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Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Confessions of a Taxi Driver, Part 5: All the Young Dudes: 1970's. Sex. Drugs. Rock and Roll. Yeah right...

We all make choices that shape our future selves, some good, some bad. I didn't make any choices. so here is a lightning fast review of my life in the 1970's through mine own, reminiscing, slightly twinkly yet sexy failing eyes...



All the Young Dudes...

    "Speed jive, don't want to stay alive, when your twenty five"


It is 1970. I'm listening to the song Spirit in the Sky, it's coming from a tinny am radio on a Crisp St market stall in Poplar, East London.  I've skived off from secondary school and I'm eating a hollowed out half loaf of bread filled with chips covered in tomato sauce and it cost me 12p from the chip shop.  Robbing bastards.  I am also wearing the thrown away leftovers from a gold bullion robbery.  Long story.  Another time, maybe.  I wonder briefly inbetween mouthfuls of greasy red chips what will become of me, my dreams and my fantastical, impossible fantasies of the future... This cockney boy wants to be a doctor, or a guitarist in a rock and roll band, or probably a villain.

Alas, instead...

I worked in Billingsgate fish market as a casual porter for £3 a morning at thirteen, I killed thousands of lobsters in the boiling house in Pudding Lane.  They scream when they die.  Explaining and believed by my mother why I had to go to school at four in the morning and getting away with it was a stroke of my lying, deceiving genius... I, months later, tear my left arm to pieces with a broken punched bathroom mirror shard in a teen angst ridden and hormone fuelled fit of anger.  I run away from home, nearly pass out on a bus where I lose two pints of blood.  After I'm sown back together I run away for the second time that day, this time from the policeman that had been called to the hospital I fell into.  I sleep rough for weeks on cold, damp cardboard, worked for a stripper in Soho, ate out of bins, got £30 for posing for a gay magazine.  Hassled by vicious gay pimps and cutting one of them with my pocket knife.  I return to the East End and live with a close friend's family and get a job as a packer and allocator in a dress manufacturers for £7 per week above the undercover in Petticoat lane.  I buy my first pint of lager for 28p.  I work by gas lamp every other day during the three day week.  I slept with all the women in a hippy commune I temporarily found myself in and sold the controversial Little Red Schoolbook to students.

I returned home, save the life of my little brother by simply calling an ambulance. Bought green and silver glitter platform boots.  Customised all my clothes with metal studs.  I wore black, red and white Loons, had a thing for multi coloured Tank-tops and original Ben Sherman shirts.  Didn't have a six pack, I counted eight.  Felt up my mate's mum, twice.  Bought cheese cloth shirts from the Kensington flea market. Always smelt of patchouli.  Got drunk with Alvin Lee from the band Ten Years After. He wrote his number on a fag packet and I lost it, he wanted to hear me play.  I told the singer song writer Carol King to get the fuck out of my seat at a Richie Havens gig, he'd opened Woodstock only a few years earlier.  Whilst head banging, I maimed people at a Pink Fairies gig because I had lead weights attached to the ends of my waist length hair.  I saw the band Queen before they were famous.  I nearly got blown up by the IRA three times.  I took LSD for a week, ate no food and just drank cola.  I got floored by three screaming policemen as I somehow managed to walk through a fortified police cordon whilst very drunk as the IRA were blowing up a car outside Selfridges in Oxford St, this will be the fourth and final time the IRA try to kill me.  I wore a kaftan to work.  I wore a long denim coat made of used jeans and a big fluffy white collar.  I wore jeans made of black satin with a laced up fly. I wore lots of make up and shiny nail varnish. I never smoked marijuana, used to eat it instead.  Introduced all my friends to drugs.   I'd chain smoke anything.  Sniffed glue, plaster remover and bus seats.


I followed Ozzy Osbourne and Tony Iommi from Black Sabbath to a night club and stalked them.  I was blown off the stage I was sitting on by a faulty lighting assembly at a Thin Lizzy gig at the Marquee club, smoking and burnt at the edges, I was put on a stool with Rod Stewart and Keith Moon and got so smashed I can't remember the amazing conversation I must have had.  I owned a silver and yellow Puch moped, parked it somewhere and never went back for it and seeing as I didn't need my red glitter covered bike helmet anymore I deliberately left it hanging on a police motorbike's handlebars.  I got a question correct on a Capital Radio phone in about the Rolling Stones live on air.  Bastards should have sent me a photo signed by the Stones, instead they sent me a 7" record of Kung Fu Fighting by Carl Douglas.  I told Spurs golden boy Martin Chivers he was a fucking gay wanker whilst I was drunk talking in an American accent on a central line tube train.  I made pasting tables for a whole morning, by dinner time became bored and air gunned them to the ceiling, doors and walls of the workshop I was in.  I left the building via the window, thought it best not to go back and ask for my wages.  I was photographed in Kings road with my mates wearing smelly embroidered full length Afghan coats with red braces and Dr Martens high leg steels, skinny shrink to fit Levis and long hair.  We were hybrid skinhead hippies, no one saw THAT fucking fashion statement coming.  I remembered the words to American Pie (long version) by Don McLean and sung it on street corners with my mate Paul. I wore a hundred bangles on each arm. Tattooed myself AND my mates with just a dirty needle and Indian ink, I pierced my own ear with another dirty needle and threaded the cotton through it and covered it in Vaseline, as there wasn't a precedent for men wearing earrings then, I pierced what was to become the "gay" right side...

A couple of years are obscured from me in a hazy half light, but anyhoo, I meet future first wife.  I thought at the time, Punk Rock was a load of old bollox.  I made reproduction furniture and at weekends dressed like Tony Montana before Scarface was ever made.  I ran men's boutiques in Carnaby Street, the West End and throughout London.  I once sold shoes to the Harlem Globe Trotters, they were all seconds, I didn't tell them.  I got married and a year later proudly created my first daughter whom became my prize at the end of the 1970's brown and cream rainbow.  Sadly, I turned into an arsehole fashion buyer and executive twat with a stupid poncy briefcase and a filofax from the end of the seventies right through to the end of the eighties. I am NOT an arsehole now however.


I'm Keith Hehir Lynch aka "@Mr_Taxi_Man" on Twitter, a bit old, still a babe and a cheeky cocky bastard.  I drive a cab and live on the coast and I'm prone to writing large paragraphs of text with bad punctuation and poor sentence construction when the mood takes me because, simply, I fucking can.  I'm still not a doctor or a famous guitarist. You never know, one day...

"All the young dudes, carry the news, boogaloo dudes, carry the news..." Oh! Fuck yeah...


Some of this was written by David Bowie, I thank him for his assistance and title inspiration.  I have only myself to blame for the rest. 






*this article has since been published on Sabotagetimes.com