Driving the dictator
Another classic trip from 20 years of TG mag: delivering Admiral General Aladeen to a big telly interview.
Posted: 28 Oct 2013
And then we get the call. We must be at Sacha’s hotel in 10 minutes, to ferry him to a telly interview on the South Bank. Quick-sharp. Pedal to bombproof metal. Driving a blacked-out truck on Estonian plates in London affords the creative driver plenty of freedom. Bus lane cameras? Box junctions? Yeah, just try and track down this numberplate. Recalcitrant van driver? Breathe down his neck until he wimps out the way. The Prombron is the only car I’ve ever driven to which London cabbies actually yield.
At the hotel, we are confronted by a great melee of entourage: bodyguards, PR types, stylists, fixers, all pointing in different directions and bellowing instructions. Derren is unceremoniously bundled from the car and a Russian security agent who looks like Jean-Claude Van Damme and, I’d wager, hasn’t cracked a smile since 1994, ghosts into the passenger seat beside me. “When you pull out, a silver Mercedes will arrive in front of you. Follow this car. Stop for nothing,” he instructs.