Victoria Coren Mitchell - Writer, Broadcaster & Poker Player


Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Just to say: sorry this blog’s gone a bit silent, I’m doing jury service. I’ve completely lost track of what I’m allowed to say and what I’m not, so ‘complete silence’ seems the safest way. Besides, I’m separated from my computer all day.

  I might take it tomorrow though. They have wifi in the jury room and charge £6 an hour to use it. Per person. Given that they have the wifi anyway, whether people use it or not, and it presumably costs them far less than £6 to run per day never mind per hour, the idea of seeking such a fat profit from the poor folks who have turned up to do their civic duty and are trying to vaguely keep in touch with their forgotten working lives during the long, long waits is so very wrong that I think they probably deserve the money. It’s almost evil; I like their style. So, maybe I’ll take the old laptop along and pay them off.

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Paul Coupe at 9:54 pm on October 27th, 2009

You’d be much better off getting a pay as you go dongle thingy. I’ve got a t-mobile one, it works fine, cost about £40 originally and costs me £2 a day whenever I want to use it and no minimum charge so I can go months between uses with no problem.

I’ve got jury duty next month and can see it being a godsend!

Richard Marvell at 10:18 pm on October 27th, 2009

Bugger the cost of the wi-fi Vicki - more interested in the social interaction between the jury members - is it a microcosm of the real world - the lefty, the racist, the fascist, the conspiracy theorist, the idealist, the bully, the compliant lemming, the know-it-all and whatever you are of course…

Don’t suppose we’ll get to know - sure you can’t let us have an insight without spilling the beans of the trial itself?

RomanticRecluse at 11:21 pm on October 27th, 2009

I’m surprised that wi-fi and mobiles are allowed in court buildings.  I can understand why lawyers, the police and reporters may need fixed lines but I’d have thought that wi-fi and mobiles would pose risks to the justice process but BT Openzone is available in a lot of courts.

If you’re in one with BT Openzone you should be able to get access for less than £6 an hour.  According to their website for £5.88 you can get a voucher for “90 non-consecutive minutes within 24 hours from first log-in” (so if you log-in and then get called for duty you can log back in later) and there are other types of voucher (such as unlimited minutes in 24 hours or thousands of minutes to be used over days).

£6 an hour sounds like an attempt at daylight robbery.

Dan at 12:36 am on October 28th, 2009

Vicky, definitely your old blogs are disappearing every time you post a new one! (I tweeted you about it)  But possibly this is intentional, in which case I should probably shut up.  Sorry for the “meta-comment” - I agree wholeheartedly with this post but have nothing witty enough to say about it!

Victoria Coren at 1:01 am on October 28th, 2009

Ooh.. you might be right.. I’ll email the web guy and ask if he can fix it. Thanks Dan.

Phil at 2:00 am on October 28th, 2009

I like a good scam as much as anyone, but Vicky,  do you not think the judicial service are selling themselves a little short by simply overcharging for wi-fi? I mean they have some arch criminal minds heading through there on a daily basis - a rich seam of con job ideas they could be ruthlessly exploiting… Though I suppose the really archest and wiliest of crims probably don’t get caught and end up on trial, so perhaps it’s not the finest source of criminal genius that is available after all!

Seriously though; I’d love to do jury service. The only problem being; once I was in, the tag on my ankle might set off alarms if I tried to walk out. They have those sensors like they do in Tesco, right?

Gringo at 2:08 am on October 28th, 2009

Go to bed Vicky! The judge’ll fine you if you oversleep and turn up late tomorrow/today!  (um, yes it did happen to me on my jury service!)

Smylers at 10:48 am on October 28th, 2009

Take some cards and chips (or matchsticks) — a friend of mine doing jury service passed the time in an ad hoc poker school being run by an ice cream van driver.

(Then when you’ve got folks interested in poker, casually mention your new book ...)

David at 9:32 pm on October 29th, 2009

I too would love to do jury service. Twelve angry men is one of my favourite films after all, but I suspect your will tell us that, once again, that real life just isn’t like the movies. But if it was, who would you be? Henry Fonda, or Jack Warden maybe? Not Lee J Cobb surely.

PaulInSweden at 12:18 am on October 31st, 2009

Vicky, in a completely off subject subject - I would love to play you at Scrabble - on Facebook. Now, I realise that asking you to become friends (in FB terms) is a little too much so, here’s a suggestion: How about you start a separate FB account so that us, your loyal fans (and friends) can challenge you to a game of Scrabble and/or whatever else you might wish to share with us? Like I said - just a suggestion - I will remain a fan regardless. My FB email address is the same as this one BTW and, ermm, hope you’re well x

Victoria Coren at 3:25 am on October 31st, 2009

Hi Paul. I did actually recently add Facebook friend requests from a lot of people I don’t know personally - but they don’t get anything from it, I’m never on the site! Never update. I use Twitter but not Facebook any more. Online scrabble.. nah, I have the odd game with people I know, but I can’t open it up to all or I’d never get any work done! Sorry…

john at 5:21 am on October 31st, 2009

I did jury service once. As a gambler i found myself working out d odds of d outcome of d case in question. Any such thoughts urself?

steve at 6:37 pm on October 31st, 2009

        I thought your book might be just another auto-thingy! but no, love the way you’ve wrote it, really loved reading it.    thanks

Mike Zealey at 11:27 pm on October 31st, 2009

Hey there Ms Coren,

How do I sign up to your blog to get updates? My name is Mike and I’m a reasonably solid poker player who catches the most amazing bad beats you ever seen. I’m hoping that through reading your insights and basking in your literary light I may through ozmosis catch some luck!

All the best gorgeous,

Mike (Shendor)

Rob (Anubis) Moore at 6:49 am on November 2nd, 2009

Just a quickie, love the book, see the day job paid off!  Good luck girl, you got the bracelet, time to go for the matching earrings lol


Robert at 1:30 am on November 7th, 2009

I did jury duty once. I was the foreman no less. go me. It’s v. weird to say the least. I also bought the book which came today via neighbour I’d never met. go me some more.

MarkP at 10:48 pm on November 8th, 2009

When I did jury (which was about 10 years ago) the one thing I do remember the judge saying, the reason the jury is made up of non- professionals is because we were meant to apply common sense to the deliberations. Surely this is the same as speculating on the evidence that was offered. I’m sure we wouldn’t have reached the verdict we did if we didn’t kind of speculate on the time line of events and evidence we were presented with. Sorry to be vague but I’m not sure if I can give details even after this length of time.

Jeremy Rees at 7:33 pm on November 16th, 2009

Thanks for your intelligent reflections on your recent jury service in this week’s Observer, Victoria, and the moral dilemna of standing in judgement on other humans. I always try bear in mind some wise words i learnt from John Godolphin Bennett :

“We tend to judge ourselves by our intentions,
but others by their actions”

Victoria Coren

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