I’m finally starting to engage with women’s football. The women are certainly less irritating than the men. Watching the Women’s World Cup matches on TV I haven’t seen anyone wearing headphones, whole sleeves of tattoos, or stupid haircuts. And they’re not rolling around every five minutes as if they’ve been shot. Go Lionesses! (at the time of writing Scotland haven’t been sent home yet, but it shouldn’t be long for them to keep up with tradition).
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I’m delighted to announce that last night I completed my book manuscript. I started it about five years’ ago. I wrote it part-time, and there was about a year when I didn’t touch it at all: I just never had the time when I was working as a Knowledge Examiner at TF Hell (and they wouldn’t have allowed me to publish anything mentioning them).
I’ve emailed the whole 93,200 words off for proof-reading and eventual book production. It’ll need formatting for book layout, cover design, &c. As I’m publishing it myself I have total control over all aspects of production.
I’ll post updates on the book’s production; and I’ll put up some outtakes (probably including my Brexit Rant chapter, which didn’t make the finished manuscript).
As an amuse bouche, here’s the contents list:
1) The Knowledge
2) Butter Boy
3) My Personal Revolution
4) Back on the Cab
5) How it all Works
7) Know Your Enemy
8) When Things go Wrong
10) Back on the Cab (again)
11) Examiner 2
12) The Years of Change
14) The Future
Appendix A: Q&A
Appendix B: Knowledge Boy Tips
One of my celebrity cab customers over the last few years was Nicky Morgan MP, whom I found a pleasant and polite lady. As a qualified careers adviser I followed her move to Minister for Education with interest.
Recently, she’s been lamenting the downfall of quality impartial careers advice in school (we have the Labour party to thank for the de-professionalisation of the careers service about ten years’ ago). Interestingly, she criticised the promotion of academic learning at the expense of vocational learning, such as apprenticeships. Good luck in getting impartial careers advice back into schools, but schools will resist any move towards impartial advice, or the promotion of anything that takes bums off seats in their precious sixth forms. How I remember trying to do such a thing as a probationary careers adviser at Mereway School in Northampton. The headmaster called me into his office. He told me bluntly that he was trying to build his sixth form up and that Northampton College (of further education) could do their own publicity. He didn’t want to see me handing out college prospectuses (prospecti?). It was a traumatic event. He damn near gave me the cane – something I experienced back at my Essex Comprehensive. I wish I could remember the c***s name, but I can’t. I didn’t work in his school much more after that, and my disillusionment with what was left of the careers service, and the so-called professional world, in general, started to take hold.
Sadly, even when schools aren’t trying to shape people’s lives with their twisted agendas, society tells youngsters that apprenticeships aren’t as good as academic courses. Middle class kids are brainwashed into thinking they have to go to university to succeed – and make their parents proud (the bigger factor here). Someone going into plumbing or hairdressing can strive to start their own businesses and not end up like those boring drones who I drive around from meeting to meeting in the City. Or drive home with a stop off for a meal-for-one).
Had I done an apprenticeship I might be able to do something useful. My several years of academic wankery were great fun, but you wouldn’t ask me to put shelves up, or put up a light fitting without electrocuting myself. I wouldn’t be able to hang wallpaper – though in fairness I could write a passable short story about it. Considering the largest part of my portfolio career is driving a cab it’s a bit shameful that what goes on under the bonnet still remains a mystery. My two degrees are useless when my cab starts making funny noises and I’m at the mercy of blokes at the garage who know how things work in a practical way.
Anyway, this is about the only time I’ve written about careers since leaving Connexions Northamptonshire six years’ ago. It was quite a nice company called Career Path, before the government fucked it up. I left before I was pushed, took voluntary redundancy, and went back on the cab. I’ve always had problems with authority and driving and writing suits me better.
(It’s late at night, I’ve just done a day in London, and I’m tired. Please excuse any bad spelling, grammar, or any other issues that I could have ironed out with more judicious editing).
I am delighted to have recently returned to TfL as a Knowledge of London Examiner. This is a temporary assignment for six weeks (possibly to be extended). The sad thing is that the powers that be have made it clear that my media activities must cease while I am in their employ. This means I can not publish any more magazine articles; whether they are about taxis, the Knowledge, or anything else, however unrelated. I can not be drawn into any discussion of TfL.
To all my loyal followers – all 34 of you – please understand if I don’t respond to comments about cabs, the Knowledge, or TfL. I read all comments from cab drivers and Knowledge Boys. Please don’t think I’m ignoring you.
I have a piece coming out in CallOver Knowledge magazine, that I submitted before I joined TfL. After that, it’ll just be little pieces on this blog. Not that I have much time for writing after getting up at 5am, and getting home at 8.30 – with some weekend work on top.
I’d like it recorded that I am being well treated by the regime, and that our Glorious Leader, Boris, is a top man.
(excerpt of article written for CallOver magazine).
An interesting job in the cab taking an elderly American couple from Bloomsbury to the All England Tennis Club in Wimbledon, where they were intending to take a guided tour. They were over from Salt Lake City and asked a lot of questions, as Americans often do, ie. “what’s this little town called?” (Battersea). Anyway it was a nice job, with £46 on a credit card.
Time for lunch. I’m always anxious when it’s gone noon I’m a long way from the cab caffs at Southwark, Paddington or Pancras. I could have gone to MacDonald’s at Wandsworth, but I only went to Maccy Ds a few days’ ago, and one burger a week is enough for me. It was Sunday and I found I could park easily enough in Southfields. It’s an upmarket area and I couldn’t find anywhere suitable to eat within my price range. I don’t usually go into pubs on work days as I’d get too comfortable, and seeing people relaxing and enjoying themselves would depress me. There was no Spoons anyway, and an entry-level meal in another pub was about £11. A bit out of my comfort zone for a workday lunch, so I popped over to an over-priced American coffee shop to use the lav while I considered my next move.
Coming out of the loo I was tempted by a tuna baguette thing. The European girl serving took the sandwich from me and put it under a toasting contraption. I wasn’t sure whether I had to wait for it, or whether someone would bring it over. I indicated I’d return for it. I got my large cappuccino and sat down. Tension mounted as I didn’t know how long my sandwich would take to cook: two minutes? Ten?? I still find it strange that you select a sandwich from the display, and it needs to be cooked.
After a few minutes later I went back to the counter. The lady – a “barista” – I believe they are called – was now dealing with a seemingly never ending queue of people. Had she forgotten about my sandwich? Should I butt in and risk upsetting the queuing punters? Instead, I waited patiently until she noticed me. She didn’t notice me. In the end I had to ask her about my sandwich after everyone had been served. She then said she’d need to make a new one as it had burned!
A toasted sandwich and a coffee cost me £7. Seven quid for a large mug of stress and humiliation!