Chinese Elvis in The City: prologue

2 years ago, I started working for a company in Britain’s financial sector in the City of London.    Chinese Elvis in the City is to be a series of ad hoc memoirs of that time. Identities will be protected, but every story is true.  

To appreciate the stories, you will need to know the background:  This prologue is designed to set the scene.  Check back for new chapters, which will be released occasionally.

I had been hired by a new startup outfit.  Headed by a woman who I had met for interview in a Starbucks a month previously.  I had been recommended for the post by an old school mate, who I first met aged 11 at my North Yorkshire boarding school.   He was now a senior partner in a City Law Firm and had introduced me to this woman, a client of his.  I shall call her Terri.

This old school friend, I shall call him William, had been top of the class back in the day, but I had been no slouch myself.  I had been 2nd in the class.  Like William I had done well in my O and A levels in the mid ’80s, but unlike him had (somewhat rashly) become an actor instead of the doctor that everyone had expected me to become.  In hindsight, this was the NHS’s gain.  I would have made a terrible doctor, even though I had the most generous offer from Bart’s of 3 grade Bs, a legacy of both my father and grandfather graduating from this venerable London med school (and me being born there).

William and I seemed to get on well when we met each other for the 1st time after 25 years for a meal.  In spite of our never really having much to do with one another at school, and having no contact at all in the intervening time, his work fascinated me, it being so different from anything I knew.   He in turn appreciated being listened to properly.  The macho world of corporate law, meant he had hardly anyone he could talk to in a frank manner.  He told me about his marital and mid-life problems, and I reciprocated.  He needed someone to listen to him and I told him I needed a job because my circumstances were such that I needed to quit theatre for a couple of years, at least.  I was grateful when he introduced me to Terri.

The day of the interview, I looked at my CV.  If you have ever seen an actor’s CV, you will know it looks nothing like any other CV.  I printed mine out; a list of shows I had been in with the names of the parts and the directors.  Hardly anything to get me a job in the notoriously competitive world of finance.  I decided to add a few random things, that might appear interesting.  “Invited to no 10 Downing Street”.  ” Sang at a party with Warren Buffet”.

The interview went well.  It was early and I was on my way to Manchester for an audition for my 3rd stint as a doctor in Coronation Street.  The trip to Granada seemed unnecessary to me, having played a doctor twice already in the soap.  I had just moved to a new agent, who did not seem to see things this way, and I had reluctantly decided to make the trip to demonstrate good will, even though the train fare was not being paid for.  Had it not been my first audition for this new agent, I would have refused to go, it being a complete and total waste of time.  Luckily, Terri seemed impressed with my audition and the idea that I might be in the soap while in her employ.  She also turned her attention to the random additions I had made to my CV.  We discussed my visit to the Prime Minister’s residence as well as how I had met Mr. Buffett .  I naturally made these sound highly entertaining.  

As William had predicted, it went well and I felt confident I would get hired.  I was not surprised.  After all, it is who you know, I thought to myself.

I got the job and I got the doctor’s part in Coronation Street.   

To be continued…