A Rocking Black Cab

By Smriti Agrahari

Its hot, like one of those London days where the pavements look like they will melt. I need to see some friends, hang out outside with them, laugh, and down a cool, cool drink. Leaving the stuffy streets of Liverpool Street station I hail the obligatory London taxi but this turns out to be a Rocking Black Cab.

Easily I slide in. ‘Where to love?’ says the driver. “Tottenham Court road please’ I mumble.


With the windows of the cab down air streams in soothing my over-heated mind. The driver asks ‘Where you from love’? ‘India, I am here to study’ I reply. ‘So what’s going on in Tottenham Court road’? He shouts back. ‘Ohh I’m meeting with friends, Why do you ask?’ I question hopefully more inquisitive than rudely.


‘Ohh got great stories about Tottenham Court road’ said the taxi driver. ‘Oh do share’, I say, Let’s face it, after all, I’m new here and want to drink in as much of this great city as I can. A local cabbie is a perfect person to give you insider knowledge. Here begins one of the most interesting journeys I potentially ever take in a cab in the middle of the poetic city that is London.

It turns out I’m in the cab of London rock tours patron Stephen Channell. Stephen does tours around London in his cab, it turns out, of musical legends that lived and worked in the city. A sense of excitement gushed through my veins when I learnt from him that he is celebrating the 50th death anniversary of Jimi Hendrix, who happens to be one of my favourite artists. I asked him enthusiastically, “tell me more about the tour and how on earth did you come up with this idea”?


“I worked in the music business for two and a half decades and shifted to driving cab in…after a long association with music and being a fan too it wasn’t difficult to fuse my cab and music.


My eyes were sparkling to hear the story which followed…Steve said in his cockney tone ” It was my 50th birthday when I was gifted a musical tour by my family.


He voiced up adjusting his mirrors” It was then when the idea occurred to me, Why can’t I serve the lovers of sounds with a music tour in my black cab on the melistic streets of London which has been so long associated with Rock and Roll.


“That’s an interesting story..but why Jimi Hendrix? ” I questioned. Steve exclaimed”I am celebrating Jimi as this is the 50th Anniversary of his death this September and he is, of course, closely associated with the city of London.
“Do you know where he used to reside? Practice? play”….he asks me?

Steve carried on “firstly Jimi has a strong legacy in the city of London, including the pubs he liked to visit, The Scotch of St. James, The Bag of Nails, 34 Montagu Square, or the Olympic Studios – the studio where Hendrix recorded, 22 Landsdowne Crescent. Or even the now represented Handel & Hendrix – The Museum in Mayfair, associated with him.

The curious me asked again wondering snd asked: “Why Jimi Hendrix and why don’t you consider the contemporary artists?” .To which Steve laughed and said in his heavy voice,” I organise rock tours in the memory of legendary musical souls like Jimi and many others. Hey … I also organise customised tours, for me the client’s happiness that matters most.”

So when was your first rock tour? A wave of energy could be sensed in his body language while he talked about it.” It was November 2017 when I ventured on my first tour”


His absorbing chronicles so engrossed me that distance did not occur to me. I reached my destination. “How much do I owe you?” I asked”.”Well you owe me a rock tour coming up this September.. do come along with friends And celebrate JIMMY HENDRIX ROCK TOUR in my BLACK CAB “he accompanied with a short laugh.


“You gave a ride I shall never forget Steve” and I slipped down the cab and walked into the lane. As I strolled into the cafe I sensed how Steve painted the musical city of London for me by just sitting in the black cab.

Find out more here at Rocktourcab.com

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