Joe le Taxi

Now that I get up at ridiculous o’clock to work on the Capital Breakfast Show I have the surreal experience of travelling through London during the ghostly hour of 5am.



I also now have a new man in my life. He’s the first person I see every morning. He doesn’t speak. He doesn’t feel that we need words in the morning. We have something so much more special than that.

Because I leave at 5am on the dot everyday I now have a regular taxi driver. Well, it’s not really a taxi as my local mini cab firm have decided to send round a 10-seater minibus to collect me.

It’s very odd, unnecessary and quite frankly embarrassing to climb into it. The darkened windows make it worse. I feel like I should be bundled in with a load of sweaty roadies and a drum kit about to head to Plymouth Student Union (on tour with my hypothetical shite prog-rock-garage band of course).

The size of the van intimidates me. In fact I regularly swap seats on the drive to Leicester square because I feel I need to make full use of the space. (my record is 7 seat changes in one journey)

Anyway I digress.

Mr Taxi driver doesn’t talk to me. He never has, but he is special not just because of his crazy tour bus. But because of the musical choices for 5am on my journey.

1st journey with him was accompanied by the smooth sounds of Al Green’s greatest hits. Next day we were enjoying Jay-Z’s Blueprint. As the weeks have gone by the music has diversified to such a level that my dread of getting in my ridiculously huge taxi is mixed with a desire to know what the next album choice will be.

Snow Patrol, Alicia Keys, Daft Punk and even Beastie Boys’ Hello Nasty have greeted me at 5am.

This morning it was Boys II Men… simply the most bizarre collection of CDs. And all whole albums.

I have a daily battle try to speak to him. Be polite and get to know him.

I’ve only ever gotten “Thank You Rose.” as I hand over my money at Leicester Square as a response.

But he will happily stop off at a cash point (as I always forget the night before) or let me jump out at the petrol station to buy a crunch corner yoghurt (strawberry with chocolate balls).

He even pulled over at Parliament Square so I could shout at policemen evicting the protestors one morning last week. He didn’t even flinch.

Today I got in the car and tried once again to ask him his name, where he’s from. Again no response. I gave up. I didn’t need to know. We are beyond that now and have shared many special times at 5am.

But as I handed over my money at the end of our journey he said; “Thank you Rose. Joe. From Nigeria. Now Norwood.”

I think that’s the longest conversation we’ll ever have.


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