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My First Book- ‘The Knowledge: Train Your Brain Like a Cabbie’

I’m very proud to announce that my first book; ‘The Knowledge: Train Your Brain Like a Cabbie’ is now available both in shops and online. 

Holding a copy of my book in Foyle’s, Charing Cross Road!

The book takes readers inside the secretive world of ‘The Knowledge’; the incredibly tough training process which prospective cabbies must undergo before they are licensed to drive a London taxi. 

To see a preview please click below: 

The book’s introduction details the evolution of The Knowledge; how it began and what it’s subsequently morphed into, as well as an account of my own experience of the process- including the terrifying verbal exams (of which I personally had to sit 27!)

Knowledge examiners at the Public Carriage Office, Islington- as featured on the BBC’s 1996 documentary, ‘Streetwise’.

This is followed by 50 routes (‘runs’ as cabbies call them) which are taken from The Blue Book; the official guide which provides the basis for studying The Knowledge of London.

The runs feature an array of London history and trivia and are divided into groups of 10 which come under 5 chapters, each of which showcases a particular brain training technique. These are: 

1) Acronyms and mnemonics.

2) Short stories in which the names of streets and roads are transformed into characters and events with surreal results

3) Common historical threads – such as the run Parliament Street to Golden Lane which traces the flow of the Thames and the river’s key role in helping the city grow.

4) ‘Memory Champion’ techniques- specifically the ‘Method of Loci’ (the use of which can be traced back to the days of Ancient Greece) and the ‘Memory Palace’ which is also many centuries old but has been made famous in recent years thanks to the BBC’s modern adaptation, ‘Sherlock’.

5) The final 10 runs are ones with which I feel a personal connection – for example, Golborne Road to Pennine Drive which involves roads closely connected with my own family history. In other words, as well as the common shared Knowledge of London’s roads and places of interest, these runs demonstrate how each cabbie also harbours their own personal map of the capital.

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The book is beautifully illustrated by artist and cartographer, Jamie Whyte who, amongst many other projects, also created the maps for ‘Young Winstone’; a memoir by legendary Londoner and actor, Ray Winstone. 

An example of Jamie’s work from ‘The Knowledge; Train Your Brain Like a Cabbie’

Readers will also find a glossary of cabbie’s slang terms.

The Knowledge: Train Your Brain like a cabbie is available at a number of online retailers including Waterstones and Amazon.

Thanks for reading!

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“I May Not Get There With You”: The Assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (Part Two)

Fifty years ago on April 4th 1968 the renowned Civil Rights leader, Martin Luther King was shot and fatally wounded whilst standing on a balcony outside the Lorraine Motel in Memphis Tennessee.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The man who fired the bullet- James Earl Ray- fled to Canada before moving on to Portugal… and then London, where he was finally apprehended at Heathrow Airport.

James Earl Ray’s passport photo- in which he’s disguised as a businessman- which was presented at Heathrow Airport in 1968

The full story of James Earl Ray’s time as a fugitive in London- which involved numerous locations and two bungled robberies- can be read in full on my second site, ‘The Crime Compendium‘.

Please click here to read The Assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King (Part Two)

“I May Not Get There With You”: The Assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (Part One)

Look above the western entrance to Westminster Abbey on Broad Sanctuary and you’ll see the ‘Ten Christian Martyrs‘; a group of small statues depicting noted 20th century figures who were killed for their beliefs.

The Ten Christian Martyrs, Westminster Abbey

Amongst those represented (5th from left) is the Rev. Dr Martin Luther King Jr, the renowned American civil rights leader who was murdered 50 years ago this April.

Dr Martin Luther King Jr

Dr King had visited London in December 1964 (whilst en-rotue to Norway to receive the Nobel Peace Prize; the youngest recipient at that time) where he gave a sermon to approximately 4,000 people from the pulpit of St Paul’s Cathedral.

Martin Luther King at St Paul’s Cathedral, 1964

During his brief stay Dr King also arranged a meet-up at the Hilton, Park Lane with people who’d recently migrated to the UK from areas such as the West Indies and Pakistan.

It was also in London that James Earl Ray– the man convicted of Dr King’s murder- would be finally apprehended….

To read the full story, please head to my second website; The Crime Compendium.

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