A Law Actually Interview with… BabyBarista
The legendary babybarista is next up to face the questions.
How did BabyBarista come about? Did you just wake up one morning and think, “I’ll start a legal blog today”?
I’d dreamt of writing a novel but struggled to imagine how it might come about. I’d written or co-written a bunch of law books but it was a pretty big jump to think about fiction. The next step was through co-writing a motivational book entitled ‘Why Lawyers Should Surf’ (xpl Publishing, 2007) with Dr Michelle Tempest which suggested the possibility of lawyers looking for inspiration outside of law and used surfing and the power of the ocean as metaphors for living the day to day. When this was done I very much wanted to sit down and write a legal thriller. But instead what popped out was a legal comedy about a fictional young barrister doing pupillage. I called him BabyBarista which was a play on words based on his first impression being that his coffee-making skills were probably as important to that year as any forensic legal abilities he may have. It’s a strange thing to say but I discovered that this bold, irreverent and mischievous voice along with a collection of colourful characters had simply jumped into my head and the words started pouring onto the page.
Yours is arguably the most famous blawg in the UK blawgosphere? Do you ever feel pressure to continually think-up great content and do you worry about your readership levels?
I love having the blog as an outlet for my writing both at The Guardian and on my own site. There’s something about the immediacy of blogging which is a great attraction. You think up what you want to say, write it down and a few clicks later it’s available to the whole world. I think if you enjoy writing about something then it’s a lot more likely the readers will follow.
Your blawg features some great cartoons by Alex Williams. How important are images in blawg posts do you think?
Alex Williams’ brilliant cartoons are a relatively new addition to the blog and yet already in my view they are absolutely integral to it. That reflects specifically on Alex’s skill at not only having captured the characters about which I had written but also having given them visual form that personally I hadn’t been able to quite imagine until seeing them from him. He’s also captured the humour wonderfully which I think reflects the fact that we both find similar things funny. All that has led to a wonderful cross-fertilisation of creativity which I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. But above all, it’s a massive privilege to be working with so distinguished a cartoonist and animator as Alex.
What’s the most satisfying aspect of blawgging for you?
Beyond the immediacy of publication I also love the fact that writing a blog allows you to sound off on whatever particular issue takes your fancy on that particular day. I particularly enjoy doing this through the voices of fictional characters which I feel gives me even more freedom to express than if it were simply through my own personal voice.
Can being a blawgger make you a better lawyer?
I don’t know whether it makes you a better lawyer or not. For my part, I’ve taken a break from the law for over two and a half years now and a big part of that break has been writing the BabyBarista books which came originally from the blog.
Copyright Jay Stirzaker