My first ever London job interview took place in Fitzrovia. Arriving an hour early and trembling with nerves, I rehearsed my lines at the Crown and Sceptre. England had not yet banned smoking in public places and I drank orange juice in the corner.
I remember finding the job building with a Google map sheet printed off at Hillhead Library. It was a steamy hot day in mid-July and sweat beads were trickling down my lower back.
I had to go back to Scotland with something.
Writing out verbatim what I was going to say to my English bosses, I successfully got the job and returned to Glasgow the same day. It’s strange how these watershed moments in your life, the unwritten history of small incidents are so vivid in retrospect. How one slipped line could have eradicated my present day.
Construction pits and scaffolding herald a new era in Fitzrovia. Once a bohemian drinking hub for interwar poets, it has now become an investment square for plutocrats. I barely recognise the place walking around today. It’s a forgotten land.
Ghosts laughed here when the century was still young.