Thursday, July 16, 2009

Nice review for 'BabyBarista and the Art of War' from top blogger Geeklawyer

Very nice review of 'BabyBarista and the Art of War' from top blogger Geeklawyer here and also below. To pre-order the book at a heavily discounted £7.19 (incl p&p), click here.

Baby Barista – the witness statement

Sometimes fiction is stranger than the truth. The truth is rarely visible in fictional accounts of the Bar, from Rumpole, This Life and onwards. We barristers are the subject of malice spite and envy from the failed barristers in the Cabinet right down to the Solicitor-Inadequates at the junior end of the profession, all of whom peddle their spite to any takers. At a time when the Bar Council is desperately attempting, and failing, to counter this black propaganda, BabyBarista enters the fray with his Machiavellian flailing, undoing all attempts at the rehabilitation of our image. Excellent.

BabyBarista is a fictional pupil at a fictional chambers and who blogs at The Times. The Art of War is the autobiography of his pupillage. BabyB is not a sympathetic character; like Geeklawyer he is scheming manipulative amoral disloyal calculating and backstabbing, but none of these virtues offset his essential badness. His only salvation comes from the fact that his rival pupils, competing against him for the single prized tenancy, are even more loathsome: ThirdSix and TopFirst are variously smug superior snobbish calculating and pretentious. Fine and necessary qualities in a barrister but not conducive to a spirit of camaraderie:

TopFirst telephoned me over the weekend. He said he wanted to talk about pupillage.
‘Look BabyB, we’re all in competition for tenancy, but let’s be realistic about this. Worrier and BusyBody are both now dead in the water and it’s developed into a straight fight between you and me.’
‘OK.’ No prizes for that one Mr Brainbox.
‘Well look, I’ve been thinking. You ever heard of the prisoner’s dilemma?’
‘[...] Yea, shows that cooperation’s often better than fighting.’
[...]
‘You’re suggesting a truce. Fine by me,’ I lied.
‘Exactly so. Fight and we may both die. Cooperate and there’s at least a small chance that maybe we’ll convince them to take us both on.’
‘Makes sense,’ I lied again. ‘You can count on me.’ [...]
… there will be no cooperation.


If you think only the pupils are oily rats then the barristers are just older more experienced versions: TheBoss – BabyB’s first pupilmaster. An unscrupulous, spineless coward, “You’re up to your neck in this, you realise,’ he told me. ‘If I go down I’m taking you with me.’“; OldSmoothie – a Peter Bowles character; TheVamp a cock hunting old slapper; TheBusker and OldRuin are, among others, old hack tenants in chambers who round out the sorry cast. This is one sorry improbable and deeply doomed set; no doubt soon to merge with Peckham Chambers and then vanish.

The Art of War is a hilarious parody of the profession and an engaging reprise of all the old cliches about us barristers. To those of us on the inside it was clearly this and no more: some of the scenarios were deeply implausible and the behaviour of the characters way beyond credibility, although it was this that rendered the humour. Geeklawyer worries a little, and somewhat hypocritically given his own blogging and Twittering behaviour, about whether this will be seen as pure humour by the public or if they will really imagine that judges and barristers will stitch them up just to get a round of golf in on a Friday? One really really hopes not.

The Art of War was a side-splitting read that Geeklawyer couldn’t put down: it gets his A+ recommendation. Open a new browser tab now and order it from Amazon immediately.
Tim Kevan, the recently outed ex-anonymous barrister behind BabyB, deserves a pat on the back for a great first novel. Geeklawyer hopes the second will arrive soon.

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