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I am deep in my annual accounts/tax crisis. Expect nowt from me until it is over, one way or another.

For those who were wondering about the question posed in my poll the other day, but not wondering enough to Run And Find Out, Meredith Hunter was the man killed by the Hell's Angels security while the Rolling Stones played* at the Altamont Free Concert, on 6th December 1969, sometimes seen as the Anti-Woodstock and the day the 60s died. Now you know. There was no real purpose to the poll, it was just a random thought.

*Not "Sympathy for the Devil", but "Under My Thumb", contrary to the myth. I've never really seen why they should be blamed to be honest: for one thing they probably couldn't see much of what was going on, for another, stopping playing would probably have caused a major riot.

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Slightly random title courtesy of the film of Cold Comfort Farm, playing in the background on BBC4 and which I've never seen before. Stephen Fry an interesting Mybug: not quite the casting I'd have made. Sadly I am short on sleep and in court, albeit on what should be a fairly straightforward directions hearing, tomorrow morning, so really ought to go to bed.

I am making a New Year's Resolution, my first in more years than I can remember, to have fewer hangovers in 2007. Starting with not having this one.

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My annual dash down to Winchester for the Cathedral carol service last night, in the company of Frankie. Splendid as ever. Now it's Christmas. Except that instead of continuing on down to my mother's some twenty minutes from there I had to come back to London for some bits and pieces today. Specifically: (1) finishing the Christmas shopping for OnexMother; 3xSibling Plus 3x SiblingSpouse; 9, count them, 9 x nephews&nieces ranging from under a year to 13; (2) sending out an opinion that won't be read before New Year but it shows willing; (3) manning the clerks room while they go and have a boozy lunch; (4) An Party.

Should be on the train by 1.30 tomorrow: no email or indeed interweb whatsoever until I return on 29th or 30th, in the highly unlikely event anyone needs to contact me the miracle of mobile telephony is your friend: there's a filtered post here with the number which hopefully everyone likely to need it can see.

In the meantime, a very happy Christmas &c to everyone who wastes their time on the nonsense I put up here. My apologies for failing abysmally on the Christmas card front this year. And a splendid 1894 2005 2007 to us all.

Toodle pip, see you on the other side.

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.... just various things keeping me from my true calling of writing shite. Including but not limited to, over the last couple of weeks, helping with proof-reading/printing etc. K's PhD thesis, CPD bollocks (my Three Year New Practitioner's Programme which Must Be Completed by 31st Dec or I will be disbarred), difficult politics in Chambers, trying to write something completely new and different, and just this morning being instructed on a complicated trusts/land/mortgages trial starting Monday.

Have taken to reading everyone's posts via a desktop feedreader rather than my livejournal list, makes keeping track of things a lot easier but somehow makes it less likely I will be inspired to comment, possibly.

Ubuntu 6.10 v. nice and appears to have slightly remedied the otherwise increasing tendency of my laptop to fall over and giggle at random moments.

We now return you &c.

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Laptop dead. Will go no further than flashing the lights and starting the fan: normally the fan will then go up a step and then the maker's splash screen comes up before going on to boot, none of which is happening. Fuck: can't afford this and also I need my computer, right now.

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I shall shortly begin my usual headless chicken packing as I am off to the Aegean in quest of the end of the summer at an ungodly hour on Monday morning, via party chez Steph and Rob's tomorrow and then, once again, dozing in Gatwick until the flight is called. In about 40 hours I hope to be here. Expect me when you see me. It's a hard and bitter quest I embark upon but I had a vision you see.

Hmm, 20 to midnight and nothing whatsoever is packed. Maybe not such a bright idea to go to the proms tonight, but I hadn't been all week, not since Gergeyev and the LSO's stunning Tchaikovsky 6 etc - a friend claimed that was possibly the best concert he had ever heard, since he has been spending a significant proportion of his disposable income on concerts and recordings since 1971 and is not particularly given to hyperbole this was significant praise. Tonight sadly a long way from that, though passable.

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... even though the most effort I've put in at the office since Wednesday morning was swilling champagne on the roof for some hours yesterday. Off to the Proms for Ligeti, Schumann and Brahms, and then tomorrow morning to Leeds for Jen's wedding hurrah. Have a good weekend all.

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Avignon gorgeous, hot, sunny and lazy, none of which are currently true of London. Nor is London drink-sodden, which was true of Oxford yesterday. Thankfully, the possibility mooted in the email I received on Friday evening that I might have to be in Zurich tomorrow at 9AM has been narrowly avoided thanks to my raising the unasked question "why?"


May. 13th, 2006 03:00 pm
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Bah. Drafting forty page affidavits is not my favourite way of spending a weekend... For a variety of reasons hiatus likely to continue at least until I return from the Avignon break...

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With the aid of my lovely secretary in Jersey, Condor Ferries, a surprisingly helpful Condor person in Portsmouth, a shockingly cheap taxi driver, and south-west trains, the wheel has turned full circle and I am back at my London desk, and have transported four ridiculously heavy bags and a bike as far as Hampshire. I am also in the High Court on a winder in just over an hour...

I have been up at 5 every day this week. Admittedly last night I went to bed at 9, but still.


Mar. 28th, 2006 11:05 am
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Not feeling wildly well at the moment, and a million and one things to tie up. I am, mainly from sheer perversity but with a thin veneer of reasonable cause that it would be too tedious to explain, taking the ferry back, which means I will wind up on Portsmouth docks at 6AM next Tuesday, one week today. Won't be the first time.

Next afternoon I'm in court...

Point is, doubt I shall be here much until next Wednesday.


Mar. 6th, 2006 10:13 am
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seems to be exploding in a variety of interesting ways, and for once in my proper ground of litigation. So I may not have time to write much for a while. Managed to do very little in the way of planning my final exit from the island over the weekend, instead I lazed around, half-heartedly tidied the house, read most of The Avignon Quintet, and went to The Jersey War Tunnels, which doubles as a museum of the Occupation and also contains an exhibition on Violette Szabo (though her only connexion with the place is that Tania Szabo, who accepted her mother's posthumous George Cross at the age of 7, lives on the island). May find some time to write more about this later, but probably not... Fascinating photo collection by Joe Lievre, including a rather charged section on collaborators, some of whom live yet though not, I think, on the island, most left in a hurry one step ahead of the lynch mob soon after liberation (just after VE day, the islands having been bypassed on and after D-Day) (quite literally in at least one case, the police turned up just as they were throwing the rope over the tree...)

Didn't watch the Oscars, still haven't bothered to find out what happened and don't really care to be honest. Did watch a Song for Europe. Oh dear God... Midsomer Murders as amiably daft as ever.

Still debating potential holiday. In the meantime, I think I may have one last break to St Malo this weekend...

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I am in my London office, which is nice. And the weather is better here, which is also nice.

I had to get up at 5 to be here, and the office for which I personally pay City of London style rent (literally, in the last round of rent-reviews we lost the battle over what the comparables should be) is full of other people's junk. Which is less nice. Heigh ho.

Thanks for all the kind words and thoughts on yesterday's post and by email etc.

Because I can't be bothered to do a separate post, Hilzoy on Obsidian Wings on the Maher Arrar decision:

Apparently, one of the counts could have proceeded had the Court not found that the national security questions it raises require that it be deferred to Congress or the executive. The courts, according to the decision, lack the foreign policy expertise to decide such questions, and therefore they should be left to the "political branches" of the government.

I think this is just wrong. Article VI of the Constitution states that "all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby". We have entered into the Convention Against Torture. Article III of that Convention states that "No State Party shall expel, return ("refouler") or extradite a person to another State where there are substantial grounds for believing that he would be in danger of being subjected to torture." There are very substantial grounds for believing that someone rendered to Syria, as Arar was, would be tortured, even leaving aside the possibility that we asked the Syrians to torture him. We have therefore violated one of those treaties which are, according to the Constitution, the law of the land.

This means that the extradition of Maher Arar is a violation of the law. It may also have foreign policy implications, but it does not thereby cease to be a violation of the law. And while conducting foreign policy may not fall within normal judicial expertise, reading laws, and determining whether the facts in evidence warrant conviction under them, is exactly what judges do. If determining when conduct violates a law and when it does not does not fall within their purview, I have no idea why on earth we bother to have them.


Jan. 30th, 2006 04:17 pm
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Email from

Smile, you've just bought something that'll make your friends green with barely-concealed envy.

We'd like to say "thank you" from the bottom of our dot com hearts for picking something from our box of delights. Now go tell the world what you got.

They possibly have a slightly low estimation of the envy-threshold of my friends. Economy return flights Jersey to London don't quite cut it.

Am therefore around in London Friday 17th Feb, mostly busy with the usual suspects the rest of the weekend.

Change of plans: scratch that, prob not available Fri after all but quite possibly Sat.

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Well, that's pretty much it for 2005, wrapping it up on the Winter Solstice as is only right and proper (I feel like Will Stanton, which reminds me to wish a joyful and long life to a certain just-born Master A.T.H (all is well to those who know to whom that refers but didn't have the news).) Not exactly the best year of my life, but one in which some fairly significant things happened.

God and my alarm clock willing I have a flight at 7AM to Southampton Airport tomorrow, and thence a taxi to my mother's and the land of no interweb (anyone who needs to reach me: text message is probably best). And then directly on to Winchester for the cathedral carol service: yes my main reason for going back tomorrow is indeed to avoid missing this. The siblings and spouses and sprogs (that's a total of 14 people, plus mother and me) all arrive around the same time (save the one who actually lives nearby) so this is almost my last night of peace. I shall indulge in finishing off checking that all of the Firefly dvds in the box set I bought for my brother in law are indeed ok. (Incidentally, I can't say I'm that blown away. It reminds me of Lexx only with more expensive SFX and not quite so silly.) Or I would if I'd finished packing. Oops.

Since this is going to be the first Christmas without my father -it was on New Year's Eve last year that he really went into his final decline- I'm not sure it's going to be that much fun, but we'll see what we can do.

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and happy whatever holidays you care to celebrate to all who read this. See you on the other side: I may even start writing regularly again in the New Year. Time will tell. Have a good one all.

At Home...

Nov. 15th, 2005 11:39 am
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I have about five half-drafted real posts, but I can't be bothered at the moment. However, a note to the London-based that I shall be around this Saturday )

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Some months ago I wrote this, about how I wasn't going to Paris.

Well, yesterday I decided that I am going to Paris. This evening. Make of that what you will. I consider it superb timing.

I'm in London on the 19th, if any of you care.

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I managed to be thrown out from a night club last night, for the first time in at least ten years.

I'm still trying to work out what exactly I did -I wasn't even particularly drunk and was sitting in a corner talking to a friend from work, still, ah the nostalgia.

I did have an appalling hangover when I woke up this morning though, and thus haven't gone to St Malo for the weekend. Next week perhaps, if the deal I'm working on (I really don't feel happy doing transactional work, but there it is) doesn't go pear-shaped and take the weekend with it. Weekend after that I may be in London.


Oct. 6th, 2005 05:34 pm
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Tomorrow evening, here. Because the earth has gone round the sun 33 times since I was delivered unto it. Or something. I'm old anyway. I grow old I grow old, I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled*. Yes I know it's a Wetherspoons. You try and think of somewhere reasonably central that won't be heaving on a Friday night.

Eightish, flight from St Helier etc permitting. NB that text messaging me doesn't work, calls only.

* Oh Lord. "And indeed there will be time/ To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?”/ Time to turn back and descend the stair,/ With a bald spot in the middle of my hair-/ [They will say: “How his hair is growing thin!”]". Sad but so true.

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Today is not my day for doing anything. Starting with waking up, a feat at which I rather failed.

The cause of this can be traced back... well to "let there be light" obvs. More immediately, it can be traced back to the fact I foolishly put my phone in my back pocket when exploring the island on my bike at the weekend. (In itself that was great: various pubs and beaches logged for future reference, though the weather's changing fast enough I doubt I'll have much use for the latter. My bike handlebars came inexplicably loose during the day, so there were some hair-raising freewheels down green lanes as the bars rolled in my hands and the brakes went out of immediate reach, but that's now dealt with.)

Anyway, the result was one broken phone screen. Very pretty, as bust TFT screens always are: an impressive fat swirl of magenta across the screen with a double border in sunburst yellow and an outer haze of azure blue, but frankly not much use as an aid to comprehension of anything.

Read more... )


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