LA starves you of the taxi experience that most people around the world take for granted. Leave the club rat-arsed at 4am, stand in the gutter and flap your wrist and the next thing, a lovely sober person who has a vague idea of where you live will eventually get you home.
Moving house, IKEA runs, to the party in that outfit, too many shopping bags; the taxi is the hero that saves the day.
Being in Singapore, I’m once again getting used to the idea of never looking for a parking spot as Paul and I recline in air-con comfort at the back of those little blue marvels that swarm the roads. Unless it’s raining of course. Then you’re throwing yourself in front of them in the wet to make them stop.
Anyway, it’s reminded me of many of my favorite Singapore Taxi rides, but there is one that just makes me laugh every time I think about it.
It’s 1997 and me and Ted and Ross are on our way to a party. At this time in our lives, we’re high on ad fever all religiously drinking the Kool-Aid (New! Improved!). Instead of going to Zouk, which is basically the only club on the island at the time, we’re on our way to a house party.
Apart from writing ads, getting paid far too much and bitching about everything that isn’t on the island, every ad person’s favorite game is to trash other creatives. It’s a funny thing about advertising; because it’s mostly guys, so of course we have to turn it into a competition and a way of working out where you fit on the rungs.
Now you have to remember, at this time you couldn’t get porn, everything was censored, there were fines for swearing in public I think. Singapore was loads of fun, but it was pretty sanitized.
So we’re in this old Chinese guy’s cab, trashing away on people’s careers. The trashing actually started before we got into the cab, so we barely took in the guy who was driving the thing.
Ted: Did you see that last campaign they did?
Me: One execution was good, but the other two were shit!
Ross: And it only ran in Archive magazine anyway!
We all laugh mercilessly.
Me: Yeah, those guys are shit.
Ted: Yeah, they’re fucked.
Ross: Fucking douchebags.
Cabbie: Fuh-king doosh-bag.
We all stop talking. We look at each other. Where did that come from? We look at the Cabbie. Did he just…?
He’s a lean dude, dark skin, dried out like a raisin, whippet thin, 12 teeth maybe, white polyester shirt, staring straight ahead, driving. He doesn’t even turn to look at us as we stare at him.
Ted: Yeah, anyway and what about the cover of Campaign Brief, did you see that asshole on it?
Me: Seriously, what the fuck has that guy done?
Ross: I shit better ads than him.
Me: The only reason he’s hot is because he shot with Tarsem.
Ted: Yeah, that guys a fucking loser.
Cabbie: Dat guys a fuh-king looh-sah.
Again, we all turn to the Cabbie.
Ted: Dude, did you just say what we said?
Cabbie: Fuh-king ass-hoe.
We all burst out laughing.
Ross: This guy’s taking the piss.
Cabbie: Hees tay-king da piss.
I nearly pee my pants I’m laughing so hard.
Ted: This is awesome. Say, um, “John’s a fucking loser hack”.
Cabbie: Jons a fuh-king looh-sah hack-ah!
We start crying we’re laughing so hard, the Cabbie never cracks a smile, just keeps his eyes on the road.
Ross: Wait! Wait! “Michael is a no talent motherfucker”
Cabbie: My-Koohs no tah-len muther-fuh-kah!
Me: His campaign sucked ass!
Cabbie: His cam-pay suk ass!
We have the Simon Says Cabbie rip on every person we know in adland. We cover everyone we’ve every worked with, every person we’ve ever wanted to work with and definitely every ass-hoe that’s fired us.
By the time we arrive at the party, we’ve all laughed so hard we have abs. It’s been such a great ride that we give the Cabbie a $20 tip for an $8 cab ride. He takes the money from us and then for the first time actually looks in our direction as we stand outside his cab, leaning in the window.
He looks us dead in the eye.
Cabbie: “Fuh-king looh-sahs!”
Then he floors it out of there, leaving us hosing ourselves by the side of the road.
Me: You know he meant us right?
Ross: The guy’s a genius.
We got into the party and with a, “You aren’t going to believe this,” the legend of the Simon Says Cabbie With Tourettes was born.