Much Ado About Nothing (Part I)

Trip Start Dec 27, 2011
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Trip End Jan 11, 2012


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Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Thursday, December 29, 2011

After breakfast at Frankie's (the cafe at the Goodenough College), we all headed out for our first day of lectures at the Middle Temple. Francis Wolfe was first to speak. Francis is an 80-something old man with a questionable filter and unique sense of humor. His topic was Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group (a group of people who lived in the area in which we are staying). Virginia's most famous novel is Mrs. Dolloway, a novel about a woman who is planning a dinner party. He lectured partly on her life and partly on societal issues like sexual abuse (as Virginia suffered from it). 

Next to speak was Stewart Updike, a very nice older gentleman with the most impressive eyebrows ever known to a man. He gave a historical talk about Canterbury and the significance of Thomas Moore and Thomas Becket. Thomas Becket lived in the 12th Century under Henry II, and was murdered on this day in 1170 in the Canterbury Cathedral. During the lecture, Francis helped answer the very important question as to why Eleanor of Acquitaine left Louis VI of France and married King Henry II. The answer was simple: "He couldn't get it up." Thomas Moore lived under Henry VIII and was executed for treason when he would not accept Henry's plans for marriage to Anne Boelyn. 

Wrapping up the morning lineup was Lisa Shoneberger, the daughter of Professor Shoneberger. She was very nervous and it was very distracting to have her father laugh at all of her attempts at humor. Her talk had merit, as it was over the Elgin Marbles in the British Museum. The Elgin Marbles were chiseled out of the Parthenon in Athens and brought back to England by Lord Elgin, who eventually sold them to the British Museum. It is a huge controversy because Greece wants them back to complete the collection. 

Lunch at Ales and Pies (in the building on Fleet Street known for Sweeney Todd) was just mediocre. I had fish and chips, which were good but extremely overpriced. 

After lunch, John Tingle, a visiting professor from Nottingham (yes, like in Robin Hood) Trent University, gave a little speech on the British legal system. Tingle loves him the Top Shop. He mentioned it a number of times during his speech, and on the excursion to Richmond he also talked about it. I also got to hear the same story about his work in Nigeria again (that makes three times now). He gave lots of good ideas of things to do and jobs to get outside of firm work in Chicago, but I feel that he seriously underestimates the ease of picking up and leaving your commitments behind. He mentioned a book called the End of Law which sounded interesting. The last part of his lecture was spent talking about tort reform and ways the government is looking at to end tort misuse. He mentioned the McDonald's case at one point, at which point the girl who told me that I was ethically obligated to offer to pay money to a plaintiff in my negotiations seminar this semester was aghast. "She got third degree burns!!" Yes, and she also was a moron and put hot coffee between her legs. 

After his talk, he showed us his bag (it's blue because he is a junior barrister) which housed his gown, collar, and wig. We all were obligated to try it on.

For dinner, we took the tube stop to Leicester Square. Dean Faught showed us around Leicester Square quickly (i.e. he showed us the Half Price Ticket booth) and we walked to Fuller's, a namesake pub. I tried the Discovery Blonde Ale which was pretty good, for beer. 

We had dinner at Maxwell's, a restaurant that served American fare (and one at which Tingle used to work). Katie and I split the nachos (which came with secret queso) and the quesadillas. It was also happy hour which meant half price drinks. 

After dinner, we were going to try to get into the Zoo Bar, a ridiculous looking party bar. Joe Faught was with us and he is not 18, which caused a problem when the Zoo Bar was checking IDs. We tried to go next door to Kink (spelled with a backwards K), but it was crowded and the upstairs bar was closed (although we all tried to get into it and practically followed Chris into the men's room). The bouncer at the Zoo Bar tried giving Joe a number of chances to tell him his birthday, but, being 15, he wasn't able to, so we decided to head home before there was an altercation. 
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