Who would have guessed?

Apparently, tax checks on private hire drivers renewing their licenses are said to be killing the Private Hire Vehicle industry. Before the checks started, there were on average 3,500 renewals a month.

The Tax checks are reducing these numbers in their thousands.

1st April started the rot, followed by May and June. Nearly 7,000 fewer Private Hire Vehicles in London alone.

This should be wonderful news to the taxi trade, but it’s gone virtually unheralded. So, why is the take up of The Knowledge at its lowest point for many decades?

A £70,000 vehicle monopoly and a 12 year age limit across the board on the horizon, plus massive road restrictions across the capital, could be a major part of the problem. Oh! And giving up three to five years of your life to get a qualification that might be considered useless.

I honestly do not know what we have to do for drivers to wake up and smell the coffee. Take-up of the Knowledge of London will only improve if the cab trade is an attractive business proposition.

Johnson’s London Dictionary: Shakespeare’s Globe

SHAKESPEARE’S GLOBE (n.) Eponymous playhouse that’s neither owned by the Bard, nor doth appear spherical.

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

International Caps Lock Day


Today is International Caps Lock Day, you know how it is, start typing an important missive and when looking up to admire your prose you’ve depressed the caps lock key.

International Caps Lock Day was the brainchild of Derek Arnold of Iowa who in 2000 decided that he, like so many other internet users, had simply had enough of people using all caps to emphasize themselves on the web. So he created International Caps Lock Day in the interest of poking fun at people who use this abomination of a typing style and to finally bring some sanity to the Internet.

On mechanical typewriters, you would typically hit both lock and shift at the same time. After this, you pressed shift by itself to release the lock. The upper case character was located above the first on each typebar’s face, and the shift key caused the apparatus in its entirety to move, physically shifting the typebars position relative to the ribbon.

The shift lock key maintained the shift operation indefinitely without continual effort. The typebars were mechanically locked in a shifted position, resulting in the upper character being typed when any key was pressed. This reduced lower finger muscle pain caused by repetitive typing because it could be challenging to hold the shift down for more than two or three consecutive strokes before this.

Because the keyboard had assumed a higher position, it was pretty obvious to the typist that the caps lock had been selected. Today this isn’t the case, you just plough merrily along unaware of your error. It should be mandatory for manufacturers to incorporate a spinning red light and Claxton every time the user depressed that pesky key.

Today there are not one but two International Caps Lock Days. The original on 22nd October, and today 28th June, this time to celebrate the anniversary of the death of Billy Mays aka the ‘Infomercial King’ who was famous for speaking in capitals, shouting into the camera about products he promoted.

London in Quotations: Doris Lessing

London has changed enormously and so have the English in the past decade. They’re more like Americans and more like Europeans, too. They’re always eating out, and when they’re at home they don’t cook the way they did ten years ago. They’re all sitting around in cafés, like the Continentals, drinking coffee and chattering and watching the world go by.

Doris Lessing (1919-2013), interview, The Progressive, June 1999

London Trivia: First blue plaque

On 26 June 1868 today a Blue Plaque to Napoleon III was affixed at 1c King Street, SW1, it was the first ‘Blue’ Plaque to be erected and the first plaque to survive. The plaques made by Minton Hollins were originally brown, but blue became the norm.

On 26 June 1857 the first investiture of the Victoria Cross by Queen Victoria took place in Hyde Park on this Friday. Sixty-two Crimean veterans had the cross pinned on by the monarch

In 1736 gravedigger Thomas Jenkins received 100 lashes for selling dead bodies from St Dunstan & All Saints, Stepney High Street

Dr Johnson had lived at 8 Bolt Court, from 1776-1784, on 26 June 1819 this house which had survived a blaze in 1807 was completely gutted by fire

On Westminster Bridge Road is the entrance to an old station from where passengers took their last journey to Brookwood Cemetery

The Ayrton Light atop Parliament’s Elizabeth Tower (known as Big Ben) shines to show that the House is sitting

When Ellen Terry visited Whistler’s Chelsea studio Oscar Wilde described seeing her arrive in the full regalia of Lady Macbeth

King James I kept elephants in St James’s Park. They were allowed a gallon of wine a day each to get through the English winter

When Queen filmed Bicycle Race promotional video at Wimbledon Stadium with 65 naked female cyclist, cycle hirers demanded saddle replacement

Jubilee Line trains have been decorated for the Jubilee – appropriate really, as line originally named for 1977 one (hence silver on map)

The Castle pub in Farringdon holds a pawnbrokers licence granted by George IV when he left a heirloom in lieu of a gambling loan

During the Great Fire of London, Samuel Pepys buried his prized possession, a chunk of parmesan cheese, in his back garden

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.