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If you were in front of your telly box one Tursday last month, you might have seen our fine city receiving the attention of a documentary film crew. No, it wasn’t a serene episode of Countryfile’s finest, meandering down the Broads waterways… in fact, if you turned over at the right moment, it was a fly-on-the-wall snapshot of another brawd’s waterways – those streaming from her eyes and back out of her stomach, as she waved farewell to her night’s consumption of WKDs out of the window of Courtesy Taxis’ open all night rank on Prince of Wales Rd.


ourtesy Taxis was the focus of the Channel 4 doc, as part of its ‘Up All Night’ series. While they

did also show a few daytime clips of drivers ferrying the blue rinse brigade around, the majority of the action took place in Courtesy’s huge taxi rank, the haven for us city drunkards, and inside the taxis of some of the firm’s best-loved characters.

Tere was controller Sam, who had enough sass that she could pinch your nutsack with a raise of her eyebrow (and why shouldn’t she? I’m sure we’ve all wasted Sam’s time in the past thinking we’ve called Dominos / Alcocall / 0800- Slutty-Housewives). Tere was the million-dollar-quote man, owner of the business, Mark Streeter, who might find himself victim of a YouTube mash-up edit of his best quotes. “Norwich, on the whole, is traditional, it’s proper” and “You wouldn’t give them the steam off your piss”, might be carefully edited to, “Te steam off your piss, on your hole, is proper.” I’ve already started editing… Tere was Nelly, who turned a slightly

“I’ve seen more meat on a butcher’s pencil,”

darker moment (probably orchestrated by the production company) on the question of homosexuals, to reveal his soft side, and be a fine representative of the company and our city. He was getting a lot of love on Twitter. And then the star of the show, for me and many, was night driver Emma. Any of us who’ve been safely delivered home by Emma, our dignity and left shoe not withstanding, already have much to thank her for, but for lines like, “I’ve seen more meat on a butcher’s pencil,” girl, we salute you. She was the kind of cabbie you hope for at 3am. Bubbly, like one of your mates, ready to engage in whatever bollocks you throw at her. My own personal fave is discussing which members of the animal kingdom have willies. Sparrows? Bats? Worms? Emma also showed her tender moments at the end, when she shared some tears with the nation after telling the TV crew her dear mum was no longer with us. In case it crossed your mind, Emma, she’d be dead proud, we all think so. I was proud of all the drivers and control team, each and every one. How they maintain even a modicum of patience is beyond me, and we trust them with so much.

So, what of the punters? Boy, we were a pretty bunch. How did the nation react to our accents, strong as mature cheddar, and primal displays of

pathetic mating rituals? Norwich and #minicaboffice were trending topics around the country in less than 15 minutes of it being on. Te aforementioned girl, pookun’ outta the windooo did so over a pile of Outline magazines, which will now sadly be forever my five minutes of fame. Tere were the camera lens-bewitched boys who completely stripped off to Emma’s horror / confusion / natural disappointment. Tere was the out of town tranny, Bagga Chips, who had to fight hard to be the character of the show. And that odd couple of workmates at the end, with the spineless lad who has probably gone there a dozen times, but wouldn’t admit it on camera. But they were banging weren’t they? Definitely banging. I can just imagine a clandestine press of the Extra Frothy Cream button by the coffee machine on dull Tuesdays.

So were they seen as a common Courtesy? Will Norwich’s tourism industry now be hit with a busload of formerly-Magaluf bound stag dos in search of Norwich ‘skanks’? No. My Grandad, who’s a fine, upstanding kinda fellow from the illustrious town of Liverpool summed it up for me. He thought Norwich looked wonderful, that it was shown in a really good light. “Sure, the kids were drunk. You get them in every town. But they were just daft.” He’s right; there was no aggression, no tempers (bar Sam’s occasional tongue lashing, that the boys secretly love). I love Norwich, because we all conform to the old adage: Be Young, Be Foolish, but Be Happy. For 60 minutes in front of the box last week, I was all three.

Emma R. Garwood /November 2013/ 45

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