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Talk me some Knowledge


We took the train into London for a guitar gig tonight, which was nice. We treated ourselves to a cab from Victoria Station, which was very nice. A cab here is an expensive treat.

The black cabs of London are famous. Only licensed black cabs (which aren’t always black, but are always blocky square things — notably Fairways) may legally pick up passengers in the street in London (notice boards encourage you to narc on cheaters). And getting a license here is more difficult than in any other city in the world. Drivers are required to have an intimate familiarity with roads throughout the city and be able to route around traffic hotspots on the fly. This is called The Knowledge. Google it! A driver will typically study for several years before he first attempts the oral exam, and it usually takes it a dozen tries before he aces it.

The Knowledge has been a requirement since the hackney cabs of the middle 19th Century. Seems a little superfluous in the GPS era, but the cabs are clean spacious and have cool stuff like TVs and credit card swiper dinguses. And, traditionally, talkative drivers. Ours chattered through an intercom at us about the difficulty of making a living where rich people prefer their own drivers. London is a real class envy sort of town.


No, the Colgate ad is not a Photoshop job.

Anyhoo, it’s almost 2 in the am here and I’m on the sleepy side of a bottle of fizz. Still haven’t got the wifi going. Tomorrow we head for the coast, so now for a sammich and bed and better luck with that tomorrow.

May 16, 2007 — 7:57 pm
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