Seven Dials
Thursday July 30th 2009, 11:46 am
Filed under: Uncategorized


Eventually I was going to have to pay tribute to the Seven Dials
I have been told that this was one of the first roundabouts in the country
I haven’t checked
But it would make sense
Nobody in their right mind these days
Would attempt to place something like this
Into the middle of the travelling public
It took me some time to get used to crossing it with automatic safety
And to do so
You need brisque and clear attention
Never make a dash for it
Because there are too many things moving around
And too many obstacles that can stop you in your tracks
I have travelled across one other bemusing roundabout
And that is the behemoth Arc de Triomphe
A true beast of confusion
But I think as a matter of scale
If Seven Dials were boosted to the size of the Parisian Gyratory
It would be deadly  

seven-dials


Seven Dials is called thus
Not after yours truly
But because it has seven arteries
Five of these are entrances
Six of them are exits
One of them is no entry
On six of them is a pelican crossing
Which when busy
Can cause a sudden back-up onto the roundabout
Also to say it is a roundabout is a bit inacurate
It is in fact an ovalabout
With the island in the middle being nothing other than a marker
Particularly dangerous is coming up the steep hill of exit 3
You cannot see the traffic from exit 1 until they reach the very edge
Many of them drive straight across heading for exit 4
And even with all my experience
I have found myself stranded
In the big space between the island
Another problem is
Due to the layout and hills and pace of it
Cars very rarely indicate
I met a man who worked in the Launderette
Which sits between exit 2 and exit 3
He said that horns are blowing all day long
And everyday somebody is involved in a shunt
The majority of them being without injury
Though probably every couple of months
A yellow police board will go up
“Have you see this accident”
A couple of years ago
The night driver of my cab entered the dials from exit 7
She was heading for exit 3
She didn’t see another car moving at speed coming out of exit 5
Because he was obscured by the window post
He crossed her path
And she smashed into the side of him
Writing off both vehicles
A year later
She did the usual thing of driving straight across from exit 1
Into exit 4
She hit a cyclist head on
He said he was crossing the road
She said he was riding the wrong way with no lights
He is currently sueing her in court for £100,000


Seven Dials is a rum roundabout
Hear is a photo from the difficult approach of exit 3

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And here is exit 6
Note the newly crumpled zig zag barrier
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Gulls & Planes
Monday July 20th 2009, 2:38 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized


Another brilliant busy start to the morning
I have been on a good run recently
People out there are still buying lots of shit
Still rushed off their tiny feet
Doin stuff
Tourists are still flocking here from all over the world
One still wonders how long it will all last
But the taxi life has robustly held out around here
Lots of drivers are still whingeing
But that is stock behaviour

However
One thing that has changed over the last two years
And has had a detrimental effect on my routine
Is one particular rank
It used to be my default rank
On my home side of the town centre
And it is a bit of a pain in the ass
Because you can’t just look at it from a passing distance
You have to commit to driving right in
But almost every time that I do
It is packed out with independent cabs
Which means
That all the cabs in front of me have no radio
So none of them will be peeling off to do a radio job
They are all waiting for a punter to get in from the rank
Most of the faces are the same every day
They seem to set their stall out
Pick up a punter and come straight back
There seems to be a current strong trend
Foreign cab drivers are snapping up hackney plates when they come up for sale
And if they are on a radio circuit
They strip out the radio and turn it into an independent
Since I have been on the hackneys
I have watched a particular group grow on this rank
I don’t from which country they hail
But they socialise at the rank all day
They are all independent
And have made the rank untenable for me
In fact both the main town centre ranks are dominated by the indy’s
I just drive straight through these days
And back to the only rank that I consider worth waiting at
Once that one gets compromised
Who knows

I came to the bottom of a hill
And turned into Whitehawk
And chaos in the road
In a scene reminiscent of the Gargoyles and the Blind man’s fruit
On Jason and the Argonauts
Four seagulls were hovering and diving and battling
Over some object of food in the middle of the road
Bear in mind that these things are the size of Geese
I drove around them to the left
And carried on
But I could see in my mirror
That one of them had been hit by a passing car on the other side
And was stranded in the middle of the road
When I returned
I expected him to be as flat as a pancake
Which is what usually happens
But he was still sat there
Looking bemused and fucked
I drove around him again
Gone are the days when I would stop
And go into seagull rescue mode
I collected the next passenger and left the area
An hour later I returned to whitehawk
And began to wonder about the seagull
Did everybody just ignore it?
Did somebody take aim and squash him?
Which I have seen people do
I had to know
Driving along tense with wonder
As I approached the spot I began to squint ahead
Somebody had rescued him
Whew
What gets me though
Is again… the stupid public fuckwits
Does nobody ever think about what happens when you toss a half eaten sandwich into the road?
Big birds descend from sky patrol
Often causing mayhem on the road
Cars in front of you appear to stop for no reason
Or swerve one way or the other
Leaving you with the choice of…join in the swerving and stopping
Or drive over it
Oh if only I could get out
And tackle them
And pin their stupid faces into the tarmac
Until some idiot clean up squad arrives
It’s these things that constantly eat away my resolve

As I was returning to the rank
I passed a shop that made me think
And I did
I stopped at the lights
And I thought
Camping shops
Like Millets…for instance
It’s one shop…where I could say
That I want just about everything that is in it
Quality clothing
Useful gadgets
If I could do a supermarket sweep in any shop
That would be the shop that I would choose

I finished early
And went to collect Junior from school
I was laid on the grass…waiting
When one of the other parents came up to me
With one of those universal taxi driver requests
How much would it be for me to take them to Heathrow Airport on Monday
As it was
It was made a tad easier by the fact that I wasn’t working that day
And I say easier because…
Despite who may ask me to take them to the airport
The fact that they know me is going to make little difference to the price
People don’t realise how competetively flattened the airport work is
And when this parent asked me about the price…
And if I knew anybody who could take them
She reeled at what I had to say
I can understand
I wouldn’t want to pay £90 to go to Heathrow
But then I would try my damnedest not to fly from there
I tried to explain the maths to her
Lets say I did them a favour
And they paid me £20 for the fuel and say £30 for my time
They think that I am getting about £10 per hour…for me
However…over the same time span
If I stay in town driving around in circles
Doing my normal stuff
I will cover…usually at least £70
Without using all that fuel
So I would…in a net way
Feel like that I had just paid at least £20 to ‘take’ them to the airport
As I delivered my explanational punchline
I could see that she had glazed over
With the integrity of a cube of Isopon Clearcast
Oh well… I thought
At least I can moan about this subject to other taxi drivers



Just Sunday
Sunday July 12th 2009, 12:50 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized


As I set out on Sunday morning
Early doors
I thought to myself
That I am letting this blog down
It is primarily about the observation and commentary
From the position of a taxi driver
So it is time for a push
Get back to basics of blogging

The first thing on this Sunday morning
Was to try out a new tactic
It is astonishing
That something one would have thought of
As so simple
That being the taxi business
Is actually very fluid and complicated
And new tactics are still emerging after five years of plying
Today I thought of a new variation on the ‘Cruise tactic’
The only other time I use this with purpose
Is when the town ranks get over full on a weekend
I will cruise up and down the same road
Poised for flagging
Rather than wasting time sitting on a rank
Early on a Sunday morning however
I have decided to bait the bus stops
I have noticed over time
How folks waiting at bus stops
Stare at passing taxis on a Sunday morning
I am sure that with the sparsity of buses
They are considering the taxi
Even on a lovely serene Sunday morning
The public have no patience
As I started the return of a long leg
I hooked a fish
A man at the bus stop broke rank and flagged
I was pleased

Though I had little chance to continue the experiment
The radio went ‘all action’
And I spent the next 3 hours joining the dots
And collecting cash

At the first break of jobs
I rolled up at an empty rank
And lolled my head out of a hot window
What a scorcher of a day
An old Citroen DS pulled up next to me
The exaust was chugging out real old fashioned burnt petrol fumes
Oh that sweet pungent smell
I love it
Flowing with memories of childhood
Helping my dad at his garage
With drifting aromas of petrol, oil, swarfega, and cellulose
Surely if you were to kill yourself by pipe through the car window
You would have to pipe yourself up to an old classic
Combusting good old 4 star

At some point in the morning
I had to collect a special punter
Who was to be delivered to a restaurant in Steyning
There was going to be a ‘Chef-off’
And the woman I collected was going to be one of the cookery judges
I asked her why she was doing it
And she told me that she was a food critic
Writes for various papers and magazines
I seized the moment
And asked her which restaurants she would recommend in Brighton
Very few…was her first reply
That was interesting
Because I had become fed up with the ones that I usually recommended
I have reached a point where I flatly refuse to advise punters where to eat
The reason that she said ‘very few’
Was partly because there is an overbearing choice in Brighton
Quantity over Quality
A lot of them start out well when they open
But soon fall into inconsistent practice
And it is consistency that she favours
Her recommendations were
Jamie Olivers Italian Restaurant…Black Lion Street
The Chilli Pickle…Meeting House Lane
And for lunches
Bill’s…North Street
Although that last one is a bit spoiled
By an overbearing amount of Yummy Mummies
I laughed at that comment
And pointed out that if anyone can start a business in this town
And lure the YM’s
Once they start coming
You can clean up
I told her about my last visit to the Duke of York cinema
Where I was trying to take Junior to the Saturday Kids film club
One that is popular with the YM’s
However we got there a little late (5 minutes before the start)
And the place was packed out
There were kids outside crying who had been turned away
Me and Junior decided to hightail-it to the Odeon Kids Club
When we got there we were the only ones there
And we laid out across the seats and watched our own private viewing
There was no real difference in the what was on offer at both cinemas
Except one was rife with Yummy Mummy hysteria
One thing that I find odd
Is that I consider myself to be reasonably intelligent
But I am not University Standard
And the YM brigade does look like it rolls off that graduate conveyor belt
But they seem unable to see themselves
Or their horde like habits
Yet I can see them quite easily

Back at the rank
In jumped an Iranian man
He said he had just arrived back from Iran this morning
And started to talk about Iran
Mainly about how modern it was becoming with technology
I felt tempted to ask him about the current troubles
But refrained
Because that would be obvious
And taxi drivers are generally expected to be obvious
And I abhor stcking to lifes script
Without any prompting the Iranian changed track
And told me that the previous taxi driver
Had been asking him about the troubles in Iran
“Oh” I said
He then went on to say
That there wasn’t really much going on in Iran
The BBC seem to be trying to stir it up with their big stick
Whilst he was there
He saw a clip on Iranian TV discussing a BBC report on the election demonstrations
The Iranian TV presenter was pretty fired up
Because the demonstration that the BBC were getting the west all excited about
Had nothing to do with the election
It was an entirely unrelated dispute

After I dropped him off
I got an 8 seater job of very short distance
This was going to be somebody moving some stuff
I arrived to find a girl student piling stuff up on the street
Fortunately most people haven’t worked out
That it is pretty cheap to move house by taxi
The girl had stopped to have a conversation with a neighbour
The neighbour was complaining
About the bags of disorganised rubbish that she had left outside
The girl was being dismissive about the situation
The neighbour turned and looked at me in dismay
I shook my head
“There’s no way that the bin-men are going to take that away”
She walked towards me
“I know…and by the end of tomorrow it’ll be strewn all over the street”
I looked at the student
With her designer casual wear
And her nails and tan
And her ‘don’t give a fuck about anybody else’ attitude
I shut the door and opened a magazine to read
I wasn’t going to lift a finger to help them
They laughed and joked about the stupid fucking hippy neighbour
Whilst they carried stuff from the house
Eventually the van was loaded
And I drove around the corner into the next street
We had to park in the middle of the street
So I made sure everything was out quickly
The girl approached me with her purse
“Twelve quid” I said
“Twelve quid!!!” she replied astonished
“I think that’s pretty cheap for a house move”
She was probably expecting £3
I explained that it was fare and a half
And that the meter had been running throughout
She paid and I left
These are people that I have no time for
They are ubiquitous
They take everything and give back nothing
If I were president
They would all do two years of National Service
Where they would learn about Empathy and Consideration
Cleaning the streets
Looking after old and disabled folks
These people spoil my hope for a bright future

I have started to annoy myself
For the last couple of months I have been calling male passengers
“Buddy”
“Cheers buddy”
I will say as they are getting out
I have got no idea why I have started saying this
And although I want to stop saying it
I can’t
Until I have a replacement
I tried “Cheers m’friend” for a short while
But I don’t like that either
I thought about going back to ‘before buddy’
But I can’t remember what I used to say
Oh I don’t know
Maybe just thanks



Pyrex Jug
Saturday July 11th 2009, 1:18 am
Filed under: Uncategorized


I am absolutely sick of that pyrex jug
I need it to make tea for me flask
It’s always going missing
Searching for things drains the life out of me anyway
But that jug pisses me off big time
I am going to buy two more of the fuckers
That’s it!
So somewhere in that 16ft x 5ft kitchen
There will be a pyrex jug that I can find
If that doesn’t work
I will keep buying them
Until they can’t hide from me anymore
I will become a Pyrex franchise if neccesary
With a dedicated padlocked Pyrex jug storeroom
Fuck yeah



Jacko’s Nose
Wednesday July 01st 2009, 11:50 am
Filed under: Uncategorized


After a hard nights work
Quincy MD
Managed to save Jacko’s nose
The nose is recovering in a ward in downtown LA
A spokesperson for the nose
Said that it is very possible
That the UK 50 date tour may still be on
Just at that moment
There was a scream from inside the ward
Followed by intense activity
One of the staff had discovered a BVM on the end of the nose
That is… an image of the blessed virgin mary
I later inspected an image of the surviving nose
It’s true
I can see it
Get down on your knees and pray
It is a Miracle
bvm1