Racecar Palindrome became a revolutionary, he later said, at the age of seven, when he first realised he was not in any way related to his valet. He claimed it was an eye-opening experience to find that his family employed people to look after them, rather than go through the tedious business of having to do it for themselves.
Therefore, Palindrome’s first revolutionary act was to learn how to dress himself, rather than have servants do it for him. This action, of course, sent shockwaves through the Palindrome House, scandalising all the servants in the household. When the distraught household staff informed his parents both that they had a son, and that he was learning to dress himself without the aid of servants, Racecar’s parents decided the only course of action was to send him away to a public school. They hoped the mindless sadism he encountered at the school, from both staff and other pupils would erase all dangerous revolutionary thought… and, as it was a Public School, any attempt at thought, altogether.
The Palindromes had been members of the aristocracy long before William the Bastard became William the Conqueror. Consequently, they had lived for many generations without the need to ever be troubled by a single thought of their own. In fact, Racecar’s, father, Level Palindrome had bought his First at Oxford without ever having seeing a book opened. He was, later, amazed to discover the, what he had assumed was, leather wallpaper in the family library could be taken out and read.
Racecar, though, soon discovered the family library and began to read during his holidays away from his school. Learning at school, was of course, widely discouraged. Reading was rather frowned upon by the masters, who were all of the firm belief that ‘the cut of a man’s jib’ was far more important than mere knowledge.
St. Bastards was a school that firmly believed that academic achievement could be a disaster for the sons of the aristocracy were it to lead to even the faintest glimmerings of self-awareness. The school believed more in endless games of rugby or cricket (depending on the season), invigorating cold showers and long evenings of intensive one-on-one tuition with the masters in their private studies.
However, despite his schooling, Racecar found some solace from the endless cold showers and wandering pedagogical hands in his books, even more so once he realised he had – up until then – been reading them upside down and back to front.
However, when young Palindrome discovered the works of Marx, he was captivated. This was – he realised – what he had been searching for all his life. After leaving school, he discovered a Marxist Society that met near his London flat, and soon eager to join, introduced himself to them.
Initially, disappointed that they were avid followers of Karl – rather than his own favourite, Harpo – Palindrome, at first, did consider leaving and setting up his own Marxist group. However, he did stay and eventually the ideas of Karl Marx did somehow manage to permeate his brain and, eventually, he discovered, much to his relief, that he was a Marxist revolutionary.
Of course, as they were of the revolutionary extreme left, most members of the group were sons of the aristocracy. Even – the more common amongst them – were merely the offspring of the wealthy upper middle-class. Some of the group had – daringly enough for the time – actually considered speaking to a member of the working-class themselves, rather than having their butler, or some other manservant, do it for them.
Most, however, preferred not to have their romantic notions of the working class contaminated by reality. They much preferred imagining the hard working sons of toil in the abstract – or, in their, mostly public-school educated, imaginings – stripped to the waist with gleaming sweat-oiled muscles rippling as the strong youthful workers went about their daily toil.
In those days, revolution was in the air and Level sent his valet to fight in the Spanish Civil War as a gesture of solidarity with the working classes. Meanwhile Palindrome decided to join the Labour party, but was shocked to discover that despite his background he was neither posh enough, nor wealthy enough to stand as an MP for them.
Devastated buy this rejection Palindrome gave up on politics altogether and joined the Liberal party instead.
No longer a revolutionary, Level was soon dropped by all his fashionable friends. Lost, lonely and now politically homeless, Level returned to the family home where he sold off the family library and turned the room into a cat sanctuary.