Wednesday, June 03, 2009

T Is For Taxi

That’s What You Call A Handsome Cab

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON



It's drizzling. It's foggy. Dawn is still about twenty minutes away. It's Tuesday, 2 June 2009 (yes, just hours ago) and I'm wondering why I have a camera bag slung over my shoulder.

Then, bingo, I see something that validates my decision to carry a camera, even when the weather's lousy and the light is unfriendly. There, outside the Langham Hotel, is a black London cab. On both sides of the cab, there are Union Jacks fluttering in the crisp winter breeze.


They're tricky shots to take, because the pre-dawn light is grey and weak, while the flags are flanked by the lights of the Langham porch. I take a couple of shots before moving round to the other side, after I see a huge bolster taking up the entire back window. Naturally, the bolster has the British colours on it as well.

Then I hear a voice behind me. It is the cab's owner, telling me that the Langham is celebrating a British Day today, to coincide with renovations and upgrades to their London hotel. While we talk about the cabs and their history, I notice (naturally) that his tie has the Union Jack emblazoned on it too. Then he shows me his braces as well - and I have to get a shot, despite the poor light outside.


Brian Hickey and Steve Olsen run a Melbourne company called London Taxi Wedding Services and this is the pride of their fleet. It's been a few moons since I sat in a traditional black London cab and I have to choose between a) a quick spin around the block or b) spending the next five minutes taking some shots.

The photographer side of my brain wins over the childlike part of my brain. But hey, it's a close call.


For the home of ABC Wednesday, go to Mrs Nesbitt's Place.

44 comments:

The Muse said...

Remarkable...I can simply taste my Harrods tea!
Oooo who is that, look, it is the Queen!

Charles Gramlich said...

I'm not a good enough person to ride in THAT taxi.

Shrinky said...

Haha, my what a sight to behold, and for what it's worth David, your photographic skills have shone through beautifully.

I'll be riding in one not too disimilair to this myself, in just a couple of months time. Smile.

jinksy said...

Nice to see somebody saying 'Up The British!' - even if you have to go to Australia to find them! Love the braces, BTW...

Daryl said...

Oh how clever of them and what fun it must be to arrive at your wedding in a sexy sedan like that!

Shadow said...

i'd love to take a ride in one of those...

Brian Miller said...

beautiful cab. fun celebration...braces..ha.

Suldog said...

Lovely, lovely vehicle. As an ex-cab driver (certainly not of anything that magnificent) I am thrilled.

Pastor Sharon said...

I think a ride in that cab would be like a limo ride. . . . those are great pics. . .

Jazz said...

I can't help but ask what you were doing out in the fog and drizzle before dawn...

And the word verification (I swear to god) is: taxidef

A Brit in Tennessee said...

Wonderful pictures, makes me old heart go a flutter...;)
You capture the greatest moments, thank you for bringing a smile to my face today !

aims said...

I don't know if I could have passed up one ride like that David!

The guys tie and suspenders were just too lovely!

Thanks for your incredible 'eye'!

Casdok said...

You make our taxies look very posh!!
Love the braces!

Artist Unplugged said...

I hope you immediately broke for tea time after taking these lovely shots!

Leslie: said...

I fell in love with those cabs when in London - they're SO roomy in the back and you feel like a celebrity being chauffeured around. My T post is up already as we're getting ready to go away for a week to the beautiful Okanagan region of BC.

Kay said...

I dare say, the lighting was perfect!

Maggie May said...

Wow! That was quite a scoop!
Seemed more British than over here!
Lovely photos.
Not sure about the braces and the tie, though!

primavera123 said...

I miss London cabs! They were little oases of luxury. The cabs in my town (Washington DC) are slums in comparison.

When hailing a taxi in London I sometimes would wave off a dodgy vehicle and wait for one of the swank black ones. And never, ever get in one of those mini-cabs!

http://primavera123-inthelifestyle.blogspot.com/

GreenJello said...

My favorite is the photo of the tie and suspenders. :)

Eddie Bluelights said...

How interesting.
Super shots assisted by our British weather no doubt, although it's fine in the south.
I expect you use a digital camera but I wonder, did you every run out of film in the old days? ~ Eddie

Cheffie-Mom said...

How fun! And what a fancy cab! You don't see those around East Texas!

RuneE said...

Maybe I should go to Melbourne instead of London for my next visit to an English-speaking country? It looked tempting.

Nessa said...

Very atmospheric shots.

katherine. said...

I'm fairly certain the photographer side of your brain is about 92%...and wins over most of the time.

lucky for us....smile.

Abe Lincoln said...

I must admit these are beautiful cabs.

Voices from the past > http://bing-it.blogspot.com/

Tiffany Norris said...

Hooray for London...or London cabs at least!

Babooshka said...

I am not sure what to say. This is surreal to see on the other side of the globe.

Elizabeth said...

Yes, there is something so wonderful and SOLID about the traditional black cab. A great pity they are so horribly expensive in London now.

So, I am halfway through Vegemeite Vindaloo and LOVING it for its vivid evocation of a world I've only glimpsed.

I'm sure I'll finish it in a day or two then have to send it on to Willow of Willow Manor who was a bit daunted by the thought of ordering from India.

So wonderful.

joesanchez said...

"The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same and still retain the ability to function...One should, for example, see that things are hopeless yet be determined to make them otherwise." ---F. Scott Fitzgerald

Kelly H-Y said...

You always find the most amazing things to photograph!

sue said...

Classic shots! What a wonderful car, and the flags are great!

Beth said...

I love that you take your camera on your outings. And I love, love, love the picture with the reflection of the taxi sign.

What kind of camera?

Seamus said...

Wonderfully shot David! There just something about a shiny car under artificial lights!

Sniffles and Smiles said...

I LOVE London cabs...fabulous, black beauties!!!! And in Australia?? What a find!!!! And your photography has capitalized on every aesthetic advantage here...glad your photographic side won out...we are the beneficiaries!!!! ~Janine

Janie said...

That's a handsome cab and quite patriotic driver. Fun pics! The taxis I've ridden in don't look nearly so good.

willow said...

The Brits do know how to make a classy cab. Nice shots, David.

Willow said...

I've been transported straight to London!

Regina said...

Rally handsome cab. Nice!

Old Wom Tigley said...

You have manage to make these 'Black Cabs' or 'FX4s' as I known them by look very nice. I have a loathing of them.. ha! Maybe it's the way they are driven over here and looked after.

jay said...

Great pictures, as usual! I love British eccentricity, and he surely has a ton of that!

spacedlaw said...

Amazing find.

Rose said...

On behalf of the ABC team, I'm glad you chose to photograph the cabs! But, if it were I, I would have eagerly taken the ride instead:)

Lee said...

Ooh, David! These shots like right out of one of those movies in front of a hotel. How wonderful that you managed to capture that kind of feel. Great post!

Cheers!

Lucy Corrander said...

My first reaction was of great surprise. We British don't tend to 'wave the flag'. Location explains all.

If I were rich, and not worried about the environment or petrol or anything like that - a black cab is the car I'd have.

Lucy