Thursday, 16 February 2012

A Mini History Lesson - Part 1

When I was 10 years old my father died and it was his dying wish that I should become a barrister.

I had absolutely no clue what a barrister was; but being the dutiful son, my ambitions shifted from being a train driver to wearing a wig.

For the best part of a decade, whenever discussing careers and plans with relatives and teachers I would happily decree that my future was at the Bar. Still, even in my later teenage years, all I knew about the profession was that barristers were the lawyers that did the fancy stuff in court, they wore wigs and could grind down witnesses in cross-examination by force of will alone.

In other words, I was a complete idiot.

The idiocy, however, would still have a good 4 or 5 years before it reached a crescendo.

As university applications approached I was given a great deal of advice but I was dead-set on reading Law. The advice I received went something like this: "Do not, do not, do not study law: you will hate it. You will be a wonderful barrister some day, but Academic Law is not for you. Go off and read History, Politics - something you enjoy - if you study Law, you will NOT want to be a lawyer at the end of it". I knew better, though. The teachers who had watched me grow and develop over a decade were obviously all out of touch old fools; and I was on a mission.

So I applied to read Law. Two months before my 19th birthday a family friend helped me pack up all my worldly possessions into his van, and deposited me in Central London.

Within 6 months I had abandoned all ambition of a career at the Bar, and was spending 20 or 30 hours a week drinking, rehearsing and performing with my new theatrically inclined university friends. Law lectures were things I occasionally went to, and I laughed with scorn at all those fools, those silly fools, who still wanted to be barristers.

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