Tuesday, 16 January 2007

Country and western

I'm going bonkers. There's a youngish barrister next door I'll call Barry. The wall partitions are quite thin anyway, but there's also an old blocked off door between the two offices. Sound travels. Late afternoon yesterday he started playing this awful, whiny country and western stuff. It started at about 4pm. At about 5pm he started singing along. And it's back on this morning.

I can barely think and I'm trying to get some work done I should have done yesterday.

A few weeks ago he did this with some appalling woman soft rocker, but this is far, far worse. I think it may be a sign of the stresses and strains of working at the bar. He certainly manifests these strains in other ways. One morning I was in quite early and heard this anguished yell from next door, followed by a strained 'how can they do this to someone?' I was impressed, thinking that he must be horrified by the treatment of a client or similar.

It transpired from some passionate but pathetic pleading on the the phone a few minutes later that he was on hold on the phone and some sort of share sale deadline had passed without him noticing.

There have been a number of other similar instances, and I once heard a couple of the more senior barristers teasing him on how stressful his practice must be.

A plus point, however, is that I had to find something to do outside The Master's room, so I downloaded and printed off John Flood's 1983 study Barristers' clerks: The Law's Middlemen. I've only dipped in so far but it looks fascinating. Chapter 2 on career patterns, recruitment and initiation is illuminating, and I suspect that not a lot has changed despite the dawning of The Computer Age. He is apparently updating it. It can be downloaded for free from the publications part of his website at www.johnflood.co.uk. It feels rude to insert a direct link as there's a lot more on the website. Including, apparently, a photo of The Hoff from a few years ago.

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