Mess Media

monitors, analyzes and corrects media reporting errors and bias concerning messengers and couriers.

Messenger Institute
 for Media Accuracy




This much I know  - Alexander Garo Hagopian

Cycle courier, 25, London

Interview by Stephen Emms
The Observer , May 13, 2007

I'm addicted to cycling. I feel endorphins when I cycle for five hours. It's amazing, like ecstasy. Recently I didn't cycle for two weeks and I had this feeling that I had to go to the ocean.

The first thing I noticed here was the colour. There's so much - on the buses, the buildings, on the streets. And the tube is posh. Sao Paulo is greyer.

We're not loved by drivers, but the only problems I've had are with cabbies. They can't see the cyclists, and so they come out of the cab, shouting things. They're big guys, so I run away.

Rock'n'roll here is unbelievable. There are thousands of bands in the UK, but I like Eighties ones the best. I cannot stay in London longer than four months or I become crazy. I have to go somewhere else for one, two weeks. London's mental. If I'm angry, when I cycle I forget. It disappears from my mind, like a meditation.

I pull a lot of girls in the street, posh girls who earn £100,000 a year and smile at me. Girls find the outfit sexy; they want me to put it on.

I can buy a lot of stuff in Brazil by being a cycle courier here. You multiply money by four.

I turned down a modelling contract in Milan to come to London. You're not gonna be a courier for the rest of your life. But what can you do after that? You're not going to become a banker. That's why I'm a fashion photographer as well.

Sometimes I love the traffic, sometimes I hate it. It's like a videogame. You've got to work your mind, it's a buzz. Very occasionally I jump a red light.

City of God was heavy, they exaggerate too much. People do buy drugs off eight-year-old kids in the ghetto, and there might be a 12-year-old holding a gun for protection, too; but if someone runs away, he won't shoot.

Every day in Brazil the newspapers talk about London. They think the Queen is wonderful.

The English are very strong, very straightforward in a work way. If a meeting is at 9am, it has to be at that time. You work long hours, really hard.

Brazilian girls, they have lovely ass, but they are more simple than London girls.

I rent an A4 box in Soho for £100 a year, where I put trousers and a clean top. Then I can change before I go out in the evening.

I cycle 40 miles a day, sometimes 50.

There's a strong sense of community with couriers. We meet in the pub, or on the steps near Carnaby Street. It can be competitive, but they're good people. Most are English, Australian or Polish - and only one in 10 are girls.

The English are obsessed by money. In Brazil you'd buy a house in an area like Notting Hill for £30,000.

My friend passed away three years ago, the truck got him. It was on Southwark Bridge. The truck came this way, he turned left and went under it. It's normally what happens.

I never go to Brazilian bars in London. Let's go to the pub.




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