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Call that a queue? You've obviously never waited in line for 'broken biscuits'

This week we had a survey reveal that taxi drivers aren't exactly on top of their game when it comes to certain routes, prompting some observers to remark that an Irish version of "The Knowledge" (the fiendishly difficult test which all London cabbies are required to pass) be introduced.

In fairness to the lads who took part in the survey, there were some stinkers in the test (not least one about a street in Dublin 8 that stumped me completely - and I pass the place at least twice every day), but that still didn't stop some callers to radio stations complaining about the profession in general.

Personally, I've found that there are far more good taxi drivers than bad ones, though I do recall one chap heading for Rathfarnham instead of Rathmines and, when I gently questioned his navigating skills, he went off on one and pointed out that he was "from Finglas".


Ah yes, deregulation - you win some, you lose some. Still, at least you can get a bloody cab these nights and don't have to witness the long queues of yore.

Mind you, if you'd happened to be wandering through the Liberties on Wednesday evening, you could have been forgiven for thinking that we were back to those days given the line of hipster types stretching from the corner of Kevin Street all the way back to the top of Church Lane.

My initial thought was that some uber-trendy genre-crossing musician was playing a secret gig somewhere.

But no, it was far more simple and basic than that - the beardy lads and the girls who dress like hippy flower-maidens were merely looking for free grub.

It turns out that Boojum, a very popular joint from what I can see by the queues outside their premises near the Jervis LUAS stop, were expanding their operation to the civilised side of the river and had announced "free burritos for all" on Facecloth, Bebo or some such modern electric bush telegraph.

Now, it may seem odd that young folk would be willing to stand in line for what was clearly going to be well over an hour for a bit of nosh which would probably only set them back a fiver anywhere else, but you should never underestimate the mob mentality that kicks in when people are on the trail of something for nothing.

In years gone by the self-same area saw plenty of similar activity. As a lad, I recall what amounted to a mob forming in Aungier Street in the hope of a free sample of some exotic dish called a hamburger when the city's first Wimpy opened and a handful of RTE stars were snapped entering the premises. Who said old Dubbalin was without glamour?

Lest we forget, it was common practice during the summer for local kids to collect discarded Coke and Fanta bottles in St Stephen's Green during hot spells (and, of course, it was always hot during summers back in the day), take them to local shops to get the deposit and buy an ice-cream with the proceeds.


Jacob's in Bishop Street was always a hive of activity on the day the "broken biscuits" went on sale.

These were the flawed specimens which didn't make the cut for the tins of USA assortment or the normal packets headed for the shops, but were perfectly fine and edible all the same.

There was always the possibility too that there had been a foul-up somewhere along the production line and you'd land a real bonanza by stumbling across a chocolate biscuit which didn't actually have any biscuit in it at all. Bliss.

And don't get me started about watching a tanker piping liquid chocolate into the factory, with expectant children praying that something would go wrong and we'd be practically surfing on the stuff.

There'd have been a queue for that, let me tell you. Then . . . as now.