Saturday, April 25, 2009

Petition Gordon Brown to resign

There's a petition on the Downing Street website which reads: "We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to resign." Over two million people watched Dan Hannan's speech the other week attacking the PM. perhaps we can get as many people to sign up to this petition. To do so, click here.

Hat-tip Guido Fawkes.

Lord West-Knights, Sir Laurence or a CBE?

Okay. So this is a test to see whether a small and insignificant blogger in North Devon can actually help to get things done. You see, there's a barrister who I've never met despite my own ten years at the Bar but have admired from afar. Admired that is for his passion and dedication to a cause which has helped the lives both of lawyers in Britain and Ireland and also further afield in Commonwealth countries and the USA. It is Laurie West-Knights QC who spent thousands of unpaid hours fighting for and founding the British and Irish Legal Information Institute (http://www.bailii.org/) which basically led the way in forcing the closed shop of law reporting to put the lot out there for free. So there we are and the reason for this post is to propose him as a People's Peer and if not that then a Knighthood and if the government can't stretch to that without money changing hands then at the very least he should be awarded a CBE. So, to all the legal bloggers around the country, I ask simply that you support this mini-campaign and help to get Laurie recognised.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Congratulations to Daniel Barnett and the Starlight Charity

Very many congratulations to Daniel Barnett who has raised more than his target of £10,000 for the Starlight Charity in less than two weeks through his Employment Law Bulletin. Starlight is dedicated to lighting up the lives of seriously and terminally ill children by granting them their dearest wishes. Amongst other things, the £10,000 raised is specifically earmarked to:
1. Fly nine-year-old William from Milton Keynes to Florida where his wish to be a SeaWorld zookeeper for the day will be granted. William, who has cancer, will be heading to Orlando with his family in October. Cost of his wish: £4,000.
2. Send Hadiza, five, from London, and seven-year-old Oliver, from Cheltenham, to Disneyland Paris with their families. Hadiza has sickle cell anaemia, and Oliver has a congenital disease. For both, their dearest wish is to meet their favourite Disney characters. Cost of their wishes: £4,000.

Daniel launched his fundraiser to celebrate the tenth anniversary of his free bulletin service, setting a target of £1,000 for each of the ten years. He said: “I invited my subscribers to donate if they find my service useful and their response has been amazing. I was optimistic of reaching the target, but had no I idea we’d make it that quickly. And the donations are still coming in! Starlight makes a real and lasting difference to so many children’s lives, and it’s especially rewarding to see exactly how – and how quickly – the money this appeal has raised will be spent. I’d like to send my very best wishes to all these youngsters and their families.”

Daniel is a barrister at 1 Temple Gardens and was the first legal professional in the UK to recognise the enormous potential of the email update format when he launched his groundbreaking service on 20 April 1999 with a bulletin recording the outlawing of gender discrimination. Now – ten years and over 1,000 bulletins later – his emails are received by more than 23,000 subscribers who span the employment law spectrum, among them judges, solicitors, barristers, HR professionals, journalists, businesses, academics, and trade union officials. This is not the first time that Daniel has undertaken such a massive fundraising activity. In 2007 he raised over £16,000 for the charity Dreams Come True, also through his Bulletin. Donations can still be made to the current cause at www.justgiving.com/danielbarnett2009.

Another review of Why Lawyers Should Surf

By Jaimal Nikos Yogis, author of 'Saltwater Buddha':
"I’m not a lawyer (and I never will be) but I’m thoroughly enjoying Why Lawyers Should Surf. Tim Kevan, a British surfer, lawyer, and now a novelist, gets just about as close as any writers past to nailing the ineffable nature of surfing, not just with his own deft descriptions, but by referencing great thinkers past. He quotes everyone from Goethe (“All is born of water; all is sustained by water”) to Jules Verne (“The sea is everything”) to T.S. Eliot (“I have seen [the mermaids] riding seawards on the waves/Combing the white hair of the waves blown back”). It’s just the sort of thing we pelagic lit junkies get off on, but I think anyone who has a connection to the sea will enjoy this read. I found myself able to apply most of the insights pointed toward lawyers toward my life as a writer. The wisdom rocks back and forth between broad and very specific. Of course, it also makes a great gift for your stressed out lawyer friends. Available on Amazon here."

To see the review online, click here.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

New book by Tom Anderson

I'm very much looking forward to the publication of Tom Anderson's new book Chasing Dean on 1 June. The summary on amazon describes it in the following way: "Two childhood friends from small-town Wales meet in Miami for a summer road trip they've always dreamed of: to chase the swell of Hurricane Dean all the way up the US East Coast in search of once-in-a-lifetime surf. They embark on a hilarious journey of self-discovery and a travel experience like no other. Mixing the humour of Sideways with the extreme conditions of The Perfect Storm, this new book by one of the UK's favourite new travel/surfing writers is a quirky travelogue destined to become a cult classic." Tom is the author of the excellent Riding the Magic Carpet, a book about surfing, travel and following your dreams. To pre-order the book on amazon, click here.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Another book by Thomas Farber

Heads up for another book by Thomas Farber entitled Brief Nudity which is out in May. Alan Williamson, author of Almost a Girl: Male Writers and Female Identification, says of the book: "Philip Larkin wrote of the moment in life when our "innate assumptions" and daily habits "Suddenly harden into all we've got." This beautifully written memoir dwells in that moment, its call to self-judgment, its unexpected openness to possibility. Brief Nudity will please and instruct all who are starting to think about their own aging." Thomas is the author of among other books, the two wonderfully reflective volumes on surfing and water entitled Face of the Deep and On Water.

Book recommendation: Edible Seashore

Possibly my favourite book discovery of the year so far is one called Edible Seashore by John Wright (Bloomsbury, 2009) which provides both a thorough and extremely practical guide to foraging down by the sea from flowering plants and seaweeds to molluscs and crustaceans. Being part of the River Cottage series of Handbooks it also has a great recipe section. If you liked Richard Mabey's excellent 'Food for Free' then there's every chance that you will like this one even more. A must buy both for occasional visitors to our rich coastline and for those that are lucky enough to live there all the time.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Book recommendation: Agent Zigzag

For anyone who likes either thrillers or action-packed biographies then I would highly recommend a book called Agent Zigzag by Ben Macintyre (Bloomsbury, 2007). It follows the extraordinary life of Eddie Chapman, a dashing ladies' man and safe-breaker who went on to become a double agent in the Second World War. Weaving together diaries, letters and MI5 files, the author not only gives a wonderful guide to a life which was packed full of adventure, intrigue and romance but also gives some insight into the loneliness of a world of espionage which straddled both sides of the divide.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Book recommendation: JPod

JPod by Douglas Coupland (Bloomsbury, 2006) is a fantastic black comedy about dysfunctional people in a dysfunctional office which means that it's probably something many of us will recognise as we peer through his veil of charicature. It's a genuinely funny satire not just of office life and politics but of modern life in general with a cast of characters which will keep you laughing to the end.