Monday, 10 March 2008

Frustration - I wear it like a suit

Actually i don't, but it's the title of one of my hundreds of 7" singles that I've been digitising over the past few weeks.

These short days are killing me. The traffic into town is a nightmare and I've usually done around 30 miles before I get my first job of the day. After that it's not too bad, but I always find myself watching the clock to make sure I'm not back too late to pick up my daughter from school. What I really need are some longer days out there to get into some sort of routine. Either that or I need to talk my wife into getting home from work before 9 o'clock each night so I can do some rate 2 and 3 work before the dawn arrives.

I only worked a couple of days last week,, having Friday off so that I could prepare for my final gig with Headlong. When I say "prepare", I mean, laze around the house all day doing nothing. Operation Stack was well in place on the M20 so the drive down to Ashford was a nightmare with thousands of lorries parked up along the way and all cars being diverted along the A20. managed to get there in time though, unlike my mate Simon who struggled to get to the gig before 1130 thanks to the traffic. Thanks for turning up though.

As expected, the night turned into a Nigel Tufnell-esque battle of whose-amp-can-go-the-highest-before-the-air-is-filled-with-electric-soup. No big finale for me, just a "see you later lads" at the end of the night. I'm sure I'll meet up with them some time soon, but I really don't need the headaches.

And a headache I had all through the following day. Having a job booked back to Medway after the boxing at the O2 Dome, I shifted my day's work so that I could be at Greenwich at 3.30 in the morning. i had a slow start to the day with a couple of jobs off the rank at the O2, one to The Valley with a guy who was hoping to get a ticket for a Premiership game ("You're 8 months too late, fella") and another just a quick trip through the tunnel to the Ibis Excel hotel. From there it was up to Stratford Station - there are going to need to be some major improvements to this area before 2012.

After sitting on the rank for about 10 minutes with nothing moving I decided to head into town, with the headache's pounding sounding like an out of salts Cozy Powell. Another depressing journey with no jobs until I got all the way to Charing Cross Station. After that I ran a few little jobs around the West End until I could take no more of the headache. I headed for the Astral Cafe by the Iron Lung, got myself a bottle of water and packet of paracetamol. A quick drive into Vincent Square where I parked up, and with the radio on low, fell asleep. 40 minutes or so later Russell Brand was rambling his way through his radio show, and I was feeling much better thinking that I'll be able to make it through the night to my booking at The Dome.

A couple of jobs later finds me having to think my way through the suburb runs that were learned at the end of The Knowledge. Two brothers wanting to go from Trafalgar Studios in Whitehall to Surbiton. I'm thinking "Kings Road, Putney Bridge, onto the A3 and away". As I head toward Trafalgar Square, one of the brothers says "It's the other way mate. Get across the river and follow the A3."

Fair enough, you're the boss. So off we go along two sides of a bloody great big rectangle instead of taking the diagonal, but they know what it's going to cost and they're going the route they want. As we're heading up the West Hill stretch of the A3 they ask to divert to Kingston so that they can get some beers. I figure they're after an off-license until I get directed into a cul-de-sac. I'm now starting to wonder which one of them I should grab when they bail and try to do a runner, or should I just stay in the cab and put it down to experience and keep my face and taking bag intact. We pull up outside a house and thankfully only one of them gets out, goes into the house and comes out with eight cans of Guinness. "Surbiton please". The only thing, these two brothers were interested in was raiding their mum's fridge. Imagine the scene in the morning. "We've been broken into but they've only taken the beer". "Bloody Students".

Off to Surbiton, I drop them off and keep the £1.20 change from the five crisp tenners handed through the partition. OK, it's a fair way back into town but the A3's fairly good at that time of night.

A few more short jobs around the West End since the rain's starting to come down, and a job from Horseferry Road to Edgware Road for a Canadian who couldn't believe that on a cab journey like that we get to drive past landmarks like Buckingham Palace.

Then at just before 1am, I get a text from the friend-of-a-friend who is at the boxing. "Sry m8, bked hotel. dont need ya". Even my limited knowledge of text-speak tells me I've lost my £75 job that would take me home. So it's time to change the rules; anyone I don't know pays me up front for the booking, especially when I'm doing them a favour by staying out til those sort of hours.

Shortly after I pick up in Berkeley Square, a job to Southfields. Completely the wrong direction for me, but i take the job anyway, especially since it's a female out on her own who needs to get home at nearly two in the morning. Had a great chat all the way down there but by the time I'd dropped her off the paracetamol was wearing off. I was tempted to head back into town to see if I could get another job heading East, but the law of sod being what it is I would have probably ended up in Cricklewood.

Having done a good day's work and with cash to pay the cab-rent for the following week, I head for home via the 24 hour 'roach coach on Clapham Common and snarl at all the mini-cabs heading towards Medway down the A2, every single one of them with a job that I could have had.


Anonymous said...

You should consider a Radio Circuit for jobs going into Kent. I'm on Radio taxi's and jobs down that way crop up every so often. Beats dealing with the street loosers, and you will always get paid.


Kev said...

Cheers Al.

I'll give it a go when I can eventually go full time. With the hours I'm working at the moment I'm not sure it would be financially viable. When I go full time though I'll definitely consider it.


Unknown said...

Why have the minicabs got most of the distance work? Er . . . because a significant number of black cab drivers are selfish enough to pick and choose which jobs they take. I was refused a few weeks ago from Guilford Street to Swains Lane. I didn't have a chance to remind him about the compellable distance, as he sped off muttering something along the lines of "I'm not going all the way to bleeding Highgate mate."
I also took someone to Surbiton the other night. She seemed most surprised, not to be refused, and tipped generously. I was picking up again on Putney Hill les than 15 minutes later. I really don't get it.


Kev said...

Well there's that, and the fact that they have pre-booked jobs. At least two of the minicabs on their way down the A2 were from a firm in Rainham, so unless they were touting way-out of their area, one assumes that someone had the good sense to make the necessary arrangements to get home.

I agree that there are those drivers who wrongly refuse fares that aren't in their direction, which is why I came home empty all the way from Southfields on Saturday night.

I was tempted to get down to the O2 to pick up a job in the hope that someone was heading my way, but Sod's Law would have probably sent me over to Ealing.

Would have been fine earlier in the night but at the end of a long shift like that would have been too dangerous.

Anonymous said...

Hey Kev,
Just saying thanks for a reply to a late post I put on the Wizann site last night.
Seems like your enjoying yourself out there (sometimes anyway, lol) its good to hear from fellas like yourself now & again to remind us it can be done.
Be Lucky

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