A Law Actually Interview with… Charon QC
Although my remote interview series isn’t making a comeback, the inimitable Charon QC was very much on my shortlist last time around. It might have taken a little while to make it happen, but I think you’ll find couched within his answers, a fascinating insight into one of the blawgosphere’s most prolific, quirky and respected blawggers.
Anyway, let’s get straight to the questions:
What’s the story behind the (now legendary) blawg, Charon QC? How did it first come about?
Having been a law teacher for 30 years - and founding BPP Law School with BPP Holdings PLC in the early 1990s - I have always been interested in writing. Writing law books for students is a pleasure - but not exactly a barrel of laughs. There aren't that many laughs in the Law of Contract, sale of Goods or Civil and Human Rights Law.
After leaving BPP I was free from constraints. I started the character Charon QC in 2003 or thereabouts after a couple of years amusing myself and meeting some great people on Roll on Friday. I was Judge Jeffries on RoF for a while and then re-invented myself as Brigadier Grappa.
Nick Holmes suggested that I used Wordpress to blog in 2006, rather than html on my magazine. It was good advice.
I chose the name *Charon* - The Ferryman - because I rather liked the idea of ferrying lawyers to Hades. I have, in fact, got a wide range of brothers, cousins, sisters in the *Charon family*. Cardinal Charoni di Tempranillo - a Vatican expert in money laundering and exorcism - makes appearances from time to time. Rex Charon MP, Charon MD - very occasionally, and... my extremely dull brother, professor R.D. Charon, an embittered academic, who has spent his life writing articles of little merit or interest and books no-one actually reads and which don't even get into the remainder bin.
My *About* section on the blog explains much - I am not anonymous, but could, possibly, be Hieronymus.
You’re probably the most prolific blawgger in the ‘sphere (and would no doubt be adjudged to have significant market power) ;-) but where do you get all of your blawgging energy from? Put another way, what motivates you as a blawgger?
As you know - because you kindly removed me from your awards listings, I have absolutely no interest in influence, awards etc. - save for those I award myself (or John Bolch's Oscars on Family Lore - but John is an old mate) - so I would not wish to claim market power and certainly do not seek it.
I write as I find. Sometimes, in the mornings and afternoons (weekdays only) I am sober. I write vaguely sensible stuff then in the form of Law reviews and, of course, I enjoy my podcasts. At night... well.... as the mood takes me. I enjoy satire and parody. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't.
I am a frustrated artist - hence my use of pics/painting et al. My headmaster (called a *Warden* - I went to Glenalmond, a detention centre of great repute in Perthshire, Scotland) told me there was no money in art. Well, he was wrong. I don't make any money from my F**kArt (at least, not yet!) but tell that to Damien and Tracey.
I only sleep for four hours a day. I blog because I enjoy it - and never blog if I don't wish to. Energy is, therefore, not required!
I have one motivation - and that is to ensure that legal education is properly done and that the rule of Law is upheld. As I cannot influence either of these things other than through the medium of blogging these days - I do so, as best I can, by blogging. I am fortunate that a fair number actually read my blog and tolerate it. Some groan.
You adopt a very satirical approach to blawgging. Is that just a reflection of your personality or was this a conscious decision for the direction of your blawg?
I have a warped sense of humour. I blame my father. He was a Scot... he is dead now. I was a bit worried, given the fantastic quantities of whisky he drank while alive, that the cremation could be a bit awkward in terms of explosions - but... it was fine. I am a Scot, and I am still alive. I enjoy parody and satire. I try not to be unkind on my blog or on twitter. I believe that manners are important. I will not tolerate people slagging me off - so why should I tolerate commenters on twitter or on my blog slagging others off. Parody has advantages. I do use Muttley Dastardly LLP to comment on the more unusual aspects of the legal profession. Ironically - it is probably the most widely read part of the blog!
I also learned a long time ago not to confuse intelligence with education. I used to tell my students that we do not come down the mountain with tablets of stone. There is a very good reason, I told them, why we might know a bit more law - because we have been doing it longer. I did add that if you don't know more law when you leave - there are fascinating careers elsewhere.
How important are comments and feedback to you? Have they shaped the development of Charon QC?
I always appreciate those who take the time to comment on my blog. Sadly - with the advent of twitter - comments are less frequent, because people tend to comment or discuss points on twitter. Unfortunately, a lot of people who read my blog are not on Twitter so do not see the excellent points being made by some commenters on the issues I raise. I like to raise issues - I do not have the answers - but, sometimes, the commenters on the blog and on twitter do.
Do they influence me? Not directly - but almost certainly, indirectly. I am always open to new thinking, ideas and knowledge. I learn a lot from the expertise of those who do read my blog - and that is one of the real pleasures of blogging. I have done over 250 serious podcasts with some remarkable lawyers. One learns a lot through the views and experience of others.
I am certainly not influenced by *Dark Forces* and, as far as I know... I blog without *fear or (and of) favour*
What was your best blawgging experience of all time?
Yet to come! I am an optimist and rarely look back... I hope that it can only be more fun in the future....