November 14, 2009

WHO DOESN'T LOVE THE BUS?:

Booker prize winner prefers driving a bus: Magnus Mills's debut novel was a Booker prize winner, but he still loves his day job as a bus driver. (Julian Flanagan, 11 Aug 2009, Daily Telegraph)

"I can't really imagine doing another job. The hours are long but I'm lucky. Because I'm better off than most drivers I can swap and do short, early-morning duties."

What do fellow drivers make of his writing? Mills stretches in his Metroline jacket, pale-eyed, tall and lanky. "They tend to forget. A couple of them have got my books but I don't know if they've read them. One inspector read my last book and was quite interested."

At the stop opposite Café Express, we await the 390 Mills will take over, drive to Archway, then across London to Notting Hill Gate. He holds his silver pocket watch in a long-fingered hand. The 390 pulls up. Mills smiles. "13.33, exactly on time."

Mills drives well, gliding along pitted, narrow hill streets, easing into stops, finishing at Archway depot. He walks around the bus, checking, then fills the log card. We chat ("We've got four minutes") before re-embarking. Mills notes the sagging driver's seat. "The seats were much better on the Routemaster. I once wanted a chair to write in, so I measured the seat of the Routemaster."

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 14, 2009 12:24 AM
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