Gossipo Mundo
Monday August 24th 2009, 10:43 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Today I just had to marvel at the benefit of being a cabbie
And to appreciate the global connection of this city
I was parked at one of the town centre ranks
A rare appearance these days
Unless I see an opportunity as I pass
I walked over to the cabbie in front
To see if he could break a twenty pound note
Six fares in had yeilded six score notes
I recognised him straight away
Nish…a Moroccan fella
The first time I met him I commented on the giant crucifix on his dashboard
He leaned into the glove box
And pulled out enough shiny religous kit
To create a substantial mobile chapel
He thought it was funnier than I did
And a bond was struck

We shook hands
And he rustled up a couple of tenners for me
Then after a little intro chit chat
Came a patch of platinum patter
A fat chunk of global gossip
Nish told me that he had a brother who lived in Libya
And that he himself was born a Libyan
But was sent to live with his uncle in Morocco
With one other of the nine siblings
His brother owns a leather goods shop on a main street in Tripoli
Because there happened to be a grand amount of fuss going on in Libya
Nish gave his brother a call
He refers to him as 7 of 9…they are big Star Trek fans

Was there much actually going?
Well for him there was
A few days ago
The shop next door…a spice dealer named Mus
Was visited by a guy who he knows who works in the one of the city administration offices
He had with him a European man
The European man had with him a large suitcase
The Libyan official didn’t properly introduce this man
Just refered to him as a friend
The European man wanted a few men to do a simple job for him
He opened the suitcase
Inside it was a pile of folded Scotland flags
When Abdul Baset Ali al-Megrahi arrived at the airport
He wanted to see these flags waving amongst the crowd
He would give them some money now
And the other half of it afterwards
It was a substantial amount
Mus came in to the leather shop to convince Nish’s brother to join in
And together they went around the shops trying to get a few more
They failed to convince anybody else
So just the two of them did it
Nish said his brother got really excited on the phone
“Did you see meee on international TeeeVeee”
Nish mimicked as he bounced up and down on his taxi seat

I returned to my cab armed with some smaller change
And reflected for a moment
I was laughing quietly recalling his demonstrations
Nish’s story though..does make sense
Considering the kicking the Scots are taking over this Lockerbie stuff
Whether he did anything or not
The one fitted up caged symbol for justice has flown out through an open gate
And now the Yanks are gonna stop eating shortbread and start drinking their own shit whisky

Tuesday August 18th 2009, 10:50 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

One sleepy sunday morning
With the streets wide and flat and empty
I travelled to the station with one passenger on board
As I drove up North Street
A pedestrian appeared from out of the side street
She saw me coming
Me…the only vehicle on the road
And probably the only vehicle she will see in the next five minutes
She takes one look at me
And presses the button on the crossing
The lights changed immediately to red
And my progress ground to a halt
I watched her cross
“I can’t believe she just did that” I muttered
The man in the back was laughing quietly
I looked at him through the mirror
I bet he would do the same thing
He has just for a moment
Seen it for what it was

Driving a cab in this town
And probably most towns
Is a constant stop…start…tickover affair
But early in the morning it is hard to ignore
How irritating it is
That woman used the finger of a Zombie
With instruction from the brain of a Zombie
She is totally conditioned to do this
Unconcerned with the mutual flow of the town
It is she that is important
And for the rest of that Sunday
I watched all the other self important
Sleepy headed Zombies
Pushing those buttons
Stopping me
As they all headed hurriedly
To their pointless destinations

It’s not that uncommon
For people to get squashed as they saunter across
Thinking the red light to be some sort of force field
I have witnessed one such incident myself
Where the pedestrian was killed
And Mrs Dial was left in shock
After a car virtually skimmed Junior
When they should have stopped at the lights

I prefer to leave the traffic to flow along
To wait for a break and space
Where you can cross… alert to the space around you
I prefer a world of calculated risk
Than a world cluttered with safety
I prefer to teach children how to use there eyes and ears
And to pay attention
Rather than be sandwiched between a bus and a mobile phone

And having said all that
One recent customer
Sat in the back and agreed with me entirely
And as he was handing over that warmly anticipated £15
He said
“That’s why I get a taxi”

Tents & Telephones
Tuesday August 11th 2009, 3:36 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Just a couple of whinges
Firstly just been for a wee camp
In a lovely spot near East Dene…West Sussex
A very popular place
And a popularity that has grown lots in the last few years
This I was told after I drunkenly slumped into a spare chair
At somebody elses camp fire
Some very nice local folk who have been camping here for years
As I was drunkenly stumbling towards a great big fancy tent
Which was somebody else’s wedding
To which I wasn’t invited
But went anyway
But had stumbled drunkenly for so long
That the wedding do had just about worn down to nothing by the time I arrived
So I headed straight back
Arriving back at my tent about 4am
Got in my sleeping bag
And slid down the slope into the corner of the tent
Where I stayed til sun up
After raising a glass of Rosé to the beautiful sunny day
I tried to pack away the tent
Laying out the main section as parallel as possible
Then folding it over so it was the same width as the bag
With great determination
I rolled up the sheet with a tight grip
All the time rechecking the width
Which kept squeezing itself outwards
Towards the end… my concentration was wavering in the Roséd heat
And the speed of the squeezed roll was increasing
At last it was rolled
I looked up at the storage bag
The packed down tent was still twice the size of the bag
I picked it up and threw it in to the back of the van
It’s just a sick fucking joke from the tent makers
What is the point?
Just what can be the point?
We can’t keep on trying to make things smaller
It’s just making things more stupid
A machine must have rolled the tent when it was first packed into the bag
And to put it back
You need to generate the power and precision of the machine
I swear the next tent I buy
Will involve standing in the camping shop
Ordering a six man tent
And demanding it comes with a 12 man bag

On arriving home
Tired and weary from the camp
I decided to open up some mail
One of them was my mobile bill
I whizzed through it to the ‘calls outside of allowance’ bit
An oft interesting section
There was only one call here
118 118
I remember the call
Just about to meet up with taxi owner to re-licence the taxi
It was ‘the’ deadline day
And muggins had just realised that he had mis-placed the MOT paperwork
And I couldn’t find the phone number for the garage anywhere
So 118 118 it was
Looking back at me from the bill as the only amount outside the allowance
One telephone number
Two fucking quid
As tired as I was I swarmed over the net to check it out
I found the page that lists all of their cost information
Basically you get hammered for nearly a quid
If you call them on a mobile phone
And then they say to you
“Do you want putting through?”
I’m not falling for that thinks Mr Dial
But the sucker punch is the supporting text message
To which they do not offer a choice
Just a statement that you will receive it very soon
One whole pound is the weight of that text
One fucking pound


Wednesday August 05th 2009, 2:42 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Major fucking disappointment
Around every fucking corner
That’s how I feel at the moment
It is by far the most overbearing thing in my life
After one of my regular disappointing days
Mooching about on my day off
I decided to go down the cafe
And do a bit of writing
Bought a drink
Sat down
And then realised that the laptop had drank itself dry in the bag
There wasn’t any kind of usable socket anywhere
So I was sat there with my drink
And nothing to write with
This wouldn’t have happened in the days of pen and paper
It’s almost become like I am perpetuating my own demise as I go along
I whinge and moan and gripe
At every opportunity
And the more I do it
The more things go wrong
And the more things and people disappoint me

I started today by taking one final look
At the possibility of taking a weeks holiday
A couple of days camping in the Cotswolds
Followed by a few more in Dartmoor
Whereupon we would watch the British Firework championships in Plymouth
And then finally a drive up north
To go to me mates fortieth birthday party
It all sounded great in theory
Or did it?
Actually it was all starting to sound bad in theory
If you take any holiday situation
And start to apply a restrictive budget to it
You are basically planning to have a sub-standard time
I have lived out these theories an many occaisions
Surely I am not about to do it again
That’s it
I am not going anywhere
I will stay at home
And instead of blowing money
I will earn money in the opposite direction

You see…holidays are well overrated
A good example of a recent one
Was a wedding trip to Ireland
We had to apply budget restraints
And as a result ended up staying a good few miles away from the main event
We were subsequently fleeced by the taxis
Fleeced by the hotel
Fleeced by the car hire firm we used
To try to stop us being fleeced by any more taxis
It rained solid for two days
On the night that we returned after the main do
There was some major Irish chav bash going on directly under our room
Sounded like happy hardcore meets busta rhymes
I was tired and in need of some good rest
But I couldn’t find solace anywhere
Once I had returned
I realised that the best course of action would have been
To pay the ransom of a room at the main event
And although with hindsight it made sound sense
I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy that either
Because I would be constantly trying to extract value from the situation
And ruminating about how much catch up was now going to be required
And what I could have done with all that money
That I had just spunked on a three day visit
To an Island country
Just like ours but donkeys years behind
And with much worse weather

The point is
That I don’t earn enough money
To get a real holiday
Most people don’t
And most people return from these so called holidays exhausted
Skint and disappointed
For you to leave the country
And find comfort and facility to better or equal your own home
To find relaxation
Entertainment that will raise your spirits
And keep your kids happy
For all this to leave you feeling bouyed and refreshed
To come home and say
What an amazing wonderful holiday
You have to be pretty wealthy
There is simply no escaping that fact

Try going to watch the Monaco Grand Prix
See how much money and effort it takes
To get a shitty view of cars the size of matchbox models
Whilst the wealthy listen to them rattling by under their balconies
And catch up with the race on a big screen nearby
I have tried at lesser Grand Prix
And come away feeling sore

Money can’t buy you love
Or Happiness
But it can buy you a certain level of satisfaction
And conversely
My mind feels like it has got it’s own holiday
Freed from thinking about going on holiday
I can now kick back and relax…as they say
Surrounded by all the comforts of home
Surrounded by something that I have already paid for

I have but one cautionary thought
And that is about Junior
If I think back to my juniorhood
Our family very rarely went on holiday
But I do have very fond memories of the times that we did
Especially one beautifully sunny week
As a 12 year old
Driving a big old long boat through the reeded rivers
Of the Norfolk Broads
And mooring on instruction from dad
At just about every riverside pub
I must not forget that junior sees everything differently

But besides all the usual tricks and traps
That lie in wait when paying for kids stuff
Is the time
I am beset by a modern conundrum
That many people have to deal with
My mother lives in Spain
So one of our weeks…every year…is spent there
My Pa and Mrs Dials Ma live 300 miles up north
They get at least a couple of visits a year
So we have little or nothing left in the tank for ourselves
And lets not forget about Christmas
Only 20 weeks to go