Entries 23.10. 7.11.08, Brighton

Friday, 7.11.08

Oh, what a day! Where to begin, with my head-ache? No probably not, I just take another pill and rather shut up about that. Well, I have driven today a young Lord, a TV-producer and Douglas Adams himself. No, I make up the last bit, only the first two are true.

But let’s begin with a very nice young lady, this morning, who of course doesn’t want her picture on my page, (what a waste, for she is very pretty) who enters my cab rather frustrated, after her first hours on a new job turned out to be a rather awkward start. Well, I tell her, if she doesn’t like the job, she can have another one, for she is great, and that’s all you have to believe in. So, there she is in my cab and I am just utterly bewildered after having a very bizarre moment, like I always have in my cab. I tell her, that a lady just has opened my door and thrown a twenty and a bunch of keys on my seat, without even known if I am the right cab (which I’m not) and told me strange things I couldn’t really follow for there’s a bus behind me, full of people who like to get to where they like to get, if it weren’t for the bloody cab in front of them. Then there’s this rather peculiar kind of congestion, where you can’t even really see why traffic isn’t moving, you just see people in front of you giving up and turning… and all the while I’m staring hypnotically at a car who wants to pull in… while all the while the only thing I really, really want to do… is to go to the loo. Strange, right, I tell this girl, and she agrees. “But I haven’t told you the weird part”, I then say to her. “You want to know the weird part? You’re with Europe’s cab-driving writer, the most famous cab-driver in the world to be, if not already. That’s the weird part.” Again, she agrees, that’s even weirder than the things I’ve mentioned before.

Then I have the great pleasure to meet me new friend Kieran Baker, who is executive producer of Political Bytes Productions, which is… well, I have some problems to work it out… the English Al Jazeera? CBCNews? Work it out for yourself, anyway, why am I not an indie movie-director looking for a promotion, but a guy who wants a promotion as a writer? (Well, one day I will drive a publisher). He wraps up the experiences I’ve made in this country within a year, in such a funny way, that I can’t stop laughing and wish again for a recorder in my cab. Nothing ever works in this country… and the time the English don’t need for learning English like the rest of the world, they spent on drinking! For example, he’s so fed up when he goes to a restaurant with English personnel, compared to foreign personnel, about the sulky way they treat customers, (“Whaddya want, mate… can I have this and this please…? No, it’s out…”) Kieran is a very nice guy who sits in the front with me, with a coffee on his lap, like an American would do, and that’s where he lives now anyway. He let’s me take a picture of him, see below!

Disabled old woman, who takes 13 minutes to get from her door in my cab, with her walking frame!!!! “I’m so afraid of falling!” And indeed, I have to hold her a couple of times, for otherwise she would have done so. Oh, how I hate this, no one there to help this poor woman, no doctor, no relatives, no paramedics, I get 5 pounds payment for that, all in all, fare included.

Well, my next new friend, my last passenger for today, to Lewes, is a little bit wealthier, the young Lord Hickstead, I assume. Well, about that, he is a really nice chap and doesn’t really tell me that matter-of-factly, so I just assume he is it. Because, when first he was a still a little bit in understatement, telling me his ancestors had bought some “really cheap land and it has just prospered pretty fairly”, I later learn that his new car, which has just been totalled by a white van, has been an 86-grand Mercedes, that when he himself had seen jumping two people from Beachy Head, on one day, (it would be about 11, per month), “tumbling in the air”, and that, when he did so, it was from his yacht, that his father would be a Lord, that the thing he put in my boot, what I first thought would be a guitar-case, is actually a rifle (some cab-drivers wouldn’t want to take him with that – well I’m so naive you can shoot me and I still won’t believe it), that he shoots foxes (good) and rabbits (bad) with it, that he does professional showjumping and, finally, that I can look him up in the Internet under “Hickstead”. Right? Anyway, he allows me to take a picture of him. (And all that right after I’ve seen Jude Law at a cash-machine. Well, wasn’t sure, but this here is “London beach”, why shouldn’t it be him?)

Hickstead is synonymous with showjumping. As host to the British Grand Prix and the only Samsung Super League with FEI Competition in the British Isles, it is the home of British showjumping. Founded in 1960 by Douglas Bunn, Hickstead has come to represent more than just showjumping however, and as it approaches its 50th birthday is equally as renowned for polo, showing, dressage, driving and even eventing! In recent years, we have also added weddings, conferences, parties and events to our repertoire, offering an idyllic, incredibly unique setting for any function.

God is watching over “Babylon & Hove”! (Hove, “actually”, for I made this picture on Hangleton Road, looking south.) So all you sinners out there…! Speaking of, most of my pics are not spectacular, for most of them I just do out of the cab-window (on purpose, for it gives it a cabbie-onlook-on-this-town-touch), but every once in a blue moon I make a lucky shot and you can download all of them for free, but if you ever make some money with it, it would be nice to then think of my 30 grand debts – I wanna say by that I claim for all my pics copyright, as a matter of course.

Thursday, 6.11.08

Oh, what a day! Arab guy who talked for 10 minutes in his mobile, deafening my left ear. Then, check this out, he told me, he, as a student from Dubai, would get a 6000 quid per month from the government. In words, six thousand pounds!!!! And each 6 months a 10000 as some bonus pocket money!!!! You wanna know what those guys do with our oil money? They spoil their kids, for one.

Talking about spoiled kids, have another four school kids today, aged tenish, and this time I told them I don’t want them to “mate” me. “It’s an English thing” they tell me, all cab-drivers would be okay with that. That would be bollocks, a young mother tells me, they just try this with me. I tell her about the young punk who whistled after girls, yesterday, and just after I’ve done that, she gets a message on her mobile, and her message tone is a wolf-whistle!!! Some gals seem to enjoy this!

In the morning a job with “no car thisandthis” on the display, meaning there’s been trouble with a driver and the person don’t want this driver. So, I can pretty much figure out my passenger, because it’s always mutual, those things, some small matter escalates to a huge row and in the end you don’t really know who started it, most times namely the pot is calling the kettle black, isn’t it. (By the way, language is a funny thing, some sayings are much nicer in another language, in German language you would say “one donkey is calling the other one long-ear”. But I very much like, “my brain has just left the building”.) And so, little surprise, here she was, the embittered fifty-ish English business-lady, Maggie-Thatcher-chastity-belt protruding under her iron-lady-bullet-proof dress, tight-lipped smile, no tip. Snarl, says the bull-dog.

Nice girl student this morning to Sussex Uni, I ask her if I can make a picture of her and put it on my web-site, she would be the first. No! (As in “no way”) Yet instead of good-bye she says, see you soon. Anytime, love, you know, first hackney carriage rule, don’t hit on nice ladies. But it’s okay if nice ladies hit on you! You know my email address.

I learn today “to be cheesed off”, which is just the English equivalent for the German “angekäst sein”.

Now check out these dudes below, I’ve driven today!!!! Actually, I don’t know which one of them I have on board today but it’s two young athletic American guys, who very well might be the two hanging down there in the left. Unfortunately I haven’t made a picture of them, for it was all a bit hectic. But, see for yourself!

“Broken-Bone Defying Feats” – The NY Post OUR SPECIALTY Aerial Silks, Aerial Chains, Rope (Corde Lisse), Spanish Web, Hoop (Lyra), Straps, Trapeze, Chandelier, Bullwhip, Fire, Acro-balancing, Hand-to-Hand, Contortionists, Escapologists, Juggling, Hula Hoops, Adagio, Trick Roping, Breakdancers, Beatboxers, Stunts, Acrobats, Tumblers, Burlesque, Extreme Acts, Parkour, Aerial Musicians, Choreographers, Human Statues, Illusionists, Magicians, Street Tap, Snake Charmers, Glass Walkers, Belly Dancers, Little People, Giants, Stilt Walkers, Impersonators, ‘Mini’-Impersonators, Bed of Machetes, Balancers, and more. Male/Female Duos, Male/Male Duos, Female/Female Duos, Solos, Trios, Quads, Large Casts, Burlesque, and more. “This IS Something!” – David Letterman.

Check out this cool dude! In the end he’s the first person who is being portrayed with picture on my site, one of many, many, I can promise, and I would say that’s an honour for anyone! Anyway of course I’m honoured to drive him too, and his amazing amount of stuff and I wish him the best for his gig tonight at 10.30 at Kings Road Arches, with his band. Yet, I can’t remember the name of the band, if I would have to die for and I will just let it lie for tonight. But funny old life, isn’t it, in all these five months I’ve never ever been to the Jewish Cemetery and just today, I´d been there twice within one hour, (to pick him up, who lives close by and to drive an elderly lady there who has let me down and made me wait for half an hour in vain. Thank you very much for that!)

Wednesday, 5.11.08

Barack Obama is the first black President of the United States! Now, what teaches us that? Obama’s personal message, apart from all his clever political ideas he brings along and I just didn’t have the time to follow, is – all you people out there thinking I can’t do this because… I can’t do this because I don’t have the right colour of skin, I can’t do this because I’m disabled, I can’t do this because my parents have been poor, I can’t do this because I had a rough childhood… all you people, here’s the message, if you want to do something and if you are fit and able to do so – do it. You can achieve it.

The tradition of Guy Fawkes-related bonfires actually began the very same year as the failed coup. The Plot was foiled in the night between the 4th and 5th of November 1605. Already on the 5th, agitated Londoners who knew little more than that their King had been saved, joyfully lit bonfires in thanksgiving. As years progressed, however, the ritual became more elaborate. Soon, people began placing effigies onto bonfires, and fireworks were added to the celebrations. Effigies of Guy Fawkes, and sometimes those of the Pope, graced the pyres. Still today, some communities throw dummies of both Guy Fawkes and the Pope on the bonfire (and even those of a contemporary politician or two), although the gesture is seen by most as a quirky tradition, rather than an expression of hostility towards the Pope. Preparations for Bonfire Night celebrations include making a dummy of Guy Fawkes, which is called “the Guy”. Some children even keep up an old tradition of walking in the streets, carrying “the Guy” they have just made, and beg passersby for “a penny for the Guy.” The kids use the money to buy fireworks for the evening festivities. On the night itself, Guy is placed on top of the bonfire, which is then set alight; and fireworks displays fill the sky. The extent of the celebrations and the size of the bonfire varies from one community to the next. Lewes, in the South East of England, is famous for its Bonfire Night festivities and consistently attracts thousands of people each year to participate. Bonfire Night is not only celebrated in Britain. The tradition crossed the oceans and established itself in the British colonies during the centuries. It was actively celebrated in New England as “Pope Day” as late as the 18th century. Today, November 5th bonfires still light up in far out places like New Zealand and Newfoundland in Canada.

Tuesday, 4.11.08

Drive nice teacher today who answers my question to that effect, if he is a teacher, with the tiniest of sighs. Oh, yes, those pupils nowadays, long gone the days of respect. Told him of yesterday, when I had four school kids to Queensdown School, that I am wondering if this is a school for criminal or difficult children – it were four of them, aged 14 or 15, and they said “mate” to me, aged 46, to begin with. Then one of them, the worst of all, farted and to air that out, he opened a window, yet only to then make racist remarks to people and to whistle at girls. Did I report them to the school, he asks, no I say, a little provocatively, I thought this is ordinary behaviour for English school children. He is going to the Pavilion to teach something about it – in short, the Pavilion, which was built in the 1820’s, led to Brighton’s up-coming as a tourist place, which was a fishermen village before. But of course, which had led to the Pavilion being built in the first place, and still makes the town popular, was it’s location, as “London beach”.

Female care taker who startled me to death when entering my cab, for I was watching an old woman with a “widow hump” as we would say in Germany. I ask her what would the correct term be for that and she passes, yet she knows what I’m meaning by it. I actually can’t find an expression for it on LEO’s – so I hope she will stick to her promise to send me an email (with the right term), although I doubt it, for no one ever did. (Weeks later – of course she didn’t.)

74-driver asks me if it is also that dead for us, or if the new system is to blame for it. I think the system works fine, dude, it’s just that some folks suffer first from a recession than others, teachers, i.e., or the funeral business, for that always stays the same. (Well, benefits actually, for all the cab-drivers that hang themselves…) Actually, I think the system doesn’t work properly yet, the phones, i.e., I don’t think they pick them up to their full capacity yet… “Have you had a busy morning?” I’m not used to those passenger-questions, because it has been so dead in Germany for many years, people were always so repulsively pitiful. Yet, never complain to passengers about we don’t have any jobs, for there are always those who try to benefit from that, mercilessly, and will come and haggle, if we don’t have any jobs now we surely can get them there for this and this… right, mate?

Drive around past a woman many times, ’till she finally asks me for who I am, for she’s ordered a 74 cab and I’m 20. Well, I’ve got news for you, we’re all the same now.

Monday, 3.11.08

Lets best not mention this day.

Now, here’s how cab-business works! When there’s a boom all the rich people come to the council and say “what’s wrong with this town, can’t get any cabs, I’m not gonna wait half an hour for a frigging cab!” And so the councils eagerly issues some more licences and sells them for good money. So, when the boom ends, all the cab-drivers come to the council and say “what’s wrong with this town, can’t get any jobs, I’m not gonna wait half an hour for a frigging job!” And so the council… well, so the council says, “alright, if you don’t like your job, go get another one.” That’s how cab-business works, I’m doing this now since ’85, it was never any different.

The Argus: Zombies out in Brighton city centre 10:03am Monday 3rd November 2008 Zombies lurched into Brighton city centre on Saturday night as part of an internet stunt. The intrepid Richard Gurner, who met the undead and lived to tell the tale, reports. With their arms outstretched, their clothes soaked with blood and various body parts hanging off, they looked even more bizarre than some of the oddballs usually seen wandering around Brighton in the dead of night. About 200 zombies, complete with umbrellas, braved the rain to walk from Brighton Station to the seafront in a Halloween horror night. The “undead” donned flaky skin and fake blood to pay homage to gory zombie movies such as Dawn Of The Dead in Brighton’s second zombie walk, dubbed Beach Of The Dead. The stunt was organised by 20-yearold Katie Amer, from Preston Circus, through internet sites Myspace and Facebook. Stunned tourists and revellers watched as the zombies marched from Queen’s Road to Churchill Square and then along West Street to the seafront. Katie, who works for Legal & General, said: “It went really well. I’m chuffed. I didn’t think anyone would turn up because it was pouring down with rain but it was such a good turnout. It’s going to be a yearly thing and we’re going to keep on doing it. It’s getting bigger and better. Everyone took it as a laugh and we had people taking pictures and walking with us. The only problem we had was the people at Churchill Square, even though they gave us the OK to go in. The security guards were rude and wouldn’t let us in. “We wrote to them four months ago and they said as long as we didn’t go into any of the shops and touch people then it was all right but they didn’t inform their security guards. However, it was a fun night so I can’t complain.” Katie, a self-confessed zombie movie fan, said the inspiration behind the stunt was similar zombie walks held in America. Graham Miles, 28, from Brighton, said: “There would have been more people if it hadn’t rained but I just decided to come along with my friends.” The fictional story behind the night’s activities was explained on the two internet sites. A posting on MySpace read: “Rumour has it that in the outskirts of Brighton, in a grotty disused military building, last year’s zombies have been kept by the nation’s top military brain-boxes for experimentation. “Amid fears of an escape, the Government has decided to move these ‘specimens’ to a new secure location on November 1. “Critics have pointed out that a scheduled security personnel changeover at Brighton Station may potentially lead to a second epidemic, almost exactly a year to the day after the initial outbreak. Last year’s undead uprising was considered a ‘gruesome way to spend the day’ and hopes and fears for the transit of these flesh-eating ghouls is high.” One bystander in West Street approached The Argus to ask what was going on. When told, she said: “I suppose it’s one way to spend a Saturday night. Someone made a comment, saying that this is nothing extraordinary, it would happen every Saturday night in West Street! Oops.

Sunday, 2.11.08

She has removed the viruses! I must admit I shed a little tear, for I was quite touched. I can almost hear the wedding bells ring, only two more years hard work, blood, sweat and tears, loneliness and utter despair… I’m looking forward to it!

Friday, 31.10.08

The official date of the merger between Brighton & Hove Streamline, 202020 & 747474 – I nick some 74 jobs! Right away, I have the impression I don’t have that much way for each fare – at the end of the day 20 miles less, for an average turn-over. Am very pleased about that. At least something in Brighton now makes sense.

Thursday, 30.10.08

During the process of the merger between Streamline 202020 and 747474, which takes place this week, the 74-drivers are fitted gradually with the car-computers we’ve already used, whereas the remaining others get their jobs, like back in the dark ages, acoustically over the radio. So what happened on Tuesday is that there were obviously more cars feeding on our jobs, than their jobs were fed into our system. A 74 driver told me there had plenty of jobs, where there were none for us.

One of the differences between England and Germany is that there are much more strict regulations here but people don’t seem to abide them, whereas in Germany are less and they seemed to be followed more or people generally are less rebellious than they are here. So the pavements are full of doggie-do in Germany because there are no such signs – and the pavements in England are full of doggie-do because no one gives a damn about those signs.

Tuesday, 28.10.08

Is this a mourning blog, someone asked me. Well, erm, it sometimes is as I have no one else to mourn to (everybody is so busy carrying his own little burden and is most happy to put that into some remote corner sometimes and have a beer in front of the telly, instead of shouldering mine as well), and one has to do that from time to time, isn’t it so. And today, it’s the second worst day, for me in this job, in England, only to be topped by my tow-away at Heathrow, 3 months ago. I work 6 hours until I basically just give up, for it’s so f… dead, like it never has been before, recession, holidays and end of the month… and all I have are 3 pound fares, it’s never over five! So, I make just around enough money to pay for the car and fuel, that means, I’ve worked 6 hours for absolutely nothing, that’s when you are self-employed. Plus people start wearing poppies again and this is probably the time of the year which is the most difficult for me anyway. I’ve apologized to a colleague, who was wearing one, for the war, as if I would be the one to blame for, well, that’s how I feel today, anyway. (He will work in London, is almost finished with the knowledge and will have done this in five years, and he’s 55! Ladies and Gentlemen, please give a hand for this brave chap!) Plus, I’ve scraped my rim-wheel on the new car, front, left, at a high kerb at the rank, the only good thing is, there has been already scrapes, not from me. So, I’m prepared for what lies ahead of me, because I’ve sent my Hasenschnecke a text!!!! And I’m not supposed to! I’m not supposed to send her anything. Plus, erm, I’ve called her a cute, little, poisonous dwarf (or toxic midget, whatever English translation fits the best), oh dear! Oh, deary me. That’s very cheeky, to do a nasty little remark like that, when you practically rely on the mercy of that person, who told you not to contact her… But what can I do, I love her so much. Moreover, she is a toxic midget, sometimes (a very, very cute one though and I sometimes think this of all is one of the reasons I love her so much), guess what she did! She knows I google under her name just because I long for her so much and she had set me traps! There were 6-7 entries under her name, where she just took some random context, implanted her name in meta-text, and linked the whole thing to a virus! As if I would be so stupid to go online without protection, there are so many nasty people in the net, aren’t there!? So, I asked her if she is flirting with me, because the whole thing was so obvious…???? Well, I keep you posted.

Monday, 27.9.08

Completely dead day today, for it’s holidays.

The merger takes place at the 31. Today our computer software for issuing the jobs is changed, to take care of the size of the new fleet, which will be almost thrice our size now.

Small moving for two low-lifes. It has been arranged with the office that they pay 3£ extra but in the end she pays me 20 pence short, than the fare itself, and I say I won’t start to hassle with her about a few quid, those times I have lowered myself to such are long gone. “I love you for that, you know, most cab-drivers are wankers, but you are nice, I will always love you!” As if, lady, all you care about is yourself and how you can live on other people. She’s already got one child which is a year old, has tattooed the date of birth in her belly, which she is just too keen on showing me, and the other is on its way. I don’t think she or the father is working, so to name people who have to work as hard as cab-drivers the way she does just makes me want to p… “Yeah, I can feel your love, right, it’s all over me.” So get your stuff and out of my sight with you.

Sunday, 26.10.08

The Argus, Taxi driver’s attacker spared jail 6:10pm Saturday 25th October 2008 By Nigel Freedman » A drunken lout who attacked a taxi driver and told him he looked like terrorist leader Osama bin Laden has escaped being sent straight to jail. Justin Pope, 30, racially abused the cabbie after a drunken night out in Crawley. Safraz Khawaja was left battered and bruised after Pope assaulted him on February 24. Mr Khawaja picked Pope and his brother Jamie up from the town’s Greyhound pub in the early hours. He drove them back to Pope’s home in Treyford Close, Ifield, Crawley, where there was a dispute over the fare. Pope ordered Mr Khawaja out of his cab, shouting: “You look like bin Laden, come out and fight.” He later admitted racially harassing the taxi driver but was found guilty of assault after a trial at Lewes Crown Court last month. He was cleared of failing to pay the fare and stealing a jacket and a trainer from the victim. Pope was given a 12-month prison sentence suspended for two years when he appeared at Hove Crown Court for sentence yesterday. He was also ordered to pay his victim £650 compensation and must do 160 hours unpaid community work. His partner, who is due to have their child in two weeks, broke down in tears as the sentence was announced. Stephen Hadley, defending, said: “He accepts this was a very unpleasant assault committed against a man carrying out his work at night. “It was a drunken incident which he very much regrets.” Judge Charles Kemp told Pope: “Your behaviour towards that taxi driver was violent, boorish and frankly, towards a person who plies his trade on behalf of the public at night, disgraceful. “He was hurt physically, was unable to work for two weeks afterwards and understandably he and his wife expressed concern about him returning to work at night. “Why should a taxi driver be treated like that by a drunken lout, which is clearly what you were that night?” Now this makes me really angry, I don’t want to write that much about that right now. Just three days ago a foreign taxi driver has been jailed for seven years for assaulting and now a foreign taxi driver has been assaulted and his attacker walks away as a free man. The whole thing stinks to high heaven!!!!

Friday, 24.10.08

Okay, it’s official, no one who said so writes me an email or comment, I just have to live with that, all these artists and other fancy people, they ignored my friendship. They did a swift calculation and thought, no, this guy is just a cabby, as much boasting as he does, he’s below us. But you know what, all you writers and poets and painters and sculpturists and what have you – I am going to out-famous you all! There are so many of you and there is only one Europe’s cab-driving writer and there is only one me – my idea is unique, all I have to do is stick to it.

Coast at Rottingdean

Rottingdean

Now, David takes a jump off Beachy Head and I have driven him there! (Erm, should probably mention he’s a para-glider…)

Been yesterday to Eastbourne and today to the very other end, Worthing!

See a cab at the station and an old man who is heaving clumsily suit-cases into it. Why doesn’t this guy help the poor old chap, I’m asking myself, some drivers are just too lazy. Then I see, the old man is the driver, oops.

Drive a nice lady with a suit-case full off flyers, she’s working in a travel-agency and tells me, that over the winter in Iceland daylight begins at 10 in the morning and ceases at 3 in the afternoon. Yeah, right, I know what’s on these flyers, see Iceland by night!

Two very, very beautiful and very, very, very self-conscious girls to BHASVIC. Dumb German wants to know what “cringing” means, a word they use in their conversation, and the girls are just about to explain, most patiently, when GEORGE comes by and “Oh my God, I’m so totally…” (yeah, just like these over-excited girlies in American TV). GEORGE is a handsome young man who most certainly has a certain impact on at least one of the young ladies. “So, are you in love with George, then?” asks dumb German mockish-impishly. (Yeah, now I know, she was cringing…)

I tell someone about the two French youngsters who’d ask me about Waterloo Street and he tells me there’s even a French market there, funny old thing, life is.

Argus headline for today: man choked to death on his kebab. Much better. There are loads of kebab stands in Germany, for the maybe 2 million Turks living there, and I’m fed up with them anyway (the kebabs, not the Turks).

Thursday, 23.10.08

Funny old day, it began when I picked up someone from the office who had done night-shift, he told me about that incident below: Taxi driver rapist jailed, The Argus, 9:25am Thursday 23rd October 2008 By Alison Cridland: A taxi driver who raped a teenage passenger who had no money to pay her fare has been jailed for seven years. Abul Malik, 29, stood with his head bowed in the dock at Lewes Crown Court as the jury returned a guilty verdict after deliberating for less than an hour. Malik, a driver who worked for Streamline Taxis, raped the 19-year-old in a quiet residential road in Brighton in the early hours of June 18. The student had been left stranded by two male friends who ran off without paying the fare when the taxi dropped them in Newmarket Road at about 3am. The girl, who had been drinking, had no money to pay for the journey home to her halls of residence at Falmer and after an angry confrontation with the driver she made a tearful 999 call asking police for help. But the operator told the girl the emergency services did not run a taxi service and suggested she walk back to Falmer. But Malik followed her and offered to take her home. She reluctantly agreed because she was not sure how to get home. On the way he drove to Jevington Drive, Moulsecoomb, where he raped her in the back of his cab after suggesting she could pay the fare in another way. The emergency operator who took the girl’s call has since been spoken to by a senior police officer and the force has started an investigation. Judge Guy Anthony criticised the police for not offering to help her when she called 999. He said he was aware the controller acted in accordance with guidelines but said the system should be reviewed. “This was a girl who gave her age, it was 3.30am, she was clearly in great distress. She complained the taxi driver was pursuing her and being horrible to her. “That showed, at the very least, a lack of compassion. The least that could have been done is to say they would send somebody round.” Superintendent Jason Taylor said the victim had suffered a “terrible ordeal” and promised that lessons would be learnt from the incident. Malik, of Trafalgar Road, Portslade, denied rape and claimed the student flirted with him and willingly had sex. The judge told him: “Taxi drivers perform a very valuable service in our community. It is quite understandable when somebody you give a lift to does not have the money to pay, you get angry. But what is wholely unforgivable is to behave in the way you did. “The victim had been abandoned by her friends, let down in a phone call to the police and you tricked her into your cab.” The student told the jury she had been frightened during the row with Malik over the unpaid fare. She had offered to pay him the following day and at his suggestion she handed over her shoes as security. When he stopped the car she had been too afraid to scream or run in case he hurt her. “He said he wanted me to pay him in other ways. I was scared. I was crying and crying. “I kept thinking the worst. I thought he might kill me. He told me to get in the back of the car. I just did what he said.” Malik was unanimously convicted of two charges of rape and one offence of sexual assault. He shook his head at the jury of nine women and three men as he was led to the cells, where he could be heard crying out. Supt Taylor said: “All calls to Sussex Police using the 999 emergency service are dealt with as the highest priority and are treated extremely seriously. “We accept there is some clear learning from the way the initial contact with Sussex Police was handled.” Well, well, well. I think all rapists belong behind bars, it’s a serious crime, and I think he lied and that made the whole thing even more hideous, but seven years? I don’t know, I’ve done this job for too long and have done too many night shifts – I feel touched and struck by the whole thing. The police let this girl down, thus becoming guiltless guilty, she endangered herself by drinking and not having enough money on her for a taxi back home and relying on those two scum-bags, and those two scumbags ran off without paying, abandoning her and exposing her to the anger of the taxi-driver – yet he is in such a harsh way punished now, as if he would have deliberately planned the deed and lept from behind a bush on some random victim. Although everything speaks for it, there was no hard evidence that it indeed was unwillingly sex, nor witnesses, nor a confession. Also in an inter-gender crime, where a man is accused of raping a woman, it is very questionable to have nine women in the jury and only three men, just think of O.J. Simpson who got away scott-free – although anybody in the public was convinced that he actually did murder his wife – just because the jury was black. Plus the guy is a foreigner, maybe can’t defend himself properly, I just have to put myself in his shoes, far away from my own country, standing accused in Lewes Crown Court, surrounded by only English, not a pleasant thought! I must furthermore say, quite frankly, it is not at all hard to experience those feelings the driver had at that time. Frustration, of being just a chauffeur for all these pretty young ladies, who has to get them to places where they can meet much more interesting boys and men, which have better jobs and more money. Desire, for they can be quite flirty nevertheless, enjoying themselves, being dressed in a manner a driver is not allowed to dress. Anger, because you don’t earn much in this job and always have to worry about your next fare or that your next fare will actually be a paid one – and now these guys ran off and triggered the whole thing, which led to the ordeal the poor girl had to suffer. And I just wonder, I mean, cab-drivers are exposed to all sorts of violence, what would be the punishment for a guy who’d hit a cabby, maybe breaks his jaw, makes him fearing for his life all the while? Seven years? Don’t think so. I’ve been hit on the arm by a guy sitting next to me who then threatened to completely beat me up, came round the car, tore open my door, swung a fist at me – I saved myself by driving off, three open doors banging shut as I accelerated. Well, although I knew the address I picked him up, I didn’t even report this guy, because nothing happened! So my personal opinion is, three years would have been okay, now this guy probably leaves prison and hates women even more, for rape is always about hate, the disability to love. The disability to forgive.

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About Jochen Lembke

Europe's cab-driving writer
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