When I was a poor student in London, I didn't used
to get taxis very often. Why would I, when I could get a night bus all the way
home for £1? I was with a friend of a friend, who was legendarily very tight
with money and he'd offered to pay for the taxi for a group of us, rather than
getting the night bus. We'd at first all protested and said we were fine to
catch the night bus, but when you're tired and the prospect of an hour on a
crowded night bus can be replaced with half an hour in a taxi, you don't look a
gift horse in the mouth. So, we soon agreed. Anyway, when we arrived back to
our little corner of south east London the friend asked how much he owed, and it
was £20. The friend scrabbled through his wallet and handed over two ten pound
notes, then he fished further for some one pence, two pence and five pence
coins from the bottom of his wallet and passed them to the driver. For those of
you who aren't from the UK, we don't tip in the UK like you do in America. You
really don't have to tip here. Not tipping is fine. But if you're not going to
give the amount asked, and are going to tip, it should at least be another
pound or maybe 50pence, not, as in this case 13pence in small change. I either
give the exact amount, or round up generously, with this sort of thing in the
UK, there's no middle ground. Anyway, as we were getting out of the taxi the
driver threw the 13pence in small change and said loudly, 'I can get me own
matches,' and drove off in a cloud of diesel fumes.
I enjoy a bit of high street shopping. When I came
to London I discovered H&M, which hadn't, then reached outside central
London. In Best Friends Perfect, Kieran uses shopping as a time to relax, and
talk about his worries with his friends – retail therapy I suppose. Who hasn't
discussed their latest relationship disaster over a sparkly T shirt with a
friend? There's a scene in Best Friends Perfect series where Kieran and his
cross-dressing friend Kev go dress shopping in the biggest H&M in the
country, the one at Oxford Circus, in London. Bold as brass, Kev tries on
dresses, asking the shop assistant to pass different sizes to him. I watched an
interview with Eddie Izzard a few years ago talking about how he tries on
women's clothes in shops. He said it's unfair that women can wear 'mens'
clothes without anyone blinking an eye – trousers, suits, T shirts, shorts,
trainers etc. But if a man wears a blouse, or a skirt, or dress, or high heels
for some it's like the world is ending. I wanted to play with this a bit, and
Kev is exactly the sort of character who would march right up to a shop
assistant and ask to try on a dress in the window. That was a bit off topic,
but anyway… my favourite shops are: Top Man, River Island, H&M for clothes;
I love Ikea for home wares but it can get a bit silly when you're accidentally
impulse buying a throw, a sofa and a vase even though you were shopping for
some kitchen ware; Amazon is a great shop for books and other media, and I've
just discovered ebay for all sorts of random stuff. I'm having to ration myself
or I would fill the entire house with loads of clever, useless, unneeded stuff.
Best Friends Perfect Book Three
happens when your perfect new best friend isn’t so perfect after all?
1999, Kieran, 18 is at uni
searching London for Prince Charming with new best friend, Jo. Between his new
uni friends, American students Julie and The Sarahs, his work at the hospital
and his studies he’s keeping himself busy.
But all Kieran wants is to
share this with Jo, but he’s disappeared with his boyfriend, Irish student
Andrew. Why doesn’t Sean call Kieran
And then something happens
to turn Kieran’s world upside down, when he really needs his friends around
How far can you really
push a practical joke? How many frogs does a boy have to kiss, until he meets
his Prince Charming? And what do you do when your friend can’t see what’s in
front of his face?
If you'd like to win a
copy of one of Liam's ebooks, please comment below about your favourite shop,
or a good story a taxi driver has told you, and include your email address and
a week after this post is live, he'll draw names out of an electronic hat. Good
About Liam Livings
Liam Livings lives where east London ends and becomes Essex.
He shares his house with his boyfriend and cat. He enjoys baking, cooking,
classic cars and socialising with friends. He escapes from real life with a
guilty pleasure book, cries at a sad, funny and camp film – and he’s been known
to watch an awful lot of Gilmore Girls
in the name of writing ‘research’.
He has written since he was a teenager, started writing
with the hope of publication in 2011. His writing focuses on friendships,
British humour, romance with plenty of sparkle.