Black Cabs – London’s Taxis

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Any visitor to London cannot fail to notice that aside from the usual array of private cars, bikes/scooters and delivery vans that the streets are punctuated with two of perhaps the World’s most recognizable and iconic vehicles. The red London Bus – see our previous post here that features the New Routemaster Bus – Thomas Heatherwick – and the Black Cabs – London’s Taxis or more properly “Hackney Carriages”.

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It may be just an impression but certain parts of the West End, that are not already bus and taxi only, but fall within the Congestion Charge Zone – and a daily rate of £11.50 – have taken on a new character. They seem to flow better and are sparsely occupied by private vehicles but are dominated by well managed public transport provided by Transport for London (TfL) – see here our piece on the iconic London Transport Roundels –  London Transport roundels  – and the Carriage Office – the body responsible for the Black Cabs.

The Black Cab is undergoing a revolution. The streets are a battleground where private mini-cabs, recently licence-reprieved Uber cars and Black Cabs vie to secure a ride but they reflect a clash of cultures. The Black Cab driver knows where he/she’s going having successfully completed the Knowledge see our previous post here – London A-Z street atlas – The Knowledge  – whilst the mini-cab or Uber drivers world is linked to one of the many digital street services following pre-selected routes that guide the driver to the chosen post code. Simple but not foolproof!

Price is an issue but I tend to prefer the comfort of Black Cabs. However, with respect to those Uber drivers that I have met, the London Cabbie is often overall much better “value”. They tend to be better informed about London, its Mayor and its political life, the perils of supporting one of London’s eleven football teams, the most recent celebrity they carried and the best route to avoid congestion.

Cabbie’s opinions matter. In a recent and highly effective Twitter piece, Robert Wood “Woody” Johnson, the US Ambassador to the UK – probably as a result of looking for someone to go “Sarf of the River” to the new US Embassy in Vauxhall – toured several of the thirteen remaining London’s Green Cabbie’s shelters. The driver’s opinions on Brexit and the US President seem very welcome. US Ambassador Cab Shelter Tour 

A new Black Cab appeared on the streets of London at the end of 2017 competing with the most recent diesel version of the iconic Black Cab, the TX4, that was produced between 2007 and 2017. Called the LEVC “TX” and seen below next to an older TX4, the cab is built in a new Chinese owned factory outside Coventry and combines a 1.5l petrol engine with a 110kW lithium battery driven electric motor. Conforming perfectly to the zeroing of diesel emissions and the promotion of the recharge economy.

 

A recent journey in the new cab, that tend to be rented by Cabbie’s for under £200 per  week on a five year deal, suggests the comfort is still very much there. The new cab’s driver explained the electric motor delivered around 70 to 80 miles on one 50p electricity recharge and whilst the TX leasing arrangement is slightly more costly, the fuel saving is expected to be around £100 per week. Will this bring cab fares more in line with Uber’s prices?

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Other cities around the world have their own distinctive cabs, the canary Yellow Cabs – Medallion Taxi – that have superseded their checker forerunners – in New York, the Black Body and Yellow Doors in Barcelona but in its own right London’s iconic Black Cab – a vehicle designed and built for a single task – should be seen a beacon of security in an unfamiliar city. Just don’t try and flag on done if its yellow roof light is not illuminated – its occupied!

Images used with grateful thanks – Transport For Londons, Daily Telegraph and LEVC TX.

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Adidas v Nike

It must be a Marketing Director’s dream. Develop a brand that begats a killer logo, place that logo strategically on your products and allow a willing purchaser to spend their hard earned cash to buy them. In buying your brand it says something of their taste and aspiration. In them wearing their purchases they deliver in their role as an “influencer” to their peer group, assuring their nearest and dearest that they too would do well to chose the same brand. For your brand, aside from the inevitable free advertising, the result is a triple whammy – 1. You have sold your products; 2. Your brand is seen – eyeballed – by others, a constantly moving reinforcement exercise and 3. You should be able to spend less on advertising. Why? Because your customer is doing the hard work for you! Marketing Director sleeps deeply knowing a good job’s been done!

There are many examples of aspirational brands that a purchaser is willing to “Show Off” wearing – and I make no judgment as I too am a very willing victim. Perhaps the definitives are:

Ralph Lauren and their famous Polo Shirts – see our previous post here – Ralph Lauren Polo Shirt

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Buy an iconic Ralph Lauren Polo Shirt by clicking the following AMAZON link Ralph Lauren Men’s Polo Shirt Classic Fit Various Colours (XL, Blue (Red Logo))

Rolex – wouldn’t you too like a Submariner too – see our previous post here Rolex Submariner

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Levi Strauss – I cannot remember not owing a pair of 501’s – read our earlier post here – Levi 501’s

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Add a pair of iconic Levi 501’s to your wardrobe by clicking this AMAZON link Levi’s 501 Original Fit Men’s Jeans, Blue (Onewash), 34W x 30L

Louis Vuitton – so popular that it is probably the world’s most copied brand!

Perhaps the best examples of brands that court conspicuous displays of their logos on arms, shoulders, legs and even tattoos, are the two iconic Goliaths of the sporting brands market: Adidas and Nike.

Odd isn’t it when there is a simple choice of two: The Beatles and the Rolling Stones, Oasis and Blur, Amazon and E-bay, Adidas and Nike that the market is often quite vehemently polarised. For me it’s the Stones, Oasis, Amazon and Adidas but for others will be equally determined in their selection and the reasons for their choice.

Adolf “Adi” Dassler – Adi Das (geddit?) – founded his business in 1920, he started making shoes in 1924, registered the company name in 1949 and first used the three stripes identity on footwear in 1967 – that’s fifty years ago this year.

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The first use of the trefoil logo – intended to represent the three continent of Europe, Asia and America – that has become synonymous with their Originals range – was on Franz Beckenbauer’s tracksuit in 1971 and it later becoming the company’s corporate logo. By 1990 the three stripes arranged to represent a mountain, symbolising those challenges to be confronted and goals to be attained, became Adidas’ core and hugely recognisable logo.

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The truly iconic Adidas “Superstar” range has been available since 1969, along the way they have been given very heavy promotion by RUN-D.M.C. such that today they have achieved the classic cross-over from sports shoe to street wear.

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Get your own pair of Adidas Superstar by clicking this AMAZON link adidas Superstar, Unisex Adults’ Low-Top Sneakers, White (Ftwr White/Core Black/Ftwr White), 5 UK (38 EU)

Although a much younger business than Adidas, Nike (known as Blue Ribbon Sports until 1971) was founded in 1964 by Bill Bowerman and Philip Knight, and first produced footwear in 1971.

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The now famous Nike “Swoosh” was commissioned by Mr Knight and Carolyn Davison was paid $35 for her design that implied movement and speed. It is said that Mr Knight was less than excited about the design commenting that he thought it would “grow on him” – him and millions of others now share a love for this simple device. In 1995, given its distinctive market recognition, the company chose to replace its then logo, that comprised the combined Swoosh together with the company name, with just the Swoosh.

Having nailed my colours to the mast – I prefer Adidas – last year, my team, Chelsea Football Club, threw me a curve-ball. The Club announced, after many years of Adidas supplying the team’s kit and associated merchandise, that a many multi million pound deal has been conclude with arch rival Nike for the next ten seasons. I must say the new first team’s shirt is a classic, really well designed and made, and my son is a proud owner.

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Get you own 2017 Chelsea Shirt by clicking this AMAZON link Chelsea FC Home Football Jersey 17/18

Images Courtesy of Adidas, Nike, Ralph Lauren and Rolex

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