This Ain't No Country Club

Yes, I’m aware just how much the title dates me. I also worked out today that there’s more distance between Mansun’s Attack of The Grey Lantern and today than there was between it and Hounds of Love. I am old. I have also found myself saying “well, this is nice, but where’s the tune?” in relation to a song. In fairness, the point of a dubstep remix seems to be destroy the original as much as possible in a way that would make Throbbing Gristle proud - which I can respect, but that’s a fair way from it making my iTunes playlists. I shall wear my trousers rolled.

(to add to this digression, even though I haven’t got started yet, I have also got excited buying kitchen things. It’s almost enough to make me pack everything in and join a commune. Or buy a convertible, despite not being able to drive)

Anyway, Los Angeles. I have to say that I couldn’t beat the entrance. Arrived at LAX, and driven in a convertible down the Pacific Coast Highway for a Thai dinner near Venice Beach. Have to say that I felt like one of those rockstar programmers you used to see back in the 80s, before they tried to invent games that cost £50 and didn’t bother with pesky things like VAT returns. Or something out of the dot-com era, for those of you who didn’t grow up with a Sinclair Spectrum.

(I still can’t talk much about the work itself. Though I can probably say that it’s not exactly what I expected)

I’ve been here two weeks now - most of it locked away in offices coding, but I’ve been out and about a bit. The first weekend, I took off to the buses to explore Downtown LA, after explaining to my co-workers that saying “I’m going to use public transport tomorrow!” wasn’t me fishing for a lift, but actually me being excited about going on a bus. Did I mention I’m old? Does it help if I include a metro system in there as well? No? Bobbins.

It turned out that the bus to Downtown let me off right in the cavalcade of tents that is OccupyLA. Being a sympathetic sort (I have little truck with the anarcho-syndicalists and the crazies talking about how 911 was planned by the Government, but the main thrust of income inequality and how banks have been let off lightly after the Crash of 2008, I can definitely get behind), I wandered around the tents, taking a few pictures, and eventually found myself running slap-bang into their planned march. I did what any right-thinking European Socialist Loony Leftie would do, and joined them for a bit.

After leaving the protest behind, I headed to Union Station for the metro to Little Tokyo (amusingly, it took me right back to the road behind the tents. Oops). I have never seen so much pink in my life. Seriously, I think the Sanrio store may have etched pink Hello Kittys onto my retinas. And then there were the anime body pillows. Which will not speak of further, because I cannot and will not process the horror. Oh God, the horror.

Eventually, I found my way back to Marina Del Rey and decided to stay on the bus to visit Venice Beach. I’d been warned a few days before that the beach was something of a let-down, covered in kelp and full of rather nasty smells. Luckily, they must have something of a kelp clean-up, as it seemed pretty pleasant by the time I got there on an earlier Saturday evening, though it was had to push the image of an American Blackpool out of my mind whilst walking down all the tourist shops on the beach front. I did, however, find a street some way back from the beach that reminded me an awful lot of sweet, dear Durham. Or at least a Durham crossed with downtown Raleigh (I know, I know) - it even has its own Motorco equivalent with food trucks!

Sunday was spent visiting Santa Monica and stepping back from the Apple Store after seeing the place overflowing with people, and pop art pictures of Steve Jobs outside, covered in flowers. He truly was Tech’s Diana. Not sure if even I, noted Apple-fanboy, can really get behind the outpouring of grief (and I say this as somebody who shared in a toast to his life the night we heard the news). I’m not entirely sure it’s healthy.

That was the first week in LA. Already, it seems like an age ago…