Tulkinghorn hears remarkable news from the bar. One could even go so far as to say it heralds a revolution in clerking – the alcohol-free clerk.
The story begins in Paris, where clerks from Blackstone Chambers, including senior clerk Martin Smith and first junior Gary Oliver, were enjoying the hospitality of one of the set's French clients. The duo were among a group being taken by the French firm to the Stade de France to see a rugby match between France and England. A lethal combination, you might think, of rugby, clerks and free hospitality; but on this occasion you'd be wrong. With time to fill before the game, Messrs Smith and Oliver got stuck into a few 'liveners' before 'tipping up' (clerking speak for 'making one's way') to the Stade de France.
Eighty minutes after kick-off the game was over and our friends went in search of a quiet place for some post-match analysis. As the throng of people exited the ground, our wily clerks noticed something – the bars in the ground were crowd free, and more to the point, open. Clearly, they had to leave time for the crowds to disperse and they had plenty to discuss, so they stayed in the bar for “eight or nine pints” (the clerking equivalent to a couple of hours). They then (quietly, of course) made their way home.
On the flight home the next day, when all heads were suffering because of the weighty discussions of the night before, they pondered as to why no one else had taken advantage of the excellent post-match hospitality at the Stade de France. A fellow passenger politely informed them that it was probably because none of the bars in the ground served alcohol.