Gracias to the reader who alerted RollOnFriday to the portrait of Scarface hanging in a law firm's lobby.
"I was walking down Pocklingtons Walk, Leicester", said the spotter, "and happened across M&M Solicitors. As I passed their office I realised something was amiss. I doubled back and peered into the window only to be greeted by a framed picture of Scarface in the reception".
"I have seen a lot of dodgy artwork in solicitors’ offices", he said. "But Scarface, infamously slumped in his desk chair surrounded by mountains of cocaine and automatic weapons, is a first".
Scarface, aka Tony Montana, is an interesting choice for law firm wall art. It's not just that Al Pacino's tragic drug lord was terrifically guilty. It's that his lawyer was awful. In the movie George Sheffield is introduced as a rock star attorney: "He’s the best lawyer in Miami", says Tony. "He’s such a good lawyer, that by tomorrow morning, you gonna be working in Alaska. So dress warm”. Alas, instead Sheffield finds problems not solutions, telling Tony, “when you’ve got 1.3 million in undeclared dollars staring into a video camera, honey, baby, it’s hard to convince a jury you found it in a taxi cab.” As you'd expect from a man who refers to his client as honey and baby, Sheffield subsequently betrays Tony to his enemies and they try to assassinate him. Tony escapes, tracks down his lawyer and shoots him in the head while he begs for his life. As far as client-lawyer relationships go, it's a rocky one.
But these trifling details are obliterated by the popular legend of Scarface, which is 'Boy done good goes out on his own terms with a grenade-launching M-16'. Remember every rapper on Cribs holding up a framed Scarface poster? It's still a cultural touchstone for young men in rags dreaming of riches. To the (alleged) gangsters of Leicester, M&M's big picture of Scarface doesn't say "Eventually you will execute us for treachery". It says, "We know you. We are you. Come in now for muy rápido advice".
As a spokesman for the firm told me, "It appeals to potential clients".
He explained, "we specialise in criminal law and we're opposite the Magistrates Court, so it tends to catch people's eye". He added, "I'd be a rich man if I'd sold it as many times as I've been asked to sell it". Might be an idea. As Tony once said, "In this country, you gotta make the money first. Then when you get the money, you get the power. Then when you get the power - then, you get the women". Or, in M&M's case, potentially a branch in Nuneaton or Derby. The world could be theirs.