Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Great to be back home

Sorry folks the photos are still causing a problem, I will probably have to buy a new laptop.
I was in Blackpool England for the worlds biggest magic festival, thousands of magicians and me pus hundreds of magic dealers selling props DVDs and gimmicks. The traveling was strange.
Try trainline.com for tickets (Return to Blackpool from Manchester £20)
But the train I was supposed to be on was cancelled.
I am a big boy and I asked "Hop on this train and change at Preston"
Bobs your uncle I landed.
Other people didn't ask and took taxis down at £120 which made the driver very happy.
Going home I arrived on time the platform 4 door was closed with a red tape in front.
3 minutes to go, no announcement then the time changed to 1 1/2 later.
I asked and jumped on to a different train which took me to Manchester where I got another train to the airport the last leg of the journey cost me £3.50.

Ryanair did exactly what I wanted took off and landed even though it was windy.
I wanted to go Aer Lingus but they were more than double the price when I looked.

Here is a tip when you are looking for a flight.
You get a flight for a price and then you go and coming back you decide to go with that.
But when you go back again on the price has gone way up.
Find a computer whizz kid.
Go to cookies, remove cookies then when you go back the site does not know that you have been there before.
Teenagers are useful.

The convention was really bad for me. too many people and they made people queue for ever.
Some people checking in had to wait for an hour and 1/2 in the cold windy weather to enter the venue.

There was a lecture by Mat King and 1/3 of the people would have filled the hall so there was 3 times the capacity there and the fire exits on the left hand side were blocked up.

Irish people know what can go wrong in a crowded venue, the Stardust fire disaster on Valentines night in 1981 where 48 young people died woke us all up to what can happen, so I stayed from the overcrowded venues.
I was very tired and I missed a good few of the acts. But what I saw was really good.
There was talent there in Spades for sure.

The British are strange when it comes to some things.
The Ruskin hotel is the place to go to meet people, one year I met up with a few old acquaintances and suddenly I notice that the place was packed so tightly that you couldnt move and the doors were locked.
When I got home I rang the Police HQ to say my piece.
I was quick enough to note down her name.
"No you must ring ......."
I said Stop right there Constable...and told her about the Stardust adding that now that she knows what might happen she could prevent it. I from overseas was not going to ring around like a fool.
The following years the doors were open.

I will give you a few clips from YouTube.

This guy was there last year

Lance Burton

A fine piece of pattr from John Archer.

 This guy did his act, just like lightning....

There was a hell of a dove act and an incredible mind reading act that beat the devil.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Where to?

Tango classes are held in the round room at the back of the Gate theater

There is a photo exhibition in the National gallery

Did you miss the Turner show, it will be back next January

After you say hello and you get your destination the next question is often
"What do you do for a living yourself?"
The most unusial answer that I have had to date is.

"Me ? I am a fruit stylist"

Yes I herd it right.
If you are photographing fruit for a M&S advertising campaign she would put her magic chemicals over the fruit and it would look 1$ million. She learned her craft in California and there is only one more of her in the country. A photographer told me that he could not enhance a photo to make it look as good.
She was on a fantastic wage a well.

So last week a little lady from Brazil heading for the airport flagged me down and
she trains models how to walk on the catwalk.
I really thought that they walked that way naturally.
She told me that she was Miss runway Brazil when she was 9 years old.

Being a model is a very tough gig, gaining weight, always feeling insecure as you last job could really be  your last as fashions change all the time and trends which are hot today are cold next week.

The insecurity can lead them into taking drugs, the slippery road to hell.

Marketplace in Canada do a great show.
Need to rent a car?
Watch this first
One tip that I tell people is to walk around the car with your mobile turned to video..

Thursday, February 06, 2020

17.5 minutes waisted

This day next week I will be among the best magicians at the worlds biggest festival of magic.

"John, Magic is the most fun you can without taking your clothes off " Paul Daniels.
I still miss him. Not that I met him that often. But he was always fun and never took himself too seriously.

He was giving a talk in Belfast and I sent him an email to say I was looking forward to meeting him again.
"Not half as much as I am" came the reply.
When the day came I went into the Europa hotel and found out where the meeting was to be held.
Paul was on the other side of the room when I came in. He stoped what he was doing, looking over to me he said.
"Gentlemen, here comes a very wealthy man ! As you can see he doesn't waste money on good clothes".
"Or wigs Paul"I said
"Touche"He said back
"No Paul. Toupee"
"Oh come here till I give you a big hug"

He really was a very humble man and in magic there are few better.

I think I am getting old.
But little things which are out of my control annoy me more and more.
My paper license for the taxi has been mislaid and I need it for a simple task.
It is on view on all the portals But not good enough.
I rang the National Transport Authority and asked for a duplicate license.
She went away and came back, You have to contact the Garda carriage office.
No No that is for the driving license, this is your department the taxi license.
She was away for longer and then said.
Now for me to issue you with a duplicate license I need €25.00

That is daylight robbery I said and ended the call after she gave me a reference number for the call.
Another 17.5 minutes of my life wasted.

There are hundreds of rickshaws out every weekend.
No tax, insurance, or vetting procedure
Plus they pay no tax at all.

And here I am being asked for €25 for pressing a button.

This was in London.Thank you to the taxi driver who got involved here


The blind guy doing card tricks  WOW

Monday, February 03, 2020

A tale of absolute horror

As you travel through your daily life some things might annoy you, disgust you or even horrify you.
These things are out of your control and even then you fight to change things.

As your old Granny might say.
"Save your breath to cool your porridge"

So I will relate a story which came to light last week.

Please if you are ill or very emotional please read no further..And I really mean that.

The headline read
"Are Britain's smart motorways death traps?"
In the UK they have a system whereby if the traffic gets congested they open up the hard shoulder as a carriageway.

The problem is if you have to stop where do you go?

In a ward of a Birmingham children's hospital an 8 year old boy called Dev Naran climbed into the bed of his older brother. His older brother Neel had suffered an epileptic fit and the doctors believed that he was dying, Naran was brought to the hospital to say goodbye.
Dev climbed into his brothers bed and told him how much he loved him and that the wanted him to live and come home again.

Neel later rallied and started to recover despite all predictions.

Dev on the way home in a Toyota Yaris driven by his grandfather was killed when their car was struck by a truck from behind.
The grandfather has no recollection of the crash, or why he had stopped.

The hard shoulder was live.

So people in high places make decisions which place peoples lives at risk.
They do not ever accept any blame.

Prison would be too good for them.
Imagine putting lives at risk to save the cost of expanding the road, they will have to make changes anyhow.
I cannot ever change any of this at all.
But if you have received traumatic news NEVER drive, take a taxi and collect your car later.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

The passionate liberator

 I picked up this guy on Camden St.
Quick get me to the airport and stop at an internet shop till I print my boarding pass.
My flight leaves in an hour.
I told him to forget the internet shop, you can't check in on line inside 2 hours before take off.
He then tried to stop me taking the port tunnel.
I said to let me do my job and you can do yours.
He had missed that flight for sure.
But there would be other flights to London that day.

I asked him why he was going to London and he told me that they were going to make a movie about a book he had written called "Soldier for a summer"
He told me 
"I gathered and led a foreign militia to overthrow Muammar Gaddaf in Libya. My truck was the first one into his compound"

Call me Sam

I was listening and he seemed genuine enough, but I could check on him later.

The way my mind works was to tell him simply to be careful,
This is your book and your life story,
These people could depict you as a fool or a drug addict and because you gave your total permission you would have no control over your work.

Get a theatrical solicitor to help you.

We arrived and he departed.

Sam was the real thing all right, his brother in law from Tallagh was the Lord mayor of Tripoli for a while.
I was talking to some of his friends today, he is still alive with his Irish wife.

Depending on where you stand Sam was a really brave man.

You never know ho you might meet next.



75 years since the liberation of Belsen and Auschwitz death camps

It is 75 years ago since the extermination camps in Poland were liberated.
It is important to remember these things, the horror is that mankind can do unspeakable evil on other human beings. Many Germans to this day will tell you that it never happened.
On my journeys I met a man whose father rounded the people in surrounding villages and marched them through the camps where the bodies lay.

Even then faced with what they saw they denied that they knew anything.

It is said that even today the birds do not sing around Auschwitz

I also met a man who had been through the Japanese work camp where they built the bridge over the river Quai. 
When he was liberated he was only 5 stone weight even though he was over 6 foot tall.

"My ambition was to live, I never held bitterness in my heart. I LIVED my life from then on."

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Psychology at work

This is the second strike day against FreeNow taxi app.
They are putting up their commission to 15%, that will be their take on every job if they have their way,

 My son is giving up his car, he won't need it when he starts driving the taxi, that is when he passes the knowledge.

To sell a car you might put an ad on the internet and have loads of time wasters ringing you, promising to buy then letting you down. I couldn't put a value on the car as it is 06 Prius and the public have a great fear that the battery will fail and the replacement battery costs €3,000.

Well not quite. The traction battery consists of 28 separate cells eash giving out around 15 volts Bolted together tou get 15+15+15+ which over i5 times gives you 225 volts If one cell fails you very carefully take it out and replace it. I got one for £20 on Ebay and that car was retired at 470,000Kms

So in the heel of the hunt I took it down to Merlyn car auctions near Naas and it was sold for €400, dirt cheap for what it was. You take what you can get on the day and thats that.

I had a young singer heading for rehersals, the address he gave me was Wood Quay where it should have been Denore Ave I told him to tell the gang that the stupid taxi driver got lost.

I am doing a bit and I pulled into Google where an Indian lady got in and told me which way to go.
I didn't follow her exact instructions and when we were near the end she said that she only had €10 though at that point the meter €11.20, "If you had taken the route I told you it would have been only€10"
She went on to say that she had no other change.
I have a credit card machine, after all you will need more change to get back into town..
Then I said if I was €2 short at the grocer, or in the coffee shop what would they say?
Or if I told my kids that there was no ice cream because someone short changed me.

She paid with the card and went off.

I know that the Merrion gates are always much slower.

Later in the day I had the pleasure of meeting a makeup artist from Los Angles, a really happy and beautiful lady, she had dumped her boyfriend and now she has gone to see the world
She wiped all the thoughts of the Indian lady from my mind.

You take the road as it comes, rain,hail or sunny weather no point in moaning about it.
You must learn to let things go.

I don't mind giving a discount €50.60 Just 50 is fine.

Look at this. 
Then go to YouTube and they tell you how it was made

Were you ever in court accused of something?

Look at how this guy defends himself....BOOM

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

The living dead

I dropped off a customer at the Westbury hotel near Grafton St. the other day.
There were 4 taxis waiting so I headed off again.
On the way over to Auinger St. I saw what was once a really beautiful girl coming across the street. I stopped to let her pass and it was then that I looked at her face and into her eyes.
I swear to God if I had had a gun I would have blown her brains out.
She was a heroin addict, skin and bones looking into her eyes said it all.
The eyes are the window to the soul they say. The desperate emptiness in her eyes still scares me.
This once really beautiful kid was a walking skeleton with an empty desperate look of pain on her face.

There is no solution to this problem.
The top drugs barons rake in millions, the dealers further down make a profit, while at the bottom of the pile kids as young as 14 are becoming drug addicts.

25 years ago or so I got a radio call from Metro cabs and I was directed to a job and my customer was a drug dealer, he had a big mobile phone (A brick) and we went off to houses around Killiney, Foxrock where all the "quality" folk live.

Each deal was made 2 moves ahead, they would meet him at the gate and then he set the next deal in motion.It took a couple of hours in all.

Then he turned to face me "Don't judge me, I didn't ask them to take drugs, all I do is to provide a service and I cannot do this kind of work in my own car"
So in his own mind he justified his work.
One thing I will always blame him for was giving drugs to 2 young kids aged 12 to 14..
"No those are only Smarties, nothing stronger"
I know he will have something stronger when they are ready.
All these rich people living where we would all love to be

The wheel turns and the demand and supply grows by the day.

The book is coming on and there is quite a chapter on drugs.

Passing drug dealers on the Quays one day I said to my passenger how I would love to find a way to cure this problem. He gave me his business card and told me to ring him and he would arrange a world tour to explain how to beat the drugs problem to the world leaders.

A Dubliner called Bram Stoker wrote a book called Dracula, he wrote about vampires who suck the blood from people in the night. Then once you have been bitten a couple of times you become a vampire as well.

You join the living dead
Sound familiar?