The View from the Cab.

I thought that I might relate to you a story of the late great English actor Sir Alec Guinness, who I picked up TWICE in my Cab. The first time I took him to Boodles, a posh Gentleman’s Club, in St James Street. In a great many cases actors are members of The Garrick Club and in one’s such as Boodles are found bankers and politicians
This day Sir Alec was wearing a flamboyant Prince of Wales red check suit with matching cape and deer-stalker hat and sat quietly in the back reading a broadsheet newspaper. On the TV about this time were being run old Ealing Cinema films and in several he had starred. I and my wife had watched most of them but as I drove I could not remember the title of the film in which he ‘played’ everyone and ‘killed’ everyone. When he got out of the cab and was about to pay me I seized the moment and I asked him that question.
I’m sure to this day that as I said…”I’ve been trying to think of”…He believed I was about to add..”Your name”.. Anyway he stood there for a few seconds and, me being me, we spoke at soon length over Kind Hearts and Coronets and others that he had made at Ealing.
Some many years later a women hailed me, near to The Royal Hospital, in Chelsea and asked me to wait for the arrival of her husband. It was Sir Alec again. This time however he was not so noticeable. He had a raincoat on, hat pulled down low on his head and a scarf wrapped around his face, the hat and scarf he took off as we drove away. I am still quite recognisable, but in those far off days even more so, with thick red hair and extraordinary good looks (LOL). I told him that I had recently seen him in ‘Star Wars’ and drew a comparison to the Ealing films and how “effects’ had changed over the years. He was gracious enough to acknowledge me and remember me, commenting that the money he was paid for Star War exceeded all he had ever got for those black and white films. He was a Gentleman in ever sense of that word.


About Danny Kemp

I was at work one sunny November day in 2006, stopped at a red traffic light when a van, driven incompetently, smashed into me. I was taken to St Thomas' Hospital and kept in for a while, but it was not only the physical injuries that I suffered from; it was also mental ones. I had lost confidence in myself let alone those around me. The experts said that I had post-traumatic stress disorder, which I thought only the military or emergency personnel suffered from. On good days, I attempted to go to work, sometimes I even made it through Blackwell Tunnel only to hear, or see, something that made me jump out of my skin and that's when the anxiety attacks would start. I told my wife that I was okay and going regularly, but I wasn't. I could not cope with life and thought about ending it. Somehow or other with the help of my wife and medical professionals, I managed to survive and ever so slowly rebuild my self-esteem. It took almost four years to fully recover, but it was during those dark depressive days that I began to write. My very first story, Look Both Ways, Then Look Behind, found a literary agent but not a publisher. He told me that I had a talent, raw, but nevertheless, it was there. His advice was to write another story and that I'm delighted to say, I did. The success of that debut novel, The Desolate Garden, was down to sheer hard work, luck, and of course, meeting a film producer.
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