First up my Scotsman column ended last week due to the recession and a shake up at the paper, they lost a few staff in the past three weeks and have a new editor and a staff writer is taking over my column for the foreseeable future. I wish he/she all the best of luck, it’s was a lovely job while it lasted!
I will miss the column and I will miss the emails from my regular readers. Thanks to all the Scotsman readers for all the support and your lively emails over the past two years.
I have been away all weekend working in London.
Three nights in London always cheers me up. The underground train is my all time favourite place to be, and watching the strange folks on the tube is quite entertaining.
Everyone tells me I should always get cabs, but I disagree.
Plus there is something anonymous and cold about cabs, though you can avoid rape, attacks and stabbing by being in a cab, they are supposed to be safer mode of late night travel, but apparently even taxis can be unsafe.
“Can you be sure the mini cab driver is not a rapist?” screamed a warning in a posh loo in Soho.
To be honest I don’t know if my driver is a rapist, short of asking him
“Excuse me, do you force women into sex and by the way, how much is it to Chelsea?” Isn’t really a conversation opener in my books?
Though one night a few years ago I did get a mini cab driver who told me he was Ethiopian, he was just so interesting, we spoke about our love for our homelands, he was very educated and I hated to think he had to drive a cab when obviously was so qualified to do a more professional job. He told me he was a dentist but couldn’t get the proper license in the UK. This saddened me and for some reason I can’t recall we ended up discussing the ‘rapist cab driver’ advertising campaign that was all over London at the time.
He then explained that in his opinion there was no such thing as rape as often women were being sexually overt, they wanted sex then often complained when they realised they were bad for having sex with a stranger.
Big screamy alarm bells went off my sleepy head. I did what I always do when I hear someone speak like that and I argued back, I spat anger about the young women who were forced into sex, I shouted about how women feel traumatised explaining their rape and all he could do was cite one case where one woman had recently in the news admitted that she lied about rape.
Having been raped as a child, it made me incensed with anger; maybe I did dress like a Lolita and had entrapped my poor Uncle Rapey into a crime. But then I knew that was crap and wee were so poor in the 60s there was no way I was dressed like a mini beauty queen who sang sexy songs and did cute dimpled smiles that beguiled older men, as if that would have tipped some predatory paedophile over the edge into sexual assault? My point obviously is this, it doesn’t matter how you are dressed, or how you appear, rape is rape.
So back to the cab driver who doesn’t believe in rape, I ended up screaming at him and getting out of the cab somewhere on the Brompton road and walking it back to the flat with big stamping angry steps.
Despite that rant, I do love London and I love the underground tube trains (that was the point I was getting to). On the way to Heathrow a woman got on. She was maybe in her fifties, well dressed, if maybe a little heavy on the make up and an overly jaunty hat, but the amazing thing was she had a full three course lunch with cutlery in her bag.
First of all she brought out an avocado, peeled it, pulled out a small plastic knife from a box and sliced it onto crackers and ate away happily. From the box she produced a fork, and proceeded to eat her way through a whole chicken salad, finished off with a trifle. Then she packed all her stuff away into the box, pulled out her lipstick and covered her mouth with the bright red waxy gloss, adjusted her jaunty beret and read a book. I love that woman and hope to be able to do a three course lunch and make over on a train when I am fifty-plus._