One of the odder experiences of my professional life has been the way that it has criss-crossed the path of a well-known pop star as he has fallen from grace.
Back in 1998 I had a fairly horrifying experience in a court in Bristol. A case which I had spent months preparing and which was supposed to result in a full week trial was thrown out by the judge on the first day on the basis of something that the opposition had found on the nascent internet that weekend. Nowadays, that isn’t so uncommon. Some areas of law move quickly and a decision on an important point which is made one day will quite often be reported the next day, whereas in the pre-internet days it could take weeks to filter through.
In turn, this means that, sometimes, a case can be blown out of the water without warning; a case which you thought you could never lose may, at a turn, be unwinnable. There’s not a lot you can do in those circumstances, except to retire, lick your wounds, hope that you are on the right side of a reversal the next time, and try and persuade the client to still pay you.
I was, therefore, completely unprepared for what happened in court that day*. I was even less prepared, though, for the scrum of photographers which had formed outside when we left court. Make no mistake, though, they were not aimed at me or anyone involved in our case. They were waiting for a police van to emerge across the road, taking the pop star into custody on very serious charges.
Almost a decade later, our paths crossed again. The pop star had been abroad, been jailed again, and had returned to much adverse publicity. I was instructed to sue him for failing to pay his bodyguards.
All of which means that, where once I found his songs to be great fun, I can’t stand to listen to them now. This one, in particular, now makes me cringe.
*We won in the Court of Appeal, I am pleased to say, so the effort was not all in vain