A taxi driving through a suburb near Newcastle City Centre.
TAXI DRIVER: Where you getting the train to like?
TAXI DRIVER: Is it business or pleasure?
TAXI DRIVER: What do you do?
[ROWAN tries to avoid the question.]
ME: [Pauses.] I’m making a film.
TAXI DRIVER: In front of the camera or behind it?
ME: In front. I’m a poet and it’s National Poetry Day. Someone’s paying me to go down and do a poem and they’re going to film it.
TAXI DRIVER: [Suddenly very frustrated, his hands gesticulating wildly.] A poet? A poet?! Well you’re going to hate me then mate! See: I only think it’s poetry if it rhymes.
ME: A lot of my stuff rhymes actually. But I’d still disagree.
TAXI DRIVER: I’m sure you would, mate, I’m sure you would. But I only think it’s poetry if it rhymes. Otherwise it’s just a lecture, isn’t it? See, I like classical poetry me, ‘Tiger tiger burning bright’, that sort of thing.
ME: Well, you know, if you read Blake’s later stuff, it was a lot more experimental, he didn’t use rhyme at all and-
TAXI DRIVER: Yeah but I’m not talking about that. See, for me, it’s like art. I hate Picasso. I don’t want to see a nose on the side of a face. What’s the point in that!?
ME: Have you ever seen Picasso’s early work? He painted for a long time in a very traditional style and-
TAXI DRIVER: Yeah but I’m not talking about that. See, I’ve got this friend, right. We always get into big arguments like this. He goes to all the modern art galleries and that. And I say to him, how is that even art?! I mean, take this cloth here [TAXI DRIVER pulls out a grease stained cloth] I could put that down there and I could say that’s art, couldn’t I?
[The sun beams onto the grease stained cloth on the dashboard, as the council blocks zoom past beyond the motorway.]
ME: Well I suppose you could. Maybe everything is art.
TAXI DRIVER: You can’t say that! You can’t just say, ‘Everything is art’. That’s ridiculous.
ME: OK then, look, in your opinion, what makes a good painting?
TAXI DRIVER: Something that looks like real life. Something that looks like a photo.
ME: Yeah but the camera lens bends everything though, doesn’t it? So it’s out of proportion. Photos don’t follow the laws of perspective like real life. And there’s loads of things you can’t capture with a camera either. Like a sunset. You either photograph the sun, and lose the view around, or you photograph the view and you lose the sun. And everyone sees the world in their own way, anyway. Like, in Russian, there’s two shades of blue which are classed as two completely different colours. So one person could be looking at a picture and say it’s all one colour and another might say it’s two. Everyone sees things differently.
TAXI DRIVER: What do you mean everyone sees things differently!!? Everyone sees things exactly the same! [Long pause.] Unless there’s something wrong with you.