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....

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