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The Afterglow

17 Aug


So, shortly after the Stadium’s central fat flames die out, having charmed 23.5 million UK viewers and around 750 million viewers abroad, it’s a wrap. The Games are finished and are globally held as the best ever, London breathes a sigh of relief, possibly like when the all-clear used to sound during The Blitz in 1940. This city has delivered, the doubters silenced and we warm down until the Paralympics.

We’ve witnessed the repossession of the Union Jack, not the jingoistic one of the Sink The Belgrano 198os but a new inclusive symbol. This repossession has been reflected by some of our Gold Medallists like Mo Farah who came here as a Somali refugee and, like all arrivals, got claimed as a Londoner in the end. This is as momentous as the French World Cup winning team of 1998, where those champions reflected their own society’s make-up. nobody dared as in 2007 to divide us and gain propaganda for their twisted, hateful beliefs.

War-time air raid shelter and now gateway to the best show on earth. not much is more iconic than the London Underground

So, closing night at our sponsors’ headquarters, our passengers are all safely back and, an hour later, our boss declares our own wrap. I emerge into a warm Mediterranean kind of evening and walk through Holborn as euphoric as on New Year’s Eve, the relatively empty streets seem so clean, car tyres on the road surface sound different, my senses have been heightened from the magic of the moment. I begin to drive home but want to stay in this moment but delay going home to an empty house by dropping down to Waterloo Bridge to afford myself the best view in London and to reflect on what has just concluded.

I park up on Waterloo Bridge itself, My taxi is the only parked vehicle on the bridge and I alight. Leaning on the railings and looking downstream, the bridge’s every bypasser gives me a happy and friendly smile and I decide I’m in no rush to end this moment. The famous buildings, still lit up, shine out with pride as if to utter “back to business” for a short while before The Paralympics a fortnight later. I name check all my favourite buildings as I pan 360 degrees and just live in that personal moment.

Remaining negativity which had lingered now flows out below my feet eventually to the North Sea and London is cleansed of those who would dare question this city’s ability to do things right. After al the drum beats, wailing guitars and rousing choruses, the only sound I get is the lapping of the Thames against the walls of the Embankment. Beyond the wall stands an empty and open Temple Underground station. The staff look proud to have done their job against mad predictions of gridlock and train queues and are ready to close at 0300.

This is a privileged moment, I have this skyline almost to myself. In five hours’ time, this bridge will be packed with traffic and pedestrians and I pity them not knowing what I’m experiencing. But slowly, I come down a little and sensibility takes over, a few snaps from either side of the bridge and it’s time to head south not to sleep but to flick through a recorded closing ceremony on TV. I’m shall pour out a nice cold glass of wine and wait for sunrise to announce the official end to a night, a fortnight and a global love affair which should be sanctified at the altar of human unity. Reality can wait just a little longer.

But reality will come, I and my taxi driver comrades who chauffeured the best Games ever, will melt back into the London mix, woe betide the first one to give us stick, seeing us as just taxi drivers. We will be entitled to deal with our complainants with added authority. We know what we did. As for me, I shall seek my living as a chauffeur again. For all I know, the slowest driver in the world may again drive the fastest man in the world. I’m the one on the right. Peace.

Not often that I’m speechless, but this guy had the charisma to do that.


Roy Hinton, The Caxton, Pimlico RIP

9 Aug

We all live with death these days, but there are some deaths which stun us such as that of JFK or John Lennon. It’s too soon, just not now, please. Such was the reaction when my good friend Ian told me of Roy’s passing. Ian had turned me on to the Caxton in 1965 as I approached the age of 14. I was already six foot one inch tall, had a part-time job and money in my pocket to buy those Ivy look mohair suits, American button-down shirts and American shoes.

Max Justice, hard Mod and supplier of mohair suit lengths!

My first night there was like a religious experience as we descended the stairs into the dance hall where at the end sat Roy at the first twin record deck in London, playing music I’d never heard before apart from the stock soul tracks you’d get on Radio Luxemburg when the medium wave allowed. But added to that was the Ska music of Jamaica, even more exotic than the soul coming out of Detroit, Chicago or Memphis.

Roy and I soon became good friends to the point that I’d play the records myself if he was needed elsewhere. From that, I started calling round for him to go to the club together. Those early evenings waiting in his flat turned me on further to even more far out stuff such as Jimmy Smith, Miles Davis or John Lee Hooker. While not played in the club, these guys were nevertheless part of the cool scene going on in the world of the Mod.

Soon after, I accompanied Roy every weekend to either Sir Coxsone’s Downbeat Records in Brixton for the Ska imports From Jamaica or to Soul City in Monmouth St, WC2 for the latest soul imports from the USA. Soon, the word of the Caxton spread south of the water to Clapham, Brixton and Lambeth and the crowd got very glsmorous style-wise albeit slightly tense in gang terms with serious dancers in search of these stomping sounds.  Roy never let the crowd down, often surprising them with a rare track which produced a stream of queries after their titles.

By 1969, I’d bailed out of the scene as reggae became more mainstream and was getting associated with the more violent Skinhead movement. I moved on to become a mix of a jazz and suedehead, digging CSNY, Santana or my father’s cool music. As my mates moved on to long hair and flares, I kept the faith with my sharp suits, shirts and ties to the point where, if out, girls thought I must have just come out of prison to be hanging around with those Yetis.

Like most people, I got on with life until one day Ian phoned me to say he’d been on a stroll down memory lane and stumbled through the door of The Caxton to not only be greeted by Roy and his assistant Jan, but to be shown our contemporary signing in books and photos that I remember being taken down there in 1967.

I shortly followed Ian down there to be met likewise by Roy and to see that the club was now an educational centre for the disabled youth of Westminster. Indeed, Roy and Jan had been awarded the MBE for their services but they typically played this down. The lnk below shoees the difference that can be made to people’s lives.

If you’re lucky, some people come into your life, even if only briefly, and change it utterly and forever. I can say that Roy is one such person for not only myself but also for many other Westminster kids who otherwise may have ended up in prison or dead, given the gang scene that was emerging. But that music lives on in all of us and I won’t be the only one forever transported back to that romantic and electrifying dancefloor when today we hear Pheonix City by Roland Alphonso or Things Get Better by Eddie Floyd, too many more tracks will do the same but are too numerous to mention here.

Ian recalled in tribute to Roy that “It’s true to say that my life would have taken a different course without his musical inspiration”. Certainly, without Roy, I wouldn’t have the record collection that I have. I owe my musical tastes today to him.

Roy, you’ll never know what you were and still are to us Pimlico kids, I can’t hear certain records without seeing your face there at the record counter. Your cancer took you away far too early, neither we ravers of the Sixties nor the lucky kids today who’ve had a leg up to achieve self-respect and worthiness despite their disability can thank you other than by following your example and not crossing over to the other side as is so easy.

Roy Hinton; friend, legend, inspiration.

To my soul brother here’s the tune–my own group’s last tune–that heralded the end of the night and the walk home through Pimlico’s then shabby post-war streets.


George Best: Forever Young

8 Aug

George Best celebrates his 26th birthday in Marbella, Spain

Georgie Best, probably the greatest footballer I ever saw in person. Mercurial, unpredictable and a Sixties icon. In later years, I often picked him up in the taxi, always sober and always painfully modest. I’d always afford him some privacy but that self-control evaporated when he got out at his home and I declined payment of the fare out of gratitude for the pleasure he’d given me, even though he’d tormented my Chelsea FC, especially the time at Old Trafford I saw him ride attempted GBH by Chopper Harris and then body-swerve Peter Bonetti in goal to reward himself with a tap in. With that swerve, 5,000 fans paid to get in again! 

George would always walk away embarassed with the fare in his hand and I’d weep briefly at the tortured beauty who’d become easy headline fodder for lazy, mediocre journos in search of their moment in the sun at George’s expense as alcohol proceeded to close his beautiful frame down.

Thank you George for the pleasure you gave us all. Present players, look away in shame, the press would today only speak of him, Lionel who?

While The City Sleeps

8 Aug

The beautiful art deco Battersea Power Station, 2am at low tide. Designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott who gave us the red telephone box and the Bankside Power Station, now Tate Modern. Also featured on the front cover of the Pink Floyd album, Pigs.

It supplied constant  central heating and hot water harnessed from its cooling system to some housing estates in Pimlico and to the red brick majesty that is Dolphin Square. Looks like they’re getting in on the riverside light show that’s marking the Olympics right along the Thames.

Un-Fare: Sacrificed At The Green Altar

6 Aug

Catch one while you can

Half a million miles, two careful owners, sixteen plates. In the end, that’s all that will be remembered of my prematurely stood down London Fairway taxi, thanks to those awfully nice people at Transport for London (TfL). More of them later. And yet, within those sixteen glorious years resides a wealth of faces met, journeys I’d hope were professionally executed and an odyssey of unforgettable stories cut short when more were yet to come.

Designed for passenger safety, destined too soon for the taxi rank in the sky

I’m told by others that my London Taxis International Driver was the best model ever made. A beautiful , reliable Nissan 2.7 litre engine that never let me down and had nothing done to it, bags of room in the front for luggage and my 36″ legs and a boot that took plenty of oil, water, tools and a personal bag. The body had hardly changed since it hit London’s streets in 1958 save for a few modifications. And this is why it had become such a historic London icon right up there with Big Ben, the red London bus and a police officer in a cape. Check all those films with London as a backdrop.

Every time I’ve waved down one of these at night, I’ve thought to myself, “I’m home.”

So, in the year when the world comes to the greatest city for the Olympics 2012, this street star disappear and that doesn’t make sense. Lately I’ve had my taxi photographed by tourists up to five times a day. My good friend Carlos taught me to invite the snapper to also sit in the driving seat for that extra special pic that then goes around the world as it hits social networks.

My television screen, my window on the world, more than enough room for my 36″ legs

TfL, the Mayor or some faceless committee, in a vain effort to appear green, have decided to put a fifteen year time limit on taxis when issuing new plates. I’m guessing that to them, old means bad and new means efficient and therefore greener. My taxi admittedly has inferior emission standards. At a cost to ourselves, we Fairway owners were rightly forced to convert our exhaust systems to meet Euro 2 standards. But not a puff of a subsidy that London buses get. Currently, the latest TX4 is spewing out at the admirable emission standard Euro 5. Thats fine it, it even sounds nicer than Euro 2.  But keep your thumb on the hand brake buttons before you let me roll down into the Thames. The Fairway has a far superior fuel consumption to the TX4. I am currently driving carefully at a rate of around 26 miles per gallon. Before exhaust modification, it was up to 29 miles per gallon with the help of the excellent Biodiesel that my radio circuit, Mountview sold to us subscribers until recently. Indeed, Radio Taxis as we’re officially known, is the world’s first carbon neutral taxi circuit in the world and has used that angle to gain and retain many lucrative accounts with corporates who in turn embellish their own BSI and ISO standards by association.

Pavarotti and David Bowie were here, nice modest men, one hunky, the other hunky dory

In green terms, all taxis were built in Coventry in the Midlands of England, the very cradle of the Industrial Revolution alongside Manchester. British goods for British people made by British people. An economic success story. The new TX taxis are now made in China, yes, the Far East. Not only are they inferior products (radiators, gearboxes not making the first annual inspection; I even saw a rear window drop out when a lady closed her passenger door), but I’m thinking carbon footprint in Yeti proportions here. With the Fairway disappearing off our streets at a scary rate now, the demand for new taxis will distil up to further unbalance the global share of the auto industry, albeit miles from multinational volumes. More shipments from the Orient, outsized carbon footprint.

But it’s all set up now, factories tooled up and an increased demand for new taxis. So what could we Fairway owners do to maybe save the planet and continue to promote London with our iconic symbol?

Yes, you at the back with the chrome bumpers no longer fitted on the TX.

I know sir, how about modifying our engines to Liquid Petroleum Gas? I saw it on the TfL website as a postscript to the original announcement.

That’s it, wouldn’t you think? A new green engine in the famous Fairway for which we’re promised five more years of annual inspections, the vehicle stays on the road saving fuel and steel production and the classic vehicle continues promoting London around the World, thus nurturing our biggest employer–tourism. But sadly, for some unfathomable reason, we’re not allowed to convert to LPG in Year 15. Thus, in my case when the plate came off on August 1st 2011, something mysterious happened on July 31st making it incompatible with or just plain unworthy of a LPG engine.

Looks like they just don’t like us. So who are “they”? Well, TfL is the overall London transport authority that begat the bastard child of the Public Carriage Office (PCO) and called it after some hesitation TPH, Taxis and Private Hire to us taxi drivers. The old PCO stood solidly for decades in Penton St, N1. Although architecturally a prime example of Sixties brutalism, its interior felt like your old school. Going inside as qualified drivers or taxi proprietors, our memories of nerve-wracking Knowledge appearances came warmly flooding back like being read stories on the carpet by our favourite teacher. Maybe it was just a flashback to our younger days or maybe it was just that cosy feeling generated by the friendly faces at various counters we came to know and love. It also smacked of the old Welfare State where we were all securely looked after from cradle to grave, not yet living under the tyranny of the bottom line as we do now. You felt sorry for the Knowledge girls and boys you passed on the stairs as you walked to a counter for other business, the memory of knotted stomachs as you sat in the waiting room never leaves you. Who can forget that frightening draining of the memory as your examiner’s footsteps along the corridor heralded your Knowledge appearance?

15 Penton St, London N1, aka the Public Carriage Office

Warning bells of change rang when Thatcher and her Estate Agents for Summary Execution Party transferred authority for taxis from the sound and very fair Metropolitan Police to the Department of Transport with the instruction that all Government bodies must pay for themselves. Overnight, we went from 15p to £68 for licence renewals in a world-record price hike and the atmosphere inside the PCO became less cuddly and more regimented.

Inevitably, as our political culture changed from relative liberal democracy to mediocre reformism, London institutions became centralised and the PCO was wrenched from Penton St to the monolith that is the Palestra building in Blackfriars Road, SE1. Since then, we’ve become remote from our licensers and controllers. Instead of that interaction with real people at Penton St everything except for Knowledge appearances is conducted electronically now. In the event of losing one’s badge, a visit to the office is ruled out. Instead, the PDF Lost Property form is downloaded and sent off in the post. While arguably efficient, yet another human contact is deleted and we feel further remote from our masters.

In this personal vacuum, taxis have been merged closer to our unfettered rivals in Private Hire (PH). Unfettered because while our numbers have only slowly increased possibly at a rate of five to ten per week, PH has gone from 30,000 drivers to around 60,000 since they became licensed. In a shrunken ground transport market, our share of it has thus dropped further. The growth of the MPV as a standard PH vehicle and their dominance on the streets along with their semi-legal use of satellite offices where they basically ply for hire via a clipboard Johnny on the pavement outside clubs, bars and hotels has thus blurred the lines between the two sectors. Consequently, with the demise of the Fairway, one less taxi model is visible on the streets of London. The TX will naturally replace that but some drivers will also opt for the Mercedes Vito Taxi, basically a Viano (already popular within PH) with a For Hire light on the roof. Confusion on the streets, is that a taxi or a minicab?

Palestra SE!, monolithic, sanitised, impersonal and watching you.

So, let’s look at TfL. To centralise transport policy for London as a whole made good sense. Before, we’d had individual boroughs making policy in overlap with London Transport and the GLC. Overall, many sensible measures came in that reduced traffic volume, improved the air quality and got London moving. But now it’s too easy to make policy in that vacuum without universal consultation, redress or respect. The various TfL boards are composed of invitees and quislings. My own union RMT are excluded from any process because, being radical and one therefore presumes a threat to the comfortable status quo, they’re not recognised and they don’t have to tell us why. The records and minutes of many meetings are secret and some appointees to committees are even salaried. Thus, one must ask in whose interests these trade representatives are acting? Exactly what was said about the fifteen year time limit by the people on these boards whom you expect to represent the taxi trade and have some sense of tradition as mostly Londoners? Of course, we’ll never know. You’d think the TfL Philistines would look at the economic externalities of retaining the Fairway for as long as possible in order to maintain its part in promoting London as a global brand, but alas not. Tucked away in their monolith, they’re removed from our world. This executive decision to prematurely remove the Fairway is just an indicator of what may yet come. I call upon all drivers to make their representations to the Royal Commission on Taxis and Private Hire before the lines between them are blurred further beyond repair.

When the news of the new rule emerged there was hardly any opposition within the taxi trade, just some indignation and sympathetic nods from other drivers when stopped alongside me at traffic lights. Even the offer by one well-meaning taxi driver to create a legal fighting fund was met with cheques of support by just a few., thus we were unable to check the legality of the rule and make a fight. So, to the drivers who just kept rolling and thought only about the next job, you stood by while we were wronged. But now we shall all pay. As demand increases for newer TX models, their unit cost must increase with the rules of supply and demand. To our masters, you’ve let down the very city that gives you an income. If PH continues to grow unchecked and lines are further blurred with unfavourable findings by the Royal Commission into Taxis and Private Hire, the London taxi will become nothing more than a curious antiquity.

And We’re Off

2 Aug

So this is it. The real thing. After weeks of preparation, collecting cars, security courses, briefings, I and London’s taxi swat team have gone live chauffeuring the Olympics for the major sponsors. What looked like a fairly casual bunch on car collection days has metamorphised into a fine looking body of men, experienced taxi drivers/chauffeurs all. It’s quite emotional, we were last together over six years ago before we relucantly and sadly drifted back to our taxis due to the downturn in the global economy and the ground transport industry in general. But that’s behind us and we’re now looking to the future and fully engaged in delivering a first class service to our employers.

My day-time partner Popeye and I had been blown away visiting all the Olympic sites necessary for our client and I was then privileged last Wednesday evening to observe the elegant Stadium from 200 metres and hear clearly one of the dress rehearsals. Through the tall perimeter wall, I still got an idea of in excess of 1,000,000 watts of sound and witnessed the intensity of the numerous lighting changes sufficiently to know that London was about to wow the whole world in a montage of historic re-enactments, city shots, sound effects and pivotal moments in British history, educational, solemn and comical.

A close encounter of the privileged kind

And sure enough with the ceremony a week behind us, there has been almost a universally overwhelming reaction from around the world. Even Mitt the Twit must have been squirming. I watched the Opening Ceremony proceedings at a dinner reception for all support workers in the comfort of the sponsors’ ballroom. And so, I was reassured from American reactions that London was smashing the world outside. Arise Sir Daniel Boyle.

No state-controlled drummers a la Beijing, just the vision of a top film director

And driving around London these last few months, it’s clear that the good people of this island have reclaimed the ubiquitous Union Jack from the fascist Goose Stepping Tendency and about time too. And sorry, flag? It is Jack for me, having been born 400 metres from the River Thames I’m almost a matelot. And what’s all that “flag” snobbery all about, anyway? Get over it, pennant pedants. Actually, the Union Jack is almost back to its Sixties pop art status, long may it continue. Along with the other 203 nations’ flags flying all over London, there’s no mistaking what’s taking place here until September.

In fact, London at the moment looks how I remember it in the Sixties and in fact how it always should—no roadworks, colour everywhere and shiny, happy people smiling at you. Well, almost. How tedious are the gainsayers becoming? We’ve had five years to prepare, clearly LOCOG used every day, it seems. But for the others to whom the world owes a living, they failed to peer over their Daily Hate newspapers or look out of the steamed up windows of their greasy spoon cafes and notice it was upon us. This is probably the largest peacetime event to ever hit London, nobody knew how it would emerge. Some, not all, adapted such as the World’s oldest salmon smokers, Forman’s. Now Fish Island Riviera, Popeye and I passed it last week on our site tour and noticed it 100 metres across the River Lea and remarked upon their enterprise. That’s how London has survived every challenge.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.
Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
London, everchanging since the Romans. Let’s get with it.

So to traders waiting for it to come to them, you missed the five-year old slow boat. To my comrades still sitting on the Victoria feeder rank the other night I say get cruising, cross the river, see if our Middle Eastern sisters and brothers are still in Edgware Road Ramadam notwithstanding, work Clapham Junction, anything but please just stop sitting around sulking, you’re making my beautiful London look ugly.

First You Borrow Some Traffic Cones

12 Jul


Has anybody else nearly had an acident passing the front entrance of the Victoria and Albert Museum? More than once, like me? The V&A has had many recent impressive front installations, but this not only strikes out but has a tactile attraction that makes one want to approach closer than certainly, in my case, from the front of my taxi. I just hope it will be there in the coming weeks as the Olympic family arrives from Heathrow Airport, as they will hopefully see the first eastbound indicator that London is more than 1066 And All That, more a merge of the formal and informal.

It would be harder to find a more contrasting view when we remember that this and the other classical South Kensington museums were all built from the massive profits of The Great Exhibition of 1851, masterminded by Prince Albert, built by Thomas Paxton and visited by around 6,000,000 people.

 And yet, London is at ease with itself, and I hope our visitors get the chance to break away from guard changing and check out the secrets and surprises that we hold.

On Our Marks

30 Jun

In years gone by I have to admit to underestimating and being caught out by the enormity of a global event such as Live Aid in 1985, the Mandela Concert also at Wembley in 1988, or Tony Two Dinners turning up at the Chelsea Kitchen on a Friday night.

For five years now, the Olympics 2012 has been on the back burner of life aside from the usual gainsayers predicting doom, gloom and gridlock. We in London have been busy with the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations and then what we in the cab trade call The Season. It starts with the Chelsea Flower Show, then it’s Epsom, Ascot and now we’ve Wimbledon. The carriage trade are in town and we’re busy on the streets. It’s one month away and there’s an expectancy in the air, you can just feel it. Most of the venues completed ahead of schedule, the whole project completed within the revised budget and Boris The Posh Chap may even have a new badly fitting suit.

Like Spring but not our economy, each day’s little green shoot reveals signs of what’s just over the horizon. Street signs are appearing with on a bright pink background, major streets are closing until September and Horace Jones’s Tower Bridge built in 1894 just got fabulous Olympic rings beneath its gantry.

Thus, the Games just around the final bend, I myself grasped the enormous reality of it all at a training day for dedicated drivers run by LOCOG on Wednesday in their impressive education centre in Hoxton, not a wedge haircut or Banksy in sight, just a roomful of chauffeurs on dressdown Tuesday.

Seen most of them before over the years at airports and outside A-list restaurants. Not the run of mill drivers who stand around in arrivals lounges with rendezvous boards and earpieces worthy of Dan Dare in The Eagle comic. These are the tasty geezers found in not so obvious spots because their charges know where they always are, seen it, done it, got the ex-military taught giveaway very shiny toecaps and suntan.

Our host Sarah glided us through the PowerPoint show, fielded nearly every educated question and we all dispersed with our information packs, I think all impressed at the planning that’s gone in over the years.

Right here, right now, we’re going to nail this baby. We don’t need the Stalinist planning of Beijing, this city and our police always do it right, as this year has already shown. After all, this is the country that once ran a quarter of the Earth’s surface, even owned India through civil servants, a few princes and a genuflection of quislings.

This games need not attempt to out-stage Beijing, the very backdrop of our great skylines and the venues outside of the Olympic park will give it an intimacy and sense of history unparalleled before in my opinion.

In terms of tourism, the legacy of these games will stretch out for years to come. Many worldwide will view the games at home and decide to visit London themselves. Certainly, by the time the marathon has passed our historic backdrops at just the right pace for visual absorption, Sleazyjet et al will be in meltdown, so book your weekend in Jibrovia now!

Memo to the gainsayers: stop dissing our city and get hip. Londoners are very creative when it comes to moving around. We’ve got around Hammersmith Bridge closing more than once, Hammersmith Flyover closed briefly just recently and a deserted Battersea Bridge pushed us all over Albert Bridge too. Sure, there’ll be days with problems on our roads, but if you’ve an event ticket you get free public travel.

The high-speed dart train will whisk you from St Pancras to Stratford in six minutes and forty-five seconds, less time than the album version of The Doors’ Light My Fire. Who in their right mind would go to Stratford by taxi? Let’s all chill and get behind it. Like Jim Morrison would have. Cue Riders On The Storm


More Mezquita at night, Cordoba, Spain

23 Jun


The vibrant gold of the walls competed with the dark blue sky above. Who needs daylight?


Crucifix at bottom of Calle de la Feria and opposite Puente de San Gabriel, Cordoba

23 Jun

Crucifix at bottom of Calle de la Feria and opposite Puente de San Gabriel

Abandon hope, all ye who enter here. From the people who brought you The Inquisition