Monday, July 30, 2007

What's your favourite film?

I think mine's either the fantastic, original Ladykillers with Alec Guiness and Herbert Lom. I can't be bothered to watch the remake, it can't touch the original.

I'm a sucker for the 80's bratpack films too - Pretty in Pink is great as is The Breakfast Club and Some Kind of Wonderful. The John Hughes films are excellent and capture a wonderful era, particularly the music of the time.

Then again, I love the Pianist too - a gritty and incredibly profound movie with a staggering soundtrack.

There are loads of others; Soylent Green, Moulin Rouge, Spinal Tap, Strange Fruit........

I can guarantee that you'll enjoy any of the films I mention above, but if you had to see any of the films above it would probably be the Pianist.

So, if I fancy a night in what film would you recommend?

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Rocky, Rain and results

I have absolutely no idea why, but my kids seem hooked on the old Rocky films. Rocky II is on Sky plus again as I'm typing, and it's so corny... I'm not sure if there's a nostalgia for Rocky films generally, or it's just my kids. It's good wholesome fun I suppose, but there's more cheese than cheddar in it.

The rain here in the midlands has been shocking, I'm sure that most other folks across the UK who are reading this have had similar problems. 16 severe flood warnings have been issued across the UK with gridlock and chaos everywhere. Seems like I picked a great week to go camping.........

Happier news is the fact I got my results for this last year's post grad: two commendations in the two main graded papers with five passes on the ungraded modules. One final year, thank goodness......

By the way, thanks to all the folks for their comments / emails and calls following the last post, it's lovely to have some really good mates about.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Walter Mitty, here we go.

Have you ever been copied into an email that wasn't meant for you? I did, today.

I work in a small office - there's just ten of us and we all get on exceptionally well. We have an office up in the North of England where there's a good fifty or so folks - again all nice folks.

I was copied into a mail quite by mistake from some of the folks up North who had been looking at this blog.

I've always viewed the blog as a way to get stuff off my chest - express what I'm thinking, and just be a place where I suppose I can just vent. It's something I've always enjoyed and quite honestly never really worried about, that is, until I received this email:

This was the mail as I opened it - the blue characters are the mail to me, the content beneath is from a mail that had done the rounds between a few folks. It does worry me that a solicitor can't spell the word 'insight' but nevertheless:

An illuminating insite into the mind of a fantasist.

From: xxxxxxxxxx
Sent: 18 July 2007 11:01
To: xxxxxxxxxxxxx, xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, xxxxxxxxxxxxxx, xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, xxxxxxxxxxxxx, xxxxxxxxxxxxx, xxxxxxxxx, xxxxxxx, xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, xxxxxxxxxxx, xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: Wise words

I have seen the light. Be inspired by this utter bollocks!:-

I laughed at it initially, but, thinking about it now I actually feel a bit hurt by it. The chap who'd sent me the mail meant, I think, to send the mail to someone with a similar work mail. Then again, he could have sent it to me quite purposely. Who knows?

The linked mail had sent my site's link around a few folks in the office, and it suddenly struck me - am I really just talking drivel? Some of the entries I've made on the blog are things that I've really worn on my sleeve - especially the entries that relate to my kids, stuff I feel very deeply about. The again, a bloke who writes poetry and talks about feeling pressured because of his kids? Sounds like something from One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest doesn't it? Does it?

There's a generalisation that folks from the North of England are more gritty and hard than those in the south - I think that's a generalisation too far to be honest, but there may be some small truth to it. I remember when I first started at the practice, some colleagues who are no longer with us made snide remarks about the fact I'd taken the trouble to introduce myself to everyone and "........been too friendly - what's his agenda?" As it happens, I get on great with the folks up there on the whole and they're a good bunch.

So, have I just been setting myself up for a fall? Probably. In all honesty, a blog is, thinking about it, pretty geeky. Why should I write the way I feel up in a space for all and sundry to see? Is a diary not meant to be private?

I'm having mixed emotions about continuing this at the moment, yet feel compelled to write this as I'm thinking aloud. I just think it's a way to get stuff off my chest probably, and it's a lot easier than sitting on a couch talking to a quack. Then there's the ADD.... I immediately took down my cv and photo, I felt like such an idiot putting myself on show. Why on earth had I done that anyway? Have I been parading myself about like some sort of egotist? If I have, I honestly didn't mean to, and with hindsight I feel like such an idiot.

I do hate to think that others perceive me as some sort of Walter Mitty character though. I hate feeling patronised or the centre of some joke too.

It could be that blogs are generally pretty anonymous and they jar in context with 'real' life. A bit like a wedding I suppose, where your rough and ready rugger mates meet your granny and the gentle church minister - a collision of worlds.

I think I'm probably just a bit embarrassed if the truth is known. I know I'm looking forward to my holiday more than ever though.

Friday, July 13, 2007


I'm doing my level best to spend equal time with my three youngest lads (15, 13 and 6). My eldest is now 18 and an adult (well, as adult as 18 year olds can be) and doing his own thing.

I attended a rehearsal at the Rich Bitch studios in Selly Oak just last week with Christian - his band are gigging everywhere and it was fascinating to see the level of professionalism in these lads, and their seriously hard work in getting songs right.

I sat in the studio thinking back to the times I'd been there in the early 80's, time repeating itself. What did strike me was the willingness of the kids to listen. They'd asked me to be a critical friend and help them with some structuring. Kids don't listen to you at the best of times - but these kids really, really did. I explained the way you look for space in music - I've been playing every week now for 30 years so you do get to pick up a few things. I suggested:

1. Get the bottom line right. The groove needs to be there between the drummers kick and the bass player

2. Minimal rhythm guitar when the lead guitar breaks in

3. Use of power chords / tabs on a busy riff

4. Space - rather than presenting a wall of sound, look to build up and drop down - crucial for verse / chorus differentiation

5. The build on a bridge

6. Light and shade between chorus and verse

7. Keeping it tight

It was amazing - the kids listened and the result was astonishing. I'm kicking myself I didn't take anything to record.

Rather than being the old bloke in the corner, it was awesome to see these kids want to listen and put stuff into action. The lads were just brilliant and I'm proud of them all.

I later went to a gig and saw the lads support The Orange Lights at the Barfly in Birmingham. I hadn't heard them but just knew from the looks of their stage equipment they would be good. I was wrong...... they were absolutely awesome. One of the best indie bands I've seen in ages, seriously good lyrics, all great musicians and wonderfully tight. Incredibly they displayed all the
signs and talents of 1 - 7 above. Chris is at an age where it's easy for him and his mates to disregard their parents and music has been the glue of late to cement the relationship together.

Harry, my six year old is Doctor Who mad - I love talking to him about Dr Who, playing I spy / Hangman Dr Who games with him, helping him with his spelling and suchlike. He's a great kid at a wonderful age, I wish they could all stay like that.

Last night, I grudgingly went with Jack to the golf range. I hate golf, I've had loads of lessons and just don't get it. I always end up with a bad back. Jack on the other hand is excellent at any sport and is a natural at golf. We bought a bucket of balls and I was able to tell him how to hold a driver, and impart the knowledge of the few dozen lessons I've had. Again, incredibly it worked - Jack was belting 200 yards and more as straight as a dye and I loved spending time with him.

Someone asked me earlier where I'd been as I've not been about much on the net or on the forums where I used to hang out. The answer is simple: I've been with my kids, and I'm loving it.

Without any element of corn or wish to patronise, simply look for the one thing your kids love to do. You can buy them expensive gifts and chuck money at them, but they want the most precious thing that's completely free: you.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

waxing lyrical

I love poetry, real poetry. Like art, I love the old masters. I appreciate modern art, modern verse, but I prefer the classics.

Rumpole of the Bailey would often wax lyrical, drifting into a Shakespearian aside whilst muttering Wordsworth. I wish I had the capacity to remember huge portions of verse.

Today I read Tennyson's Ulysses, a beautifully constructed piece that is just stunning and moving:

It little profits that an idle king,
By this still hearth, among these barren crags,
Match'd with an aged wife, I mete and dole
Unequal laws unto a savage race,
That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me.
I cannot rest from travel; I will drink
Life to the lees. All times I have enjoy'd
Greatly, have suffer'd greatly, both with those
That loved me, and alone; on shore, and when
Thro' scudding drifts the rainy Hyades
Vext the dim sea. I am become a name;
For always roaming with a hungry heart
Much have I seen and known,-- cities of men
And manners, climates, councils, governments,
Myself not least, but honor'd of them all,--
And drunk delight of battle with my peers,
Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy.
I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethro'
Gleams that untravell'd world whose margin fades
For ever and for ever when I move.
How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnish'd, not to shine in use!
As tho' to breathe were life! Life piled on life
Were all too little, and of one to me
Little remains; but every hour is saved
From that eternal silence, something more,
A bringer of new things; and vile it were
For some three suns to store and hoard myself,
And this gray spirit yearning in desire
To follow knowledge like a sinking star,
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.

This is my son, mine own Telemachus,
to whom I leave the sceptre and the isle,--
Well-loved of me, discerning to fulfill
This labor, by slow prudence to make mild
A rugged people, and thro' soft degrees
Subdue them to the useful and the good.
Most blameless is he, centred in the sphere
Of common duties, decent not to fail
In offices of tenderness, and pay
Meet adoration to my household gods,
When I am gone. He works his work, I mine.

There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail;
There gloom the dark, broad seas. My mariners,
Souls that have toil'd, and wrought, and thought with me,--
That ever with a frolic welcome took
The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed
Free hearts, free foreheads,-- you and I are old;
Old age hath yet his honor and his toil.
Death closes all; but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.
The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks;
The long day wanes; the slow moon climbs; the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends.
'T is not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down;
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho'
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are,--
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

I attempted to write some short verse, inspired by how I felt. It made me think how would folks interpret it? Would they understand the subject I was trying to convey? I wonder. I think the subject matter is pretty obvious here - do you get my drift? What do you think the subject matter is about? Do you understand the imagery? Answers below please. ;-)


When time and sorrows cease to be
The mortal flight is done
And anguish rests its weary head
The quiet ne’er yet to come

The embers of the dying flame
Give way to lurid skies
Carved hollows in the sinking foam
Perch ever moving eyes

As shadows form and deeper falls
The blanket of spilt ink
A pen of thought in soup of haze
Scrawls scenes that never link

A magnitude of errors play
Upon the stage inside
The evil actors tread the boards
Speak forth as amplified

Dark fingers wander deep inside
To pull aside the calm
Despite entreaties to my God
To keep me safe from harm

Still as the morning dew sets in
Relief does come to bear
Terrors melt and fade away
As though were never there

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


Loads of folks ask me the same questions:

"so what do you do?"

"What are your qualifications?"

"What area of law are you involved in?"

and so on.

I'll post my CV up in the right hand side of the blog to see if anyone's bothered to access it. I'm certainly not looking for another job, no siree - my next move is partnership or my own firm........... or both.


Sunday, July 01, 2007

more scum

Glasgow and London were apparently targets by the extreme fundamentalist lunatics that try to disrupt our lives here in the UK.

I was heartened to hear one Mosque spokesman condemn the terrorists as 'misguided and unwanted'. Three cheers that man. We can live together - peaceably and we do. I get the impression that the majority of muslims - and at that the vast majority - are tired of folks acting in the name of their religion and using the tag 'religion' as an excuse.

This is nothing to do with religion, these people are criminals, nothing more.

I understand that the brainwashed idiot that failed in his attempt to commit suicide is alive but suffering terribly. Good. I hope he is in awful pain and will live with horrendous scars and suffer dreadfully for the rest of his days, shunned by everyone including his peace loving muslim brothers.