A month ago I wrote a post about Driver’s Top 5 Top 5s – his five favourite Top 5 lists. Driver’s favourite 5 passengers was not one of the top 5 lists I nominated. That’s because:
- It should have been and I forgot
- I’m stupid
- It is in the nature of Top 5 lists that the selections will change
- All of the above
The answer doesn’t really matter because it’s the Top 5 I’m starting with. And I think it’s a good one. It will tell you something more about Driver – of all the people he’s had in his taxi, which 5 left the most lasting and meaningful impression? They might not be the most important, they might not be the most famous, but they are the ones that Driver wants to put in the Top 5, so their selection says more about him as they do about the renown of the passengers themselves.
So, without further ado, here they are. And, Driver would have you know that they’re not in order; #1 isn’t the most favourite of the favourites. That’s what he says, anyway.
And before I go any further, none of this is true, okay?
Megan Gale. Now, as a rule, Driver prefers actors to models. Think Beatrice Dahl, Isabella Rosellini, Uma Thurman. The actors have the opportunity – and have made the career choice to give themselves the opportunity – to let their skills speak even more loudly than their beauty when presenting who they are to the world. Models generally don’t have that opportunity so their attraction is much more one-dimensional. But, to Driver, Megan Gale is the most beautiful woman in the world considered from this one-dimensional perspective. He likes that she had to go to Italy to be ‘discovered’ – that it was the Italians who recognised her other-worldly beauty first. Driver gave her and Andy Lee, her then boyfriend, a lift from Becco, the Italian-influenced, up-market bistro in Crossley Street in the Melbourne CBD, to their apartment. He couldn’t believe his luck when she got in the front seat and Andy Lee got in the back. Apart from the much greater opportunity it gave Driver to communicate with her, it also reinforced that she was possessed of more than the single dimension that the public sees from models. It was a statement – the woman up front and the man consigned to the rear – that Driver could only applaud. In fact, he had to stop himself from doing just that. And despite the darkness of the night, when Megan rested her exquisite rear on Driver’s passenger seat, then swung those long, slender, muscular legs into the car he could not have summoned the coordination to clap. Her position in his top 5 has never been in question, from the moment she opened the door, but Driver does allocate some credit to Andy Lee. After their relationship broke up and she started dating footballers, Driver has winced more than once at some of the drivel that has poured from her mouth when that beautiful head has had a talking role on some TV panel. She seemed a little wiser and, as a result, a little more beautiful when she was dating Andy Lee.
Chopper Read. Mark Brandon “Chopper” Read is an Australian former criminal who wrote a series of semi-autobiographical and fictional crime novels. The 2000 film Chopper was based on his life. What Driver talked to Chopper about was the Harden the Fuck Up skit in which a local comedian Health Franklin roams the streets of Melbourne telling various people to HTFU. To cyclists, HTFU is an honourable objective, so much so that on Velominati (The Keepers of the Cog) website, the urban cyclist’s reference for issues of cycling culture and etiquette, Rule 5 is, simply, HTFU. This is a globally relevant website and the single reference they have to illustrate to meaning and significance of HTFU, is of that Health Franklin skit. Chopper said that the skit wasn’t particularly accurate, but then neither was anything he said or wrote about his life, but he was intrigued that his influence had spread to cyclist, who he described to Driver as ‘lycra-clad poncey fuckwits’. When Driver told him he was a cyclist, Chopper’s response was, ‘See what I mean?’ But as he left the cab, a significant tip in Driver’s possession, Chopper said, ‘Maybe cyclists aren’t all poofters after all.’ With such a glowing endorsement of one of Driver’s passions, how could Chopper not be in the Top 5?
Diesel Williams. Greg “Diesel” Williams was an Australian Rules footballer who played for Geelong, Sydney and Carlton. Driver is a life-long Carlton supporter so to have him in his cab was an honour. In the 1995 AFL Grand Final, Diesel kicked 5 goals, won the Norm Smith Medal for best on ground and was the architect of that great victory for the Carlton Football Club. In the process, he provided Driver with one of the highlights of his life. But by the time he jumped into Driver’s taxi, the poor bastard only had two cylinders still firing out of the original eight. He’d been smacked in the head so many times it was an effort for him to remember where he wanted to be driven to. Driver was all set to relive the 95 grand final but while Diesel knew he played in it, he couldn’t remember any details. All those concussions had robbed him of his opportunity to bask in his former glory. Maybe that’s why he was such a lovely bloke, asking Driver all manner of questions, although Driver did guess that was merely a way of avoiding being forced to admit he couldn’t remember enough of his own past.
Mirka Mora. Driver just adored the energy and feistiness and playfulness in this woman who, when she was a passenger in his cab, was eighty years old. Driver knew she was an artist but knew little of her work. ‘No one else knows, so why should you,’ she replied. ‘Anyway,’ Driver said, ‘I can’t imagine you’ve produced anything that holds a candle to your beauty.’ Mirka liked that. She asked Driver in for coffee, with a promise to show him her etchings. Driver was scared she was serious. He did walk her as far as her front door, when she repeated the offer, to which he mumbled some pathetic reply that made her laugh.
Isabella Ancelotti. Driver’s mum. Driver just adored the energy and feistiness and playfulness in this woman who, when she was a passenger in his cab, relied on him for once. Driver was convinced his mum was the most beautiful woman in the world, from a multi-dimensional perspective. At least, he was until Minnie came along, at which point they had to share the mantle. He’s hoping the baby in Minnie’s belly is a girl so he can put her up there alongside Isabella and Minnie.
So, that’s it. The Top 5 Passengers in Driver’s taxi. Do you know him a little better now?