Charles Tyson Yerkes. An American financier who in 1900 invested heavily in the the London Underground network. A public transport visionary who died five years later, and has a crater on the Moon named after him. Money makes the world go around.
I was taken on a tour of redundant tunnels of Euston station. It appears that the public in 1962 were just as bombarded by advertisements as they are today. The other people on the tour seem to be transport nerds. They arrive on time, and don't ask stupid questions. I wish the whole rest of the world were nerds.
London has many good pubs, but none near Euston. We go in the King and Queen, on Cleveland Street. It's the bar you've been past a number of times but somehow have never been in. It lies on a negative ley line. Today it is full of fat druids watching the rugby.
Buffet dinner in the Indian YMCA on Fitzroy Street. A building of quality. Authentic, retro, all you can eat, cheap. Five stars.
I used to work in Euston and we had to go up to Mornington Crescent or down to Fitzrovia to find a good pub. That didn't stop us from doing afternoon-long crawls down Hampstead Road to Leicester Square, though. 14 pubs in total if I remember.
+1 to the Indian YMCA. Does Anwar's still exist? That was there when my father used to teach in the area 40 years ago.
Another great cheap eat (perhaps the best) was Malaysia House, that a group of us used to go to.
Maybe one or two during the Potato Famine. Sunday is a good day for St Patrick's Day. A pint of porter in The Harp with the midday March sun in the stained glass windows and, just for a moment, you are in exactly the right place. We walk over to the parade, and there's Sadiq Khan not ten yards away at the head of it. Son of a bus driver from Tooting.
Originally Posted by jalfrezi
Does Anwar's still exist? That was there when my father used to teach in the area 40 years ago.
London dissipates everything. Today's Brexit protest must have been big, however, because people are still walking in the middle of Wardour Street in Luddite pedestrian liberation. Not that they don't have a point, as I have the perma-taste of traffic fumes in my mouth and lungs.
A lady gets in at Olympia, wanting to go to Charing Cross. She has a thick, unpretentious accent. She gets on the phone, just had a job interview, which went well. The interviewer remarked on her integrity, which she liked. It's the company she used to work for, but it's only for area manager, not regional manager like she used to be. But hey:
"Que sera, sera. I believe in what's meant to be. That's a song, do you want me to sing it to ya?"
"It's a tautology, madam."
I can't help it. Happily, she doesn't hear, and starts asking about me.
"What's nine times nine, then? What's twelve times twelve? Alright, you ask me one."
"Nine times eight?"
She gets it, after a couple of goes.
"Ask me annuva."
Seven times eight? Nine times seven? Ask me annuva. Eleven times eleven? Hundred and twenty. Wait, hundred and twenty-one. I'd be a good student, wouldn't I? Loves it. Even when we've arrived, it's go on, one last one, ask me annuva.
I've read Experience, and some bits and pieces. I used to read a lot, but have lost the ability to read. I have tried twice to read both London Fields, and Mother London by Michael Moorcock, and if I ever read another book, it will probably be one of those two.
why dont you fools just get the hell out of the e.u right now.
I don't know. Isn't that what is happening? Apart from the headlines, I tend to avoid the news. I have little understanding of economics. I don't know how to begin to understand it. I'm just trying to survive. Some people are living their lives, and others live in their service. I am on the wrong side of that, and it is difficult to get out of.
It has been busy, and I am having a coffee and bacon roll in the Smithfield Cafe. Not the healthiest of dinners, but I am drawn to the Edward Hopper aesthetic of it all. Cab drivers are in there telling tales of miscommunication. Limehouse instead of Home House, Parsons Green instead of Palmers Green. It makes a change from rehearsing various doomsday scenarios about the perceived demise of their trade.
An aristocratic lady got in earlier on Bishopsgate, and asked to go to Marsden Street, near Pollards Street, somewhere in Bethnal Green. Neither of us knows where it is, because really she wants Mansford Street, near Pollards Row. She is old and wrote it down wrong. We make it, however, and owing to imperfection I offer her a generous discount, which she negotiates upwards to what is probably an accurate price.
Returning back down Bishopsgate, an Irish gentleman dressed in black tie gets in. I ascertain where he wants to go slightly too late to make what would have been the correct left turn onto Camomile Street. I tell him this, and delay turning the meter on.
"No problem. Hey, do you know anywhere I can buy some cufflinks?"
Cufflinks? At 7.55 in the evening in the middle of the City? I look around, and at that precise moment we are driving past some old-time gentlemen's outfitters on Fenchurch Street.
"Maybe they sell them in there, sir."
He comes out with cufflinks about a minute later.
"Hahaha, he was about to put the key in the door to close. We never would have found it going the other way."
I love serendipity - it makes many think there is s God. The Irish included. This is also why I enjoy just dashing about in big cities and see what happens. It never fails to provide entertainment and amusement. An old friend of mine calls it "riding the wave". An apt description. Bangkok is a marvelous city for this type of thing . I'm sure London tops the list also.
I have been attempting to engage passengers by providing interesting facts about their destinations.
"St. George's Square is the only London square next to the river... Durand Gardens, didn't Van Gogh live round here?... You know Carlos the Jackal? He once tried to kill the head of Marks and Spencer in Queen's Grove."
The only change I get is that Lawrence Olivier's father was curate of St. Saviour's church in Pimlico.
A young, American couple ask to go to the Cadogan Hotel.
"That's where Oscar Wilde was arrested."
"He wrote plays."
"What was he arrested for?"
"For being a homosexual."
"He was a ****?"
"Yeah, they locked him up for it. Put him in Reading Gaol."
He did not wear his scarlet coat,
For blood and wine are red,
And blood and wine were on his hands
When they found him with the dead,
The poor dead woman whom he loved,
And murdered in her bed.
The ****ing moralist are infiltrating everywhere and everything, still a Wee bit of freedom on The edges through. I love the bollocks. But don't invade my personal space or I'll have a bunch of solicitors crawling up your ass!!!
Fatigue plays tricks on the mind. Two foreign ladies ask late this evening to go to what I hear as the Hyde Park hotel.
"The Mandarin Oriental? Near Harrods?"
Which used to be called the Hyde Park.
"No, Baker Street."
I don't know the hotel, or why it would be called the Hyde Park, but I head towards Baker Street, where Sherlock Holmes lived. Quite a long street with, not uncommonly, roadworks on it, so you can't drive up all of it. That could be a problem. In broken English, they start talking about landmarks. Are they trying to tell me a landmark close to their hotel? Then the London Business School, in Regents Park. Do you want Park Road, or inside Regents Park?
They want the Landmark Hotel. It's only a great big, five star hotel next to Marylebone station, you ****ing moron.
Always have passengers repeat their requested destination to you Charlie to make sure you heard it right. You may object that people will think you a bit of a dunderhead for doing so but you are very well disguised as an authentic taxi driver, so you are already classed as a bit of a mediocre human with a menial job. And it's not like, as you well know, that you will ever see even 1% of your customers again. You are basically a car whore, like Brain the Mick was, so act like one.
You seem to dash about the spiffy part of London quite a bit, rubbing up against the rich and famous. You have that going for you.
I like being classed as something. That is, I like instantly fitting into people's value systems, prejudices and all. I am so familiar to cops, doormen and tourists that their attention is subliminally diverted elsewhere. There is an immunity and invisibility to it.
An Italian tourist couple outside St. Paul's ask if I mind their taking photos of each other in front of the cab. They delight in taking about five each.
An amateur filmmaker outside King's Cross asks if I'd mind giving my views on camera about Brexit. Like I'm some barometer of public opinion. I don't know much about it. Would I mind saying that on camera? I'd prefer not to.
This blog is not supposed to be about taxi driving at all, but I am finding it difficult to switch off from.