A clique of photographers opposite The Royal Courts of Justice saw that the #PopLeveson Inquiry was going to be a little different. Clutching morning coffees and chatting, suddenly their impressive lenspower was inspecting the busy Holborn traffic.
Maybe they’d had a tip-off, but anyway, there cutting smartly up the bus lane was a venerable ice-cream van, registration plate KLF 23, and chugging closely behind, the Vengabus. Both eventually parked, after a fashion, on the otherwise vacant double-yellows outside the nation's pre-eminent law courts. And they were duly joined, over the next few minutes, by two ’69 Chevys, a quite outstanding Deuce Coupe, a T-bird that had seen happier times, and finally, gleaming in the all-too-rare London sunshine, a little red Corvette.
Inside, in the courtroom, the public gallery was rammed. Invited to give evidence in the coming weeks were: the Wichita lineman, the Ace of Spades, a so-called ‘Space Cowboy’, the entirety of Oliver’s Army, Slim Shady, Chiquitita, Jolene, Lola – or, to save time, almost every famous name from the last several decades of popular music.
Following an adjournment for conference in Judge's Chambers, agreement was reached with Major Tom’s legal team that the Major should appear via video link. Later there was a degree of confusion in the courtroom concerning the establishment of the most appropriate means of determining the identity of Slim Shady. (Unresolved, the matter was reserved awaiting presentation of confirmatory DNA evidence.)
Order was restored but only until Stacy’s Mom took the stand. Few eyes were capable of ignoring that sensational figure, yet all was so quickly forgotten later when - having agreed to appear in open court - the roly-poly little bat-faced girl was 'ushered' to a suitable 'roost'.
A number of terminological inexactitudes were examined and as a consequence some misunderstandings of long-standing happily put aside. There hadn’t been a horse on Seventh Avenue; the eaten trifles were in fact still good to go; and Messrs Sinatra and Vicious jointly denied allegations of egret possession. The fabled Stairway to Heaven, prosaically turns out to lead to Heaton, the Manchester suburb. Devon is also a place on earth; and Chris Rea was able to clarify, for the avoidance of any doubt, that the Road to Hell was simply the M62 to Hull.
Matters not satisfactorily resolved included the locations of Amarillo, San Jose and Electric Ladyland. All remain uncharted. And despite repeated questioning Paul Simon denied having knowledge of 42 further means of leaving one’s lover.
Honed legal minds, as would be expected, questioned possible exaggerations, probing hard for fast and loose deployment of estimated quantities. How was the precise number of bicycles in Beijing determined? Had the figure of 100 billion bottles littering the shoreline been the subject of independent audit? Could Ms Jackson confirm said receipt of a trillion apologies?
Vernacular terms within lyrics drew questions as honey draws flies. Aiming to gain definitive clarity, enquiries were made as to whether the twisting of melons, champagne supernovae, brown sugar, milk shakes and Vegemite sandwiches might be disguising euphemisms, or were merely referencing the twisting of melons, champagne supernovae, brown sugar, milk shakes and Vegemite sandwiches.
Then tossing out a novel legal paradigm and conjoining real-life fact and social media fiction the real Billy Bragg created a precendent in common law by using twitter to deny all the charges.
The inquiry hearings continued, and continued. Fuller court transcripts are available for your reading pleasure in Pop Leveson: Twitter’s Funniest Hashtag.
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