Dear Friends

DF 46 - Never dive alone & band legality

November 2007

Dear Friends,

I sat in a cave one long-ago morning; too wrecked to take part in the planned events of the day. Blistered from the previous night - having been over-served at the beach bar - I had recollections of bad behaviour but couldn't recall exactly who did what to whom; just that things had got out of hand - not like me at all.

Earning my daily keep by helping and hindering in equal proportions aboard the Quabbin Diver, I travelled into Georgetown, Grand Cayman whilst asleep on the back of a motorbike. Racked with weariness I couldn't work on the boat - I was in no fit state.

Instead I broke the cardinal rule, which is: Never Dive Alone!

I wrapped my condition in all the right equipment and did what they call a shore dive; swam out to a coral formation known as Eden Rock and mazed around in the shallow water for a bit when I came upon a shifty looking gang of teenage tarpon (fish). Impressively silver and scaly, a fully grown tarpon is bigger than a small man. But these were intermediates, hungry intermediates, seeming to be three or four feet in length they were lurking at the entrance to the cave I was talking about. One of many entrances in fact; but there it was. I finned in - quite stylishly considering - through the narrow aperture, with my hands clasped to my belly and my buoyancy just so.

I found myself in a roundish cavern. There was a hole in the high roof that let in the sunlight - filling the chamber with sparkling magic. I sank to the ground with my tank against the wall and legs extended fully, at the ends of which were fins telling me the time was ten to two. I was at less than thirty feet - one atmosphere - below the surface; plenty of time. I had a full tank and at that depth it would last for three hours - if I didn't exert myself, if I just…rested my eyes. It was so warm, eighty two degrees in the old money; and peaceful. I dozed…

…For how long I don't know, but I woke inside another universe. A million baby fish - they're called fry at that age - engulfed me. They were hiding in the cave to escape the tarpon who were too scared to squeeze through the mingy door, even though lunch was waiting inside. Then again that weird monster - me - was in there doing god knows what and had probably eaten all the fry anyway so let's just hang around looking tough until some squid pump by or the barracudas turn up.

Well that's what I assumed they were thinking, and why would I do that? We all know what Gran used to say to old Bert when he'd come home from the pub too late of a Sunday afternoon to find his dinner in the dog's bowl - Never Assume she'd say, but he never learnt did he, and always reckoned it was worth an extra couple of pints with his mates.

But this was more than an assumption. Why would I be thinking like a tarpon? Something moved and I saw the light. A million did I say? There must have been ten million or more, so small they were and so many, but they thought with one mind. They were an entity. And where was I? Right inside the shoal, I was contained and the scary thing was - I was part of its thinking; at least a small part anyway. I could see the light as the shoal danced and swelled; then it became dark again as it shrank and wrapped me in a dense, impenetrable, cloud. Now I knew why I was thinking like a tarpon; this collective of fry was thinking like a tarpon; what to do to preserve it-selves. With a singleness of purpose it was stirring to pre-emptive counter measures, practising threatening shapes. For example - If I morph like a shark those guys will run for the hills.

Part of my mind was now with the fry, offering moral support at least for I was mostly out of my element. The other part of me recognised this and my defence mechanisms did the equations again, more alert now than when I'd slumped to the floor, how long ago was that? I was breathing very slowly. I could stay down until my air ran out without any fear of dying from the other horrendous complications that come with this kind of irresponsible activity at greater depths, so that was alright then.

Then the other half took over - I became aware of a disturbance deep in my psyche; a memory being whispered by ancestors. What was it? There! I heard it again, one whisper became ten and multiplied by itself a squillion times in the space of two or three niagorafic seconds; the ancients were breathing in my soul. It was nothing to the fry of course, they were used to it - and so young too - however I had nothing but unharvested instinct to go by and realised that humans could do this too. But for some reason or some design flaw or some unconsidered factor along the long road of evolution, we had taken a wrong turning and never really developed our telepathic abilities beyond empathy, and even that has a failing grip on our mundane reality.

Then, swoosh, the entire school - no stragglers - fizzed as one in a balletic pax de mille towards the hole in the sky; knowing as it did that the tarpon at the gate had been scared away by the barracudas that came by at this time of day. No worries there - the barracuda have bigger fish to fry.

I hope the writer and publisher won't sue me copying this amusing extract from a serious text book called…

Learning about the law

By Constantinos E. Scaros

From the Paralegal Series published by Aspen Law and Business copyright © 1997

A dissenting opinion is one where the author disagrees with all or part of the judgement. Differences of opinion obviously occur in all aspects of life, involving both legal and non-legal issues. In order to better illustrate this concept, consider the following example.


Suppose that an organization named the International Music Association (IMA) wants to give a lifetime achievement award to the "Greatest Rock-and-Roll Band of all time." After several months of polling the top rock-and-roll historians, writers, disc jockeys, and musicians, the IMA was left with the three finalists: the Beatles, Deep Purple, and Led zeppelin. The IMA's executive committee took up the proposal that the award be presented to the Beatles. Of the nine members of the executive committee, five of them issued the following opinion.

Although the Beatles have achieved tremendous success and historical importance, after extensive study we conclude that Deep Purple is the best of the three groups in combining pure talent, song writing ability, and stage presence. Accordingly, since we are in favour of granting the award to Deep Purple, we reject the motion of granting this award to the Beatles.

Three other members of the committee issued the following opinion:

We agree with the majority opinion that the award should not be given to the Beatles. However, we limit our agreement to that result. We do not believe that the award should be granted to Deep Purple. Although we believe that both Deep Purple and the Beatles are two of rock and roll's truly legendary bands, we contend that Led Zeppelin has made the most significant impact in rock and roll. Led Zeppelin has influenced a greater number of young musicians than the other bands, and its popularity continues to grow years after disbanding.

Finally, the remaining member of the executive committee issued the following opinion:

I disagree with the conclusion reached by my fellow committee members. The Beatles are the most popular band in the history of rock and roll, and thereby the clear choice to receive our distinguished award.

This non-legal example presents three different opinions. If this were a court opinion, the different statements would be analyzed as follows: In accordance with the majority opinion (five of nine votes), the award would not be given to the Beatles. The three-person vote would be known as the concurring opinion because those members agree with the majority's decision but for different reasons. They agree that the Beatles should not get the award, but do not endorse the majority opinion's selection of Deep Purple. The authors of the concurring opinion believe the award should be presented to Led Zeppelin.

Finally, the lone dissenter completely disagrees, arguing that the Beatles should indeed get the award.

In all probability, the Beatles would not be given the award, and it would go instead to Deep Purple, based on the majority opinion.


Cheers for now,

Ian Gillan

Copyright © Ian Gillan 2007

Return to:
return to DF index