Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Some class A drugs

"You lookin' at me? You lookin' at me?!"
Those immortal words from Robert de Niro in Taxi Driver came back to haunt me on Monday.
I had just enjoyed a rare More Beer Monday session with Withers in which we discussed the Wonderful One's recent press freebee to Rotterdam.
The way I understand it his brief Hiatus in Holland was spent mainly travelling from club to club drinking strong beer and holding court with members of the Doncaster Free Press and a travel website in deepest west Wales.
It finished with a four-hour session at Amsterdam airport before the journey home, so he was only reasonably with-it when we met up at the Yard.
Following a few swift pints and a final fling in the City Arms, where we had the jukebox to ourselves and revisited old music classics like Tom Robinson's 2-4-6-8 Motorway and Egyptian Reggae by Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers, we parted in a reasonably fit state, though to me a bus was out of the question.
Then came the nightmare journey home. Climbing into a black cab at the St Mary's Street rank I was faced with a tough-looking dude who fancied himself as a cross between Biggie Smalls and 50p (well, that's the English version of 50 cent according to the Roberts lexicon of music). Still having "a buzz on" after five pints of watery Carling, I gave him a beaming smile and told him the address. He glared.
Before I had time to fix my seatbelt we did a 180-degree turn, brakes squealing like something out of the film XXX or the Sweeney. After that it was a hair-raising ride as we joined the bus lane and sped at 70 miles per hour before screaching to a halt behind the no 45 to St Mellons.
Finally I plucked up the courage. "Do you mind slowing down a bit, please, and not overtaking on the inside?" I asked in my politest voice.
"Hey man, you a taxi driver? Didn't think so. See that sign? taxis and buses. So don't speak til you know what you're talking 'bout."
There then came another glare, and a violent scratching of the right arm. Coke? Heroin? He was certainly jumping out of his skin.
Eventually we wheel-spun to a halt outside the house. I looked through my wallet. Sh**!
"Can you change a £20 note?"
"No man. You my first fare, man. You gotta have something smaller."
I searched through my pockets. Nothing. Nada. I dropped my phone in the haste to stop this gangbanger pulling out his weapon and plugging me full of holes.
"What can I do?" I looked at him despairingly.
"I'll drive you up to de pub up the road. You can go in and get change."
I did as I was told. If he didn't get a wrap of crack soon he was gonna blow. I ran into the Crofts, not the most salubrious of local drinking haunts, and straight to the bar.
"Hey mate, I've got a nutter of a taxi driver who can't change £20. Can you help?" I pleaded.
Luckily the barman could see my growing sense of panic. "Sure mate," he said, and got me the required change.
I passed it through the window. "Thanks, mate," said the gangbanger, nice as pie. And off he screeched into the distance. If I was his first fare I'd hate to see his last after six hours without his fix.

I had the big interview today for the new Meeja Wales regime. I've applied for the job of Executive Editor, and did my homework on Saturday night, writing down a host of ideas of how I would take on the new role.
Today I went to find my notes, which I had saved in microsoft word on my desktop. There they were, intelligently named "Interview Notes".
I called them up.
Now I am not sure the Editor in Chief in Meeja Wales has got the recipe for Indian Paneer Curry, but if he wants it he just has to contact me. He will find it on a Microsoft Word document on my desktop. It is titled "Interview Notes".
Where the real notes got to is beyond me, but I think I tap danced through the interview ok. Our Human Resources guru, whose first name appears to be just a string of initials, saw the funny side. "Struggles a bit with technology," he wrote on the form in front of him. Doh!

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