green dissolved in a fit of giggles while reading an obituary

You may have seen this… but I just cannot resist giving you the link from The Guardian.  A good friend of mine emailed me the link but a moment ago.

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Transcript of telephone conversation between Eva Braun, PA to Matt Muttley, and Matt Muttley. Friday 28th March 0630 hours.

Braun: Hi Matt… how ya hanging?

Muttley: Good, Eva… in fact… very good. Excuse me darling, I have to take this call from my PA, Eva…….. Eva… sorry… my Mother decided to come over for breakfast and some advice on offshore trusts.

Braun: Yeah right… so since when do you call your Mother ‘Darling’? Another Estonian lap dancer needing urgent advice on tax planning? Do you want me to record the time?

Muttley: OK…OK… not billable…. so what gives?

Braun: Matt… I was watching ‘The Apprentice’ last night. Fantastic barrister… got fired by the garden gnome, but exactly the right socio-psychopathic profile for us. Have spoken to Dr Strangelove about him and he agrees. We should bring him in with a view immediately.

Muttley: Usual First, top law school, no failures, arrogant, dysfunctional?

Braun: Not sure about the dysfunctional bit, but he can’t talk about football and appears to have a supersized ego and opinion of himself. He can also paint, so could be put to work doing artwork for reception at quiet times. He has his own website – this guy has it all and he is not shy about telling everyone.

Muttley: OK… send me the URL and info and I’ll get a memo out. If you could arrange a taxi for Mother… I’ll let her out by the partner’s lift.. I’ll be out in five.


From: Matt Muttley, Managing Partner
To: All Partners
cc: Dr Strangelove, Head of Training
Date: 28th March 2008

Eva has sent me the cv of a young recently qualified barrister who appeared on BBC reality show ‘The Apprentice’ the other night. This young man appears to have all the qualities we look for in our trainees and staff. We also need to harden up our advocacy unit as well.

As you know, I am a keen supporter of law blogs and Victorian Maiden at Ruthie’s Law has a most useful analysis:

“Nicholarse has the lot. From the time at which he put the boot into his team leader and allowed Raef to take responsibility for it; to his last-ditch insistence that being unable to work out 30% of a total and then add it on to the original price to produce a profit was not his fault but someone else’s, Nick was supreme. Never mind that commercial work would appear beyond our boy – Nick can sneer with the best. And, of course, Nick ensured that the viewer knew he was a barrister. This, apparently, gave him an edge. Other contestants quailed at the thought of facing Nick in the Boardroom. ”

Partners may wish to view Mr De Lacy-Brown’s website – a monument to himself.

De Lacy-Brown writes… “It was Virgil who stated in his Ecologues: ‘Non omnia possumus omnes’ (We can’t all do everything), a statement which many have been happy to oblige. In Nicholas de Lacy-Brown however, there lies a man who is prepared to question such apathy. Undoubtedly a man of many talents, he has lived his short twenty-four years with a vivacity and boldness which few could achieve in a lifetime…”

He has appropriate academic qualifications – usual first, decent university and an ‘”Outstanding on the BVC”. Of rather more importance to us, is not the objective judgment of academics and purveyors of BVC courses, but his own assessment of himself. (See above)

He can paint as well – so could be very useful, at quiet times, doing a bit of decorating around the office and, of course, adding to our extensive library of artwork displayed in reception. He speaks Spanish – do we have any Spanish clients?

As he managed to get himself fired in Episode 1 of The Apprentice – he may well be available. Let me know your thoughts on this. My only concern is that he may be a figment of imagination and may not actually exist. Research on Google does not appear to reveal which set he is a pupil at. Eva is on the case.

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The State Visit of the French President

” … Bruni’s pert pillbox hat was perfect. Poor Camilla looked like a pheasant crash-landed on her head
. Demure as a virgin bride, Mrs Sarkozy arrived in Britain with an oh-so-chic hat perched on her gently curling hair. And then there was Camilla, wearing what can only be called roadkill, says AMANDA PLATELL of the Daily Mail. ”


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Back to normal?…

Easter has come and gone…. back to normal…

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Implausibly, but entirely in character for this time of year, I found myself at 6.30 am this morning standing in the back of a truck reviewing Russian troops – a curious thing, it has to be said, to be doing on Easter Sunday. But there you are. What the troops were doing in Chiswick, West London, this morning, I have no idea, but they asked politely if I would mind reviewing them and, as both of the cafes I go to in the early morning were closed, I was more than happy to oblige. Cafe Rouge was also closed at that early hour so a couple of the lads bought some PG Tips tea bags from a local newsagent and brewed up on the pavement using military survival techniques. A most satisfying mug of tea. The commanding officer of this group asked me if I would like some vodka. It was beginning to snow and very cold. I had several shots. Before you could say ‘Pravda’, we were all cossack dancing on the pavement outside Cafe Nero. Yes…. a most unusual way to start Easter Sunday….

And… so to Urbi et Orbi.

Busiest day of the year for priests. The Pope called for an end to problems in Tibet, Iraq and the Holy Land in his “urbi et orbi” blessing to the world – broadcast live in 57 countries. Although, as far as I could tell, no call to end the current credit-crunch problems raging throughout the world. So… steering clear of money changers in The Temple this year. (BBC)


The Archbishop of Canterbury, after doing a bit of foot washing on Maundy Thursday (the first Archbishop of Canterbury to do so in 400 years), took a slightly different stance from the Pope. The archbishop said: “Individuals live in anxious and acquisitive ways, seizing what they can to provide a security that is bound to dissolve, because they are going to die. Societies or nations do the same. Whether it is the individual grabbing the things of this world in just the repetitive, frustrating sameness that we have seen to be already in fact the mark of an inner deadness…”

The archbishop, the BBC reports, went on to say “We shan’t really die. We as individuals can’t contemplate an end to our acquiring, and we as a culture can’t imagine that this civilisation, like all others, will collapse and that what we take for granted about our comforts and luxuries simply can’t be sustained indefinitely. …… To all this, the church says, sombrely, don’t be deceived: night must fall.”

I did not listen to the entire address, but I was a bit baffled about the ‘we shan’t really die’ bit. I’m not sure he should tell this to the government. Certainly not on message as far as the Department for Work and Pensions is concerned and could cause yet another collapse of the financial markets if rogue traders from hedge funds get hold of this bit of insider information before the market opens on Tuesday.

Bishops have been setting up shoe shine stalls in the week before Easter to bring home the message of serving the community – a far cry from the old days when they taxed the community, acquired land and property in ways, and on a scale, still the subject of wonder and ‘respeck’ at West London supper parties, did a bit of dodgy relic selling and ruled through fear of eternal damnation and burning in the fires of hell.

And… tomorrow… is Easter Monday. I shall do my best to write something sensible and vaguely plausible then. I’m off to improve my mind with a glass of Rioja. I’m also going to use some GCHQ code breaking techniques to see if I can decipher the archbishop’s Easter message.

That “night must fall” bit in the speech must… surely? … hold the clue? Count the letters – there are 13 letters in that phrase!

My cousin, Cardinal Charoni di Tempranillo, will be apostolic with rage after reading this post. So be it.


I may be back later… as they say at this time of year.

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This Easter Bunny needs an ASBO…

This Easter Bunny needs an ASBO

The video, linked below, demonstrates criminality in practice. Instead of wasting time trying to hunt for all those Easter eggs you hid last night, save calories by counting all the acts of assault and violence committed by this Easter Bunny in the course of a short video. Some of the Bunny’s actions may only result in liability in Tort, most involve the commission of a criminal offence.

View the video


Urbi et Orbi: my annual Easter Message will follow later today…. I get to review an Easter Parade standing in the back of a truck.

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I have not had any time to blog this week. But… on the night of Good Friday… a glass of Rioja to my right and a Rizla cigarette rolling machine, Drum tobacco, green Rizla papers to my left, I can return, at last, to the wonderfully unimportant and religion free matter of blogging.

The picture to the left, appropriate this day, is, of course, Dali’s famous painting of the crucifixion. I know the painting well. In fact, in my youth, there was some talk of my going to art school but I was advised by my housemaster that ‘there is no money in art’. Tell that to Damien Hurst, Britart et al.. not to mention some of the great forgers... who do know how to paint…

I started painting when I was at school. I continued painting and doing cartoons in my twenties, through to my early forties, and did my last watercolour (of The Duomo in Florence) in 1994 – which I gave to a good friend. I was 15 in 1968… so too young to be unable to remember the sixties.

I cannot remember much of the early seventies… but that is because I started doing ‘recreational Guinness drinking’ when I was at university to assist my understanding of Treitel on The Law of Contract. I am not suggesting, for one moment, that I was completely roaring when I read Treitel’s excellent book. The Guinness just gave me a ‘Zen’ like feeling when I wrestled with Under the Influence and other complex matters like the vitiating effect of alcohol on contracts.

I was influenced by many things in my youth – Zappa, Captain Beefheart, The Stones, The Doors. Popart, Oz magazine… Sartre blah blah blah……and, of course Claes Oldenburg. Dadaists and Dali were also very much to my taste. I ran a fairly good trade, at the detention centre in Scotland to which I was committed at the age of 13, in ‘commissioned paintings’. I used fast drying acrylic paints, a palette knife (sometimes a brush) and was… as I saw it at the time… an experimental artist. Materials cost me about 10 shillings in old money and I sold at £2-5 – enough to buy LPs (32/6d) and ‘contraband’. My nickname was ‘Risotto’. My paintings were ready in twenty minutes.

Dali’s painting is one of my favourites – which is, perhaps, surprising for a man who has not been baptised and is a fully paid up atheist. I did a rather bad copy of Dali’s painting… not to scale, about ten years ago. It was the last oil painting I did. I have not thought about painting for years, apart from doing the odd doodle. Today, I remembered the Dali painting.

Well… be that as it may… but what has been happening in the world this week?

We have Mills v McCartney:

Mr Justice Bennett, in a 58 page judgment, the only Family Law judgment I have read in thirty years, makes his views quite clear. It is hardly surprising, given the frank nature of Bennett J’s views, that Heather Mills wanted to supress publication – an appeal lost the day after Bennett J told everyone not to publish his judgment until the signal was given. The full judgment is here.

A small taste of Bennet J’s views on Heather Mills:But I regret to have to say I cannot say the same about the wife’s evidence. Having watched and listened to her give evidence, … I am driven to the conclusion that much of her evidence, both written and oral, was not just inconsistent and inaccurate but also less than candid. Overall she was a less than impressive witness.”

John Bolch | Geeklawyer, as ever, at the van of analysis and commentary

I have no interest at all in commenting on this matter, save to note that….

Fiona Shackleton got water poured all over her hair. RollonFriday has a poll asking readers to vote on whether the ‘Camilla Parker Bowles’ hairstyle version of Shackleton is better than the ‘Wetlook’ version. Fortunately, neither Bennett J or Shackleton are interested in taking Mill’s bizarre act of pouring a jug of water over Fiona Shackleton any further.

Spring is obviously in the hair – RollonFriday also has a rather bizarre story about a man amusing himself on an aircraft. “Dozier was on her way to visit family and friends in L.A., MyFOXHouston reports. The suit claims Dozier was sitting in an empty row when the plane took off, and then fell asleep. When she woke up, she says she found a substance in her hair and a man masturbating in the seat next to her.”

It must be global warming. This is just bizarre behaviour.

But… bizarre, in another way, the story in the press that greedy ‘rogue bastards’ in the City, using a well known Trash and Cash technique, managed to wipe off 17 per cent of the share value of HBOS by circulating rumours that HBOS was in trouble. These malicious rumours were denied and the share value, at least when I last read a newspaper on the matter, has recovered. Investment bankers who used to do a bit of pre-shag chat by saying to women ‘We are the best of the best’ are not quite so confident these days in credit-crunch land. Bear Stearns managed to lose most of their value in a two week trading period and were bought for $240 million by JP Morgan Chase …. subject to the usual litigation etc etc etc.

We also had President Bush telling us that the world was a better place because of the Iraq war. Writing on Consilio.tv, I had to observe: “It isn’t a better place for the dead US, UK and Coalition forces. It isn’t a better place for the countless thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians killed and, as a friend of mine observed, it isn’t a better place for Dr David Kelly who took his own life in tragic circumstances after the dossier on Iraq was sexed up”

Not to be outdone… Our great leader, Gordon Brown, surely one of the most dull prime ministers we have had… ever…?, has been trying to tell us that he will save us from global warming, migrant movement, terrorism, financial meltdown, credit-crunches, rising gas bills, and…. because he is a ‘son of The Manse’… from floods (Did that in the summer of last year), locusts (May 2008 – upcoming?) and a very useful plague of frogs just before the political party conference season begins in September?

When I say… dull, in relation to Gordon Brown, it is only fair to use a political comparison: So… think Blair, Wilson, Lloyd George, Churchill, Thatcher, Disraeli….whatever you think of them in political terms… they were interesting. Brown is almost as dull as Sir (Lord) Alec Douglas- Home and Stanley Baldwin. Brown is an intelligent man .. but… just does not seem to have any charisma… and I’m just not interested in people saying that in private, he is a one man ‘Morecambe & Wise’, a barrel of laughs, Jack Dee et al…. he just does not seem to have a gift for ‘communication’. Cameron rips into him every week at Prime Minister’s Questions… and WebCameron, exposed today as a cycling criminal (breaking all manner of road traffic laws on his bicycle), is not yet a ‘commons beast’ in terms of oratory. Finally…. on this point … what is Cyclops doing with his thumbs in the picture to the right?

And… I have just been on to Guido Fawkes’ website where he tells us that the You Tube video of Gordon Brown ‘allegedly’ picking his nose and eating his bogies is an extremely popular video. You must make your own assessment on whether our Prime Minister picked his nose in The House of Comons and then ate his bogey. For my part – I am planning to vote Boris for Mayor (despite nearly 30 years of voting Labour) simply because I live in London and feel it is time for change…. (I have heard that phrase somewhere before?)… and because I rather like the idea of Boris running London…. it may actually be quite musing… and, be honest… Ken is not that amusing. Boris may even get onto mad Japanese TV… and Top Gear.

I quite like the way the French President is shaping up… completely barking. I think we should offer him a British pasport… not just to irritate Al-Fayed, but as a token of our ‘closeness’ to France and to say, that at last, France, has an amusing leader… worthy to follow in the footsteps of Napoleon. I understand that The President of France has been briefed by French government officials not to tell people to ‘piss off’ when he goes walkabout on his ‘upcoming’ State Visit to Britain. It will be interesting to see how he gets on with ‘Mad Max’, the Duke of Edinburgh. I have a feeling they may get on… we shall see. [What is Sarkozy doing with his thumb? At least Churchill knew how to flick a good ‘V sign’… as, indeed, did the English archers at Agincourt]

And… on that note.. I must now go to reflect on this wonderful pagan festival of ours … The Spring Equinox’…. and wonder if I shall wake, on the morrow, to a winter wonderland of snow… lying crisp and even… over Chiswick…


Anyway… what do I know? It has been another good Good Friday. I used to worry, when I was a child, that Christ died at 3.00 each Good Friday… but was re-assured by a teacher, who had a very slim grasp of religious principle, that he came to life again the Monday after…. and, as I am now a devout follower of a number of very congenial roman gods, and have no interest, unlike most of my fellow Britons, in going to HomeBase or some other DIY store this weekend…. I may well spend a bit more time at The Bollo. It is, after all, going to snow… and I would not wish to cause the emergency services any stress by, irrationally, deciding to drive onto a snowbound motorway in a bikini without my thermos flask full of chicken soup and then phoning Sky television to let them know I was snowbound.

I hope you enjoy the Easter Weekend. My Weekend Review may be more sensible. It depends on whether I get snowed in at The Bollo….

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