Monday, 17 March 2008


In my last post I mentioned a single called "Frustration". This was by a band called The Purple Hearts during the second coming of the mods in the early 80s.

Having taken a couple of passengers from the rank in Cranbourne Street all the way out to Richmond on Saturday night, I was expecting an empty cab all the way back. Luckily, Twickenham Station had been closed earlier in the day so a lot of the celbrating English rugby fans had made their way into Richmond for a quencher before heading for home. Just as I was heading back through the town centre two lads looking worse for wear thanks to beer and rain flagged me.

"Where to lads?"
"Clapham Junction please"

Lovely! At least I'd get something for the long haul back along the Upper Richmond Road. We got chatting, first about the rugby and football results and then onto music. When the big question came up of "Who is the best band you've seen" I agreed with one of the two, that The Jam was probably well up there. He then explained that he had been a mod when he was younger so I mentioned "The Purple Hearts". He then said that he'd been at a gig at the Electric Ballroom, and before he could finished I butted in with "... supported by Dexy's Midnight Runners and The VIPs, and it all kicked off on the tube afterwards between the mods and skinheads who had been at a gig at The Mean Machine".

Of the millions of people in London, and the 25000 or so cabbies, two people from a gig audience of 200 or so meet in a cab in Richmond. Now I don't know if any of you are statisticians out there but the odds must be fairly high that two of those people at that gig would ever meet again anywhere other than at a mod rally.

We finished the journey with lots of memories of gigs and bands (The Chords, Secret Affair, The Lambrettas) from back in those days. A nice tip and a handshake at the end of it and I was back off into town. That was after having broomed a fare to Putney Heath from Clapham Junction.

As I dropped my two friendly mods another guy staggered his way towards the cab, pint glass in hand. Before the door was shut he had fallen into the back slurring "Putney Heef" at me.

"Not in your state, and definitely not with a pint glass full of beer we're not." I was quite willing to sit outside the station until he got out, but the British Transport Police car behind decided to try out his blues and twos. Exactly why he had followed me into the station forecourt only to move straight out again, only police intelligence could tell, but it meant I had to pull off the forecourt so that he could get past before switching off the lights and siren.

I then pulled over in the car park and had to explain again to my hopeful drunkard that I wasn't taking him any further. "Really?" "Yep, really. Sorry, out you get." Surprisingly he did as asked and went back to the station finishing his pint as he went, no arguments.

Only had one other set of drunks in the car on Saturday. After dropping five "Hoo-Rays" in Dean Street, three other lads climbed in and wanted to go to Waterloo. All friendly enough, but I could tell they'd had a few and from their discussions they were planning on a few more. I dropped them at The Steps by Waterloo Station and two of them climbed out and walked straight into a nearby bar. The third was still in my cab... fast asleep. I woke him with a quick "OI!" with which he woke up and stepped out of the cab straight towards the bar. Another "OI!" made him turn around to see what he'd done. I reminded him that cab fares needed to be paid with which he reached into his pocket and pull out a screwed up fiver and a handful of change. It was close enough so I let him go to chance his luck with the doormen at the bar.

The rain certainly helped on Saturday with me sometimes wondering if a revolving door would have been better on the cab. One out, One in all night from the time the rain started at 4 until I decided to switch off the light and head for home at midnight.

One interesting fare was a short haul from Sloane Street to Scotts Restaurant W1. Got chatting with the passenger about a report she had just finished writing about the state of the Nation's health and how so much money is wasted by the "sicknote" culture. She did mention that she would be doing a couple of TV interviews about the report, and true to form, there she was on GMTV this morning. Jst shows the variety of passenger you get. From a complete drunk to Dame Carol Black. A Dame, nontheless, in my cab. Glad I didn't know, I'd have been bowing and scraping and calling her your holiness or something daft. Anyway, a lovely lady and I hope she managed to get the rest she was looking for after spending so long on the report.

Didn't bother with working Sunday. All of the road closures thanks to the St Patrick's Day Parade and the Sport Relief Mile would have just made any route across town absolute hell. Add to that the potential for a cab full of drunks all claiming Irish heritage because their grandmother once had a pint of Guinness while listening to a Daniel O'Donnel CD. No offence meant. If you're Irish, then fine, celebrate away. If you're not, then by all means go out, have a good skinful and a party, but please don't say you had to have a drink because it was Saint Patrick's Day. Just say it was a good excuse for a beer. As if an excuse is needed.

As for the athletes, I'm sorry but you'd just embarrass me. I know people like to keep fit and all the money raised will go to worthy causes, but I'm not the most athletic of people. Some people run marathons... I get out of breath running a bath!

All in all, a succesful Friday and Saturday in the cab. Rent paid, fuel tank full and ready for another week of deciding whether or not to go in and do any work during the short days, or just wait until the long weekend and provide a service for the travelling public.

Some real world jobs for the Knowledge Boys and Girls

Old Broad Street to LoungeLover - NO BISHOPSGATE
Victoria Station to Dolphin Square
Selfridges Cab Rank to Harrods

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