Monday, 26 September 2011

It is excellent to be in the Law Society Excellence Award Finals

I am frankly quite amazed that Abney Garsden McDonald are in the finals of the Law Society Excellence Awards 2011 - see this link - We have been shortlisted for Client Service, Innovation, and Environmental Responsibility in the firm awards, and I have been shortlisted for Solicitor of the Year (Private Client). You can also read our press release.

When you think that there are 118,000 solicitors with practising certificates, it is an unbelievable achievement and makes me feel quite proud. Whether or not we actually win anything, is another thing all together. If I were a cynic, and I am, then all these awards are simply methods of selling tickets for a big bun fight on 18th October at a hall called Old Billingsgate in London. At £225 + VAT each they are not cheap. Mind you it does include a free glass of champagne and half a bottle of wine each, so no complaints there. 

When you think about it though, everyone wins don't they? The 3rd parties who are trying to sell to us ,sponsor awards, and get publicity. If you are shortlisted, as we are, it is good publicity even if you don't win, and if you win, well the world is your lobster as the saying doesn't go. If you work for a firm who are shortlisted, it is  nice day out in London, and a free day away from work. So who is complaining? I am because it will cost me about £2,500, but there again, I probably should be on "Grumpy Old Men"

Why did we get shortlisted? Well we went paperless in September 2010 and are saving trees, which is where the Environment bit comes in. We do child abuse compensation cases, which require a very special approach to the client, who need very careful handling, which is the client service bit. I designed a special case management system to deal with our abuse cases, and run group actions, which is where the innovation comes in.

Why am I nominated for Solicitor of the Year? Good question. Well probably for the same reason that I am still sitting here after the office has closed writing this blog, when I should be at home with my family. But there again, they are used to it by now. I get it from my grandfather, who used to drum into me when I was a little boy. "Peter, if a job is worth doing, it is worth doing properly." May you rest in peace Grandad. I just wish, I could make a balls of things sometimes.

So, we are all trooping down to London on 18th October, so wish us luck. If we don't have to buy lots of bubbly, then we didn't do well. If I get sozzled then it was a successful evening. Shame I am not really a drinker, but that is probably my father's fault, because Grandad did like his whiskey......

Saturday, 17 September 2011

How horrible is the "Little Shop of Horrors"?

The simple answer to the question in the title is "not horrible at all". Why? Because it is not a horror musical, but a rather charming story of a boy/girl relationship looking good until the second Act when horror begins to strike. It was performed by my daughter when she was doing stage school at Upstage Macclesfield, one week in the summer of 2006, where the age range was 7 to 16. So, if it's good enough for kids, it's good enough for me and thee.

Why am I writing about this famous off Broadway musical? Because I am in it of course. Macclesfield Majestic Theatre Group present "Little Shop of Horrors" at MADS Theatre, Lord Street, Macclesfield between 3rd and 8th October 2011 with shows at 7.30pm Monday to Saturday with 2pm matinee on the Saturday. Be there, or sit at home and watch the goggle box, until your backside takes over the settee. Your choice of course, but I know what I would do, if I were you. To book tickets, go to their website You can also see some fabulous promotional pictures taken by our secretary's brother, which were so brilliant, they got us a full page article in the Macc Express on the Your Life page. Success.

What is it about? You have to undertand that I would love to tell you, but the plot is a surprise known to only the select few. If I tell all, then you won't come, because you will know, and resort to the couch bottom spreading activity that we all indulge in most of the time. Also, if I told you, I would have to kill you of course, and who knows a good solicitor these days? Not me by jove.

OK then, just a sneaky peak. To quote my press release, "The show is about an orphaned shop assistant (Seymour), who, one day, discovers a “strange and interesting plant”. He calls it Audrey II after his shop assistant work mate, with whom he is in love. The owner of the shop, Mr. Mushnik (played by me) is doleful, mean and distrustful of the new plant until customers show an interest, and his flower shop starts making money. The plant needs feeding, Seymour discovers, unusual food. The plant grows, and grows, until it becomes a national sensation. The rest has to be a surprise for the audience who will be enthralled with the fabulous music, which is a mixture of rock and roll, ballads, and catchy melodies."

I have taken the show so seriously, that I have grown a special moutache for the part. The last time I had a moustache was just before playing "Widow Twankey" in Aladdin at Cheadle Hulme School about 14 years that would be 1997? Sadly moustaches are no longer trendy, and imply other overtones that certainly are not applicable to me, not even in the 1950's sense of gayness. It has been ridiculed to death, by comparing me to "Super Mario" or "Ned Flanders" out of the Simpsons. Not one person has said I look like Tom Selleck out of Magnum PI, but that is probably because I don't.

I think it is a sign of dedication to my art, that in the last 3 years I have grown mutton chops (2008 Oliver as "Mr. Bumble"), shaved my head completely (2009 "Copacabana" as Sam Silva), and grown an enormous beard which nearly took over the world (2010 "Oklahoma" as Andrew Carnes). My wife is thoroughly sick of facial hair, or the lack of it. I suppose next year I will have to grow an extra leg (cue for song).

So what should you do then to show an interest? Well my advice would be to book a ticket before they all sell out. No point waiting until the last minute then finding that there is only room for a small one at the end of a row. Get on th' t'internet now and ger it booked. You never know. If you don't, the plant might come round and eat you! Dah...shouldn't have said that.......Oh and the booking line (when Sue comes back from holiday) is 07875 149943