Upstairs Downstairs

1984 and I was residing in London and reading obsessively in my spare time while working as a researcher. Workday mornings I took the train to Oxford where I had full access to Blenheim Palace, from the employees to Capability Brown’s gardens and the palace attics filled with trunks of documents and news clippings. I read Winston Churchill’s letters. The evening train ride to London I’d compile my notes.
At the end of Glebe Place, far from King’s Road and just before the street curves into winding alleys with antique dwellings, I rented half a basement, with private bathroom and a shared kitchen. Every floor above me was a separate tenant. Except for the deluxe duplex. That was occupied by Cary Elwes who’d just made Another Country (film) when he kissed Rupert Everett and was now in rehearsals with Helena Bonham Carter who was frequently to be found on the front step ringing his bell.
Cary’s roommate was Eric Schlosser with his fistful of degrees from Princeton and Oxford. Eric tooled a manuscript and ate salads. The day I reported I’d received a contract, ‘Taxi’, Eric said, ‘I never thought you’d be published before me.’
What he could have said was when he did get published he would eclipse me with his gravitas. He was always a meditative intellectual. I am, by design, ‘strictly entertainment’ with a soupçon of thought-provoking bear-poking. In 1985 Eric married Robert Redford’s daughter Shauna and published Fast Food Nation. While I believe a sentient being can presume eating McDonalds isn’t a health move I applaud Eric his earnestness. I appreciate that he practices what he preaches, a rarity. Personally, I’m not a fan of salads or McDonalds
Filling sleepless nights, always an insomniac, I’d sprawl reading everything and anything. In between force feeding on the classics, a personal goal, I’d trawl through bookshops and try random paragraphs and buy whatever. Including a treasure I read and loved and lost until now. Thanks CN!