You see some interesting sights around town as a cabbie, that’s a given really. But something I’ve not really touched on before are the people you come across. Not the punters, they are a whole different story, one that can be joyous, annoying & frustrating all in the same journey. No, I’m talking about the big issue sellers, the buskers and the homeless people pushing their lives around in a Sainsbury’s shopping trolley. Big Issue sellers come in all shapes & sizes, a reflection of the fact that all sorts of people can end up on the streets. There’s the guy around Victoria who has perfected a juggling routine with his copies of the Big Issue that is worth a quid just for watching; there’s the transvestite that stands on the corner of the Strand & Aldwych in a fur coat and 1950’s glasses with his lipstick always slightly wonky. Of the buskers, the best (and I’m not sure you can even classify him as a busker) is Carl who can often be seen doing his best /worst Keith Richards impression to bemused commuters around Theobald’s Road. Then there’s a guy who is always working the main rank at Victoria asking for change to buy a cup of tea. Always polite, always in baseball cap & shades, he’ll often stop & chat to drivers, whether they’ve given him some change or not. I like him but always feel guilty when I don’t give him change.
The guy in this picture though is the person I see most often. His particular haunt is around the back at Victoria Station, the Gatwick Express entrance, known to most cabbies as the RAFT. He’s not normally on his own, he always seems to have others with him. I don’t know anything else about him apart from these bare facts, and that he always has his GOD LOVES YOU denim jacket on. Always. But I want to know more about him – I want to know more about all these people that I see around town. I get interesting people in the cab, but the vast majority are pretty run of the mill, and I don’t have the urge to delve deeper into their lives. But these people, these people that I sometimes think could be me in a parallel world, I want to get to get to know them. Get to know about their lives, how they view London,how come they are who they are. And, I here many of you cry, why don’t you? And the answer is simple really; I’m shy, I don’t do conversation that well, not with people I don’t know anyway. Perhaps not something expect to hear from a cabbie, but true none the less. I often think that most cabbies are shy and more than a little socially inept. Some over compensate by talking fifteen to the dozen, some by saying nothing. I’m somewhere in the middle and often find myself tongue tied when faced with an overly confident punter. But enough of my self analysis. All I want to do is throw a bit of light on the more forgotten residents of this city, ones that appear from the outside to be on the periphery but who may feel that they are exactly where they want to be in life. And that’s sort of my point really, without talking to these people and getting to know them , none of us know for sure do we? It’s easy to make assumptions about people but I’d rather not, what I really want to do is give myself a good shake and go out and properly meet these people. And then, maybe, I’ll find out if god really does love me.