I blame the messenger. I always blame the messenger. I mean, look at him. He's got stupid messenger hair and a fat hand. I hate him. It's rarely anyone's fault but the messenger. He's an idiot. Weirdly, you never blame the messenger. You and the messenger are fucking BFF's, aren't you? Oh, you and the fucking messenger up a tree, m-e-s-s-a-g-i-n-g or something. Why do you like the messenger so much? I actually want to shoot the messenger. I want to put a gun in his eye and shoot him. All messengers are a dick. Couriers, receptionists, street urchins, Hotmail, Twitpic, post-it notes, graffiti, newsreaders (but not postmen. Postmen are cool). There is no need for any of these things. They're useless. Especially newsreaders. We know it's all shit. Why are telling us all the time? Weirdly though, I like cab drivers.
Cab drivers are, by tradition, bastards. Of course, they start very young and happy and full of great ideas of how to improve the cab industry (skill, knowledge, hygiene) but after just a few days of working with members of the drunk, stupid public their brains die and they become granite. I met a really lovely cab driver once. Well, he was lovely then, I can't imagine he is now. I was at a late night party and, as it was about 9am, I thought it was probably time to go home. One of the other party revellers (I don't name his name, let's call him Zethquin) also lived in Clapham so we agreed to share a cab. I sat in the front and chatted to the cab driver while Zethquin sat in the back and remained eerily quiet. The cab driver was just lovely. We talked about the cultural significance, but not the skill, of George Best and great sci-fi films. He joked about everything I liked. He was my dream cab driver who only lost his cool for half a second when he heard a splash from the back seat. I assured the lovely, lovely cab driver that Zethquin had simply spilled a bottle of water and was cleaning it up. I had to say something because Zethquin was so drunk he couldn't talk and I couldn't tell him the truth because Zethquin had puked in the hood of the coat the cab driver was wearing.
We got out, paid, left a very good tip and waved a cheery goodbye. I know it was wrong but the cab driver was so utterly lovely that there's no way I could turn to him and tell him that he's wearing a hood full of sick.
We all have our memories of the day Princess Diana died. That is genuinely mine.
If you get into a cab in the next few days and the cab driver is a complete bastard, that might be my fault. Or at the very least Zethquin's.
But I can't fully blame myself or Zethquin. And you shouldn't blame yourself for any horror you've flung at a cab driver in the past. We are not the only reason why cab drivers have become social turds. I blame the messenger.
I fully realise that you have to be fuckthick stupid to qualify for the job of answering phones in a cab office but the half-man I spoke to last night just took the piss. Bertie Jenner, the young and offensive comedian, and I needed a cab to take us from the Hammersmith Apollo (where we were obviously doing a gig. Obviously. I was headliner) to the Cutty Sark (where Bertie apparently lives) and then my house (where I definitely live). I called a London based cab company that specialises in knowing London really well and taking people from one part of London to another part of London. This is what happened:
"Hello. Can I order a cab, please, to pick me up from the Hammersmith Apollo?"
"Where in Hammersmith?"
"The Hammersmith Apollo".
"Er...outside of it?"
"Where in Hammersmith?"
"The Hammersmith Apollo".
"What's is the Address?"
"I don't know the address. Sorry".
"You need the address. How is the driver supposed to know where to pick you up?"
"Because it's the Hammersmith Apollo".
"Is that a church?"
"Funnily enough, no. It's a venue. A big music venue. It has Stephen K. Amos's face all over it".
Bertie looked up the address on his iPhone and I managed, though it was a mental battle, to relay the correct information to him.
"Ok. Where to?"
"The Cutty Sark".
"What is the address?"
"The Cutty Sark doesn't have an address, it's just The Cutty Sark. Right. Cutty Sark Greenwich train station. How's that?"
"Not even close. The Cutty Sark Greenwich train station. The DLR".
"What is the DLR?"
"It's the train at Greenwich".
"What does DLR stand for?"
"What possible difference can that make? If you have never heard of it and have no concept of what it is, what will knowing what DLR stands for achieve? It stands for David Lee Roth. It's the Cutty Sark Greenwich David Lee Roth Station we'd like to be dropped off at, please*".
"And the other drop off?"
"16 Durham Close. You've probably never heard of it".
That is my real address and I fully encourage you to drop by anytime, night or day. The cab driver turned up and he was angry. That's no surprise. Cab drivers are angry because some of us throw up in their hoods and the joy just leaves their bodies. But no. The cab driver spent the first 5 minutes cursing the dick that answered the phone and relayed the journey to him. After struggling to get information into his empty head he then just gave the cab driver a bunch of random places. "He's an idiot", said the cab driver. "I hate him". Isn't that nice? The cab driver is one of us really because, look! He hates that dick on the phone. Just like we do. The dick that ended up telling the cab driver that we wanted to go all around London and at some point stop in North Greenwich. The only place he got right was my house which is, of course, at 16 Durham Close.
Why not tip the cab driver a bit extra this week? Maybe even kiss him. Or write her a poem? (Some taxi men are women, remember?) Or just say "I love you" with your eyes. They'll get the message.
* I didn't say that bit which is a real shame.