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What’s it like to sleep in the back of a black cab?

Posted at 1:30 pm, August 12, 2012 in Fun London
Alexi in the 'Relax-a-Taxi'

Alexi Duggins is at your mercy: send him to a new weird London experience every week and he’ll do it. This week: sleeping in a taxi

When you gotta go, you gotta go. And if you happen to be sleeping in a cab on a taxi driver’s driveway when you gotta go, this can mean only one thing: you expose your penis to the chill night air and spray urine all over his lawn. Well, it actually means two things: you also end up with slightly damp socks.

In my defence, I didn’t have a lot of choice. When taxi driver David Weekes decided that it was a good idea to rent out the back of his cab (or ‘Relax-a-Taxi’, as he’s now dubbed it) as a £50-a-night bedroom for Olympics tourists looking for a cheap stay, 3am micturition was not top of his list of considerations.

‘Would you like a bottle of water?’ he asks, pulling up outside Marks & Spencer on our way to his north London flat. I would. And what with it being a sweltering day, I’d like all 500ml of it in about two minutes. ‘Cup of tea?’ he enquires, as we arrive at our destination. ‘Good idea,’ I reply.

In retrospect, it was no such thing. ‘Wait!’ I plead, as David begins to seal me into the cab for the night by running velcro blackout curtains across the taxi’s doors. ‘What if I need the toilet?’ Thus far David has manfully laid the fold-up seats flat, hoisted two wooden boards across the back seat, rolled out a big rectangular piece of memory foam, stretched a sheet across it and unfurled a duvet. But my urgent question makes him droop like a wilting flower. ‘Oh… I hadn’t thought of that. Thanks for raining on my parade.’ I avoid pointing out that all the liquid I’ve consumed means his parade isn’t the only thing he should worry about me raining on.

‘I can’t leave you the keys, cos you could drive off. So if you get out in the night, the door will unlock, but with no key, you won’t be able to lock yourself in for safety when you get back in.’

‘No problem. I’ll just climb in and out through the window.’

‘Erm, without the keys you can’t open the windows either.’

As I begin to doze off, the taxi heats up like an oven. So, obviously, I drink more water to cool down. I awake at 3am with a sharp pain in my lower abdomen. At this point, I decide that an unlocked taxi door is the least of my worries and bundle outside for a piss. As I return to the taxi, the brown parcel tape on the curtains gives out. A couple of hours later, the summer sun is glowing through my eyelids and David is knocking on the window. It’s eight o’ clock. ‘Sleep well?’


‘Any probs?’



‘Definitely.’ I just hope he didn’t notice my damp socks.

Suggest next week’s task at @alexiduggins.

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