Unexpected and best Christmas present – a record player! And not only is it a record player but it’s portable. Imagine – I could take it with me when I have to stay in hotels or go on holiday. Unlike some people, I still have quite a lot of vinyl and it’s very nice to sit in the kitchen and put on some old favourites. I’m only sorry I’m not still practising as a barrister – along with the brief and the papers, and notebooks, I could have taken my neat little green case into court.
A couple of bars of ‘I fought the law,’ or even ‘Jailhouse Rock’ could have melted the heart of many a judge. I notice (only now, because he was not in my time) that there is a song by Jackson Browne called ‘Lawyers in Love‘ but that might have been a bit distracting. But this is the thing, you could get to a tricky point in cross examination, where all seems to be going badly – a not infrequent event – and you could say, ‘Officer, I put it to you that my client is not that bad. Why, listen to this!’ and slip ‘I shot the sheriff’ on to the turntable. After a couple of lines you could go back to cross examination. ‘Officer, don’t you understand, he did not shoot the deputy.’ Verdict – not guilty! In my dreams. *
Another surprising and lovely gift was an album by Yo Yo Ma, Sing Me Home, from friend Susan in Yorkshire. One of the most intriguing tracks, because I have a history with this song, is St James Infirmary Blues, featuring Rhiannon Giddens, Michael Ward-Bergeman & Reylon Yount.
Those of you who watched the BBC documentary Living in ’66 – Pop, pirates and postmen will remember (possibly) that during the section where I walked round Chelmsford I read an extract from my diary describing a day in March 1966 where friend Christine and I went in to Dace’s music shop to buy Lee Dorsey and Lou Christie’s latest singles, but bumped into a couple of pals who were listening to something else and so Christine walked out of the shop with a copy of St James Infirmary by the Graham Bond Organisation. Very different, but great!
* For more songs that have to do with lawyers look at this website, Abnormal Use