Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Say what?

A favourite mondegreen

One of the things I liked least about trying to make my way as a barrister was the prospect of having to wear one of these for the rest of my working life.

Apart from looking silly, they are insanely hot and scratchy and uncomfortable. They itch like hell, they abrade the scalp, and I’m sure they accelerate the balding process.

In most of the rest of common law world, this old-fashioned custom has been abandoned. But in the UK, the legal establishment clings stubbornly to this ‘quaint’ tradition.

A friend happened to give me the CD Missa Luba - a collection of choral works performed by the Muungano National Choir of Kenya – while I was training as a barrister, and it has been a favourite ever since. I always thought the title of this song, Yesu Wayinyanza, sounded like, “We’ll sue the Lord Chancellor!”


Froog said...

Just in case the logic of this rather spare post escapes anyone...

Until the recent reorganization of judicial administration in the UK, the Lord Chancellor was the head of the judiciary and responsible for implementing the rules on barristers' dress. Hence, I felt, we barristers had a potential cause of action against the Lord Chancellor over this unreasonable requirement that we should wear something so pointless, and so deleterious to the health of our scalp follicles.

Froog said...

Thus, I felt Boniface Mganga and his crew were inciting me to pursue this dream of bringing a lawsuit against the head of my profession.

Froog said...

Most of these wigs are made in China these days. Or the hair for them is sourced in China, anyway. It's supposed to be horsehair, but it might just as easily be panda.

Another reason to abandon the bloody things!

JES said...

A brother-in-law of mine once -- before he was a brother-in-law, "just" a friend -- bought a copy of Missa Luba. We were such teenage Philistines that we mocked him mercilessly. I bet he didn't hang onto it.

Froog said...

That was a great pity, JES. Did you never listen to it?

It is great happy music - just undemanding and cheerful and with an infectious swing to it. I don't go in for that very much myself as a rule, but I find this irresistible - perfect for a mellow Sunday morning's pottering, or a late-night wind-down after a hard day.