Wednesday, 7 March 2007

A bit lippy

I was tucked safely away in The Master's room yesterday, as usual with the door open. The communal computers and the photocopier are just outside the room, so I often overhear conversations. Crispin was, as usual, playing Patience. I should say that he went through a phase a month or so ago where he really genuinely seemed to have a serious problem, but he has noticeably cut down recently.

Crispin is a bit posh. He's also a bit camp. His standard salutation to colleagues in the morning is 'hello, darling!' and he is effusive in making unnecessary compliments. He very occasionally lets slip a slightly suggestive remark of some sort, but very seldom. This doesn't necessarily make one 'a bit camp', but it's all done in a slightly camp way. Or it might just be very posh, I find it hard to tell the difference sometimes, I'm afraid.

Anyway, he's just a tad flirty with Young John, the more junior of the two junior clerks. From references to him around chambers, 'Young' might as well be his first name. As with our other clerks, and quite possibly all clerks, he's definitely from East London somewhere.

Sometimes Young John will pass by in the morning and politely ask Crispin how he is: 'How are you today, sir?' I have twice heard Crispin reply, 'All the better for seeing you, Young John!' There doesn't seem to be anything threatening about this and Crispin is usually talking to the face cards on his screen as he's saying these sorts of things.

This little bit of banter was repeated yesterday afternoon, but one of the other barristers, a woman, was using the photocopier at the time. The normal exchange took place, and Young John replied along the lines of 'glad to hear it, sir'. Once he'd gone, the other barrister muttered to Crispin: 'He's getting a bit lippy.'

Crispin seemed to ignore this, but I couldn't believe it. Young John has gamely been fielding Crispin's harmless manner, but then apparently gets stick for daring to talk back (although it was barely talking back!) to one of the barristers. There might be more to it, in that Young John might have been 'lippy' about something else recently, but it was nevertheless an amazingly class-based put down.

1 comment:

Legal Beagle said...

Probably best to nip this sort of "lippyness" in the the bud. It's the beginning of a slippery slope which will end in such outrageous behaviour as calling barristers by their first names or, worse, expecting us to treat them as our equals! Take the young upstart outside and give him a good flogging.