Friday, July 31, 2009

BabyBarista in EX33 Magazine

Article in EX33 Magazine. To read it, click the picture on the left or see the text below.

Braunton resident gets book deal with Harry Potter’s publisher

In August, Harry Potter’s very own Bloomsbury Publishing will be releasing a novel by Braunton resident Tim Kevan entitled BabyBarista and the Art of War. It’s a legal comedy set around a fictional set of barristers’ chambers in London and is based upon a blog or online diary which Tim continues to write for The Times (at www.timesonline.co.uk/babybarista).

He started writing the blog a couple of years ago, having at that stage been practising as a barrister in London for some nine years. As Tim says: “As I posted it online I was hopeful it might raise a few smiles but in my wildest dreams I hadn’t imagined quite the extraordinary set of circumstances which then unfolded.” First the legal press started praising it and then he started getting interest from a few publishers. In the meantime, he was contacted by The Times who offered to host the blog and finally, he got a book deal with Bloomsbury - all within the space of less than three months. Since that hectic start, it’s been a long haul.

He’s taken a break from the Bar and moved to Braunton where as well as writing he’s been surfing and running an online legal training company which he co-founded. He hopes the novel will appeal well beyond the legal world: “It’s a fictional caricature of life at the Bar and includes characters that probably exist in most workplaces such as UpTights, OldRuin, BusyBody, Worrier and even JudgeJewellery and her penchant for stealing cheap jewellery.”

It’s already had some great reviews with broadcaster Jeremy Vine describing it as “a wonderful, racing read - well-drawn, smartly plotted and laugh out loud”, author Boris Starling saying that it is "sharp, acerbic, and almost illegally funny" and ex-world champion boxer Barry McGuigan MBE saying that “It’s a terrific read which makes you both laugh and keep the pages turning. It also confirms what I've always suspected - that the courtroom is not so different from the boxing ring.” Having been brought up in Minehead in Somerset, Tim is now back in the West Country to stay. He is currently writing a second BabyBarista novel and is also the co-author (with Dr Michelle Tempest) of a motivational book entitled Why Lawyers Should Surf.

As well as the London launch on the 5th there will be a local launch at the White Lion on the 7th from 6pm until midnight.

BabyBarista and The Art of War will be published by Bloomsbury in August 2009 and is available at www.amazon.co.uk. For more information visit www.timkevan.com.

RIP Sir Bobby Robson

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The surfing puppy! (click to enlarge)














8-month old Jack the border terrier is already ripping up the North Devon waves as you can see above! Possibly the youngest surfing dog ever?! All pictures copyright professional photographer Susanna Stanford. If you would like to re-use any of these images, you can request permission by emailing her on web@SusannaStandford.com.

Mikey Corker and Loose Fit team up with Surfers Against Sewage

Great to see that Loose Fit Surf Shop and Surfers Against Sewage have teamed up with Loose Fit pledging 1% of all their sales to this cause. Key to this is Mikey Corker (pictured) who in addition to his role as Loose-Fit Manager has recently been appointed as the North Devon representative for Surfers Against Sewage and will be campaigning for the protection of the coastal areas in that region. “The collaboration is perfect” said Mikey, “we’re thrilled to be working so closely with SAS, directly helping to preserve and improve our beaches and water quality, an invaluable asset that we would like to hand over in better condition to all future generations of surfers and beachgoers.”

As part of their committment to SAS, they will be raising money for it at the book launch for BabyBarista and the Art of War in Braunton on 7th August. For more details click here.

Article in the North Devon Journal

Article today in the North Devon Journal. To read it, click the picture on the left or click here or see the text below.

Barrister's book based on a blog

A NOVEL written by a Braunton man has been snapped up by the publishers of the Harry Potter novels.
BabyBarista and The Art of War is due to be released on Monday by Bloomsbury.
Author Tim Kevan is a 38-year-old former barrister now living in Braunton.
His book tells the story of a junior barrister who has one year to make his mark and win a coveted tenancy in a legal chambers.
The story is based on a blog that Tim wrote for the Times newspaper.
He said: "It has been a dream come true. I didn't really expect to get a book deal with such a fantastic publisher."
Tim spent 10 years working as a civil lawyer but now he is more at home surfing the waves of North Devon than in the courtroom.
He said: "I just feel so happy to be back here in the West Country, being able to go out each day to the beach or with my dog in the countryside or on Exmoor."
Tim always had a burning ambition to write. He co-wrote 10 law books and was the co-author of Why Lawyers Should Surf.
He began a blog on the Times website in 2007 detailing in the style of Bridget Jones the outrageous behaviour of BabyBarista. It became one of the most popular on the site.
BabyBarista is a shameless character, says Tim.
"He is a sneaky character who gets up to all sorts of shenanigans in order to succeed. You wouldn't like his behaviour at all, were it not for the fact that BabyBarista's opponents are even worse."
Tim added: "I love writing. The characters just come alive in my mind."
Tim grew up in Minehead and gained a degree in economics and law from Cambridge University.
He qualified as a barrister at the chambers Temple Gardens in London.
He said: "I really loved working as a barrister, it is a wonderful profession."
Tim says he will return to work as a barrister part time and be based in Devon. He has also begun writing a column for Devon Life magazine and plans to write a second chapter of BabyBarista.
But his priorities are clear: at the merest hint of a swell he is out to surf.
Tim said: "I struggled to make time for surfing when in London but in the last couple of years I have been able to do it so much more, which is just fantastic."
● Tim will be present at a launch party for the book at the White Lion Inn in Braunton next Friday from 6pm till midnight.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

'Scribblings from the Surf' - Devon Life 8/09: Surf Shop Characters

The second in a series entitled 'Scribblings from the Surf'. For more information on Devon Life, click here. To read the article, see the text below or click on the pictures of the original article below that.
SURF SHOP CHARACTERS
Barrister and writer Tim Kevan meets a few of the characters involved in North Devon's vibrant surfing scene.
Mention surfing to most people and they probably won’t get past the image of a spaced-out blond Californian using words like ‘cowabunga’ and ‘awesome, dude’. But it’s an altogether different crowd which run some of the biggest and most influential surfing businesses in Devon. A crowd that mixes a love of the sea with a love of the countryside more generally and which offers a rich blend of music, art and straightforward passion for life.

Tiki Tim
The most famous brand in British surfing is Tiki. Its co-founder is Tim Heyland who was described in a recently published book The Surfing Tribe by Roger Mansfield (Orca, 2009) as “a legendary surf explorer and surf industry pioneer”. Yet his background could hardly have been less likely to lead to such a description coming as he does from twelve generations of military and diplomatic figures. The turning point came when his father was based in Brazil in 1963 and Heyland decided to make a surfboard for himself out of solid hardwood carved with a machete. This at a time when he was collecting snakes and animals for American zoos. A stint as a Paraguayan cowboy followed before he eventually returned to England. He remembers arriving in North Devon “with £5 in my pocket, a dog on a piece of string and a home-made wetsuit. I had to sleep on the beach in the early days”. From these humble beginnings he and business partner Dave Smith have built Tiki into the major producer of surfboards and wetsuits in the country and the main Tiki shop in Braunton, North Devon is possibly the largest surf shop in Europe. He has also surfed the globe, having had a couple of breaks in Indonesia named after him and being one of the first Britons to take on the famous North Shore of Oahu in Hawaii as well as the first person to surf North Devon’s own big wave Oyster Falls back in the early seventies. A countryman for all seasons, he is just as happy looking after his kunekune pigs and four dogs at home with his children as he is surfing big waves around the world.

Saltrock Surfwear
Two other North Devon pioneers with equally unconventional backgrounds are Gus and Ross Thomson the co-founders of Saltrock Surfwear. Their own story perhaps mirrors that of their parents who left this country to set up a farm in Zimbabwe before moving to South Africa where their father established himself as a potter. The two brothers took up surfing there back in the mid-1970s and by the early-1980s they left their homeland in search of adventure. After many beaches and paths less trodden they arrived in the UK and eventually ended up printing t-shirts designed by the highly talented Ross who himself had given up the possibility of a professional surfing career to pursue his art. From the early days using a printing system they designed themselves using scrap wood, metal and dustbins, they have built the business into one of the biggest beachwear brands in the country with nine shops of its own and distribution to over 200 outlets including John Lewis in which it has been the number one boyswear brand. Yet despite their success they have remained true to their roots continuing to maintain their head office in Braunton. Like Tim Heyland, both men are true country people at heart with Gus in particular enjoying both fly and sea-fishing to a very high standard, having caught in his time both a 400lb bull shark and a 100lb tarpon in his travels around the world.

Gulf Stream Surfboards
At the other end of the commercial spectrum to Tiki and Saltrock is Gulf Stream, Devon’s biggest manufacturer of custom-made surfboards. What started as a small business run out of friends’ garages in Croyde has grown into a full-blown cottage industry based at their factory in Woolacombe. Visiting the place is like walking into an artist’s studio and it is clear that this is the secret of their success. Talk to its founder Jools Matthews and watch him hand-craft the boards and you realise the skill, dedication and creative energy which goes into making each individual sculpture. This is coupled with the talents of Ellis Beeton who has made Gulf Stream’s artwork justifiably famous throughout the industry. All of which does not lose sight of the fact that their biggest pride is in how these works of art perform in the water and it is no surprise that professional big wave-rider Andrew Cotton uses them as his board of choice. The mellow feel of the company is reflected in their musical interests outside of surfing, with Jools performing as a DJ around the area with his collection of vintage vinyl funk and jazz records and Ellis playing bass guitar and singing at the open mic night he organises each week in The Thatch pub in Croyde. But it is perhaps in top local surfer Simon Skelton who works in their shop in Braunton where the character of the place most comes through. An avid vintage board collector, he is also well known for entertaining customers for hours on end to the gentle lilt of the Irish and Cornish folk music he plays to an exceptionally high standard on his prized 1865 ebony George Case English concertina. Authentic sea dog he may be, Bill and Ted he’s not.

Brief guide to surfing North Devon
Beaches
Saunton Sands: long gentle waves recommended for beginners.
Woolacombe: good all round wave to suit most abilities.
Croyde Bay: fast waves better for more experienced surfers, particularly at low tide.
Putsborough: provides good shelter from southerly and south westerly winds, particularly around high tide.

Equipment and lessons
Many of the surf shops hire out both surfboards and wetsuits at very reasonable prices. It is highly recommended that beginners start with lessons. Surf schools include surf champion Sarah Whitely’s Walking on Waves (www.walkingonwaves.co.uk) and Surf South West (www.surfsouthwest.co.uk).

Accommodation
The area is packed with holiday accommodation ranging from high quality hotels to B&B, self-catering and campsites. Just make sure you book in advance.

Photographs provided courtesy of www.wavedreamer.co.uk.

Corner Bistro in Braunton

Whether you're after eggs benedict for breakfast, a quiet coffee or a delicious evening meal, then look no further than The Corner Bistro in Braunton, North Devon which is both a wonderful, down to earth and friendly cafe during the day as well as an incredible restaurant in the evening. Run by Emma and Andy who also enjoy surfing, you can find out more information at their website here. Oh, and they make the best bacon sandwiches in the world!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Museum of British Surfing gets a step closer to a permanent home

Plans to open the first full time surfing museum in Europe have taken a major step forward. North Devon District Council has approved planning permission for the Museum of British Surfing to be established in Braunton. "I'm delighted the council has given us their blessing," said founder Peter Robinson, "6 years of hard work have finally paid off and we stand a real chance of opening in 2010. The surf museum is working with North Devon Plus to get the core funding in place to fit out the building as a 21st century event-based visitor attraction at the old Saltrock factory outlet building on the Vellator Industrial Estate. Money is obviously tight everywhere, but already several companies and individuals have already offered their help. It's important the surfing community gets behind us now to help create an exciting and fun venue we can all be proud of. We're looking for investors and founding partners - no amount is too small - but we urgently need to raise the money for the charity to complete the project."

As a taster of things to come, the museum's travelling exhibition 'an art history of British surfing' will be opening in Braunton later in August to help raise funds and increase the project's profile - more than 13,000 people saw the display while it was in Thurso, Scotland, over the last 3 months. Details will be published on the museum's website in the near future. Almost 200,000 people have visited the museum's travelling surf history exhibitions over the past 6 years. The Museum of British Surfing is a charity established to run the project and includes Surfers Against Sewage founder Chris Hines MBE on its board of trustees.For more, click here.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

BabyBarista wins a Law Minx Blog Award!

Thank you to top blogger Law Minx not only for one of her blog awards but also for a very nice review of 'BabyBarista and the Art of War' which you can read here and below. To pre-order the book at a heavily discounted £7.19 (incl p&p), click here.

The(Nervous) Shock of the Year Award - Goes to Mr. Tim Kevan for the truly amazing revelation that he is not ONLY the true architect of the machinations of Mr Baby Barista but also author of a fine book entitled ‘Baby Barista and the Art of War’ which I have had the great good fortune to read before it hits the shelves in August and found to be a fine and ROLLOCKING yarn related to Baby B’s Quest for Tenancy; it is a book which I urge you, Dear BlogWatchers, in the strongest possible terms, to place at the top of your Summer Reading List. Trust me, you won’t be able to put it down once you’ve started!!!

Good review of 'BabyBarista and the Art of War' from Delia Venables

Good review of 'BabyBarista and the Art of War' from Delia Venables the author of the leading internet legal hub www.venables.co.uk which you can read here and also below. To pre-order the book at a heavily discounted £7.19 (incl p&p), click here.

Baby Barista is a book by Tim Kevan, just published by Bloomsbury. Tim Kevan practised as a barrister at Middle Temple for 10 years and has written quite a few serious law books but he has now branched out into a extremely funny exposure of what it is like to be a pupil barrister. His account was published as an anonymous blog on Times Online for a year or more and indeed continues now in the same persona (still referred to in the blog as Baby Barista although now he is a "proper" barrister). The book brings together the main series of blogs, written as a diary, with the young barrister realising that to gain a tenancy requires more than honest hard work. It is very funny and exposes the practices of the bar in a rather scary way (do things really happen like this?). I thoroughly enjoyed it and, judging from the plaudits already received from many well known people, it will be a runaway success. (The subtext "and The Art of War", a Chinese military treatise written by Sun Tzu in the 6th century BC, is a fascinating insight as well but I won't attempt to summarise that.)
If you need a little light reading for the summer, or alternatively a present for your mother or other dear one who is not quite sure what you do, then go for it. For £8.99 plus p & p it's a steal - you can order it online now, as above, or even cheaper here.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Nice review of 'BabyBarista and the Art of War' by Family Law Week blog

Nice review of 'BabyBarista and the Art of War' from top blogger and barrister Jacqui Gilliatt of the Family Lore blog here and also below. To pre-order the book at a heavily discounted £7.19 (incl p&p), click here.

No doubt a number of pupils were secretly rather relieved when the identity of the author of the Time’s Baby Barista blog was finally revealed in the Times to be Tim Kevan so that the finger of suspicion was no longer pointing at them. I have long been a fan of the blog describing its style elsewhere as Henry Cecil on speed. Every new pupil of mine (Natasha, take note) is lent a copy of Brothers-in-Law by Henry Cecil which, although now a little dated, describes the life of a post-war pupil along with some of the more quaint traditions of the bar. The book was also made into a very fine film starring Ian Carmichael & Terry Thomas (and later a radio & tv programme starring Richard Briers) and was one of a series of legal novels written by Henry Cecil who became a Judge in 1949 & used to sit in Clerkenwell & Shoreditch, I believe. I am also rather fond of the follow up book – Daughters-in-Law for obvious reasons. You can buy the books from Amazon
For more pupil lit I would also thoroughly recommend the appropriately named The Pupil by Caro Fraser (Henry Cecil on Viagra?) the first in her delicious serious about Caper Court Chambers and the gorgeously seductive Leo. Caro’s take on lawyers is that we are all crippled inside as she puts it.
If I had any doubts about how the Baby Barista column might stand up as a book (especially as I have read it already) they are entirely dispelled by Baby Barista & the Art of War (which you can also buy from Amazon . The whole is most definitely greater than the sum of its parts and it’s lovely to have it all in one place so you don’t have that feeling you have missed an episode. It’s just as witty on re-reading. And just as much fun trying to match the characters to real life barristers (& please don’t tell me who I remind you of & I will return the courtesy!). But, of course, none of it could be true could it?
One particular passage made me wince. TheBoss to his pupil:

“..we start off in this job with so much potential. The world is our oyster and we can do anything we choose. We then spend years taking ourselves further and further away from the mainstream until we are so specialised that if we were to jump ship there would not even be a life-raft nearby. We are good only for being barristers. Otherwise it’s straight back down to the bottom of the pile aged forty-four”.

Substitute ‘family lawyer’ for ‘barrister’ and it sums up many of the conversations I have been having with family practitioners in recent months.
And SlipperySlope:

“The law’s not about ivory towers or wigs and gowns. It’s about one thing and that’s costs. Not justice. Not rights. Not defending the innocent or prosecuting the guilty. It’s cold, hard, stinking cash. Your time, literally, is money. You sign away your life, but for a price of which even Faust himself would be proud.”
Fortunately, these are atypically bleak moments in an otherwise hugely enjoyable debunking of the world of the Bar. But is Baby Barista really as Machiavellian as he is made out to be? Most of his victims are odious and richly deserve what they get. He has far too soft a spot for OldRuin whose life he saves, returning a brief to do so & upsetting his HeadClerk (is he mad?). He loves his mother despite her embarrassing appearance at the chambers’ tea party bearing cake. Part of his drive to succeed in the tenancy stakes is the desire to keep her from hookey street. And then there is the fragrant Claire for whom he is clearly destined so long as she doesn’t find out the full extent of his shenanigans. If there is a moral to this amoral story perhaps it is that inside every barrister is a nice person trying to get out?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Bar Council publicises 'BabyBarista and The Art of War'

Very grateful to The General Council of the Bar for mention of 'BabyBarista and the Art of War' here and also printed below. To pre-order the book at a heavily discounted £7.19 (incl p&p), click here.
BabyBarista and the Art of War
If you are looking for a light hearted entertaining holiday read, then you may wish to purchase a copy of Tim Kevan's book BabyBarista and the Art of War. Already widely known as a blog on The Times’ website, the book is being published by Bloomsbury in August of this year.
BabyBarista and the Art of War is Tim Kevan's first novel, and was described by broadcaster Jeremy Vine as "a wonderful, racing read - well-drawn, smartly plotted and laugh out loud" and by author Boris Starling as "sharp, acerbic, and almost illegally funny".
Tim Kevan practised as a barrister for over ten years at 1 Temple Gardens in London. He specialised in particular in sports law, personal injury, civil fraud and credit hire and wrote or co-wrote ten law books. He was also a member of the Bar Council’s Public Affairs Committee.
Tim told the Bar Council: “Having so far had ten very happy years practising at the Bar, it has been a wonderful opportunity in the last couple of years to do something a bit different and to create a book which will hopefully make people smile.”
Tim follows in a tradition of barristers writing legal comedy including Henry Cecil, Clive Coleman and the great John Mortimer and his famous Rumpole of the Bailey series. He is also the co-author (with Dr Michelle Tempest) of Why Lawyers Should Surf’ (xpl Publishing, 2007). For more information visit Tim’s website.

Drift Surf

Heads up for the re-vamped Drift Surf websites with some really excellent content. You can see them by clicking on the links here: Drift Europe and Drift USA.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Good review of 'BabyBarista and the Art of War' from John Bolch of the Family Lore blog

Nice review of 'BabyBarista and the Art of War' from top blogger John Bolch of the Family Lore blog here and also below. To pre-order the book at a heavily discounted £7.19 (incl p&p), click here.

As someone who has always prided themselves in having a healthy irreverence for the legal profession, and being a regular reader of the BabyBarista blog in The Times, I anticipated that I would enjoy reading BabyBarista and The Art of War...

BabyBarista ('BabyB') is a pupil barrister, vying with three other pupils in his chambers for the lucrative prize of a tenancy. His pupilmaster tells him that "litigation is like war", and hands him a copy of The Art of War, the famous manual on warfare written in the 6th century BC by Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu. The advice is not lost upon BabyB, who proceeds to utilise Sun Tzu's wisdom in his own war against his fellow pupils.

What follows is a non-stop romp through BabyB's year of pupillage, in which he (almost) shamelessly uses every underhand tactic available to him to ensure that it is he rather than his rivals who is awarded the coveted tenancy. Along the way we witness blackmail, deception and all manner of dirty tricks being employed by BabyB, yet we never lose affection for his character. Perhaps that is in part because some of the other characters are equally venal, or just plain unpleasant. And this does not just apply to the other pupils. Kevan paints a wonderful picture of not just the modern Bar but the legal profession generally as we meet greedy, vain and self-serving barristers, corrupt solicitors and even a shoplifting judge.

What of justice? Well, it hardly gets a look-in throughout, with the interests of the lawyers (including the judges) taking precedence, and cases being settled for their benefit (pecuniary or otherwise), rather than the benefit of the parties involved. "Like a croupier in a big casino, all they were doing was administering other people's bets" comments BabyB of claims lawyers. When we do get into a courtroom, we find that "for all its airs and graces" it "is just as much of a low-down, dirty free-for-all as pupillage", with decisions hinging upon the skills of the barristers, rather than on the merits of their cases. BabyB himself soon comes to this realisation: "you get the result you pay for”, he says, "as for justice, I think it's time we're honest and simply stick it on eBay and see what it fetches."

But the book is not just a one-dimensional tirade about the excesses of the legal profession. There are characters who really do care about what they are doing, and we are regularly treated to brief interludes that have little or nothing to do with the main story, but are amongst the most amusing parts of the book. I hesitate to use the cliché, but some of these are genuinely laugh-out-loud.

So, what is one to make of BabyBarista and The Art of War? It is obviously well thought-out and cleverly written, but was it Kevan's intention to 'blow the lid' on the profession? I think not. True, many of the plot lines and anecdotes contain a grain of truth, but this is not serious stuff, much as those with an axe to grind against the profession may wish it to be. The aim is unabashed amusement, the main players are intentionally caricatures and the plot lines are unashamedly exaggerated. The result is pure comedy: no more, no less.

Did I enjoy reading the book? You bet I did, and any lawyer who doesn’t is taking themselves too seriously. But this book is not just for lawyers – I would recommend it to anyone seeking an entertaining read this summer.

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.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Christian Metcalf's blog at Estates Gazette

Heads up for an excellent and very entertaining legal blog by Christian Metcalf of the Estates Gazette called The Property Law Blog. Despite it's title, it covers all sorts of things which might interest akll lawyers including the picture of the lego barrister, opposite.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Fatyak Kayaks

Heads up for the brand new Fatyak Sea Kayaks which are made in West Somerset and are both great quality and a fantastic price. The kayaks themselves cost £209 and with the paddle and the seat back are still only £249 with shipping an extra £25 for anywhere on the UK mainland. For more details, click here. Dave Jackson, Chairman of Exmoor canoe club and a BCU Level 4 OC Coach and a BCU Level 3 Kayak Coach has already given the following testimonial: “Fatyaks are the perfect sit-on-top kayaks for your club or activity centre. Suitable for all abilities, stable for beginners whilst retaining a high level of manoeuvrability making them excellent fun for all in the surf.” In addition, they are also helping to promote the invaluable work of the RNLI for which you can make a donation here.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Great review of 'BabyBarista and the Art of War' from top blogger Charon QC

Great review of 'BabyBarista and the Art of War' from top blogger Charon QC here and also below. To pre-order the book at a heavily discounted £7.19 (incl p&p), click here.
Boring barristers?… some are far from boring… BabyBarista and the Art of War
Marcel Berlins has stirred things up with his article in the Guardian suggesting the modern advocates lack the flair and atistry of their forebears…. and suggests that modern barristers are boring.
I don’t know the name of the vintner that author of BabyBarista Tim Kevan uses… but I am going to ask him… because whatever he was drinking as he plotted out and wrote BabyBarista and The Art of War... I want some… it certainly does the business.
Tim Kevan, who is a Cambridge man and a barrister himself (although for the present he has gone surfing and writing), has created a marvellously mendacious manipulating monster for the 21st Century in the form of BabyBarista who plots, lies, and manipulates his way through the twelve months of pupillage to try and defeat TopFirst, TheWorrier, BusyBody and late entrant ThirdSix to gain the coveted tenancy.
When I was at university in the early seventies I read Brothers-in-Law, AP Herbert, Megarry and then read the entire Rumpole series written by Sir John Mortimer QC in the Eighties. BabyBarista follows this fine lineage but does not try to copy it – quite the opposite. Tim Kevan weaves colour and story through brief description and good narrative and is bang up to date on his cliches (which I suspect are deliberate to parody pre and misconceptions) and icons of the modern world of blogs, Twitter and Facebook. He paints a wonderfully surreal picture of the Bar, stretching belief but at the same time leaving the reader wondering where the inspiration came from. We meet his pupil master TheBoss – a man with absolutely no spine who, shall we say, gets into some pretty difficult water. There is TheVamp – a woman I could probably enjoy meeting myself in all senses of the word, UpTights – not my type, OldSmoothie – a pretty hopeless case and the avuncular “Feel the force, Luke” character of OldRuin – the only truly honest barrister in the entire book – apart from the lovely Claire.
I liked the way Tim used his experience of practice to parody different scenarios, different styles of work and personality, and some of the changes the legal profession is going through. His section on claim farms and their handling of accident claims is just wonderful. We have a judge who plays online bridge during hearings, an Insurance company which settles cases with a barrister by playing Battleships – the old game from childhood – and we have general mayhem and riot. I was left hoping for more extreme behaviour from BabyBarista in his quest for pupillage, conscious that I was rooting for an appalling role model for the legal profession and I enjoyed every page. Cleverly, Tim grounds the entire book with the sub-text of SunTzu, The Art of War.
As with all authors there is the obligatory “All characters and events in this publication, other than those clearly in the public domain are fictitious and any resemblance… etc etc..”
I’m sure this is the case - but I couldn’t help putting a face to some of his characters from people I have met in my lifetime. This, of course, made it even more enjoyable for me. Roll on the next book.
BabyBarista is a Hogarthian romp, a parody, a satire with edge and I have no hesitation in finding for Tim Kevan and recommending it to you. Tim Kevan, a fellow blogger and friend, has done the business… and that, as my regular readers will have gathered, is my legion d’honneur… my highest accolade.. and it made me laugh… out loud.. as I read it lying in state on my futon with a bottle of Rioja to my left.

Book recommendation: Vodka by Boris Starling

Just finished reading Vodka by Boris Starling. Set against the backdrop of the end of communism in Russia it traces that country's first faltering steps towards capitalism with the privatisation of a vodka factory. But that isn't even the beginning what with a private war between Russian and Chechen mafiya bosses, a serial killer on the loose and political intrigue going to the very highest levels. Oh and then there's the vodka itself which seeps not only into every part of the plot but also into the very soul of Russia itself. It really is a cracking read and I couldn't recommend it more highly. To buy the book, click here. Boris Starling is also the author of Messiah, Storm and Visibility.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Website recommendation: Seed to Plate

Heads up for a great website called Seed to Plate run by Peter Clements. It provides some great guides to growing vegetable including a plot designer, a sowing calendar, grow guides and some really excellent video lessons. To visit the site, click here.