Obituary: James Crespi

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The Independent Online
AT 17 I went up to Aberystwyth to read Law. James Crespi, only a few years older, had just come down from Cambridge to teach it, writes John Morris (further to the obituary by Brian Masters, 6 July).

He enlightened us on Contract. 'You walk down the promenade, and you observe a weighing machine. It offers to weigh you. By the way (this was 1949), how much money do you put in a weighing machine, is it a sixpence or a shilling?'

I and other 17-year-olds were enthralled. How could a man be so divorced from real life? The man, who must be from the Gods, was of normal shape and size. He was only 21 or 22.

Years later I appeared opposite him in the small west courts at the Bailey. A cry went up, 'Bomb in the Bailey'. No one knew where to turn. But for the fact that I went to collect my robes there, I would have walked across with Crespi to the Bar mess in the main courts. I would not have been able to say as he did: 'The doctors say I will die because of my fat. Now the doctors say I have only been saved because of my fat.' From 1973 on we enjoyed many a convivial conversation in the morning at the beginning of the day in the Bailey.

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