In mid-life David Styles started a journey of discovering London, embarking on a five-year journey learning The Knowledge of London and unearthing facts along the way unknown to many Londoners. Once qualified he would meet, among others, Grayson Perry dressed as Little Bo Peep and the Archbishop of York on the eve of a Royal Wedding.
Part memoir with useful tips on increasing your memory; part manual on how to pass The Knowledge enabling you to join the ranks of the world’s finest cab service; and part London tourist guide. Everyone Is Entitled To My Opinion takes you on a cabbie’s journey from working in an ancient industry facing redundancy to confronting Knowledge examiner, the feared, Mr Ormes.
He discovers how trees were planted in 1399 specifically to repair Westminster Hall’s roof some 500 years later, discloses that a Tory MP confused the Liberal Club with a public toilet, shows why maps are a work of fiction and advises that, for the sake of your health, you really shouldn’t queue outside Madame Tussauds. Where, should you wish, buy American postage stamps, finds Dick Whittington’s cat and seeks out the ancient London Stone.
Boris Johnson gets to be interviewed and the book explains why all London cabbies are obliged to carry a health certificate, at any time, not just when Boris is a passenger, and just what is behind those cabbie green shelters.
A London cabbie for over 25 years, David Styles, writing under the pseudonym Gibson Square (the first ‘Run’ on The Knowledge), has written about London on CabbieBlog.com since June 2008, and his blog has been read by over 1.4 million; he was features editor at Radio Taxis; he has contributed to Time Out, Metro, Evening Standard, Mail on Line, National Geographic; and The Spirit of London, a book presented to Her Majesty the Queen and given to all athletes competing in the London 2012 Olympics. He also appeared in the BBC documentary A Picture of London.
Everyone Is Entitled To My Opinion is his first book, available free on Kindle Unlimited or may be downloaded for £4.49, the paperback is modesty priced at £8.99 should you prefer that rather quaint method of reading.
Gavin from New Zealand writes:
I am a Kiwi and served in the London Ambulance Service from 1980-85. I used the cabs regularly. When I came back for a holiday in 2014, I got all our party to use them. Convenient, cheap and took you right to the doorstep of your destination. But the best part is the banter. If you were in David’s cab and he was giving you a commentary like in this book, I wouldn’t want to leave his cab. “The Knowledge” study and test have some intrigue and romanticism about them. David finally sets the record straight in a most enlightening and humorous manner. London is one big history book, far too big to ever be published. If David was my history teacher, I wouldn’t have given up. His explanations of maps, beehives on hotel roofs, trivia and where cabbies go to pee and eat, are all in this book. I couldn’t put this book down. Cheekily written from the heart and the brain.