Seems my last posting created a bit of a stir on the board of a well known knowledge school. It seems that because I mentioned the fact that the price of diesel fuel is on the increase and that I'd had a couple of shaky fares that things are not well in the cab trade. Sorry boys and girls, just stating facts. If however, you read other entries on these pages you'll see that most of the time, things are pretty good.
It seems that my view on the new Mercedes taxi-van are fairly similar to everyone but the people who are trying to sell them. It'll be hard to see too many people paying the same price for one of these things as a traditional cab, and with electric doors and a button to give rear wheel steering there's an awful lot more things that will need servicing and repairing. Think I'll continue with the rented TX2 with its brand new stickers advertising some financial service or another for now and leave the vans to the minicab boys.
Thanks to family commitments I was only able to get out on Saturday last weekend, starting off with a little job from Liverpool Street to Waterloo. From there I picked up immediately off the rank (lots of punters and no cabs) going to Greenwich Market. Nice start to the day. Didn't really have too many long periods of sitting around on ranks, other than at the Mandeville Hotel where three jobs came out, all with people and their luggage with LHR tags on. Sadly though, every one of them had a pre-booked mini-cab. In the past I've seen one of the doormen there running up the road to find one of the mincabs parked up in Manchester Square, so I know where I'll not be ranking up in future. Perhaps one of their "friendly" mini cab firms would like to take the jobs that are only going to Regents Park from now on.
Most of the jobs were fairly short after the trip to Greenwich, but it was fairly steady, especially with people going to the Hard Rock festival at Hyde Park. I picked up one couple from the Sanderson Hotel, going to the QEQM Gate on Park Lane. They were telling me that they had been at Glastonbury that morning and that it is one of the "Must do before you die" events. I told them "Perhaps a few years ago before it sold its soul". I've done festivals, indoor and outdoor, big and small gigs and I just feel that some of these events are now becoming a jolly for people other than those who really enjoy the music so that they can use it as one of their "I bought the T-shirt" fashion statements. And I told them that I thought that the whole thing has been hijacked by big money sponsorship to the exclusion of the people who were the lifeblood of the summer festivals.
Eventually it came out that they were one of the sponsors of the event, but we had a good chat about how sponsorship of these "fashionable" events is killing the smaller music venue. If people really care about music and not just "Greatness by association" then why are so many small pubs and clubs struggling to fill for live music events? The same thing happened with football in this country and it's all about the money. Some of the backing needs to be filtered down to the grass roots so that we can build up what was at one time one of our greatest industries.
Anyway, enough of that particular rant for now. I'm off to either WOMAD or the Rhythm Festival before they get too big for discomfort. (btw I went to see a singer/songwriter at the Troubadour in Old Brompton Road on Monday Night. Billy Franks has been around for a few years - previously with the Faith Brothers but is still turning out some fantastic stuff. Check him out if you get a chance, and look out for his new film "Tribute This" which is currently being premiered in the USA.)
I took the new Sat Nav system out with me in case of any long distance runs but it wasn't needed, other than as something to check some of my past lines where people have moaned about the routes. Most of the time the Sat Nav agreed with the routes I've taken (which doesn't necessarily make them right) or I've been fairly close. One thing I did find was that the planning of routes might be quite useful, except for where it sends you northbound along Tabernacle Street to go straight across Great Eastern Street and into Pitfield Street. I've supposedly got the most up to date maps but the top of Tabernacle Street has been paved over for at least a year, and would result in no small embarrassment for anyone trying to take that particular route. And it would have cost them a fortune in tyres and suspension to try to get over the two raised kerbs.
The only time I did consult TomTom was when someone asked for a particular number on Sussex Gardens. It gave me a rough location of the building (albeit on the wrong side of the road) and saved me the bother of having to drive up and down the whole length of the street to find it. Of course had I not quizzed the Sat Nav for the location I would have found my way to the centre and worked from there.
I had a short night out last night while my wife and daughter went to the Open Air Theatre in Regents Park. The Tom Tom stayed inside its little pouch all the time I was working, including the two long-ish jobs I had to Mortlake from Regent Street and to a little road off of Tulse Hill from Embankment Place.
I had to cut my evening short to pick up the family from Romeo and Juliet, a real shame since there were lots of people with their hands out as the gig at Hyde Park started kicking out, and then again as I got to The Inner Circle as the theatre finished.
At least I've got all of this weekend to ignore the Sat Nav again and rely on The Knowledge.
PS - I've just spell checked the document. There may be a few mistakes but having spell checked and proof-read the football fanzine I produced a few years ago it's a lot easier (albeit very lazy of me) to humbly beg you to ignore teh pedant in you when it comes to grammar, spelling and sense. This doesn't always work well, as with the poster by Rochester Bridge advertising the news that Medway's Charles Dickens festival is to improve. Surely a newspaper advertising hoarding should be spell-checked, especially when it comes up with words like this.