The Jury Should Retire. By Trevor Plumbly

In a recent murder trial down here, the fact that the accused had extremely violent tendencies and had carried out acts of vandalism was withheld from the jury on the grounds that it might influence their decision on the case before them. After he was acquitted and the broader facts were made public, there was an angry, and to my mind, justified outcry from the public, followed by the usual somewhat paternalistic response from the Minister of Justice and the legal profession. What struck me as odd was that the public ire… Read More

Caveat Emptor! By Trevor Plumbly

Traditionally, the people who attended auction sales were often more interesting than the goods on offer: you had the serious buyers trying to add to their collections, dealers looking for stock, Joe average trying to buy cheaper than retail, and the hoarders who just couldn’t help themselves. All of them trying to conceal any involvement in the bidding process, and all hoping for the ultimate prize: a bargain. The auctioneers who conducted this orchestrated little piece of theatre were as much of a motley bunch as their clients; the worst sounding like… Read More

Eat This, Jumbo Mercer! By Trevor Plumbly

As you get older, you tend to reflect on the people who influenced your early life. Looking back, I can honestly say that Jumbo Mercer made a major impact in my formative years, but then if Stephen King had attended the same school he’d have had an impact on him too. Despite the nickname, Jumbo wasn’t fat; he was stocky, confident and showy, whilst I was skinny, nervous and introverted. Bullying in English single sex schools at that time was as much a part of the curriculum as the ‘three Rs’: they… Read More

No News Is…News? By Trevor Plumbly

Stirred by the lead news stories in my country recently, I decided to risk belabouring the issues I raised in an earlier article. The media, it seems, feels that my font of knowledge would be tainted by hard news, and that the daily doings of the rich, famous and infamous are more suited to my intellect. Just for fun, I’ll run a few of these journalistic bombshells past you and trust that your pulse rate remains stable. ‘John Travolta accused of making sexual advances to a male masseur.’ Now apart from Mr… Read More

Last Orders! By Trevor Plumbly

The 1960s were the beginning of the end as far as the traditional pub was concerned. The beat generation demanded novelty and noise; this was quickly provided by franchise chains and disco bars, which left the poor old dedicated drinker out in the cold. Depending where you stood in the social scale it was ‘the boozer’, ‘the pub’ or ‘the local’. For non-locals, they had names that totally belied the ambience and clientèle within. Only an innocent tourist would expect to meet any of the peerage in ‘The King’s Arms’ or find… Read More