Hello, I’m here. Hollywood, Los Angeles, named after me, maybe even by me. Historians just don’t know and I can’t remember.
I’ve been wanting to come here for years, for years before that, I thought I was better than America, but during those years I also thought those ‘Delphi’ hummus dips you get in every corner shop in London were quite good when actually now I realise they are revolting. I knew nothing.
Why or how we got here in the end is not important, plus I can’t be arsed to talk about it, so it’s not important as far as I’m concerned; and the flight, the flight isn’t worth repeating, for many reasons. Except I met a very nice girl reading Jurassic Park. So blown away by how nice she was I found myself volunteering for the Salvation Army in order to somehow make up for my lack of niceness. She did actually email me, I emailed her back, but now she hasn’t replied. Maybe she saw my blog? Struggling poets and dramatic fiends probably don’t make the best Samaritans … or that’s what they think. We actually make the best Samaritans. I’ll start my own Salvation Army – the ‘The Compassionate and Confused Rescue Team For Lost Souls and The Hurt’. If I had the money I would do something like that. It’s getting boring how little we care about people who aren’t us. Watching all these poor ill homeless people here, walking around uncared for by anyone. It’s truly awful.
But anyway back to happy LA. So, we land, it’s hot, I grab a Gatorade – it’s huge. I immediately decide I absolutely love America, then I look at the size of the chocolate here, and decide I’m moving.
The taxi to Laurel Canyon is basically all the money I have until I am paid by The Fashion Overlords. The meter just keeps going up, there is no roof on this meter! It’s been turned up to 11, it has it’s own mind and it is taking all of my bartering papers.
We escape the money monster and arrive at our beautiful little place in Laurel Canyon, did I mention? We’re in Laurel Canyon. The sun smattering us through the leaves, the outdoor courtyard waiting to greet us, the beautiful Spanish cottage, the toilet that fails to flush and is held together with part of someone’s necklace; all is as it should be. My boyfriend decides this place is definitely cool when he sees a casually placed Laurel Canyon music book on the bedside table with a foreword from Ray Manzarek. I already knew this place was cool, I was the one that told Manzerek.
I keep this untrue information to myself and we settle in to the first night with American news and take away pizza, mine is vegetarian (my pizza), with a pesto (????) dressing, the pesto is made of mayonnaise and green food colouring. Make up your own mind about my pizza.
Sunday seemed like a fine day to head down to the beach, so forgetting the grace of über, we hemorrhage some more money in a taxi down there. It’s early, my boyfriend was up at 4am. It looked boring so I got up at 6am, by now it’s almost 9am and we hit a beautiful art deco hotel called ‘ The Georgian’ or something to that effect. Bagel and cream cheese arrives, and we leave shortly afterwards. I spent most of my time there watching upper class American families drink bucks fizz and talk politics. It’s just like a Woody Allen movie, except not funny, just vaguely threatening. Or maybe I’ve drunk too much coffee. There isn’t an upper class in America.
No one can threaten you.
We sit on the beach and watch a seagull eat some sort of unidentified jelly stingray thing, and then meander down to Venice strip. I am thirsty. People thought I had diabetes because I drank so much water (proud to say I’m now tested and I do not have diabetes, another win for my metabolism.) anyway, I’m thirsty, there’s no cute cafes selling frappucino raspberry slushies which is what I’m always in the mood for here but does not seem to exist. What there was was some bar with a guy with one leg asking us for ID and basically insinuating anyone planning on entering this bar needed to be a total legend, or have one leg. My boyfriend had his ID (he’s 31) I did not, but managed to recite my date of birth correctly, I failed however to deduce when I graduated college, or high school, or something, I think I said 2008, which is not at all correct but he lets me in.
I hit some lemonade pretty hard, the sun hits me harder, I can’t remember where we were trying to get to, I’m not even sure we knew, but we had to get there soon. I persuaded my partner not to finish his beer, for fear of becoming dehydrating under this blazing sun. Paranoid, he agreed and we left. The lemonade didn’t last long, and soon I was hot and thirsty again and now I could tell I was getting burnt. The sun is hot here, really proper scorchio hot. I’d been in England so long I’d forgotten that the sun is actually a flaming ball of molten fire particles exploding like nobodies business and sending it’s fire rays down to my poor defenseless English shoulders.
Feeling vaguely faint I was distracted by a ukulele playing, I turn around and a man with curly black hair is beaming, strumming a ukulele on a Segway, leading a group of tourists (I think American tourists, I’m good at guessing nationalities) all on their segways down the loony fiesta that is Venice beach. They float past me, all mad, all smiling, and as some ecstatic cyclists drift past them as they drift past me and some restaurant is playing classical music and I’m going hypoglycemic I think, “this is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.”
We find a place that sells edible food. There are a strange couple of guys next to us, one older and Mexican, one young, sinister, friendly, redneck, and also maybe evil – giving off weird, drunk, shit vibes next to us and talking about his digestive tract too much, and then things that had or had not come out of it, as I try and eat my mezze platter. My partner is oblivious, I leave it that way.
Then I hear them talking about us, they think were famous. I’ve been speaking to other friends here and it seems if you are British and wearing sunglasses, you’re famous. Fine by me. The sinister younger guy starts talking to us, I initially mistake curiosity for friendliness and think I have misjudged him, then he starts talking about moving here and just sleeping with another girl every night so he doesn’t have to pay rent and I decide, no I was right. The guy IS the creeps. My skin is crawling off of me remembering him. Oh and I forgot to mention he was also drooling a lot, and part of his miserable aura was the vibration of the end of a bender. Hideous creature. No point trying to find the light.
I pay, we leave. Like fucking legends. People are playing volleyball, women are complaining that their dogs cant go in to restaurants, men are dressed in green medical suits offering out some sort of Marijuana advice, I do not need any advice.
We wander for miles to find a Whole Foods. Miles, hours, seriously hours. A homeless guy starts shouting at some trendy kids walking in front of us, he’s bored and wants a reaction, the kids not giving it to him. Then the homeless guy takes the piss out of the kids “goofy ass hat”, the kid responds with “yeah, like your goofy ass life.” Which actually, as a come back is pretty funny but probably a little close to the bone, the homeless guy gets weird and starts some imaginary mutilation as he fades out of ear shot and I realise I’m burnt to a crisp, my boyfriends feet are exploding inside his trainers and I have a thirst that has started acting like a vacuum, stealing any moisture from inside my mouth to quench its thirst, leaving me looking as if I’d been trying to teach granny to suck lemons. And then, 2 hours after setting off, we find a Whole Foods. We buy a funk load of prawns and some asparagus, not much else useful, and head back to our sweet casa to Barbeque the living daylights out of these sea beasts. We feast on their flesh by candle light and drink ‘Cerveza del Pafico’ beers, I’d like to say in to the early hours but I pass out at 10.
I rise at 6am and feel fantastic. I drink enormous amounts of coffee, I sit outside, I nurse my red skin, I moisturize, I try and do some work, I bathe, I read, I try and do some work, I cook porridge with almond milk and feel incredibly satisfied by how healthy I am, dappled in lovely sunlight. I try and do some work, my boyfriend goes off to college, I draw a parrot and an eagle, I cook chicken soup, I lock the door, I put on Friends, I look at the clock, it’s 22.06, my boyfriend will be home soon, I have to let him in the gate with the beeper, oh and unlock the … I fall asleep. I bloody fall asleep. The next thing I know I am jumping to the door, I am at the door and opening it before I’m awake. I know something not awesome is going down, I can sense it, I let my boyfriend in smiling and NOPE.
Major fuck up Fitton, your boyfriend has been trapped outside on the street for 20 minutes, he scaled the fence risking an armed unit, to get to the door to find it locked. Fitton you did not respond to persisted knocking. You were as unconscious as fuck. Your boyfriend then went to the glass window to check you were in, alive, you were, you were asleep smiling, like a smug angel. Enraged, he banged on the glass, you did not wake up, you carried on smiling. He banged on the glass harder and smashed the window – you still did not wake up.
Unable to process this information at the time, I just poured a bowl of chicken soup as a peace offering, attempted to put some strands of loo roll on my partners bleeding hands as he talked of disaster and went back to sleep. And slept like a baby.
(My boyfriend also told me the next day it was the best chicken soup he’d ever had, he just didn’t want to tell me that last night. Fair enough. Minor win though, still.)
Who knows what happens for a few days, probably not much. I do some work, read, sleep, eat. I meet my friend in Soho House, which is not the open brick the Brit frequenter might be used to. Ever so trendy you enter through a car park … fine. If I must. The place is in a glass tower of aspiration, over-looking Beverly Hills. Vertigo entices you with every pane. We sit on the balcony and have a green juice, which I think is clover juice but apparently that’s just the brand. I’m disappointed and eat a croissant, the jam is fantastic. We stare at the traffic and chat softly. I’m tired and in awe. People behind us are talking of money, millions, and the Indian film market. I’m really glad I’m not with them. We order another coffee and stare at the scene for a bit longer, then leave.
What else, we went to a Lakers game and ate a McDonalds, we ate Mexican food and Harry Potter chocolates at Universal City Walk and I sat by the pool at Chateau Martmont to meet another British girl moving here, made a new friend, drank a margarita in the afternoon – the results of which were fantastic. British men sat at the loungers next to the pool as we sat in the corner, grabbing the last of the light. The men laughed and chatted and smoked heartily, as if they were in some Old Boys Club in the 1800’s. They were well brought up, but maybe needed a little dose of misfortune to bring them back down to earth, one guy just had too much spring in his curls.
My boyfriend’s uncle took us to the Angeles Mountains and forest, which had the newest grass I’d ever seen and giant pine cones five times the size of your face – don’t pick them up to compare how big they are to your face though, as they are covered in Black Widow webs – so I learned. Anyway, as you can see I got very in the spirit of things up there.
Bendy roads like you wouldn’t believe up to the mountains, and people take these roads that are essentially just lethal corners like they’re in dodgems – with some imaginary security rail holing them on to the course. And then you have the reminders that this is not the case, there is no rail guys. As we wandered down one of the roads to the forest there were remnants of cars flying over canyons, broken trees, red glass smashed on the ground, papers strewn everywhere. Exam results, rules, instructions. All headed for the breeze.
The days feel longer here, chocolates bigger, there’s less resistance so you seem to have more time and it’s always sunny so life is just one big holiday – so long as you’re a freelancer working from home, getting work. I imagine as soon as I had to work in an office in LA my perspective would change quite dramatically, but for the reality I have created, I like LA.
America, welcome to me. Happy to be here.