Johnson’s London Dictionary: Mobile phone

MOBILE PHONE (n.) Elecktronic device which Londoners habitually peruse when promenading the city whilst ignoring obstructions.

Dr. Johnson’s London Dictionary for publick consumption in the twenty-first century avail yourself on Twitter @JohnsonsLondon

A blank white space

Every day on my Apple Note app I get to stare at a blank white rectangle. Sometimes a few ideas enter my consciousness, on other days all I see is that white rectangle and wonder how best to fill it.

My SwiftKey app (thank you Bill Gates), offers me the use of 26 letters, plus a plethora of numbers, punctuation, signs and emojis, which I can arrange in a variety of different orders, some of which might even make sense.

Along with the text I could chuck in some web links, I could even throw in some pictures, but the space is all mine to fill in any way I choose.

Today is one of those white rectangle days, I could…

… write something almost original that will be linked to websites around the world (London’s top secret tower)

… write something prosaic about my life that doesn’t even raise one comment (Where Are We?)

… write something that gives me personal blog satisfaction (statistics 2021)

… copy a chunk of witty text off someone else’s site and modify it, in the hope that everyone thinks I wrote it (Metacognition)

… republish something I wrote on here many years ago in the hope that nobody notices it’s a repeat (Previously posted: Weather we care)

… list a lot of other websites that have come up with something much more interesting than anything I could think of (London links)

… write just nine paragraphs that take all evening to compose (A period of inactivity)

… write something with spelling or grammatical mistakes that people will delight in picking me up (Everyone is entitled to my opinion)

… write something controversial that ends up getting lots of derogatory comments (ULEZ Zone)

… write something controversial merely to try to get lots of comments, derogatory or otherwise (ULEZ Zone)

… write something cathartic that gives readers an insight into myself (Why won’t the blog just write itself?)

… write something that will be ignored by everyone on the world wide web (Cabbie’s dead end)

… write something that is not particularly about London, but it fills a slot (Search Me!)

… just fill the space by writing something about writing something – although I’d never do that, of course, because it would be cheap and easy (A blank white space)

A blog is a blank canvas ready and waiting each day to be filled by something – anything. The only limits here are time, imagination and one’s creative ability. The best blogs are those where you know the theme, but never quite know what angle someone’s going to find to post next, but you know that whatever it is, it’s probably worth reading.

They’re the blogs you go back and read time and time again, and as you’ve reached the end of this rather self-indulgent post I suggest you are willing to read and return to this little corner of the cyberverse.

I like writing my blog because I never quite know what’s going to pop up in my thoughts and what I’m going to write next either.

There you go, that’s another daily white rectangle filled. I wonder what I’m going to write tomorrow…

London in Quotations: James Boswell

London is undoubtedly a place where men and manners may be seen to the best advantage.

James Boswell (1740-1795)

London Trivia: Father of modern philanthropy

On 26 March 1862 to repay the ’courtesy, kindness and confidence’ he had received from the British public American banker George Peabody announced the creation of a fund that carries his name. Designed to ameliorate the condition of the poor and needy of London, from the first estate in Spitalfields opening in 1864 Peabody Estates now houses more than 70,000 Londoners. Born poor in Massachusetts he is today regarded as the ‘father of modern philanthropy’.

On 26 March 1973 women were finally allowed on the trading floor of the London Stock Exchange for the first time in the institution’s 200 year history

HMP Wormwood Scrubs was built by its inmates, nine inmates built 50 cells, then more inmates joined and built more cells to house even more etc, etc

Tins of Old Holborn rolling tobacco once featured a drawing of the front of Staple Inn, Holborn one of the last timber framed building left in London

Poet Shelly met second wife Mary, author of Frankenstein, in St Pancras Old Church graveyard where she visited her parents’ tomb

Margaret Thatcher used to stand on a chair in her Commons room to check the top of the door. “It’s the way you know if a room’s really been cleaned.”

Wyndham’s theatre programme 1940: ‘In the interests of public health this theatre is disinfected with Jeyes Fluid’

Hamley’s toy store was founded by Cornishman William Hamley in 1760, first named Noah’s Ark and sited in Holborn

Harold Abrahams (Chariots of Fire) from Golders Green won gold at the 1924 Paris Olympics, the first European to win an Olympic sprint title

Gordon Selfridge wanted Bond Street tube renamed Selfridges Station but he couldn’t persuade the Underground’s managing director to agree

Constantia Philips, a retired courtesan, opened London’s first sex shop in 1732. Her “preservatives” – condoms – were hugely popular

On 26 March 2014 Sesame Street star Kermit the Frog was made Honorary Bridge Master of Tower Bridge by the City of London

CabbieBlog-cab.gifTrivial Matter: London in 140 characters is taken from the daily Twitter feed @cabbieblog.
A guide to the symbols used here and source material can be found on the Trivial Matter page.

Previously Posted: A tale of two cities

For those new to CabbieBlog or readers who are slightly forgetful, on Saturdays I’m republishing posts, many going back over a decade. Some will still be very relevant while others have become dated over time. Just think of this post as your weekend paper supplement.

A tale of two cities (23.02.2010)

Our first city is at the cutting edge of information technology providing multi-lingual customer services to the world, while the second is struggling to provide high speed broadband access for its customers. One is taking its population out of poverty with the Globalization and World Cities Study Group ranking it as an “Alpha world city”, while its counterpart has a rising unemployment rate of 9.4 per cent of the workforce with increasing numbers are reliant on the State.

The first city was placed seventh in the list of “Top Ten Cities for Billionaires” by Forbes magazine and first in terms of those billionaires’ average wealth. The other’s economy is not so rosy with the government forecasting its debt will soar to an eye-watering £1.1 trillion by 2011.

The emerging city’s transport has 11 million passenger movements a day on its rail and bus services, in comparison with about half of that number who have to endure delay and breakdowns with the other city’s aged transport infrastructure.

With 24,000 cabs providing transport for the older city’s 7 million population the emerging city’s population of 14 million inhabitants are having their aging fleet of 55,000 cabs replaced, unfortunately in the older city, whose cabbies have been licensed for over 350 years, they have to provide a service with much older vehicles due to their extortionate replacement prices.

Similarly both provide a rickshaw mode of transport. One regulated by price and service provided by operators who know their city like the back of their hand, the other’s rickshaws are vastly overpriced, unregulated (charging what they think they can get away with) and, driven by foreign “students” who’s inability to speak the native tongue is match by their navigational skills around a city founded by the Romans.
Drivers in the city of the sub-continent sound their horn at every opportunity and in some ways this is where there are similarities with drivers in the older city following suit.

As the excellent Channel 4 series of programmes entitled Indian Winter showed, Bombay (or as the BBC insists on calling it, contrary to what it’s known to the inhabitants, Mumbai) has many lessons which we Londoner’s could learn. Could it be that Bombay’s emerging dynamism has positioned it in a far more advantageous place in the world’s economy?

With London appearing in a downward spiral and Bombay’s pulling itself up by their bootstraps it’s only a matter of time until the former colonial power is overtaken by its former colony.

We Londoners consider ourselves to be citizens of the world’s most influential city, true it still has a lot to offer its residents but is now under threat from emerging economies as never before, but at least we have recently adopted the curry as our favourite meal.

Taxi Talk Without Tipping

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