Entries 12.12. – 21-12.2008, Brighton

Sunday, 21.12.08

By the way, I’m also on Facebook, if you are on it too, you are welcome to invite my as a friend, same as you are here, of course.

I found out that Brad Newsham, the San Francisco cab-driving writer, whom I’ve mentioned below, is on Facebook, too, so I’ve sent him a friend request. But I’m a bit sceptic, for I know (and experienced it!), that writers are not too keen on other writers and especially if they have been published, they are likely to look down on those who haven’t. Talking about that, I don’t think about self-publishing as a blemish, for I generally think that publishers are just humans, they basically don’t have the time for a just judgement on an unknown writer, for them they are just another blank page. And generally I think the times that writers can just rely on publishers to get them somewhere is over, you basically need to take care of your reputation as a writer yourself, these days. And that’s what I do, as you well have noticed.

I will continue browsing the net for interesting stories about other creative cab-drivers, it seems that this job gives them the required flexibility to do that. I mean, the job can only benefit from those, there’s nothing worse than a frustrated shit-head in this job, who lets it out on his passengers. Unfortunately there are loads of these people!

Here’s a passage from an article in an Australian thingy called abc.net.au, (and a link for more: Unleashed: The artist within ) In the next ten minutes I learnt that my driver was a singer who had performed in musicals all over the world, principally in supporting roles and chorus lines. She knew all the big stars, had seen all the best productions, often from side of stage and still had high hopes of a breakthrough performance in a long running show. To assure me of her bona fides she gave an impromptu performance of the marvellous Cole Porter tune, “Anything Goes” with astonishing artistry and at a volume great enough to wake the inhabitants of the apartments we were passing on our drive down Broadway. By the end of the trip I was her biggest fan. She was pure show-business, as ready to perform for a single scared Australian lost in the Big Apple as on the stage of The Gershwin to two thousand paying punters. This experience confirmed a valuable life lesson. Narrowly put, it is this, never underestimate a cab driver, which is to say, look at the person and not the job. I’ve had remarkable conversations with cab drivers from all over the world, who in other lives were, Doctors, Philosophers, Artists, Writers, musicians, model train enthusiasts with international reputations and Business entrepreneurs down on their luck. As my singer friend told me, driving was undemanding and flexible, so she was always able to audition, free to devote herself to her craft, leaving the cabs when she had a good role and falling back on them when times were lean. Yet, this is not just about cab drivers, its just that a cab’s confession booth interior, lends itself to conversation between strangers. Talking to a bank teller with an impatient lunchtime queue at your back does not encourage the kind of intimacy that allows you to ask whether they have any plans of releasing a debut novel. You see, for many people, life is too important for a career. Working is simply something they do to keep bread on the table whilst they pursue their true passions. For whatever reason, it is not always possible to earn your living from doing the thing that you love, and if your passion is strong enough, then your “job” is going to be nothing more than the thing that keeps you alive whilst you follow your dream. In fact, a demanding job can distract you from your goals.

Saturday, 20.12.08

New vids: I have downloaded some video editing software, which is free for trial. I can now edit some vids which I couldn’t upload on youTube for they are too long. Yet I didn’t took the time to find out how to cut the video, so what I do is to speed them up, I found out about that, so they now fit into that 10-minute-frame. I also think it adds to them, it gives them a bit of a racing quality and our life has generally fastened it´s pace, so I’m just following a trend, am I not?

Some English guy told me that Germany is out of the depression. Well, there was one for the last 15 years and that’s why people weren’t too much into ‘big spender’ and this pays off now. Tchibo, a German coffee roaster and retailer with huge appetite for other market-areas, won’t expand now to England, he told me. The don’t trust the economy here. The English would be very stubborn and ignorant, so they opposed the euro, which brought them the crisis now, he further said. Well, that about wraps it up, I say.

I feel very miserable, my bronchitis is not getting any better, this can last up to a month and inhaling exhausts certainly doesn’t help, one more reason for night-shift.

I have sent my Hasenschnecke a Christmas card and at the same time apologised for doing so via text. How pathetic can that be? Yet, I have to be very, very, very patient and I will. Why, two years ago she thought I’m a dangerous psychotic and now she only ignores me, isn’t that some progress? (I mean, dangerous psychotics never know that they are such, they always think they’re normal, that’s what makes them so dangerous, so what do you think? Do think I am one or do you think my version is more likely, that she is just a little mistrusting, tends to judge people a little bit too quick and then – does – not – deviate – from – that – idea – one – iota, once she comes to that. So, basically that kind of woman that needs my special love and devotion? Or do you think I’m just full of it? (Well, don’t worry, that’s what most people think anyway.))

You know what, those self-ironic people are slick like eels, you can never get to them. You point your finger at them and say “you’re mad!” And they just laugh at you, like, what took you so long to figure that out and say, “yeah, right, I gave up on normal long ago, didn’t get me anywhere, so I try mad now. Works nicely so far!” (Hm, mustn’t get too much Douglas-Adams-esk, don’t want to violate copyright, do that too much anyway.)

Friday, 19.12.08

Last day day-shift. I’ll really miss the old people for most of them are really nice. (I think that being in a job nowadays is much, much, much, more stressful than it was back then, war times and all. Everybody these days is so stressed out – and that’s how people deal with each other.) And I will miss in particular those people who were old enough to still have taken part in the war – and giving them the opportunity to have a real and really nice German driving them home from shopping. Memories are still vivid in the old people – and we are friends now, that’s my message, the war finally is over and everything is okay… I have a very touching moment in the cab today in that direction again with a nice old lady, being in the air-force. “I was fighting you”, she says. Now, when it’s Christmas, she’ll think of that German cab-driver, cab-driving writer actually, and she will think back to the past and will be still a bit more at peace with it.

“I thought you were someone special”, a girl says to me, when I “revealed” myself. Now, we’re talking. All these endless efforts without any financial pay-off, without that much acknowledgement, so far, yet, it has to be worth it, somehow. Despite all tiredness (bone-deep fatigue actually, sometimes, even), all Germanic gibberish, I know what I’m doing and for what I am doing it.

Young Winona Ryder look-alike, with two rats! “You know, who you remind me of, that actress, what’s her name, ah, Winona Ryder… you’ve surely heard that before, haven’t you?” Oh, yes, a lot of people would say that. Well, very nice and beautiful girl, you’ve got the looks I’ve got the power, if I were you, I’d try my very best to make something out of it. Make loads of pics of you and send them to old Hollywood, pester sweet Winona or her agent with it, because there are always movies which cover a whole life-span of the character. Winona can play herself at 40 and with age-make-up a lot older, but she can’t play herself at 20. You don’t need talent in Hollywood, just the right looks, it’s all show, why, maybe she’ll find the talent in her anyway, so, I tell this girl to send me a pic of her – and she will be on the web-site of the now most famous (oh, yes) cab-driver in the world! Agents, producers and model-scouts will come flocking! She tells me that people usually are disgusted about rats. I’m sometimes disgusted about people because they should know better. There even exists a pic of me with three rats crawling all over my head! When you have a beer with a rat on your shoulder, be aware of it licking the corner of your mouth, three licks gets her tipsy!

Drive sexy dressed (coldest winter start since 30 years!) girl, who has even two “not car this and this” on her job-details. “So, what did those guys do, then?” I ask and try to be a bit fatherly (come on, tell uncle Jochen about it). “I’d rather not tell”, she says. Well, I can only guess. I know damn well, it’s sometimes very, very hard to restrain yourself, you have stress all day, you usually rank very, very low as a cab-driver, in terms of hierarchy of future husbands, it is so easy and so damn cheap as well to get rid of some aggressions by letting it out on girls, especially guys from macho-cultures are prone to that, I’ve heard it so many times from girls in Germany, that they sometimes really have been pestered by those guys.

Nice houses at Marlborough place

I had no idea when I came over here that those shoes don’t hang there to dry but to show that if your stash is low there’ll be some more, from your friendly fuck-face neighborhood dealer.

What would Brighton be without it’s sometimes morbid charme? Of course, we leave the West Pier like it is!

Thursday, 18.12.08

I’m sick to death with this traffic!!!! I will switch to night-shift, from next week on. No more gridlock, no more stressing people to the station, no more £3 fares from Tesco. Bye nice old ladies, I will miss you, hello pretty girls, hello nice drunks and hello drunken bastards! Y-y-y w-w-want t-t t-tell me your l-lil-life-story? Alright, it’ll stay between us, I won’t tell anybody.

Cutest old lady ever. She apologises for me missing the turn, which brings me right to a little speech about the overly polite English people, who do even apologise when the other has done something wrong, and those who are really rude. Straight away she apologises for the rude people in England! She says I would make a good husband for I’m so nice. “Yeah”, I say, “tell this to the girl I love, she has an injunction against me!” “Oh, how silly of her!” “I will let her know, that you said that, erm, not right now, for I’m not allowed to, but sometimes!” And she gives me a three-pound tip. Soooo cute, I’d love to adopt that old lady as my grand-mother.

“Why am I so darn correct”, I tell the next old lady, which gets in my cab and a moment later I get a radio job, which I reject, yet. “I could have taken that job, dropped you off and pick up the next fare!” “Yeah, now you have to wait so long again, these days”, she says, motherly. She would have not begrudged me this fare. I tell her about the girl and say: “Maybe I’m too nice anyway. A lot of women go for the bad guys!” “That is true, unfortunately”, she says.

Someone’s up there, laughing his butt off on us! You can give example for that any day. Like the thing with the change. Do I have coins people give me coins, ’till my purse bulges. Do I run out of coins people keep on giving me notes. Or, yesterday, when I had a no-job at a certain road, let’s call it Certain Road, for arguments sake, number 11. Ten minutes later I had a job, Certain Road number 12!!!! Or, today, I am at a Burger King at the car-park at Comet’s and get Millner Road, which is about the farthest distance in this area. Hours later I just arrive at that car-park to get me another “wholemeal”-burger, do I get Inwood Crescent, which is just next to Millner Road!!! Dear God, don’t struck me with a bolt of lightning, but what is your intention on things like that?

John, “I’m just a drummer”

Am I the drummer-cab? The second drummer in a month. John says, he’s not famous, he just drums… “You drum until you teeth fall out?” “….Yeah, I drum ’till my teeth fall out.” Well, John, drumming alone won’t make you famous, you need to do a little show like me. (I tell him, one day maybe he’ll drive a cab too and when waiting drum around a little. That’ll get him a name!) Don’t think anyway that being good at something is getting you somewhere, John. Being good at something is nothing but a good start, it’s not even a necessary requirement. Look at George W. Bush, the then elected President of the US, now all of America wants to throw shoes at him, was he in any way qualified? I’ve written five very, very, very clever and very, very, very good books, that would have sold millions, if written by a Douglas Adams, did it get me somewhere? Why, I’ve had people writing articles on them that didn’t even have the intelligence of a George W.! No, don’t think successful people are the most intelligent or the most gifted or trained or the people with great personalities, their qualities are way somewhere else. Well, and sometimes they are just lucky.

I’ve come to a decision! Does it qualify you for the title “most famous cab-driver in the world” (which is still a blatant under-dog in the celeb-world, don’t ever get me wrong on that one!), if you do car-races or run a dating service, which gets you in TV-shows? Or does it need to be a bit more, say initiative, ideas or talent? I have written five books, translated four. I have been a cab-driving writer now in two countries with different languages, which both of them I speak fluently. I am keeping a blog which gets more and more voluminous. I can act, sing, play guitar and do a hell lot more. So, I claim the title! Jochen Lembke, “Europe’s cab-driving writer” – the most famous cab-driver in the world! Now, how about that! To hell with modesty! And I tell you, I’m into fair competition, I don’t adorn myself with borrowed plumes – whoever out there may feel themself more qualified – speak your mind, “come up here” and let’s hear from you, we’ll work it out!

Wednesday, 17.12.08

Who is the most famous cab-driver in the world contest!!!! Now, look at this! I’ve had a quick look in the net under “most famous cab-driver” and here they come flocking! It’s got to do something with being together with people and being a complete underdog at the same time, which brings out this wannabe attitude in cab-drivers, certainly. Well, I’m always for a fair competition (if it helps promoting me, of course) and – why not make a competition out of this? There are so many singers, actors, dancers, you-name-it’s out there, trampling on their feet, boring us to death, a cabby is always someone who has something to tell, hasn’t he? Let’s make a competition out of this, why not, who is the most famous cab-driver in the world!? Of course, I claim it will be me, (at least when I’m off to France, which will be my third country), but what about the others? So, let me introduce the candidates.

Here’s candidate Nr.1, a German babe, which is into motoring (Always “ze” Germans, want every-body’s attention)………………………………………………………….

Posssibly the world’s most famous taxi driver will be do some racing in the US in Grand-Am. She will be competing the Koni Challenge events at New Jersey Motorsport Park and Iowa speedway driving a VW GTI…. Axis Of Oversteer: Lady Cab Driver coming to America

Here’s candidate Nr.2, which doesn’t really count, for does this only for show and to keep herself in the papers. Kate Moss, as an aging female celebrity!……………………………………………………………………..

Famous London Black Cabbies FAMOUS LONDON CABBIES She has often been pictured falling out of the back of taxis. But now Kate Moss has taken her place at the wheel – as London’s most famous cab driver.

Candidate Nr.3 is a London cab-driver. He’s listed on Google under Flickr……………………………………………..

The most famous cab driver in London. His name is “porky” and he’s 72 years old.

Now were coming to New York, which claims to rule the world anyway (and, erm, probably does) and this attitude rubs off on its cabbies, they think they are world-famous anyway. Well, as a whole bunch certainly, hence all those jokes about aliens coming to Earth, disguising themselves as NY-cabbies. (Why, cause people are so used to them having gross body anomalies? No, they are used to them having gross alien behaviour, not being familiar with human at all)

So, there are two of them even at once, who claim to be the cities most famous cab-driver. Here’s candidate Nr.4, Jack, the hack!…………………………………………….. YouTube – Jack the Hack

Candidate Nr.5 is this chap down there:…………………………………..

February 12, 2008 Cupid Cabbie Cures NYC’s Lonely Hearts Forget about Missed Connections on the Craigslist, the only way to find love this Valentine’s Day is by hailing Ahmed Ibrahim’s cab. The Daily News reports on the cabbie with cupid tendencies, saying he’s spent years playing matchmaker to his patrons. His record is pretty impressive, he’s organized 70 “real dates,” 19 of which turned into relationships that lasted over a year. The numbers could be higher but Ibrahim is selective on who he sets up. He listens to their conversations, asks them a few questions and then, if he thinks they are suitable, explains his matchmaking services and asks for their number and e-mail. “I want to know if they’re the real deal or just a player,” he said. “If you’re a player, then forget about it.” In 2005, after being featured on The Today Show, news of his skills reached the west coast when The Seattle Times reported on one of his success stories; at the time they mention that his agent was shopping his story around Hollywood (where every tale of love ends up). The 53-year-old Borough Park resident is recently single himself, saying “When I was in high school I was looking for Miss Universe. In college I wanted Miss America. Now, Miss Brooklyn would do.” Maybe Miss Right will step into his cab this Valentine’s Day, when it will be adorned with roses and red and white hearts. Comment: I met this guy once. He’s hysterical! He drove me home after work at about 3 in the morning. First he asked if he could take me for tequila and falafel. Then he said, “Did you ever think you’d be in a cab with a famous cab driver?” He began telling me about all the tv shows and newspapers he’s been in. He even has laminated pictures of him with Oprah and the gang from the Today show! He made me promise that if he found me a husband I would name my first son Cabbie. One of his couples did get married so maybe there’s a little boy named Cabbie out there somewhere. Most awesome cab ride ever.

And candidate Nr. 6? Well, you are on his web-site now! So, any journalist or what have you interested in this contest? (This includes the Argus, I mean, there aren’t that many people choking to death on kebabs all the time, are there? “Taunt the Argus”, I will have another column here!)

And the list goes on! Article from the San Francisco Chronicler, from today (10-06) 04:00 PST San Francisco — Brad Newsham is precisely the kind of traveler one might hope to encounter in a jungle or on a trek or on the crowded streets of Calcutta. Inquisitive, gangly, daring and big-hearted, he has a knack for telling stories and drawing people to him. “He travels to touch people and be touched,” said longtime friend Blake Rodman. “He’s like an ambassador.” If Newsham’s life had a motif it might be the saccharine bumper sticker — “Practice random acts of kindness” — that he pointed out when driving around one day recently. This is more than a slogan for Newsham, 49, a devoted writer, traveler, occasional Chronicle contributor and San Francisco taxi driver. It’s a mandate. Newsham, a cab driver since 1985, has homeless friends at intersections all over the city and loves helping frustrated Muni riders catch up to buses they just missed. But probably his greatest random kind act yet is documented in “Take Me With You: A Round-the-World Journey to Invite a Stranger Home” (Travelers’ Tales, $24). The book is a decades-long project born when Newsham was 22 and traveling in Afghanistan. One day, perched on a boulder high in the Hindu Kush mountains, he watched a caravan move across the desert far below him. “What would these nomads make of my culture?,” he wondered. “Wouldn’t the Grand Canyon or a redwood grove or a Safeway store, gleaming and fully-stocked at two o’clock in the morning, amaze them the way their culture and all the other cultures I’ve stumbled into recently have amazed me?” He decided that one day, when he was rich, he would invite someone from his travels to visit him in America. Though Newsham never made his fortune, he did sell his first book of travel writing, “All the Right Places.” He paid off his debts, put $1,000 in a savings account, and decided to spend the remaining $5,800, all the money he had left in the world, on a 100-day trip through the Philippines, India, Egypt and Eastern and Southern Africa. At the end of his journey, he would surprise one person — someone who had never been outside his native country — by inviting him or her on a one-month, expenses-paid trip across America. “Take Me With You” is the account of Newsham’s 100 days of travel and, finally, his choice. Along the way, Newsham meets an ear cleaner in New Delhi, a scheming casino dealer, a faith healer, a Filipino shop owner, a junkie, volunteers at a Mother Teresa’s mission, a cycle-rickshaw driver, an Egyptian teenager, an African safari guide, a shopkeeper with a store on the slopes of Kilimanjaro, a 110- year-old, a shoe repairman, an office worker. And there are others, many others. Newsham writes about mountains, valleys, jungles and cities, about poverty and sickness, about the thrills and disappointments of travel. Because of his mission, every moment was laden with possibility, Newsham said in an interview. During the trip, he usually spent a couple hours a day writing in his journal — reconstructing conversations, describing the clouds, riffing on what it means to be a traveler and wondering “Why this life? Why me, here, now?” In 1976, Newsham discovered author Paul Theroux and travel writing and thought “You can do this?” He always expected he would turn the nine notebooks and hundreds of stories from his 100-day trip into one, published book. But it has been a punishingly long road. A 10-year road. After returning from his trip in 1989, Newsham spent a year in San Francisco desperately trying to write. Convinced he couldn’t complete the book here, he moved to Mexico for a year and returned with a 1,000 page manuscript and a pile of debt. He spent a couple more years after that driving his cab, paying off what he owed and polishing, polishing. In 1993, he finally gave the manuscript to his agent. All along, Newsham had been writing letters to various people he met on his trip. That year, with great excitement, he extended an invitation to his chosen traveling companion, figuring soon enough he would have the resources to finance the America trip. His invitee, who is named in the book, immediately accepted the offer. “Oh, what a great surprise,” he wrote in a letter to Newsham. “I accept your invitation to visit you there in America at all your cost . . . including an amount in case or maybe to buy a souvenir. . . . I would really like to see at least a part of America before staying just to (his hometown) for my whole life. Thanks so much if you can give me a chance to have a new experience . . .” But no one bought Newsham’s book. He entered a desperate period marked by bad investments and serious debt. His friend Rodman implored him to leave the book behind and move on with his life. Just when Newsham finally decided to to give up, four different publishers expressed interest. The book, finally published by Travelers’ Tales in August, was recently included on the Marin Independent-Journal’s best-seller list. “I learned about perseverance,” Newsham said. “(and) how much we can underestimate our abilities and powers in life . . . It was valuable for me to have the quintessential American experience — you can do anything you want. It’s your choice.” Now married with a three-year- old daughter, Newsham continues to drive his cab two to three days a week. Driving a taxi reproduces many of the elements of travel that appeal to him: interacting with people, having unexpected encounters, hearing and telling tales. He can tell cab stories forever. He’s driven countless celebrities, been held up at gunpoint three times, been stiffed and tipped and, in his gentle, unimposing manner, elicited story after story from his fares. Even if he could make a living as a writer — and he hopes eventually to do that — Newsham still would choose to drive the cab at least twice a month for the rest of his life. People have the idea that the cab world is a mythical, semi-outlaw place, he said, and it’s not entirely untrue. “There’s something I get from cab driving that I don’t know how else I would get. I have contact with every strata of the city. I have my finger on the proverbial pulse of the city. If I didn’t drive I would feel estranged. . . . At least once a shift I think, `I love this job. Thank God for cab driving.’ ” The job makes his wife, Rhonda Gillenwaters, very nervous. “She says a prayer for me every night. I hope they get answered, because I don’t want to give up cab driving,” Newsham said. When he’s traveling and when he’s driving, he repeats the same mantra: “I’ll come back from this trip. It might be tough, but I’ll come back.” Newsham had hoped to take his visitor on his American journey this past July. “I wanted to do it before the book came out so I would be immune to charges that I was exploiting him,” Newsham said. He routinely sends letters and money and asks his faraway friend not to lose faith. Now his chosen visitor has a passport and a visa and Newsham has set aside his $8,000 book advance for the trip he expects will take place next summer. He wants to show his visitor his world and then as much of America as possible — from Point Reyes and a Giants baseball game to Las Vegas, Idaho and his childhood home in Washington D.C. Gillenwaters didn’t pause when asked about the $8,000 — money that conceivably could be spent on, say, their daughter’s education, rather than a stranger’s trip to America. Would she ever ask her husband to use the money for something other than the planned journey? “Absolutely not,” she said. “We’ve talked and agreed that if anything were to happen to Brad I would honor his agreement. He’s made that promise, and it will be fulfilled.” Lembke goes straight into action and writes a comment – the first one on the page! (1) Cabbie Picks Up Fare for Foreign Friend’s First U.S. Visit (Link no longer active!)  jochenlembke 12/17/2008 8:55:00 AM Great article! I took the little trouble to get me registered to comment, although I just chanced on this space here by browsing the net, (I am German, living in the UK now). And great guy, too, can I meet him? We do have a lot in common! Anyway, wouldn’t it be a good thing if someone would do something like, “who is the most famous cab-driver in the world?” I’d really appreciate if some journalist would be up for this, of course, I’d submit my humble self to that “contest”, too, but there are many other creative cabbies, it would be quite enthralling. I’ve copied the article with your permission and put it on my blog, to be found at: http://jochenlembke.spaces.live.com/ Jochen Lembke, “Europe’s cab-driving writer”

Tuesday, 16.12.08

Drive Simon Hope, a very nice cookery-book author. Simon Hope enjoys Spanish home cooking in Brighton’s friendliest bodega his restaurant guide trough Brighton!

Sunday, 14.12.08

Christmas is coming, mercilessly, and it’s going to be another awful one for me! I don’t have family of my own, the girl I want one with hates me, my own family… well, we don’t get on, too much, I don’t have time for (my) friends… and now I’m stuck in a country with strange natives with strange habits and rituals… best work as much as I can, as not to get much depressed.

I’ve completely forgotten, I can put a link here so that you can have a look at the cover of my four self-published taxi-novels, of which I’d sold over 1200, a third of them in the cab. So, click this link below, and check out my covers! Yet the cretins have mixed up the order of my books, the way they’ve done it, it’s book 2, 3, 4, 1. Good, you don’t speak German either, for the article is one of those “finish in 20 minutes articles”. If I would have written my books like that! Der dichtende Taxifahrer Der dichtende Taxifahrer www.chilli-freiburg.de/pdf/archiv/0502februar/Buecher.pdf – Similar pages

No response to my emails so far. Particularly annoying is the no response from Brighton’s cutting edge press specimen, who does headlines like “man choked to death on kebab”. (Pulitzer!) Are they so slow? Are they so tired? Am I so boring? Or are they just racist? “We don’t want any Germans lecturing us”. I mean, I’ve written one book back then and I was in all of Freiburg’s local media, just about this one “cab-driver, who wrote a book”. And now I’ve done about 100 times more and when is it them on the phone for me? But you know what, I don’t have time to waste. As long as I haven’t sent an article to the New York Times, just for example, I will definitely not write to them again. Anybody can write an article for the NYTimes and they may publish it. And it gets you 450 bucks, by the way.

Saturday, 13.12.08

Yeah, was just googling under my name anyway, for me being so famous and such. So, how about that Lembke is involved in a European spy plot? Hey, Mr. Putin, you can always come to Brighton, if your job doesn’t work out. But, I tell you what, the knowledge is rather harsh!

BBC NEWS | Europe | Spy chief Putin’s cab-driving plot 2 Sep 2002 … Vladimir Putin thought about a new career as a taxi driver, after resigning as KGB head during the 1991 coup, says a new biography.

Novel-storm has invited me, among many others, to a writing contest. Well, all I have to offer in English language is my Hitch-Hiker’s. So, that’s what I replied. “13.12.08 Dear novel-storm/WritingRoom I’d very much like to attend to the contest, as I was invited to, on December, 10th, on my site on windows live spaces, where novel-storm has added me to his friends. Yet, the problem is I’ve written five books and translated four, all of them self-published, but they are all in German language, except one, which is a bit problematic. However it’s the only one I can offer – and so I do, to rewrite my very voluminous blog-entries in English language in novel-form (which I will do eventually), will take too much time, is planned for next year. The problem about said manuscript is, that I have the rights for it and I don’t have the rights for it. Means, I have written it all by myself, yet without authorisation, for it’s a sequel to a deceased author’s world-bestseller, which we all know so very well. The thing is, I tried to get authorisation and wrote to the agent of Douglas Adams, but as you very well know, without a name goes nothing, not only in the book-business. Same was with PanMcmillans, they turned it down and for the same reasons. So, all there’s left to me about that now, is not to get a name with the Hitch-hiker’s, but to get a name and then get it published! For that’s as clear as day – once I have a name it will get published, for it will sell many, many thousands, if not more. But right now, no name, no one cares. So, I leave you to it, I would be very happy if you give it a look – oh, and another thing, which is in the same direction: although the book is written in German and translated by myself into English, there are only the first six chapters edited by a native speaker, for it’s the same vicious circle here, can’t find someone to edit it for me, for just the prospects of royalties – and money I don’t have any! So, this is why I just send you the first six chapters. If you think this will be in any way worth to be considered, I will send you the rest, if not, all you can do is try, but try you have to. It’s only a matter of time, that I will have a name anyway, that much is certain, for what I’m doing is unique and outstanding, and if driving a cab in five European countries and writing about it is still not enough, I will do this with a refrigerator in my cab-boot, I swear to God, it worked for that guy who did this in Ireland, didn’t it!? Kind regards, Jochen Lembke

Friday, 12.12.08

This is how the day started this morning, probably the coldest morning so far!

John, on his birthday! Happy birthday, John, you can copy this nice photo and invite all your friends to have a look, this is my present for you! His wife, supposedly, that is, tells me, she has had her birthday yesterday. Why, this is what blogs are for, aren’t they!?

Look at this energetic and determined young lady here, this is how to commute, bike in the back and grab a cab!

“To Eastbourne I’m going, by train”, he says, “I go there everyday for my sins.” “But it’s such a nice town, isn’t it!” I say. “Yeah, but it’s so full of old people, it should be called zombietown…! Old zombies!” he hastily corrects himself. “Don’t get me wrong, they’re nice, but I get so impatient sometimes, because they’re so slow!” Well, well, costa geriatrica, it is, isn’t it!

No end to “le chagrin” at the station. I pull up a bit more to make room for the others, when a space occurred, so that they don’t have to unload on the crossing and I see a colleague reversing, dangerously close. I honk one time, and after he still comes closer, another time, longer. In vain yet, he hits me. Not to badly though, I get out and have a look, he must have hit the tyre, there is no dent or scratch. Yet, he doesn’t even care! I turn the car round, am about to leave the station to make room for others, cause there’s gridlock as usual, and call out to him, standing and chatting with the boys there, he’s still not very much interested in what he might have done. I tell him, it was the tyre, it’s alright. “I didn’t see you. What were you pulling up behind my arse for?” he says. Well… to make room for idiots like you.

I tell a passenger about this and say, he would react just “English” and she doesn’t want to hear this. She points out she’s from Liverpool and is sick of people reacting “oh, you’re thieves…” and such, that there is no good at all about Liverpool… “But what about the Beatles”, I interrupt. “Yeah, but that’s about the only thing. And I think this is getting now a bit long in the teeth, anyway.” Anyway, people in the north would be much nicer than in the south. “If you’d fell down here, people would step over you, it that would happen in the north, they would help you up!” Alright, I’ve heard that so many times now, there must be something to it. Okay, dear English, I apologise for slagging you off all the time. Dear southern English, you’re a naughty lot, you!

I watch a small demonstration against towers at the marina, in front of Hove Town hall. A passenger tells me, it’s already through in the planning, yet. I say the best thing to develop the marina would be to run a tram there.

Coffin dodger! “I’m not gonna die on you”, says a very sick man, in an attempt on black humour. “What happens by the way, if someone dies in your car, are you insured then?” “Don’t know, it never happened. Well, you’d be certainly in my blog, then!” Me, the emotionless, cynical bastard. No, I’m joking, I want to cheer him up and he does take it humorously, the poor sod. Good thing, I don’t give him much time anymore, nor does he himself.

Speaking off, I take people to two different funerals, with three hours in between! I like driving through cemeteries, for it’s an absolute no-car-area in Germany. (You would never have cars on cemeteries there, neither would you have no curtains at hearses, to give a free look at the coffin, there would always be curtains. (We used to drive pastors to and from funerals, in Freiburg, at least once a week, by the way.))

No replies at all to my emails. I will send an additional one to southernrailway.com.

No replies to “strictly come dating” either. I’ve spent millions on that campaign and I’m going to be the laughing stock of Brighton, if not of England, I’m going to embarrass my home country! All I’ve got so far is another trickster. I spare you the photo… some not to good looking Russian babe. How mood? Hello. My name is Maria to me of 25 years, I live in Russia in the city of Kazan, You can be heard about such city? My work takes place in hospital, I work as the nurse and to me my work very much is pleasant also to me it would be desirable to continue to raise the qualification and to receive the doctor. I as would like to learn about you more, about your interests and about your work and certainly I would like to receive from you more photos and to continue our correspondence, and to find out about each other more, I hope, that our correspondence will be interesting to you and we shall make friends. Unfortunately, this letter not big as I would like to learn all over again, whether is written by you to me, I hope, that you will write to me, I with impatience shall expect your letter. How mood? Very bad sometimes mood, I’m afraid, and certainly letters like these don’t help much with that! But I tell you what, I give you my credit card number, so that at least one of is happy. Yet, go on and bother me no further!


About Jochen Lembke

Europe's cab-driving writer
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