Damages

If my in-patient speech therapist had ever asked me, ‘What is a “tower”?’ I would have said

A tower is a building that is taller than it is long or wide.

I think. It’s hard to say, from this perspective, what I would have said. I had just had a catastrophic brain injury.

Ce n’est past une tour

According to the primary definition in the online O.E.D. (which you can access for free with your library card in Britain), a tower is

[a] building lofty in proportion to the size of its base, either isolated, or forming part of a castle, church, or other edifice, or of the walls of a town.

So, my language abilities are somewhat intact. Long term memory, though…?

On Friday, I visited the University of Edinburgh’s Appleton Tower for the first time in around 23 years. That is to say, I’d been their pre-stroke. And although it’s taller than it is wide, it’s at least as long as it is tall. If I’d remembered that, I could have given a better answer to the imagined question.

That’s enough tower pictures – Ed.

The first time I entered Appleton Tower, it was to sit my first law school exam, Delict (Ordinary). We took the test in the main concourse area. This didn’t strike me as odd at the time. The concourse just felt like a big hall, studded with desks and chairs for the examinees. Besides, my mind was on Donoghue v Stevenson [1932] AC 562.

This past Friday, the concourse looked like a concourse, replete with milling students and a café. And I was at Appleton as a classmate was helping us put the final touches to our performances for the 50 Square event tomorrow.

50 Square – a pretty professional amateur operation

It was funny, I suppose, to be put in mind of my days as a law student. My colleague who was putting us through our paces was recently the catalyst for this tweet:

I later asked her what had given rise to the remark. More or less, it was that I’d set up a dialogue in our lit crit seminar in the form of a cross examination. Not that I was even a litigator.

The memories kept coming fast as the week continued. Longsufferinggirlfriendoftheblogbeth has been binge-watching Damages, a veritable fountain of the type of A-type dialogue a screenwriter would expect (with some justification) to be vomited around a law office.

More claret, Rumpole? You’re looking a bit peaky.

For more about A-type personalities,
sign up for this week’s apoplectic Tiny Letter distribution.

Then, I read a long piece in the paper this week (online, natch) about the decline of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Within five years of getting a pretty so-so mark in that Delict exam, I was taking The Philadelphia Inquirer and working at a Center City law firm in the City of Brotherly Love. The Inquirer was a good paper, and my last memories of it are fond. Unlike The Scotsman, which while I’ll miss what it once was, is probably best put out of its misery.

The picture below is a pretty good image of what has happened to the Great American City Paper (bear in mind, Philly has a population of 1.5MM) in the intervening years.

Last days at The Tower of Truth

Some more years later, I was a New York Times subscriber, and negotiating – according to a bank-dictated term sheet – a financing that a major bank was providing to a producer of newsprint. The borrower met the conditions precedent to the first draw-down, then we spent the next couple of years navigating the facility from default to default, until the financing was sold on – if I remember correctly – to another investor.

I mean, obviously. Who couldn’t see that coming? It was a newsprint producer for goodness sake! That said, valuing companies is more of an art than a science. Particular in the banking arena. Maybe a bank chooses to provide a facility as a favour to a corporation to maintain other, more profitable business. And needs the figures to resemble a reasonable-looking transaction. I’d like to believe that that valuation is a science – heck, I studied a corporate finance class at UT, and a good proportion of my friends are graduates of a two-year MBA programme….

But even to the extent corporate valuation could be a science  , there are other factors. Friendoftheblogandy recently shared this Bloomberg Business article about the valuation of tech companies. It’s full of talk about unicorns and, even better, decacorns. Yeah, you’ll have to just read it.

Mario and Luigi employ a responsible investment strategy (involving unicorns)

Back in contemporary times, when we were done with rehearsal, we headed off to see Rally and Broad‘s latest “magnificent cabaret of spoken word, music, and lyrical delight”. At The Bongo Club, where 50 Square takes place tomorrow, folks! Surely this would be a relief from all these considerations of times gone by.

Not entirely. Rally was expertly conducting the crowd in her role as host and emcee, and Broad declared, “You can take the woman out of teaching, but….”

Is this where I am? You can take the man out of the legal profession, but you can’t take the legal profession out of the man?

Find out in next week’s exciting installment of… apoplectic.me – DAMAGES!

Calvin can’t wait!
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7 thoughts on “Damages

    1. Oh, of course! I forgot that this post covers your stomping grounds, Joyce. It’s been quite a nostalgic week; we bumped into a kid who just completed the UT LL.B./J.D. exchange programme that kicked off my American adventures.

      Thanks!

  1. On Damages:

    Google this concept, which I only came across recently but that is closely related to my favorite wabi-sabi.

    KINTSUGI

    This Barbara Bloom quote about kintsugi is floating on interwebby memes now (usually misattributed to someone else):

    “When the Japanese repair broken objects, they aggrandize the damage by filling the cracks with gold. They believe that when something has suffered damage and has a history, it becomes more beautiful.”

    1. This is brilliant, Ron. Thanks! Definite blog fodder. Of course, my first Google hit is the title of the new Death Cab for Cutie album. And it is a pretty good title for an eighth album. I suppose I’ll have to give them one last listen. Again.

        1. Y’know, DCfC seem to pop up at the edges of my consciousness a lot, without convincing. A bit like Modest Mouse. But that’s nice (in a good way). Does what it’s meant to. More work to be done there, I think.

          But first, I need a new copy of Exile on Main Street. It’s not survived the multiple moves of recent years, and now I finally get it, I want it around.

          1. Actually, that’s really good. Long-sufferingreaderoftheblogpaul will tell you I’m a sucker for the big, emotional stuff.

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