"It is a universally acknowledged truth that London’s black cabs offer the best taxi service in the world and no-one is prouder of this than Alf Townsend. An enthusiastic chronicler of the trade, he has played no small part in its history.
Alf has written a book, London Cabbie: A Life's Knowledge full of similar anecdotes. Will Self, whose novel The Book of Dave is about a London cabbie, has called it required reading.
But Alf is far from a one-trick writing pony – he has also published a book called Bad Lads about RAF National Service and has another book coming out about his experience as an evacuee during WWII. Since he started writing seriously just eight years ago, he has now written four books."
Uniting these two deeply uneasy worlds is the book of the title, the self-aggrandizing monologue hidden by vengeful, put-upon Dave in a Hampstead garden centuries before. From this the Hamsters derive their behavioural tools and spiritual understanding, greeting each other with the salutation 'Ware2, guv?', acknowledging their daily deliverance from harm with the formula 'Thanks Dave, for picking us up.'
Ham's protocols, its vocabulary, its fourth dimension, are extremely funny: pre-maternal women are 'opares'; the day divides into three 'tariffs'; while, in recognition of Dave's domestic difficulties, fathers and mothers live in separate accommodation, transferring offspring at 'Changeover'."
— D. J. Taylor, The Independent
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