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From ‘Bond to Beethoven’- Silks upskill in Lockdown

17. Sep 2020

RLC Criminal Silks, Barnaby Jameson QC and Simon Spence QC have been upskilling during Lockdown and have been featured in The Times for channelling their advocacy skills into the creative arts whilst courts have been shut in the pandemic.

Barnaby Jameson QC has written a fictionalised account of the lives of spies in the Special Operations Executive during the Second World War in a novel named 'Babouli'.  The characters are based on real people sent on dangerous missions into occupied Europe who often endured horrific torture and interrogation before meeting painful deaths. Rising at dawn daily, Barnaby was able to finish the novel during lockdown after spending five years conducting part-time research. He said:

"Barristers are used to working long hours, alone and making final decisions,  good or bad.  The key difference is not having a tangible audience such as the Judge and Jury. There has been some fleeting relief from the other side picking holes in one's argument, although that role has now been taken up by my literary agent!"

Main characters include Noor Inayat Khan, the harpist daughter of a Sufi mystic, and Francis Suttill, codenamed Prosper, who was a barrister at Lincoln’s Inn. The book is due out in 2021.

Simon Spence QC, returned to his earlier years of learning the piano, studying for his grade 8 exam and Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music diploma. Starting off, he learnt a Bach English suite, a Schubert sonata and a Chopin nocturne, but due to a syllabus change went onto learn a prelude and fugue by Clara Schumann, a Brahms Intermezzo and a contemporary piece called Snow, Moon and Flowers by the Australian composer Peter Sculthorpe. Practising his scales and pieces for up to two hours a day, Simon found the skill strangely akin to life at the Criminal Bar:

"In a strange way, it is similar to work because on the one hand you have to be methodical, disciplined and logical about it, breaking the pieces down into short sections, practising each hand separately (a bit like working through a fraud!) but on the other hand, there is an element of artistry and interpretation, rather like writing and delivering a closing speech. It also takes you entirely into your own world, which is something quite rare, especially for a barrister."

Read the full piece in The Times here: [The Times]

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