Hotel 1982 follows an 18-year-old boy from the country, who stumbles into working in a London hotel during an unexpected gap year, where he gets more of an education than any university can provide.
The story starts with Marcus failing to get the grades he needed at A-level and why teenage life got in the way of revision. This leads to him ending up starting a job in the mini-bar department of a big London hotel, having been persuaded by Richard, his chaotic friend from school, to turn a weekend visit into a full-time stay.
Readers follow the naive Marcus as he finds cheap accommodation and are introduced to the diverse characters that he works with, including a failed DJ; a mafia-style gigolo; a couple of contrasting Frenchmen and a Freddie Mercury impersonator.
As events unfold, Marcus learns about life - especially sex, cigars and rock and roll. Each encounter with guests and workmates in the hotel teaches him more about the ways of the world: from room service waiters wedged in lift doors and dubious invitations from naked couples, to tourists giving him £50 tips to let them sleep.
The story is told with humour and self-deprecation and balances his hotel experiences with those of sharing a bedsit with Richard, his over-confident friend, and trying to maintain a long-distance relationship with his girlfriend, Alison, who is more interested in getting to know a certain future famous politician.
Will the two friends stick it out and learn how to live in the big City and make the most of their experience?
Everything in the book actually happened, although some of the dialogue may have been embellished as a result of the effect of failing memory. The language and prejudices are also of the time.
“It’s the fastest I’ve read a book in years. A pacy page turner. I really enjoyed it. I was actually surprised how much I did”