Friday, 15 February 2008

Taxis

The art above was created for the Raymond Scott CD Kodachrome, on the Basta label.
For the front of the CD box I did an acrylic painting, the back you can see below, but the taxi above was on the CD itself. I rendered the final version with a coarse dot screen, and what appears white above was left unprinted so that the silver of the CD showed through.

The taxi theme came of course from 'Confusion Among A Fleet of Taxicabs Upon Meeting With a Fare', the last track on the album.  Other taxi tunes I like are Tokyo Taxi Robot by Arling and Cameron, and Jeg Skulle Have Været Taxachauffør by Dan Turèll - lyrics below.

While I'm at it, can I name some favourite taxi films? Yes, I know the Scorsese/Schrader/DeNiro one is good, but for real taxi excitement see Satyajit Ray's Abhijan! But before the main feature, a cartoon.: Mickey Mouse in Traffic Troubles. Now, back to Dan Turell:

I should have been a taxi driver
by Dan Turèll
(
my translation from Danish - kellie)

I should have been a taxi driver
- Ahh I should have been a taxi driver
suddenly I can see it -
that's what I should have been!

I would have been a great taxi driver
the taxi drivers' greatest hit
the cabdriver to end all cabdrivers -

I would have sat there at the steering wheel
been at home and at work at the same time
like a snail in its shell
or like the perfect publican -
I would sit beside the customer
divided by ashtray and creaking gearstick
and I would sit erect and calm like a well-practiced rat -

and I'd make the customers comfortable -
I would cheer them up with the latest from the weather forecast
(I'd have the radio going the whole day
and maybe even a thermos flask) -
I would give them advice and tips
about where they should go for what
and where they could find the same thing cheaper
and where they could find the same thing with music -
I would recommend a good restaurant a good dentist a good accountant a good cabaret
I would offer suggestions for their pools coupons
and reminisce about the runners up from 1948 or the Fiffer-Revues with the older customers
and the ones from the provinces I would indicate suitable hotels
I would help them all with their problems
I would have tried the same thing
from alcohol to divorce,
from stress to schizophrenia
and I would be sympathetic
and I would try not to know better -

buuut at the same time I would be a pure devil in the inner city traffic!
I would know exactly where and when
I could take the corner on two wheels
and where a more dignified facade was required
(because common sense changes the law from street corner to street corner) -
I would calculate the traffic underway
like in a game of chess
I would have my tactics in place
like a six day racer in the field
before every set of traffic lights
I would know all the short cuts and escape routes
I would treat the wheel like my own hand
I would mercilessly see through the other motorists bewildered manoeuvres
and at every moment know their position in the lane
and I wouldn't hesitate to criticise their driving
I would give it a loud and entertaining running commentary
while I myself chattily drove with nonchalant perfection
with one finger on the wheel
all through the city
in all kinds of weather
at all hours of the day and night
with all kinds of people of every age sex and type
rich people
poor people
happy people
crazy people
drunken people
drowning people
dying people
birthing people -

and I would smile to them all
and admit that it was too bad
that these were hard times
but that it would probably all work out
as long as we didn't lose our sense of humour -

And once in a while
maybe once a month
I would be gloomy and downcast
and black and forbidding and misanthropic and moonsick and suspicious
and look as though I expected everyone to want to mug me from behind
or at least do a runner from the fare -
that day I would shout and scream obscenities and swear at all the city's other cars
and that day I'd only laugh on the inside -

but the day after I'd once again
and for at least a month on
be the same good old ordinary popular driver
'Taxi-Turèll'
as they would call me -

I can hardly wait
when I'm big I want to be a taxi driver!
in my next life maybe I'll be a taxi driver - FINALLY!



'I should have been a taxi driver' copyright © estate of Dan Turèll

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