Christopher Lee

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Time To Switch Off?

30th March 2013

Last night my good and learned friend A J C Featherstonehaugh (he’s a lawyer so we don’t ask why that’s pronounced Fanshawe)) hurled first his iPhone then his Blackberry then his second Blackberry into the centuries old lifeblood of London communication, the River Thames.

There were no splashes, no tell-tale bubbles where the record of a thousand voices disappeared into the middle deep of the great waterway. We said no prayers, no biddings of goodbye yet the moment was solemn and with straight faces we set tread for Gordon’s wine cellar to silently think on what AJC had done.  He had in three wrist flicks regained his sanity or, so he said or so he hoped.

For last night, Featherstonehaugh gave up the mobile.  The world is isolated.

M’learned friend has returned to a life in which he spent more of his time and therefore his client’s money working on the legal presentation of  truths, half-truths and downright truthless submissions in the courts lower and higher.  His role has been lifelong and simple: to get off the innocent and sometimes, the guilty caught by their scruffs by the too often bent arm of the English law.

Featherstonehaugh has a rep.  He lomng ago understood that the court is not bound by the truth.  Instead it will be satisfied with whichever side gave, on balance, a better explanation of what had or what had not happened. Featherstonehaugh has got people off, including don’t forget, the innocent, when others have shrugged as their man went down. It is why his phone never stops ringing, until that is, until last night.

Until the solemn procession to the Thames’s embankment below the Middle Temple of law, one of the three mobiles rang 24/7 as the text jargon has it. He had become beholden to the thing. He travelled to crown courts in trains full of people checking their texts, emails and mailboxes and travelled back again with dozens ordering cabs, curries and excuses for being late.

When his workrate overwhelmed and woke at night on the hour, his caring and iPhonic daughter downloaded him an App that told him what percentage good sleep he had.  Worse still, he actually used it.

He had no interest in revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt but his news alert app told him the latest and cruelest from Tahrir Square. He observed that without mobiles the world outside Egypt would never have heard of Tahrir Square and he would have carried one less anxiety.  Maybe the revolution would never have happened.

When his second wife texted that she was divorcing him and his next best friend texted that he would see him in court for the biggest slice of alimony  since the Anna Nicole Smith case he actuality texted back whereas his legal instinct would have whispered that he should keep his powder and his emotions dry.  The vengeful mobile built on mathematical logic would not allow its owner to exercise emotional logic, if there is such a thing. Mobile rule was complete.

And so plop, plop, plop like some ungrateful tosses into a dark and dank skunk witch’s pool with no place for a magic wish, A J C Featherstonehaugh   committed himself to life without a mobile.  Now what?

He expects anger from his chief clerk who fixes briefs and mostly fat fees but needs the nod of  silk in chambers. His App-prone daughter will wonder if his diabetes is out of control. His mistress will have a distance panic and wonder about the future, or lack of it without clandestine texting.

He will not of course have cold calling drones telling him he has been sold bogus insurance policies and that big bucks compensation deals are to be had if he calls back. He will be able to sit through dinner without feeling the urge to respond to the buzzing in his pocket. He will probably get a good night’s sleep knowing that the seemingly continuous dialing ‘they’ cannot get to him.  He will of course have to buy an alarm clock.

Will he last as the only person he knows without a mobile? He’s a resolute chap and he probably will enjoy the exclusive world of  those outside the iPhone-cum-Blackberry- cum- whatever zone.

Maybe there is one moment when he will regret feeding the fishes on more computer power than Houston had for the Apollo XIII recovery.

When his fabulously old Bentley Continental shudders to a halt on the Yorkshire Moors just twenty pitch black miles from his country home, how does he call the breakdown service?

What was life before the revolutionaries clarion? It was called a three mile walk to an isolated phone box only to find it vandalized.

He’ll be back.

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One Response to “Christopher Lee”

  1. Dr Roberta Torkington Says:

    Eloquent,… wonderfully and totally unique.
    From a fan,
    Bobbie Torkington

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