Entries 10.1. – 15.02.2009 (It´s time to leave!)

Sunday, 15.2.09

I’m amidst packing, but of course I don’t want to let my umpteen millions of readers down, so in between juggling rabbit-hutches and bags and comfy mattresses I quickly throw in this picture. (Missing) It shows the ferry-boat into which’s mouth I will drive tomorrow. It will swallow me and then it’s done with me being in Brighton – see what you have, Brighton, being so mean to me! (I know it’s sometimes hard to distinguish between my irony and what I mean serious. (Well, in this case, half, half, I’d say.))

I´m off the rock!

But maybe I come back when my book is finished, so spread the word!

Journey back for my rabbits too

Saturday, 14.2.09

Today is Valentine’s day. So, what are you gonna do if your beloved one has an injunction against you which includes not sending any Valentine cards, flowers, rings, various other symbols of your feelings, but still you love that person to bits? You think, it’s really looking good, lately, things have loosened up quite a bit, there are a number of really promising signs that the foolishness that brought you into that mess, and let’s just look at that very foolishness and on nothing else that might have come after that, cause that’s only secondary, might actually one day be pardoned… you think and think and are really tempted… but then you decide, no, let it lie, just give it a rest. So, you send your love via your website, don’t you?

Friday, 13.2.09

It is accomplished! Today was my last day of work in this country. On a Friday, the 13th I finished my shift nice and safe, without a bend, a scratch, a person run over! Nine months driving a cab in Brighton, accidents, zero, points on the licence, zero, tickets, zero! Money saved, zero! (Oh, my)

Our job-computer shows us where we want to go (London, high income zone), where we are (Hove Station, low income zone) and how many jobs there are, zero.

This lovely lady is one of the most promising flirts I ever had in the taxi in England – on my last day of work, I think this was meant to be! I sometimes think we are just puppets on a string, ask God who the puppeteer is, (yet, maybe he says, dude, am I all-knowing? Go ask someone else!).

Thursday, 12.9.09

I have some quite productive talks to my passengers about this (quite amazing, like it was meant to be) this morning, especially with the last one, which was a rather young woman (“I like to make my mistakes early in life”), who was married to a writer. She says she was disgusted and disillusioned by the things she saw, there. It’s not about the quality of a book, it’s all about the power to sell it, ergo, if you have the right name or the right sort of connections. Yet, I think nevertheless now is the time for me! Before that I could have thought that perhaps everybody is kind of fed up with the Hitch-Hiker – but no, here we are, a sequel has been ordered. So, mine was first, wasn’t it? I want a fair deal, I want a choice for quality! Let the readers decide!

 

Another frosty morning, this winter seems to never end. Only the bush-fires keep half of the British from emigrating to Australia for the winter.

Each morning the same. The plastic-bags are torn open by foxes, the rubbish spread all over the place. Next come the gulls, then the bin men, then the rubbish gets swept and tucked in plastic-bags, then come the foxes, then… I’ve seen it for a year now, I think in Brighton there is virtually no council policy visible. Taxes are just poured into it and on the other end chaos comes out.

Wednesday, 11.2.09

Today is one of the blackest days in my life. It has finally come to my knowledge (I mean, even to my knowledge, although I’m amazingly, yes, tremendously stupid, obviously), that a chap has long been officially ordered to write the official sixth volume of the Hitch Hiker’s Guide, since September last year! It will come out this autumn, in the year 2009, a book which I had finished in German language 2005 and in English language 2006 and about which NO ONE HAS EVER GIVEN A BLEEDING FUCK SINCE. So, this will mean my book will never be the official sixth volume and I can watch the other guy become a millionaire, all the while I don’t have the money to buy a decent pair of shoes. If there’s a God, I hate him very dearly, at least today, at least now. I mean, I’m not one of the posse around Douglas Adams, I am unknown and I am not English, but I had a small, but significant chance back then, but no one believed in me and gave me money to start campaigning for it and as we all know… oh Christ, you know what I mean. I better shut up now and go to sleep.

Tuesday, 10.2.09

When the Titanic sank, she was illuminated as if she was about to get launched, not to sink down to a fathomless abyss to rot in all eternity – so why not Woolworth?

This is such a typical Hove road: rows of houses, chimneys, cars, telegraph poles, lamp poles, clouds… and everything grey and depressing.

Graffiti! Let all empty walls paint by Graffiti artists, that keeps away the smearer. Ads a nice touch to Brighton!

This is Lissie (hope I got that right). We talk about my flat-mate who has been bullied as a child and never gotten over it. Inside he’s still a terrified child who had sworn himself one day… I’m strong enough to bully back. He’s a fanatic body-builder with tons of muscles, strong enough to bully himself now – but he will never be a mature and responsible adult – one therapeutic session would do him more good than a hundred gym ones. She tells me she will talk about this book at Sussex Uni. I think bullying is, especially in England, a huge issue and I wish you good luck and heaps of success with it, Lissie!

 

View from Hollingbury, Ditchling Road, down on the Elm Grove area, left, top would be the race course.

I’m a discarded Christmas tree. Look how well I have grown over the years, how intricate my twigs are. I think I have deserved a little more respect than just having been dumped somewhere. Do the humans I have been with Christmas and to whom I’ve brought joy ever think of me lying here, decaying? I want to say, silently: there’s more to Christmas than getting presents together, stuffed and pissed. How about respecting creation?

View down to town centre – behind Sussex Heights, that tall building on the right, you can see a ship, anchored, it wasn’t moving for half an hour – so wasn’t I, ridiculously dead day. (Deleted the pic, for it was to dull and depressing, just the image of it is unbearable enough.)

Pics, taken from the pier

Monday, 9.2.09, T-3

It’s raining cats and dogs!

Indian take-away.

That’s Aldar, he jumps over a fence to get in my cab, that’s how famous I am already. No, joking about the latter, but the former is true, the gate opening mechanism doesn’t work, so he has to climb over it to get off the premises, spikes and all. We have a laugh, I’m just not quick enough with my camera and as it is pouring down we can’t do the whole thing again for the camera, he would love to. Aldar says he comes to visit me somewhere in Europe and we do a gig together, hold you to it!

John tells me something really interesting, which I am thankful for it’s just the missing link to what I have experienced over and over again in this country, the differences between the two classes in England are just enormous over here, yes, they come almost to a point where Germans can’t really have any comprehension of. It’s almost genetic, selected and proofed genes over a 1000 years! To put it simple, the lower class in South England descends from the Saxons, which includes Germanic language roots, like house and the German “Haus”. Whereas the upper class descends from the old French from about 1000 a.c., when England was conquered by them and the entire aristocracy was French, which includes French language roots for the upper class today, like parliament and “parliament” in French. So, it is not an exaggeration that aristocratic and underprivileged behaviour in England is almost like it is imprinted in the genes, because partly that’s exactly what it is!!!! When I came first over here I used to say “the Lords and the football hooligans” (both cliches known well in Germany) – but that’s just how it is, in some extremes! But that’s by far not all, John has a very famous German relative, Hans Schleger: he was one of the most important graphic designers of the 20C. He came to Britain having worked in Berlin and New York. He was part of an important movement of people and ideas that were part of the development of modernism as an international phenomenon. He conceived of an integrated approach to design that embraced every aspect of what we now call “corporate identity”. Schleger had seen the effectiveness of this logic in both Germany and America and also in the pioneering work of Frank Pick at London Transport. Schleger was a fine poster artist but also a great photographer and art-director.

We all know this sign, it’s imprinted in all our heads like letters of the alphabet, it’s his work, Hans Schleger has designed it!

Saturday, 7.2.09, T-4

I love people who speak their mind, despite the PC’s and the easily offended, although this guy seems to be rather a shithead, here are some Jeremy Clarkson quotes: “The only reason the Arabs and Jews have managed to keep their nasty little war going for 50 years is because it never bloody rains there. If the post-war powers had put Israel in Manchester, there’d have been no bloodshed.” (The man is so right. I’m so sick of hearing about this shit as I’m with English rain. “My only chance of survival, a boat, out of England!” (Richard Burton, in “War of the World”)) “I don’t understand bus lanes. Why do poor people have to get to places quicker than I do?” (Yeah, Jeremy, if it weren’t for the poor people, your one hand on the steering of a luxurious car, the other holding as glass of champagne and a hot babe on you shoulder, always…) “The air conditioning in Lamborghinis used to be an asthmatic sitting in the dashboard blowing at you through a straw.” On American city Detroit] – “God may have created the world in six days, but while He was resting on the seventh, Beelzebub popped up and did this place.” “Speed has never killed anyone. Suddenly becoming stationary, that’s what gets you.” [On an Aston Martin V8 vantage roadster] – “I would rather be in this than in Keira Knightley.” (Is the car that bad?) “Americans are good at herding Bison. The end.” (Had to think twice about that one, then, oh yeah, they have made the bison almost extinct…! Oh, yeah, that’s a good one!) [On the Renault Clio V6 handling in a bend] – “In typical French fashion it just gives up! A bit like the French did with the Germans.” [On the MG SV prototype] – “At this point, the Germans are probably rolling around on the floor laughing: ‘So, ze Tommies have made ein car out of spit und Kleenex? Zhey will be crushed’.” (Now you really got me laughing, ein little, Jeremy! Zat really is a good vone!)

Friday, 6.2.09

England is at siege from the snow! (whereas Brighton has 10 degrees). Grit and salt supplies are short.

The UK is about to have a food crisis because of the snow, so it seems. So, employees of fast food chains have to organise supplies from supermarkets! This is the amount of stuff Prae got from at least two supermarkets, because one wouldn’t have enough on stock of the desired stuff, which is, as you can plainly see, mostly burger buns.

This is Prae, she is so nice and always smiling, unlike the old English grumpy b…s I have to endure all the time.

This is where I have to circle through with my cab, good thing is I never have to go to the Amazonas, to steel myself with poisonous snakes and spiders, for my job is treacherous enough.

The exit of this little alley, I had to move the cafe-sign to have any chance of going in there at all.

Brighton’s curse and blessing is London, on which it lives. Yet, with which it is also in such a way intertwined, like siblings, that the smaller one of them has no chance of growing up independent. So, whenever something is really bad with Brighton, people will always say, “but that’s nothing, you just come to London… well, London is far worse… have you ever been to London? Brighton is a village… Brighton is so nice… people are so friendly here… No, it’s not! It’s a horrible place, which just happens to come off lightly, in comparison to the cesspool of evil which’s beach it is, in the summer.

Thursday, 5.2.09

“English cab-drivers are terrible”, a nice (“I am well balanced”) female solicitor told me today. Tell me about it, it’s an awful lot.

T-5. Only five more working days and all terrible colleagues, bitchy passengers and white-van-people… can kiss my butt!

Listen to the radio, about youths throwing snow-balls and causing trouble, for they use cars as targets. That’s what happened to me two, three times when there was snow!

Some people would give anything in the world to get their health back and some do anything in the world to throw it away, it’s a crazy world, alright. It is strictly forbidden to smoke at the station and in the cab. You can get your licence confiscated for that. Still colleagues do both, and at once.

The Argus only brings stories about cab-drivers if it’s bad, I tell a nice young lady with a sweet, sweet little mouse of a daughter. “Do you remember a story they brought about a cab-driver, recently?” I ask her. “Yeah, there was one about a cab-driver who drugged his teenage passengers to abuse them… it wasn’t in Brighton, though!” As long as it’s bad, it doesn’t have to local, they bring it, but if a cabbie does something special, in a positive sense, they don’t care. This paper makes me SICK! (Retch, puke!!!)

Wednesday, 4.2.09

Now, y’all can see clearly the date, 27. Jan. So, I wonder if that wasn’t a bit early for a flower bed, because of… see next pic

… that! So, that was later, than the flower bed and I’m really wondering what happened to it.

“It was the UK’s biggest and most widespread snowfall for 18 years, but where did it come from? The UK sits between a huge ocean to the north and west (the Atlantic), and a large continent to the south and east (Europe). As a rule, the Atlantic normally brings us mild and wet weather, something we have experienced over recent winters. In contrast, the east brings us the colder weather we have been having this winter. Jet stream Why is that air from the east colder? Because land cools quicker than the sea. Conversely, it means that in the summer the same eastern weather front will bring us warmer weather. Our weather is also strongly influenced by the jet stream, a fast moving stream of air at 30,000ft that pushes weather systems around the world. It normally brings mild Atlantic weather across the UK.”

Now, the mess with the snow. Right, everybody tells me, how it would be in England, a bit of snow and everything grinds to a halt. Brings, never getting tired of that one, the German out in me again. In Germany a bit of snow… and out come the plow-trucks, the grit-trucks and the shovels. The rest is taking care of by winter tyres and snow chains. And everybody is on time at work. (Except artists and bon-vivants like me, who don’t work anyway.)

Well, tried to do some work Monday, at five in the morning, but it was useless. So, instead I’ve recorded Hitch-Hiker chapters. Then, I did some four hours non-stop and earned the same as in ten. Tuesday I start early and drive two computer nerds to Gatwick. Coming back heavy snow again, I am expecting the worst, but the snow drifts of to Scotland, where it belongs.

I learn that a yearly ticket to London costs 4000, blimey! How about a subsidised fast-track to Victoria? Would Brighton let prosper by 100% and take away the South London image, make it a bit more Central London? Oh, too busy building a third run-way for Heathrow and being stupid. Sorry.

A lady tells me on Tuesday, if I can’t just drive around the block, because they were expecting me in half an hour and I come sliding up Havelock right away. I can just laugh about such stupidity, no, I can’t drive around the block, because it’s all ice everywhere, sorry. It’s not “the driver will be here in 30 minutes on the spot, have a nice relaxed one until that”, but it’s “it may take up to thirty minutes, but if you see a cab earlier, run, because you are blessed by his Godliness, the fearless ice-driver. So, kotau to him.”

Folks walk on the streets, because it’s all icy on the pavement. See some walking down icy slopes, using every hold they can get, twigs of bushes or summing.

Two girls, probably sisters, rip me off. They live somewhere in Camber Close, Whitehawk, are between 10 and 16 years, have blue eyes and are obviously troubled children. One was in Germany and one was with the school in Hungary. Their mother must have a car, didn’t pick them up because it was snowed in. They might read this, so, if they don’t apologise this will be in my book, too. The worst part was that “little innocent girl, which cannot be troubled to wait in the car with the taxi-driver”, number, that one of them pulled. So I let her go, too, and they don’t come back with the money.

Finally, the Internet seems to work in the house! And I’m uploading a reading of my Hitch-Hiker-chapters, check them out! The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, volume six! Written by Jochen Lembke, read whilst snowing! The first six edited chapters, written and read by me. Very, very improvised. While Brighton was snowing in I was reading this, having Angina and being short of breath. Never mind the many mistakes, after all I’m just a dumb German, what can you expect. (Removed)

Friday, 29.1.09

No response to my complaint yet. Moreover I very much suspect that it is being ignored, for I asked specifically for a feedback. So that’s what I write in my blog today, complaints are not regarded in this company, for that’s my general impression anyway. So a nice Scottish woman told me, a driver were not willing to give her change for a twenty, on a seven pound fare! And he had been a shithead about it, too. “What’s that, I don’t have change!” If those idiots would be banned, we would have twice as much work, for generally customers don’t take cabs if they can avoid it, because they are fed up with people like that.

Three very cool and crazy kids to Peacehaven, tell them it’s a shame I don’t have my video cam yet, otherwise I would have taped this “session” and made them famous. But when it comes to paying, mummy has to come do it! I tell her about that and she laughs, “yeah, I know.”

This Queensdown school kid, again. I’ve almost grown to like the little bugger. This time it was about fighting for control over the window. But first things first. These kids just don’t have any perception of things that do not concern them personally. When I am doing a turn, i.e., at his address, amidst traffic, he asks me to give him a five-pound note in exchange for coins. “Why don’t you do it, mate?” I don’t care that those little brats call me mate anymore, I have bigger problems, so I just politely advise him that I can’t do this whilst driving. “Why not, mate, why can’t you do it?” I advise him further, a little less polite, that I just can’t do it, right and do a little pantomime to illustrate the problem of opening my purse, fumbling for a fiver and tucking his coins, all whilst keeping at least one hand on the wheel (I mean, why don’t I just stop for a good and hearty spanking?). I will do it when we pick up the next brat, I tell him, well, not in exactly the same words. The next brat is not outside waiting, so he says, “honk the horn, mate, come on, step on it!” I try to just tip the horn, for I hate those people who just honk to make people come out, so dearly, yet it doesn’t work. “What’s wrong with your car, mate, do the brakes work, at least, mate?” There, you brat, I quickly jump on the brakes, he plunges forward. That impresses him, that’s the kind of cool things he likes, he almost respects me now, I’m not one of those boring adults, who preach and preach and don’t do cool things, like beat other people up or fly over walls or are the genuinely the coolest checkers in the world – cause one day he will be like them, oh yes! “Now do you want to see if the air-bag is working? Come on, I try it out on that van, there!” But then I’m boring again, he sees his teacher on a bike and I don’t give him things to throw at him, (“I pay you two quids for it, mate!”) nor do I run him over with my car, as requested, how boring, boring, boring! So, we are fighting over the window-roll mechanism, he rolls it down to yell insults at his teacher, I roll it up again, from my seat, yelling at him not to do it. Yet as the only thing in the world he would accept as an argument is physical violence, and that I’m not allowed to use, he has the upper hand. This cabbie has had it again, now it’s the usual bit of not saying thank you and good-bye, just slamming the doors hard and looking despitefully. I am steaming, I’m about to give the office a call, saying, only one brat at a time, for then they are controllable, if they don’t have a mate to impress, in the back, but then it’s only 8 more working days. I can always refuse the job next time and I will, I don’t want to get into trouble for my hand slipping. Yet, all those political correct idiots out there, when will you ever learn, if the only thing that teaches those brats respect is to show them you are stronger, then you’ve just got to be it! Give those lads a good spanking and that’ll teach ’em. When we pass the university he actually says something that this would be more his idea, not this idiot-and-troubled-child-school I’m driving him at! Now, get a hold of that! Why, this brat will go straight to jail, when he’s grown-up, or maybe earlier even, to juvie. No one is beyond redemption, but this is not the way to handle those kids, love does not mean at all: lack of authority!

Wasn’t there someone angry yesterday? Don’t have time to write more, but… well, thank God it’s Friday!

Just someone who came home fron Dubai, said, they run out of money there!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Poor sheiks, who pays for Manchester City then?

Thursday, 28.1.09

Drive two school girls. I am told to go to the reception, with my badge and I’m keen on doing it, for I halfway expect, they will not only look on it but write it down somewhere and that would be another proof for how unbelievably paranoid and mistrusting this country is. Yet there is a guard outside (where were guards when I was in school and that school was five times bigger) who calls her and this opportunity is gone. It’s so nice to drive children when they are not with their parents, I enjoy it every time, I really long to have my own children, I think it still is the best thing in the world to have your own children. They chat with each other and I am listening, as usual. They speak of a girl who was crying for she had been slapped in the face. “Oh, that was me, I did that”, one of the girls say, “when was it?” “It was 11.” “Oh no, that was someone else!” I almost have to laugh and say that this is kind of a weird thing. “Oh, I can slap her in the face, she’s my cousin!” “No, your niece!” the other corrects her. “She slaps me too!”

The car has been serviced yesterday and the idiots forget to screw the oil-cap back on. Before I realise it, a liter oil is spilt all over the motor block, I can’t have the heating on without being gassed. I storm like a raging bull into the garage and they steam-clean it, yet they say that it wasn’t them, he had it serviced at another garage, how embarrassing! How am I supposed to know? I apologise, one and a half hours are wasted for me.

Have to play ambulance, I feel really used afterwards, they don’t tip me and I have the stress and this moaning and crying woman, deeply in pain. What are ambulances for, then?

“All there’s left today is an accident”, I joke about to two women. Not having finished I pull up on some tarred bit which turns out to be only freshly done, I can realise they have just removed the cones around it. I leave a visible trail in it! “What have you done before, driven a tractor?” the road workers yell angry, doing their bit of Brighton friendliness. They look as if they will take my plate number down. I tell someone, who hails me and wants to go back past them, I don’t want to drive past them, we make a little detour because of that.

A East-European guy makes me wait for almost an hour, he says “one second”, at the last stop and I have to go after him.

“It’s hard to control a 3-year-old”, a totally incompetent and stressed mother says to me, she can’t control him, who wiggles about and tries to open the door whilst driving. Well, you can, actually, woman, but then you have to be consequent. If you can’t offer him a stable home, where he can relax and feel safe, then you cannot, he will show his discomfort. I have to brush and hover the back, there’s chocolate crumbs all over. It makes me so angry, some people don’t have the least respect for cab-drivers. I can’t always turn my head and watch what they are doing in the back.

Half a year ago or something a horny couple were in the local news, for they had oral sex in a public phone booth, whilst people were taking pictures, they showed one where you couldn’t really see a thing, in the paper. A man tells me this morning, he saw and heard a drastic scene at five in the morning. It was a man and a woman and he was shagging her against the wall, in a door entrance, while all the while they were screaming at each other. “It was a language I haven’t heard in years”, he says. “Was it a police matter?” I ask. “No”, he says, there were people in the windows, for it was a large building, but they were obviously only watching and enjoying. “You old slag”, he would have said and told her to fuck off, when he was finished. – Yeah, so, guys, if you love a girl, don’t send her letters and letters telling you how much you love her, that you want to marry her, have kids with her and be true and make her happy and love her “’till death put us apart”, ’cause that will only bore her, she will get an injunction against you, because she doesn’t want to here anymore of that crap. So, throw her against a wall and bang her good, then tell her to fuck off – ’cause that’s obviously what women want, I sometimes have the impression.

Someone had lived in 8 countries, but England is the worst to live in, of all, he says. The French are really small-minded, he says further, no patience about foreigners, when you don’t speak perfect French. (I hear about the strike in France about the recession.) He says, London is worse than Brighton! I’m sick of it, London is just bigger, it can’t be any worse, if you take the abuse-per-square-mile-ratio, Brighton is first!

What a day. I come home after 12 hours, have earned less then in June, after 6. I hate this job, I think Brighton is an evil, sinister place, full of heartless, egoistic monsters, out for abuse.

Children can’t be controlled anymore, because parents don’t have the time, the nerve or the ability/stability to, for many people there are no more jobs, than just “Mc-jobs”, a cab-driver can work 60 hours to make a living, while sport- and entertainement-stars earn millions and more millions, “Shell” made one of their biggest profits in history, 20 billions. Bankers, who have made record profits for decades and have stolen our money, make bankrupt, being bailed out on public money, people these days only laugh, when they are drunk… I think this world is so bad, evil rotten and corrupt as it was never before after the war. We have to wake up! When I think back how joyful the 60ties, 70ties and 80ties were and think of this dark and sinister age we are living in…! People, there is no recession, the money is there, but it’s as uneven spread as it was never before, since the early days of capitalism, we’ve got to wake up! I am not a communist, I think a system cannot work which is just forced upon people, sometimes using brutal force, even, there’s got to be a change that comes directly from the people, a change in our way of thinking, in the way we interact! If we lose the love and the concern for the people around us, we are no longer humans, we are just bio-machines, addicted to things that do not really matter. We have the power to built a paradise and we have the power to built a hell, for all of us, let us choose which and let us do it now! I have never meant it serious about becoming rich and famous, if you hadn’t caught the irony in all that, frankly I don’t give a fuck – as long as I can live the life I have chosen and not the one that is being chosen for me. Amen.

Pier on a stormy day!

The Horse & Groom, all Douglas Adams readers know, why I took this shot!

Der “goldige Lembke”

At the car-wash

Wednesday, 29.1.09

I’ve booked the ferry, I’m off the rock on Monday the 16th, next month!!!!

Drive Brian Clark, a play-writer, there’s a lot of stuff about him in the Internet. I will have a look later, when I find some more time.

On the continent, there’s always “right” has the right of way. It’s one of the things which have a certain amount of danger-capacity for one who comes from the continent, because you cannot automatically assume (to what you tend to in general, though), that you have the right of way, when there are no signs or road-markings and the other car comes from the left. Yet there’s always confusion and I strongly believe that there should be a rule like this to avoid that confusion and thereby danger.

I don’t know which was first in England crime or mistrust, but I never get used to signs on vans like “police follow this car”. What does it mean anyway? Can anyone explain it to me?

Monday, 26.1.09

The Internet won’t be fixed within the next week(s), so I’m in a wifi-cafe. Yet it’s even more a public place than an internet cafe, so the noise-level is huge, trying my best.

Have mastered huge anxiety-attack about leaving this country! But I love it so much, it’s been so a nice, I’m just a guy who loves to complain, alright… don’t believe a word of that, I’ve just turned chicken about my next step!

Brighton is completely overcrowded, wherever you go you step on other’s toes…

Driven a black guy who was quite cheerful, “I don’t drive a lot of British who are in a good mood” I say. He has been 8 years ago in America, illegally, came back, “don’t let them get to you” he says, “it get’s to you, you start to act as if you are one of them.”

Can see my passenger slip on a grassy slope, the soaked mud covers her bum in mud. I have to put a foot-mat on the seat, where she can sit on! “See the bright side”, I say, “you are on my blog!”

I’m usually much too wise and sophisticated to feel that much jealousy about my Hasenschnecke, I don’t usually waste my time imagining with whom she might be at the moment. But yesterday I just had a quick flash, the song “boulevard of broken dreams” triggered it off, I was imagining her standing naked in front of a mirror, doing something about her face, with that song really loud, a guy in the background lounging on the bed, after a night of boozing and hot sex, saying “hey, let’s have some more”. Jeeee… that’s when some jealousy really kicked in! Erm, it’s just in that song, brings out the animal in one.

Sunday, 25.1.09

Internet is still down at home, so no pics and stuff.

It is sometimes quite amusing how people get on my site, with the obscurest entries. I can’t track back anyone but windows live gives you sometimes the key word people punched in, so sometimes they were just looking for some porn and for some reason the key-word brought them here. Today there was one who used “english women total sluts” or something and I’m afraid I’ve got that text written on HTML. Oops.

Here are now, as promised, the first two chapters of my book, that should give anyone an idea of how it will be, of course I will leave it at this, for I’m still deluding myself to the fact writing can you earn some money, perhaps. There will be two different chronological time-lines that go parallel, with half a year apart, one focuses more on taxi-episodes, one more on anything else that I have experienced. The consecutive chapters within the respective time-lines will be roughly a month apart from each other. The book will be, as clearly visible, an autobiographic novel about my time in England, taking place between my arrival here in September 2007 and departure, February 2009. Unlike my blog this will be of course edited by a native speaker in the end.

Chapter 1 (“Peaceful little German writer with four rabbits in bulldog-country”, working title, Copyright 2009, Jochen Lembke)

Mai, 2008

My first passenger is a cat.

Obviously she’s trained on cabs, as soon as she sees me, she jumps into the open window and wants to be cuddled. Yet as she’s not able to pay, I throw her out again. (Joking, it’s just that I’m allergic to cats – they sense that, that’s why they love me, cruel things)

No, my first passenger actually is Gem and his little daughter, but he does this only because he knows I will mention my first passenger in my book (and that he doesn’t have to pay). Well, Gem, you have a nice and secure place in my book, for sure, a whole chapter, don’t you know, you hadn’t had to worry about it at that point in time.

No, my first passenger actually isn’t anyone. It’s a “no job”, (one of many, many I will have in the next nine months, just another Brighton-aspect, that you can’t really count on people here). For the battery is low on my car the screen crashes. I have to call the office by phone, by that time the passenger is gone. As if he/she would have known. (But this is nothing, later in the week I will have a blank screen with no job-details, but for some odd reasons the gods are mocking me about for, I push at the screen with my fingers randomly and the call-back takes place – leaving me with the passenger out waiting on the street somewhere I don’t have a clue about where, actually.)

No, my first passenger really is as amazingly unspectacular, given the amount of anticipation, as it is just businesslike. I’ve spent that much thought on my first real paying customer, if I should dedicate my first book written about England to him or her, but she’s late, she’s in a hurry and she want’s to stop at a cash-point on our way (which about wraps it up for female passengers in England). I tell her she’s the first but maybe she has heard that from many men before and it doesn’t impress her much. I tell my second passenger about it and he replies: “Oh, I’m not your first time”, he’s giving off a rather gay impression, “but they say it always gets better with the second time..!” Well, maybe when she reads this here…

Oh, the excitement, it was all so exciting, back then! Writing this here, nine months later, for me now it’s just another businesswoman that made me pull up somewhere at Clock-Tower, amidst of traffic, but at that time!

My first passenger in a foreign country!

In a foreign town I don’t have much of a clue about! Paying me in a foreign currency, with one of those 10-pound-notes of which so many, many more will follow, a fare on a strange meter I set for the first time – oh, the magic of that day!

Oh, the magic of that first week…

Very soon I have the first boozer, he is too drunk to tell me where to go properly, short-changes me, gives me instead of

£5.60 only 5 and says, “you should be thankful, I was teaching you the way” and, to that I’d been a cab-driver before in Germany, “but not in this fucking country!” No, I reply obediently, but all smiles inside, “not in this “fucking” country”. But, then again, it’s all so exciting, isn’t it, to be abused in a foreign language, I don’t know how many times I’ve been abused in my own country, in my own language, but this! I don’t really care about it, I don’t let it get to me, I’m in Brighton, as a cab-driver and yes! Embrace all this, it comes with the job, I just smile and let him go on.

Yes, you drunken English lout, abuse me!

What do you know about me, I am going to make it big here, abuse is my sujet, is what I write about, hit me hard. But don’t hit me so hard I can’t hold the pen later on.

“Woman in labour, would someone please..”, is on the display, two days later or so. As if, I think, I don’t want any more stress on top of all the stress I just can’t handle, and, of course, avoid this. Half an hour later, I of all, first week, don’t know nothing, don’t know how, don’t know why I should begin with, at the end of the first long day, do the dreaded among all cab-drivers “bite-umbilical-cord-“congrats-you-have-a-boy”-mother-happily-smiles-cab-full-of-amniotic-liquor”-tour. It’s a mixed couple, the father, quite shaken up, is black. What about prejudices, how about showing there is nothing to it, by acting as a responsible, caring father who has it all under control – and putting a blanket under her before she sits?

So, this is what I have, a lot of stress, a lot of hectic, please could you hurry and, yeah, right it’s your first week, but see, my wife is about to give birth – and a nice little stain of amniotic liquor. How sweet.

Oh, yes, It is the end of Mai 2007 – it is my first week as a Brighton cabbie.

“It’s just not plausible”, but I’m here. And that’s what I am doing.

Chapter 2 (“Peaceful little German writer with four rabbits in bulldog-country”, working title, Copyright 2009, Jochen Lembke)

September, 2007

“It’s just not plausible”, the man at Newhaven custom is saying, repeatedly, shaking his head. “You are telling me you want to come to this country to drive a cab? And you don’t have a licence, you don’t have a permanent address, you don’t have a place to stay and you don’t even have booked a hotel in advance? Now, you’re coming here, with four rabbits and a mattress and you want to drive a cab in Brighton? It’s just not plausible.”

He looks at me, he looks at my four rabbits and looks at me again. This time he also shakes his head, again. “It’s just not plausible”, he says for the umpteenth time. “We’ve never seen anything so weird as someone bringing four rabbits to this country”. (Well, fodder for the British bulldog, I would say now, a year and a half later. Of course they check, the same as French custom did, if it’s legal to bring four rabbits anyway, someone does the accordant call, of course they are being told the same as I checked in the Internet before, up to five were okay when from Western Europe, six and more would have to be quarantined for half a year. A good thing now, long afterwards, that I had had to mourn the death of two of my beloved little critters, two and four years ago, otherwise I would have been in serious trouble now.) He turns and asks my brother, “what do you think of that?” My brother, who is a wee bit older than me, old enough to having thought of him as being my older brother since when we were kids, a habit older brother are never likely to put off again, says something like “oh, well, he’s old enough” and “well, he doesn’t listen to me, why, he basically never listens to anybody” and looks away. “You know”, the man says, “we’ve never ever had something like that before, that’s why.” Oh, that’s why you are holding me up, that’s why you are searching me for drugs, for an hour solid now and you just don’t want to stop, I get the impression. You have searched and searched, made me get everything I have spent so much effort to throw in the boot in the first place out again, you have turned everything inside out, even opened the mattress to have a look in the inside, yes, even to poke with a flash-light into the little holes that there are in those latex matresses, you have let come a Citroen specialist, who arrived 15 minutes later, to have a look at the car from beneath. You had you even given my rabbits a dirty look as if I would be some evil dope pusher not even shrinking back from abusing cute innocent little furry creatures for my sinister purposes, stuffing them out and butchering them then cold-bloodedly later, with no witnesses around. I love my rabbits, you silly sod! “You won’t find accommodation with four rabbits in this country. No one will put you up.” Why, in this country, what do point this out so much for? “Have you had a look, have you called some hotels up? What are you going to do, just go to Brighton now, drive around and look?”

“Yes.” I say firmly.

“But you won’t find anything.”

Kind Sir, don’t you think it’s a little late for pessimistic thoughts like this? Why don’t you let me go, then, you are holding me up, it’s getting later and later!

They have opened now all my bags and bundles, on which I, admittedly, have not spent that much care on packing neatly, the whole contain of the car’s inside looks a lot like a gypsy would have packed it (on second thoughts, let’s not insult the gypsys…) They leaf through everything they can find, bank slips, personal notes, little scruffy sheets of paper I have scribbled important things on, in a genius-like fashion, right now they focus on finding something that would give proof to my story, which they believe is just a sloppy cover-up-story a drug-courier would come up with, if caught unexpectedly by the ferry-custom, after having had a wild champaign-loadened celebration party throughout the channel trip, toasting to each other about how nicely they would spent the money soon and how stupid custom officers genuinely are. And why don’t I have an address to stay, not even a hotel reservation? Because I’m a scatter-brained slob, a chaotic artist who fled from the mess he left behind in Germany? Simply didn’t have the time, find it awfully exhausting to look for a room in England (which I did, oh yes) whilst still being in Germany anyway, just relied on my luck I will find something?

“You won’t find anything with four rabbits, no one will take you, not in a hotel-room, nor will you be able to find a room generally in this country, not with four rabbits.” (Yeah, right fits nicely in their thesis I will then butcher the stuffed-out-with-coke-bunnies, sell it and go back to Germany, for more)

It’s running late and my brother, who drove me in his car, had to be back at work on the next day, I somehow want to get this point through to them that they are actually holding me up!

“Here”, I say, pointing at the bundle of sheet of A-4 papers he just holds in his hands, which is basically the whole info-package the Hackney Carriage Office sends to you when requested for, “this is all about the licence, now, why don’t you believe me?” I don’t tell them about my books, no, don’t know why, it would give a better explanation why someone would come of all to this country for the very reason to get the taxi-licence and drive, which is unusual, I admit, the normal way would be to come here, get a job, get to know the town and then apply for a licence, years later. I know, but I am unusual anyway, am I not? No, it just seems to not really making things easier for me, at the moment and that’s why I don’t do it. (Today I wouldn’t hesitate a sec, that’s how much I’ve changed in this time.)

They now actually start asking me questions about roads in Brighton, where is this road and where is that road, do you know the road the comes after… you know, at the station, when you turn left… My dilemma is, I’ve begun with the knowledge almost a year ago and did a nice chunk of it already, but then there were other things, a fifteen pages written declaration about my Hasenschnecke that would go to court, for example (and then didn’t, in the end, for some reason). And I’ve had an awful amount of stress behind me, had to move out and didn’t make it in time, with all things piling up, it was all quite awful and messy, I was just so glad when I finally had all my belongings in my brother’s car and we could drive off, the whole day through France to Dieppe, where we had to stay the night, for the ferry leaving that night was booked out, so we took the 8 o’clock ferry the next morning. Right now I’m stressed and tired and annoyed, I can’t remember a single road of Brighton, everything is clouded in my mind, all I want is to be in a hotel room with my rabbits and open up a can of beer.

“You know”, a female officer now says, (there were about six people occupied with this case, the biggest drug find ever in the history of Newhaven, so they think), “a friend of mine drives a cab.” I will find out later that almost everybody knows someone in person who drives a cab, for there are so many of them in Brighton. “And how do think you can manage the knowledge, if you just come here and have not ever lived in Brighton before? Because it’s very, very tough.” I already know that, because I’m smart enough to draw conclusions from the roads I can see on the map and the requirements the office asks for, it won’t be easy, I know that, very well (although I still didn’t know half of it at that time), but what good would all this pessimism do me, now?

They even call a phone number I have on some paper slip from the buddhist woman I have stayed in May this year, on a pay-per-day basis, to have a final look at Brighton, before I definitely would come here. I had the thought then if anything happens, I would ask her if I could stay for a week or so, but I will later on learn that she is not in any way interested to be my free guide to this country, not in any way more than anybody else, for that matter.

There is only the answering machine on, so they carry on leafing through my stuff.

I grow more and more impatient, my brother has to hold me back, otherwise I would get myself in even more trouble, I sometimes have a knack for that. I have even thoughts of calling the police. My sense of justice tells me that. However I have enough common sense left that tells me that would do me no end of good. (Do they even come in those situations or is custom here the only law enforcement in question?)

Then the officer who is handling their phone, on which they’ve already informed themselves about the fact that one can bring up to five rabbits to this country, asked for pointers on what do to do about such a vile creature that abuses innocent creatures and called for back-up, does one last call, maybe to the Minister of Internal Affairs.

Yet probably the minister has said, “Well, if you don’t find anything after one hour, why don’t you let the poor bugger go, then?” because he comes along and calls of the dogs. Finally the hunt is over, I can go.

“Thank you for the warm welcome to this country!” I say, not smiling at all, which turns into a pathetic little bit of back-striking. You know, when you make a movie or write a book, you always look for a little kicky something, with which you can end the scene or the chapter.

They are all standing there, a bit disappointed they came up with nothing and before I get in the car I turn to them and exclaim: “Well, if you ever come to Germany…” I sort of let this hang in the air for a histrionic little while and they all look, apprehensively, “good luck with German custom.”

Heck, I know it’s pathetic and the minute I’ve said it I feel embarrassed enough, but that’s just the kind of thing you say after what has been, isn’t it. My brother looks accusingly.

“Just shut up”, he says.

Yeah, he’s right, isn’t he?

We enter Newhaven, my brother is busy enough with driving in the correct lane, but I look around. Everything is grey and miserable. I feel as if I would have just arrived in a foreign country, I’m homesick already, lovesick anyway.

“Let’s turn, Peter”, I say to my brother, “drive me back.”

“Sure”, he says, “I can always drive you back, but then…” He says something like, you then have to face the consequences or such and, of course, I was only joking, there is just no way back for me now, except when I have completed the mission I came here for. The fact that I am lovesick doesn’t mean much anyway, that, I have been for the whole past year, without ever being able to come to the source of it and saying “hi, source of my lovesickness, now, how about you and me are having a nice little chat, which will result then in the fact that there would be no reason for me being lovesick anymore, for I am now happily unified with you, the girl that I love!” Moreover this being one of the reasons why I’m here to put some distance between me and the source of my lovesickness (who has an injunction up against me to exactly prevent this kind of talk), there surely isn’t much sense in that anyway.

We drive into Brighton and there isn’t actually going to be a problem in finding a hotel room, (although I am close to say to my brother that he should drop me off under the nearest bridge, with my comfy mattress and my rabbit-cage, for we are so late.) “It’s just not plausible” is a running joke now between my brother and me.

English people tend to be mistrusting and pessimistic, from that first day on this impression had been underlied with proof for so many times!

The third hotel already, we stop and ask, the Kingsway Hotel opposite the King Alfred’s on Kingsway, is rabbit-friendly and the manager, a Romanian, is a really nice and helpful man, he patches me up with a room and doesn’t mind the rabbit-cage in it. Great, I have a room for myself!

My brother and I part, I have the impression he’s quite happy he can leave me here, he has been edgy all the time, being so close to me and my antics (or is it more his antics?) The fact that I’ve borrowed money from him and others to come here, the fact that he had to help me a bit, has culminated in him screaming at me for just simply shutting the door of his car, I would have slammed it, which I haven’t. Or accusing me of screaming at him, when he got in the wrong lane, I could have been more gentle about it. Yeah, right, so how about: “Erm, the weather is depressing, isn’t it… and by the way, Peter, if you don’t mind, you have just entered the road the wrong way… erm, which has just gotten as killed in a nasty road-accident, by the way”, instead of just screaming: “Left! Leeeft!”

So, the grieve is within limits.

Two secs later he knocks on my door and hands me a parking ticket, for he had parked on the pavement, which I will pay in the next days for him. He then drives back, avoiding Newhaven – and will have to pay a fortune for the train back through the Eurotunnel!

Later on, I open up a can of beer and put my feet up. The room is nice. My rabbits are doing well. The look over the gardens down is beautiful, there are some bits of Brighton in the background, promising and tempting. The air has a friendly quality, a gentle breeze is blowing, coming from the sea, background noises add up to a soothing murmur.

I am as happy as can be. I have arrived, I have finally made it.

I am in England, I am in Brighton. (End of chapter)

Saturday, 24.1.09

Was in Newhaven yesterday, had a fare to there. I can’t book the ferry for the Internet is still down, but I have told the guy I’m living with and the guy I’m working for, that I will leave mid-feb. So, it’s definite.

I started with my book about my time in England which is based on this blog. It has the working title: “Peaceful little German writer with four rabbits in bulldog-country”! It will be finished in about 3-6 months! I will put the first two chapters of the rough-cut on my blog. Perhaps I’m coming back to Brighton to promote it, when it’s done. (2011: it´s not finished, nor will it soon, oh my!)

Thursday. 22.1.09

The Internet is still down, so I can’t upload any pics or vids, just text.

I’m really, really fed up with all this here. I don’t know, at first it was all interesting and I didn’t let it get to me that much, but now, I can’t stand all this anymore. And to whoever I speak, there are only little England or Brighton-enthusiasts around. “This country has gone to the dogs”, someone tells me today. “Get of the rock!”, another one. He’s Dan (or Dave), a musician from Ireland and he so much hates this country, it’s just “ooooone uptight place”. Anywhere in Europe it would be better, as soon as he gets of the ferry or the plane he could breathe again. What’s wrong with this place, that so many here hate their own country?

I’ve mentioned the girl that kissed me on the mouth, just because we had a nice chat that one Friday night in the cab – and this is how women are here at day, when they are stressed and English women are always stressed, at day, because they have so many things to do, let them be necessary or, more likely, not: “I call another cab!” says a young woman to me, to my question “what are you doing?” All I did was answering her question, again “are you waiting for someone?” with “I’m waiting for you!” I was just being polite, I would have said the same thing to a man, just a little joke, it wasn’t even meant as a flirt. But, no, this cabby is getting fresh and is being given a lesson! Hopeless! (2011: feel immensely relieved about having no more trouble with English women, my trouble with German ones is enough! :-))

Andrew from the office has gotten back to me about the complaint, he has forwarded it to one of the directors. I have thanked him and given a link to my site, told him it the whole procedure would be on my blog, as an example how complaints are handled in the company. If complaints are not taken serious the whole thing will lead to anarchy and guys beating themselves up for a fare or pulling knives, it has happened!

Here are some more weird texts from MySpace-sites, reloaded. “alright mate. im phil i work for death cabs. its not a bad job only problem is when you pick up the wrong person.i live near monkey hell. i have a wife call pauline shes alright shes dead. oh yeah if any one wants a job theres loads at death cabs. were running a skeleton crew at the moment ” “I’d hate to advocate drugs, alcohol or insanity, but they’ve always worked for me.” “Im a big whale, who likes to sit on the table with my pet lizard, Ritchie on my head. My special friend is fishy, he is special and yellow and orange and fat and can’t read (i hope) so he’ll never know i called him fat!! lol. He’s a pillow, but i cant lie on him, he has a puppy that does that. I am also a pillow. Im a bit old and worn and so have a hole in my tail, but i always put on a brave smile. My worst fear is heights, i hate heights, they SUCK!”

Tuesday, 20.1.09

Today was such a horrible day that the only good thing is I’m going to leave around the 15th next month. Abuse in such a degree…

Well, well, you English, now you’ve realised you’ve been running so much on fumes and on borrowed money that it’ll “be an entirely different country in 10 years”. When this crisis will be over. A good start would be to realise that you’ve got nothing to offer on the world-market except your language and your arrogance. Why not make England one big language school? What, because American accent is more trendy? Oh dear, oh deary me.

Copy of email to Streamline-office. Written complaint: Today, 20th January, 11.30 a.m., I was waiting on the Argos-rank at Western Road as the only cab, when cab 618 pulled up ten minutes after me. After a while a passenger came to him and asked him if he could take him. I was watching and addressed the passenger if he would kindly take me, for I was waiting for 10 minutes longer than the colleague. Driver 618 denied that, he would have had been here before me, which is either a lie or he is no longer fit and able to drive a cab, because his perception of things is no longer accurate. I told him that he is wrong but he ignored me and told the passenger that he can take whatever cab he likes, whereas he boarded his…. have to do this tomorrow, we’ve worked for hours on the Internet connection, so it’s back!

Monday, 19.1.09

The internet in the house is still down, so I’m relying on the cafe which is run by Arabs and where nothing is working. I only have 12 minutes left, which leaves me with only time to write about, shortly, that I am back to screaming at each other, threatening with the police and throwing things, in the place I live, to which I’m quite used now in England. Missed it almost.

Moreover, business was almost back to normal, today, so despite the fact that people really love to draw in black colours, like it would be the worst crisis since ’29, there’s always a difference between what people say and what people think or act upon.

Moreover, there’s these crazy Scots, I’ve driven today, who made me go back and turn two times, a world-record, which I will send in to the Guinness Book (joking).

Saturday, 17.1.09

Alright, so I got rid of some frustration yesterday. Now I have to ask myself, the thing is, if this happens to me in each European country I’m going to spend time in, am I a European? Or am I just a German who realises how nice and cosy he had it at home and what a great place it is to live in. For there is a strong anti-European fraction in Germany too, saying why should we share our achievements, why should we share our wealth with others, why should we let our culture influenced even more by foreigners? However, this is exactly the point. If we are not willing to share what we have and to accept foreign influences, be tolerant about anything that isn’t just like us – how are we supposed to get on in Europe? How can we come together and settle our differences, accept each other and learn from each other? And if we do not get on in Europe, how can the world ever get on? This continent has to be a role-model for peace and unity throughout the world, this is just our responsibility that comes with our economic wealth, the fact that there are so many people in it who can manage to live and still have time for themselves to come up with ideas. We have to show how people with different cultures, with different languages can live with each other and be happy with each other. This is the real European idea, we can’t be a stronghold that holds together against the rest of the world, we have to accept that we are just a part of something even greater.

I’ve heard that mortality in operation-theatres could drop by 50% if they’d only do simple checks like the identity of the patient before anaesthesia and the correct number of instruments after the op.

Ecology in England is a foreign word, the pier-illumination is on all day, if gas is short, let’s just invade another Irak, there’s high-speed trains everywhere but in England and they build the third run-way at Heathrow instead. Pathetic.

“Europe’s dog-shit writer”. “I write about the shit that happens to me”, I joke about to a lady, “figuratively or literally”. I ask her if she has a minute and as she says no, I hop to the boot on one foot and put one of my sandals, on a tissue, in it, the very one, that’s sole is covered with dog-shit. Otherwise I would smear it all over the pedal.

I drive a drunk girl to an address and wait. She comes out again, disappointed, telling me that he’s gay. She was having a flirt with him and now he’s gay. I mention that girls complained there’s so many gays here, they’re not able to find a decent bloke. But then again there’s also a lot of lesbians so that should even it out. “I’m not a lesbian, I love cock far too much for that.” Then I have a guy who asks me where he can have sex. You know, I’m a romantic fool, I love my Hasenschnecke so much, I am not really interested in other girls and I am definitely not the right guy who would know about brothels and stuff. Quite frankly I have no idea where there’s one in Brighton. I know there are addresses you have to look up in the ads and then you go visit them, with your credit card ready, but I’ve never ever seen one of them. Even in Freiburg, which is very catholic, you see once in while signs, like hearts and such, and at least once a month you are being asked by someone about it, Now, I realise something! In all these eight long months I’m now working here now as a cabbie I’ve never been asked about that! “Then ask someone, because otherwise I have to ask for someone else!” He’s quite impatient and slightly aggressive, which doesn’t really make me want to help him that much, so I say: “No, I can’t call the office about that. I always thought it’s “no sex please, we’re British” here.” Imagine me calling the office saying I’ve got a horny passenger here, and where can he go and have sex, please. I don’t know, this country is getting to me with all these taboo and sensitivities. I wouldn’t hesitate to call and ask the office back in Germany about this. Why can’t I just hook up these two horny passengers I’ve had almost after another! The one that loves cock with the one that loves pussy. Perfect match!

All you get now are bitches with five heavy suitcases that give you 6 for a 5.80 fare. “Would you please not make them so heavy, next time or you will have the same trouble with the next driver.” “Oh, can’t do this, they have to be so heavy!” They surely weigh over 40 kilo each. “But you are a strong man…” Yeah, that’s how all females in the world get the guys to break their backs for them.

I complain about the bus system, that buses and taxis hate themselves and do not work together. “Oh, yeah, in our country it’s the same.” “Where are you from?” “Brazil.” Great. So, you English, you’re not alone with not being organised. There’s always Brazil. Oh, yes, and the third world countries.

Friday, 14.1.09

The Internet is down at home, so I can’t write a lot. The Guiness-book has turned me down, it’s too specific for them what I’m doing. So, I say, I’m very specific! It’s gonna be a world-record, one way or another!

Sorry for bitching so much about England. As a true European I have to be more tolerant. Will work on that.

Tuesday, 13.1.09

Being as absolutely dreadful as it is, I have really trouble earning my fare back to Germany where I will stay and work until I have the licence for Colmar. Work now is only horrible and I’m absolutely disgusted with it all. All you ever get after waiting for half an hour are fares round the corner, this is still convenient and cheap. Anything over £5 is rare. Fares over a tenner, history. I’m cheesed off with all to an almost cosmic degree. I have to restrain myself now, so all I’m saying I’m fed up with England, I’m fed up with Brighton and I’m sick to death with driving a cab in Brighton. I got attacked, abused, cheated, I am constantly treated like a piece of shit, I have to inhale carcinogenic particles, because of the disorganised traffic, I have to cope with all kinds of ridiculous things because of a complete lack of a plan in communal policy. I have to deal with all kinds of nutters and psychos and I earn shit. Whoa, you say? I said I hold myself back, didn’t I? I came here without any prejudice, all I wanted to do was being nice to everybody, I will leave deeply, deeply disappointed.

Someone told me the bus company gets subsidies for each bus or bus route. So the congestion and the nuisance all these empty buses produce is funded by the council, if that is true. I can’t believe why you all put up with this? How can you live in such a mess, without an attempt to change it? I will never understand English people.

I have to pick up a man with a medium sized dog at a vet. So far so good, the dog is medium sized. But no one told me that it doesn’t want to get in the car, so that we hold up traffic there for five minutes, with the dog half out of the car and it’s dad leaning half over it because he has emphysema and is about to asphyxiate. I walk over to the car I am blocking and ask for patience. Finally the man has caught enough breath to make an, finally successful, attempt to get the dog in the car and I am about to shut the door. “The tail!” he screams, “watch out for the tail!” I thought I have made sure that the tail was safe, was going to shut the door slowly anyway, but I better reach for it and secure it beneath the dog. The worry makes the man breathless again and we have to pull up somewhere before we can go and I listen with kind of thinned out nerves to his laboured, whistling breathing for almost five minutes before he gives his OK to go on.

Monday, 12.1.09

The English railway system doesn’t work because it’s very old and there are too many different companies that don’t work together. So, I’ve been told today.

I don’t know, what’s the matter with English women? Some of them are really living up to their reputation. Have to get rid of one who tells me if I don’t like it I can drop her of right here, what I do. I would be a “cunt” anyway. Today everybody would be a “cunt”. Dunno, lady, don’t look any further, for there’s one right there in the mirror. She’s not paying, I could call the police, she wouldn’t care. Well, I don’t trouble the police because of psychos, I never do, so I let her out with her poor sod of a partner, a baby, a buggy, a huge box – and the fact that it rains and she has to call another taxi, with our system just having broken down. I think that’s punishment enough. Some little girls learn late, that it’s sometimes better to get on with people. The whole thing starts because she feeds her kid with crisps, that make crumbs all over the seats. I just had to tell another not-having-grown-up girl that I don’t like her eating in the cab, “but it’s nothing heavy, just a chocolate bar”. Little girl, daddy explains you today, it’s not about the nutritional value, it’s about the stains, particularly chocolate make. When she is out I pick up a huge chocolate crumb from the seat. The next lady ruins her costume with it.

I’m sick of short fares. You get a lot here, because they’re so cheap. And it’s always a lot of fuss involved, heavy suitcases or shopping bags or esoteric places very hard to find or all of it together. I haven’t been to the flyers now for 2 months solid. As far as I know, in Colmar there’s a minimum fare of €5.80, after that it gets a lot cheaper. In Freiburg, they’ve changed the tariff to 1.80 for the first or second kilometer. Then it’s 1.40. With the starting fee 3.10 and at night 3.50 you basically have a minimum fare of €5. Erm, I know, it won’t go down well, but I can’t wait to leave.

Saturday, 10.1.09

“Celebrity Big Brother housemate Coolio believes English women get drunk and will “go with someone” they don’t even know. The American rap star made the comments to fellow contestant Tina Malone during a conversation about the differences between American and English women – and actress Malone agreed.” Well, all I can say is English women are amazing. Timid and always keeping a distance or rude and always keeping a distance, when sober – total sluts when drunk. Moreover, I’ve heard that from a lot of other foreigners too, so there is something to it. German girls are more straight forward, they don’t have this Jekyll and Hyde thing. Sober they are more flirty and drunk they keep more distance. But that’s just the general rule. I’ve had some drunken sluts in my cab there in my time!

Well, well, have you ever kept two guys busy with something you want to do by all means and in the end you go back to where you were in the beginning and all is the way it was before? I did that, I’m now back on my old new car and on day shift, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday. For a number of reasons it didn’t work out as I thought it would. (It’s like having to ask a girl if she takes you back. Well, some just laugh in your face, but some do. I would always do that. I would laugh but would take her back. (Or I would say, good job too and wouldn’t.))

I have decided to go to Colmar next. It’s only 50 k’s away from Freiburg, that’s the main reason, so I can work in Freiburg again for 2,3 months, whilst getting the licence. It shouldn’t be too much of a problem for the town is only 67000 inhabitants and the French are surely a bit more French about things, namely knowledge. Whenever I’m homesick, which I am constantly, I can just hop over the border. My millions of English readers might not know it, but there are no controls at the borders anymore, you just drive right through. (This is a thing called European Community, dear English.) Moreover, it’s just an hour’s drive to my Hasenschnecke. She will be delighted! (Um, I might delude myself to that fact here, I admit quite freely that this is not completely within the realms of impossibility.) For 14 months there was no place in the world I wanted to be more than Brighton and then it suddenly switched and now I can’t wait to move on! But it’s always nice when you know you will leave something behind soon, then you are always more forgiving and tolerant about things. I don’t think it’s racism that no one is really interested in me here, people are not really unfriendly to me or about foreigners in general or what they do, they just simply don’t care much about them at all. They are just basically not much interested in things that are not English. And Europe itself is not really that much of a hit here anyway.

Colmar pic of mine

“Colmar’s old town is the main attraction if you come to Colmar. It is stunningly beautiful and well preserved. You should allow yourself a day to stroll along Colmar’s old streets and many many shops…. Although Colmar was French for most of its modern history (as all of Alsace and also Lorraine), its population used to be predominantly German. Alsace changed nationalities many times in the course of history between France and Germany. During WWII Hitler reclaimed Alsace (it was annexed to France after Germany lost WWI) and it is quite shocking to see photographs from the time with Nazi flags hanging through the streets. Cultural supression of local culture led to the francification of Alsace (and Colmar with it). Notwithstanding, you will still hear a lot of German spoken in Colmar, some because of the numerous tourists from neighbouring Germany and Switzerland, but some spoken by native Alsacians, speaking their German dialect called Alsatian. Alsatian is the local minority language, although it is endangered, with ever fewer speakers in young generations. Alsatian is not identical with standard German, but it is to a certain extent mutaully intellegible. In some parts of the city, as well as in Strasbourg, streetsigns will be written in French and Alsatian German underneath. Among the minority languages of France, Alsacian German is the most prosperous one nowadays (followed by Breton, Occitan, Basque and Catalan), and many Alsatians will be delighted to be adressed in German rather than in French (though not all of them). If you do not speak French, German will always be the next preference. English is unfortunately not widely spoken, however if you politely address someone in French they may make an effort to help you despite language barriers.”My experience here, as I know Alsatians quite well, if you address one in German they only speak French. If you address one in French, they only speak German. But it might be different if you are not from Germany.

About Jochen Lembke

Europe's cab-driving writer
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