Friday, July 06, 2007
A fight in a London street
Late one night this week I got into a black cab. The car hadn't moved and the driver seemed to explode in his seat - "Right, now you've got it coming!" he raged - and he stepped out into the road. He was focussed on another cab driver just ahead already out of his car and squared up to his attacker. There followed an amazing fist fight in which the two combatants alternated in securing the other in a headlock while punching the skull and face. Drama queens on the pavements screeched at them to stop while I crossed my legs. I was fascinated; I wanted to study the moves of violence, and the quite reckless desire to cause injury. I became fascinated also in observing my own failure at shock at this unusual spectacle. It was a moment of voyeurism of primitive behaviour, but a voyeurism primitive in itself. After a short minute the two disengaged, as if a bell had been rung, and returned to their fares. "He called me a fat fucking bald bastard," explained my driver. "He had it coming." Indeed he did. I cross-examined him closely on his life on the journey home and learnt much. A career change - his - would be advisable.