Energy & Equity
Cycling along Endell Street, a narrow, curved street with cars and vans parked down both sides, the taxi comes up behind, bibs his horn, I look down at my bike to see if anything is falling off, but all seems ok, the taxi drives very close to my back wheel, the engine being revved a little to reinforce the intimidation, he squeezes by me, a truck comes out of a side turning, the taxi driver cuts in front of me, I jam on my brakes. A little way ahead the taxi is stopped at the Long Acre zebra crossing, as I cycle past I feel like shouting at him, but cycle on. Ahead a big truck is manoeuvring across Bow Street, I think the taxi driver will be stuck there for a while. The whimsical aggression of the driver is halted for a moment. I stop off further down, in Wellington Street, lock my bike to the railings outside the Transport Museum and walk along Russell Street to Tuttons Cafe overlooking Covent Garden Market.
In his book, Energy & Equity, written in the early 1970s, Ivan Illich talks of the energy crisis, the inequity of contemporary society, the value of the bicycle, and feared that our obsession with speed, belief in competition, and reliance on the motor-vehicle would 'impose their paralysing monopoly on contemporary society' and overwhelm our sense of how we can live equitably as human beings.
I sip a good cappuccino, drink a little Thames, iced, tap water, write a few words and make a picture.