Pale, male and frail

In the early years of this century, it seemed everyone and his dog were writing a blog. So many were written about areas, now referred annoyingly as ‘communities’, that I compiled a page entitled London Links which amounted to over 100 entries. Today many of those links now disappear into cyber-space, or the sites haven’t been updated for years.

Scanning down this year’s top 100 London Bloggers in 2020 I found that CabbieBlog was ranked at 61. Now, here’s what piqued my interest (apart from the vanity trip, and finding that CabbieBlog was languishing near the bottom), by far the majority of these popular sites featured lifestyle and were written by young women, in fact at least 37, and considering many others were corporate, it would seem over half were written for a young, mainly female audience.
Now, most of these gave the name of the author, usually with a picture of a fresh-faced millennial to reinforce its authenticity that the blog was for younger female visitors.

So it would seem this demographic is still interested in this kind of personal engagement, while older men have moved on to another fad.

In London the enduring blogs lasting over a decade or more seem to be written by those who are pale, male and frail, I’m guessing here, also, unlike the younger ladies, many publish under a synonym. Spitalfields Life by The Gentle Author; Diamond Geezer by himself; at CabbieBlog yours truly writes under Gibson Square; Pigeon Blog is cleverly composed by Brian the Pigeon; the Wandering Scotsman waxes lyrical on London is Cool; Ian Visits apparently is named after its author, Ian; and the possible exception is Annie Mole’s London Underground written since 2003, although not recently, by a woman, who clearly cannot by a millennial.

Blogs written by younger women are read by this particular demographic, I can’t for the life of me see myself reading the Heroine in Heels site. So who reads these older sites often written under a synonym? This is the question for today. Is it only the authors who are pale, male and frail, or are also their readers?

London Trivia: The Beatles debut album

On 22 March 1963 the Beatles debut studio album, Please, Please Me was released. After discovering that the Cavern Club in Liverpool was unsuitable for live recording purposes they recorded live at EMI Studios in Abbey Road. At 10:00 am on Monday, 11 February 1963, the Beatles began working their way through their live set song by song, the number of takes varying on each, and finished at 10:45 pm – less than 13 hours later.

On 22 March 1888 the English Football League was formed at a meeting instigated by Aston Villa of 12 clubs in the Anderton Hotel, Fleet Street

The average weight of a City of London policeman in the early 20th century was twenty-two stone, we have no record of their current size

A clock tower in Market Road N7 is all that remains of the market which replaced Smithfield as London’s live cattle market in 1855

According to the burial register at St. Leonard’s Church, Shoreditch Thomas Cam died in 1588 at the ripe old age of 207

On 22 March 1963 The Secretary of State for War, John Profumo, denied any impropriety with the model, Christine Keeler

Itchycoo Park (recorded by the Small Faces) is actually Manor Park Cemetery, Sebert Road, Forest Gate and not some bucolic scene

On Tower Hill is an entrance to the 1870 Tower Subway, there you could ride under the river in a carriage pulled by cable

Harold Thornton invented table football in 1922 attempting to recreate Spurs with a box of matches, play it at Bar Kick, Shoreditch High Street

A 2011 study suggested 30 per cent of passengers take longer routes due to the out-of-scale distances on the Tube map

Vine Street, Spitalfields was where John Dolland of Dolland and Aitchison opened his optical workshop in the 1740s

On 22 March 1942 London’s Warship Week was launched in Trafalgar Square with the aim to raise £125m to fund the war, the first day it raised £27 million

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.

Bizarre requests made of London Cabbies

Cabbies in London get to see all walks of life. In fact, you never quite know who you’ll get in the back of your cab or how they’ll behave. Some passengers ask very little of you as a taxi driver, just to be taken from A to B safely and within good time. However, there are others that are just a little more demanding or at times, outright bizarre.

Leading taxi insurance broker, insureTAXI asked 220 London cabbies to reveal the strangest requests they’ve ever got from passengers and they came up with these fantastic tales. From transporting budgies to visiting the crematorium at midnight, these taxi drivers truly went beyond the call of duty.

Can I bring my budgie?

“Had a customer ask me if she could bring her budgie, told her that she could as long as she kept hold of it. Well, she didn’t and when I broke hard for a car that pulled out in front of me the cage went flying. The door flew open and the bird was flying around my car with her daughter screaming her head off!! The customer had to climb in the back to try and catch it.” Steve (St Albans, Hertfordshire)

Have I just bought a black cab?

“On my way home but with my light still on and the early hours of the morning a guy waves me down and asks if I would take him to somewhere in deepest Kent (forget now exactly where) after 45 minutes he asks: could I in any way slow down the meter; or could I drive slower? I say to him that would make no difference to the metered fare. He was I think just happy to be getting home, after about 50 minutes or so his phone rings and it was his wife asking where he was: “Be home in about 20 minutes Luv” he says and, “Oh, by the way, take your car out of the garage, I think I’ve have just bought a black-cab”. By Colin (now in Thailand)

I need my charger . . . it’s in my car!

“Had a lad ask me to take him on a 40-mile round trip just to collect his phone charger from his car. This was a £50 fare from the bar he had been drinking at! When I explained the cost he insisted that it was important and that he didn’t mind. I’m sure he could have waited to make some other arrangement the next day” Ali (Central London)

Quick! I’m live on air in 9 minutes

“I once was asked to take an MP to a TV broadcast 9 minutes before he was live on air with Paxton on Newsnight! No pressure I thought. We made it with less than a few seconds to spare.” Anonymous (Central London)

I want a divorce!

“I once took a couple of arguing newlyweds home from their night do and the bride asked to be dropped off at her parents as she did not want to go home with her new husband and wanted a divorce.” Tahir (Croydon, East London)

Secret midnight cremation

“Back in the 80s, I was asked to take a male and a female, dressed in Gothic fashion to the local Crematorium late at Night. I said, hesitantly, “what actually inside the grounds?!”I mean I’m sorry to ask but why do want to go there this late at night?” “Yes!” she said. Nervously, I drove into the grounds of the Crematorium, shaking, fearing I was going to face some ritualistic ceremony…it was getting darker and darker until suddenly I saw the lights of a house and breathed a great sigh of relief. The female passenger explained they’d been in a timepiece having a laugh and been invited to a friends’ party whose house happened to be inside the grounds of the crematorium. The man, whose identity is still a complete mystery, paid the fare, and wrote “thank you for a great ride, love Alf” in my notebook.” Rasheed (Chelmsford, Essex)

This is a Guest Post by Tim Crighton director of taxi insurance specialists Taxi-Insure.

A version of this post was published by CabbieBlog on 14th March 2014

Taxi talk without tipping

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