This week we talk to Alan from Kent on chauffeuring Donatella Versace, Liz Hurley & Rupert Everett. Enjoy....
1. Why did you become a London Taxi driver ?
I'd worked in an office environment since I left school, in total, 20 years. I was earning a good salary but couldn't stand the office politics, endless pointless meetings and inept bosses making my life a misery. I was made redundant a couple of times and decided I wanted to control my own destiny but wasn't qualified to do anything else. My brother is a cabbie and I liked his lifestyle so I decided to follow his lead.
2. What did you do before you became a Taxi driver ?
Systems Analyst/Programmer in the finance industry, latterly an IT Consultant for a software company providing IT solutions to the Utilities industry
3. What do you love most about London ?
The fact that no two days are the same, every day I see something I haven't seen before and the fact that people come from all over the world to see it.
4. What do you most dislike about London ?
The road congestion and the poor air quality.
5. Are you a day man or night man reason why ?
Split. Days Monday to Wednesday, Nights Thursday and Friday (and the odd Saturday). I used to work solely nights but this is not condusive to a happy family life. This was brought home when my relationship with my ex partner of 15 years broke down partly as a result of my hardly being at home when she and my daughter were. Thats why I have compromised on income and changed my work pattern back in favour of a more balanced home life in my new relationship.
6. What is your favourite place or view ?
My favourite building in London is the Natural History Museum. My favourite view is driving down the Mall towards Buckingham Palace, particularly when the flags are flying along the route on a sunny day.
7. Have you got an interesting fact about London that others may not know ?
The Ministry of Defence building. The offices you see above ground are 1/3rd of the building, the other 2/3rds are underground.
8. Who's the most famous passenger you've had in your Taxi ?
Toss up between Joan Collins and Jude Law. Although, given he's my all time footballing hero, I'd probably have to say personally, Johan Cruyff.
9. Have you got an interesting story about a passenger or job you've done ?
This wasn't really in my Taxi, but it was while I was doing the Knowledge, I was Donatella Versace's chauffeur for a week (long story). One night I took her, Liz Hurley and Rupert Everett to the relaunch of the refurbished Versace store on Sloane Street. On the way there, while Liz was on the phone to Stings wife, Rupert advises Donatella that Bob Geldof is coming to the opening. Donatella turns to him, flicks her hair all demurely and with a vivacious Italian accent says "oh god not that tramp, has he learnt to use a fucking knife and fork yet?" . Liz Hurley laughs so uncontrollably that she inadvertently cuts the call to Stings wife off mid conversation. How we laughed....
10. What tips would you give to a tourist ?
As you're walking around London, ALWAYS look up! There are a million interesting things that you will miss if you don't.