If you’ve ever had the privilege to be driven to a party by Jack the Hat, then you’ve probably heard at least one iconic anecdote from his years driving the people of Exeter. Well, now you can read a whole book of his tales, written by the man himself, Shane O’Sullivan, AKA – Jack the Hat.
Shane O’Sullivan was born in Nottingham in 1953. He attended Benedictine Monastery School, which he escaped at the age of 16 – he has been on the run ever since. As a jack-of-all-trades, his litany of previous occupations includes: a hotel porter, a chef, a bar manager at Hemingway’s one-time watering hole in France, a London-based hamper delivery driver, a racehorse exercise rider, a young adult offenders care worker, a Pyrenees railway tunnel labourer, an exhibition organiser in Hong Kong, and even a property investment broker. Now though, with his love for social interaction and his old fashioned qualms, he has become one of Exeter’s most beloved taxi drivers.
Taxi driver ‘Jack the Hat’ creates a world that captivates his readers: “It was always strange how sometimes it felt easier to reveal very personal events in our lives to complete strangers, as if the shame or the hurt would somehow melt away…”He takes us along with him through all his conscious reflections, his witty slights, his illusions as well as his own reality. Jack the Hat’s taxi takes on all different realms of spaces, from a counselling office to a football team meeting, to a café catch up, to a helpline to a priest’s confession box. It will make you chuckle, cry and contemplate. Jack the Hat is aptly able to jump on the bandwagon of student gossip and reveal the complex lives of colourful local characters and University students through the lens of his taxi.
You can listen to a short reading and pre-order your copy online now at abookcalledjack.co.uk. He will also be signing copies at a pop-up stall on 24th May in the Ram on the University’s campus. Make sure to keep an eye out for RAZZ’s review coming very soon!