Saturday, February 21

Support the Troops?


I'm sat waiting to board my plane. Merrily reading blogs, e-mails and spreadsheets.

In the last 20 minutes, 40 guys from the airborne division have sat around me. 2 have just squeezed themselves on the ground next to me, and are now laying on top of my power cable. That's how close they are. Not Asians ...

They are wearing the light green and white camouflage outfits, which are worthless in the LAX terminal.

I can totally see them.

4/5th update

I was one of 5 passengers on a shuttle to LAX this morning. The other 4 could die and would not be missed. Asinine toolboxes. I don't mind stupid people, it's people who don't know they are stupid that bug me.

When they weren't being galactically inane, they were being unfunny. When you have to finish a poorly told anecdote with, "Oh it was hysterical". It's not. When your audience monotone, "Oh that's funny". It's not. Either learn to tell a story or shut the fuck up.

Also. Dan Band played at the House of Blues last night. In Anaheim. In Disneyland. Christ! The whole place is full of fanny-pack clad twats*, enjoying a sanitized "Night on the (Disney down)town". Grow up. Live a real life, rather than the homogenized version, fascist Walt wants you to experience.

Ironic or moronic?

Here's what I couldn't work out last night. The Dan Band is a simple schtick. White guy sings female pop songs, adds comedic hip hop moves and swears. Point is. It's done very well.

Before the show, the venue played a bunch of old hip hop tracks. A guy in chinos and Oxford shirt, cell phone clipped to his belt, was doing dance moves to Eric B & Rakim. Hands in the air, booty grind, overbite dance moves. Is that OK at a Dan Band show?

* fanny-pack clad twats is my new favorite saying.

Friday, February 20

Shazam hates Jazz

Ever notice how buff gets added after jazz, but never after funk, country or rockabilly?

I'm not a jazz buff, but there's nothing better than a rollicking Hammond organ, vibes and skins combo to get my jazz hand going.

In one such moment the other day, I hit up Shazam on my iPhone to see what actual lick was playing on the radio.

And I got nothing. Bummer.



Shazam has helped me find songs by Zapp & Roger, The Go! Team and France Gall this week.

Why my job is great

Today is the last day of my 2 week on-site assignment.

Walked into the kitchen this morning to find this.

Each of those are 6lb cans of cheese sauce.

And now there's a case of these. It's free food everyone ...

Wooo

Just spotted the Dan Band playing at the House of Blues tonight.

"I fucking need you more than ever".

Great way to finish my trip.

Thursday, February 19

Because why the hell not?

Went to see Jon Lovitz tonight.

He plays the Laugh Factory every Wed in West Hollywood. The Laugh Factory is the place where the tall fella from Seinfeld committed professional suicide with his n-bomb tirade.

Tonight, Nick Thune opened and was much funnier. As in the line "I had my nuts certified organic, so now I can green teabag my girlfriend"

Afterwards I had In-N-Out.

Because why the hell not?

More Nick Thune

Sunday, February 15

On the QT

This weekend I visited a couple of Tarantino movie landmarks.

Pat and Lorraine's (in the wonderfully run down Glendale) is the coffee house featured at the start of Reservoir Dogs.

The scene where the guys discuss, among other things, Madonna taking huge cock, and the disparity of tipping culture in America.

I managed to grab a coffee just before they closed (they only do breakfast and lunch). This place ain't retro. It's just old. And it's fantastic.

Even more rundown is the Bail Bond office in Carson, from Jackie Brown. It's a real bail bond office, because it's really opposite the Carson city courts. It's also next to an IHOP.

Bang! You're dead

This is where Biggie Smalls was killed. Big but evidently not so clever.

Death fans; the 2nd most famous Kennedy assassination occurred on the same street (Wilshire Boulevard).

To get from Biggie to Bobby you have to cross Koreatown. So called because it's full of Koreans. You cannot argue with facts like these.

Back to Biggie in a tenuous way. Like Sting and Diddy said "We'll be missing you", which reminds me of this joke.

Q. What do tantric sex and a complaint to your cable company have in common?
A. You stay in all day and nobody comes.

Thanks!

There's this store where the creatures meet

I went back to Laurel Canyon.

There's a store on the corner of 'Love Street', and it's the store where the creatures meet. Inside they sell all sorts of good stuff, and have photos of the Doors everywhere.

Jim's House next to a cleaners, and 2 shots of the Store.


Sunny Disposition

You know in the movies when you see surfers walking off the beach to their cars, stretching out of their wet suits, and changing in the middle of the parking lot. That's this place.

Even more fun was driving past LAX on the way to the beach. I love it when a plane flies overhead as you speed along the freeway. And with a bunch of runways at LAX, I got to see 3 planes pass by as I drove.

Room 721

Overheard at 2am

Woman: Oh Baby, Oh Baby, Yeah, Yeah, Oh Baby, Yeah, Yeah, Oh Baby, Yeah, Oh Baby, Oh Baby, Yeah.

then

Man: Oh Yeah

With musical accompaniment by the headboard.

We were all asleep by 2.10

Saturday, February 14

Well, you can tell by the way I use my walk

Swung by the Dresden in the afternoon. The place was featured in the movie Swingers. In the movie, Marty & Elayne, the resident jazz duo, swing through a kick ass version of Stayin' Alive.

They play the Dresden 6 nights a week every week.


Tonight I spruced myself up and drove back - on the way I remembered it was Valentine's Day. Ah well, I love myself enough to see cabaret jazz.

Valet parking at the Dresden is a snap at just $2.50, and as I walked in through the backdoor, feeling slightly Goodfellas-esque, I bumped into Marty, resplendent in his Black shirt, with Hawaiian red trim.

Found a spot towards the back and grabbed a beer. Elayne kicked off with Rhapsody in Blue, while Marty shuffled around the bar talking to regulars. They ranged from tragically cool LA models to blue rinse, visor wearing, stroller transported seniors.

My only complaint was that most people weren't listening. I know it's all about ambiance, (and I had nobody to talk to), but Marty & Elayne are working hard over there.

A highlight was Copacabana. Each time Elayne sang, "She was a Showgirl", Marty would counter with, "She was a hooker".

The basic concept is "Write a request on a napkin". If M&E know it, they'll play it. If not, they'll do a bunch of jazz standards that they like.

Great night and I'm back in room 720 before midnight!

Crazy Phil


I'm less interested in the death of Lana Clarkson than I am in the fucked up genius that is Phil Spector. I just finished reading a biography and he is without question a lunatic psycho of the highest order. However, we was undoubtedly a visionary producer in the time of Mono.


His house is in the wackiest of locations. It's a white elephant of a mansion in the working class neighborhood of Alhambra. Unsurprisingly for a paranoid control freak, the house is gated and monitored. I managed to sneak around the back on another street and see parts of the building (it's like a castle).

The biography I read was about his music with a small addendum to cover the murder. If you read the story of the previous 50 years, you'll be left with little doubt that he shot her.

What a douche

Only 2 minutes from Marilyn's death place is the OJ condo where Nicole and Ron Goldman were killed.

Brentwood is your average upper middle class neighborhood with too many Starbucks and Jamba Juices. The house is real accessible. Indeed another idiot was taking a photo when I arrived, and no doubt another idiot was right behind me.

Marilyn Manson

Not the absinthe obsessed seducer of beautiful pale women, but instead the actual inspiration behind his name.

I'll go out of sequence. The Charles Manson murders took place in one of the most beautiful locations I've ever been. The canyon is breathtaking and the winding road you take to reach Cielo Drive, is well worth the gas money.


Unsurprisingly, the house is surrounded by high fences and security cameras. The poor guy who lives next door, must have people reversing into his driveway each day.

A 10 minute drive down Sunset Boulevard brings you to where Marilyn Monroe was found dead. The strangely laid out Helena Drive has a series of cul-de-sacs. MM died in the 5th cul-de-sac. Again, security is tight. Posted signs say, "You are currently being videotaped". Wish I had thought to video that ...

Get the Spaghetti Special


First and Important. Kern the space between the V and the i

I don't pretend to know much about Robert Blake. Never saw his TV or movies and don't care.

What you do notice when you enter the Tujunga Ave in Studio City is how quintessentially "Main Street" American it seems. You then notice how good business is at Vitello's. The parking lot where it all went down was full, and people were waiting for a table.

All publicity is good publicity?

I have no idea what the clown in the SUV was doing. Maybe getting a better photo than me?

Janis Jopler

As they jokingly had to call her on 30 Rock, died here.

Never cared for her. I think she brings the quality of the 27 club down a notch.

However, I do like how the hotel are totally ker-chinging the infamy. They have the old name of the hotel, and you can even request Room 105. And heroin is on the room service menu ....

Sign your name

Wish I could access the roofs. So many classic old hotels in this neighborhood. A few shots of the metal signs atop these great period buildings.



Afterwards I drove to the Hollywood Bowl, which in my mind at least, is famous for the Monty Python Show.

Bird or Bug?


Stopped for an early hipster lunch at Swingers, where I thought for a moment I was sat next to Tim Robbins.

Afterwards I headed for Hollywood & Vine and onto the Capitol Records building.

Hard to tell if that's a bird far away or a bug close up to the right of the building.

So I drove around the block to take the Pikachute and a woman spotted me, and walked up with a grin on her face.

We talked about my ongoing Pikachu project and she said if ever I was in San Diego, she had some great places to photograph?

OK then.

More Capitol Record building info here

Chateau Marmont and other places to die

Dead John Belushi, if only it could have been his brother Jim instead, better yet Phil Collins.



Everybody and their dog has done something stupid here

While we are talking about your garden variety West Hollywood rock n roll lifestyle, here's the Viper Room. The eagle-eyes will notice it doubles as the Pussycat Dolls Lounge. PCD in the house! Liquor market too.


On the opposite side of the road is the Whisky a Go Go

Lazy diamond studded flunkies


"Love Street" is a 1968 song by The Doors which appears on their album Waiting For The Sun.

The song is about the street in Laurel Canyon where Jim Morrison lived with his girlfriend Pamela Courson. Their house was on Rothdell Trail. Morrison and Courson referred to Rothdell Trail as "Love Street" because they would sit on the balcony and watch countless hippies walk by.

Love Street is also the song Anne used to play on her answer machine when she lived in San Francisco. As a young man I would save up all my money to call Transatlantic, and then waste $2 waiting for the message part of the machine to begin.

In the words of Simon Bates "It's an Our Tune".

Ugh Oh

Shortly after I left Marvin's house the GPS went dead. Turns out the charger wasn't working. Eventually found a Best Buy but before that I stopped at a bookstore and grabbed a cup of coffee.

9am on the top floor of a bookstore is pretty quiet and I was their only customer. I'm guessing the café had 60 chairs. Out of nowhere an Asian family came and sat right next to me. Freaks.

GPS back on, I headed for West Hollywood, and the surprisingly quiet corner that Hugh Grant got busted for divinely picking up a hooker.


I read today that Hugh is dating Drew Barrymore. Did she fuck her way through every alt-rock guy already?

What's Goin' On?


Spooky factoid (if you know me). The part of LA where Marvin Gaye lived (not killed) is called Hancock Park.

So. Marv's Dad's house is a bit of a curio. It's right next to the freeway (quite handy, but probably noisy), and it could use a lick of paint.

Couldn't tell if anyone lived here anymore. It seems such a big house to be left unused, but I wouldn't fancy living there.

I always remember Gaye's death. It was on April Fool's Day. Seemed wrong then, feels tragic now.

Black Dahlia

Bostonian Elizabeth Short, nicknamed the Black Dahlia, was found mutilated in South LA, 1947. Countless books and movies have explored the unsolved murder.

My research involved getting stuck in a Ralph's parking lot a block away from Leimert Park. An older black lady, with a few extra pounds and a pair of sweat pants that have seen better days, tapped on my window, and, after removing the 32oz soda from her mouth, said, "What chu doin' backin' up here sir?" Despite it being a pointless question I liked the delivery of her line, so I smiled and did the 'I'm an idiot shrug'. Then drove off, tout de suite.

Anyhow, back to Elizabeth Short, I suspect this building is mistakenly photographed by macabre twats like me, but it's not the actual place where she was found ... it's a block away and inaccessible.

Approx. Location

The City of Compton

Filled up my ride (ahem, a Nissan) on the corner of Florence and Normandie, in the fair City of Compton. No riots or looting, just full serve gas, by a brother who got a $2 tip. Cos' that's how I roll motherfuckers!!

Actually, it wasn't that nonchalant. I asked for a $20 fill up, but couldn't find the handle to open the gas tank, and then it stopped at $13, because I already had half a tank. The guy smiled at me. I think we connected.



After the Rodney King verdict, the riots started in South Central. The footage most people remember is of Reginald Denny being pulled from his truck at this very intersection - Normandie and Florence. An hour later the whole block was looted, and on fire.

I do recall my mum freaking out when this went down, because her youngest child was spending his first ever trip to America in Los Angeles. By contrast, today was quite pleasant.

The Basic Premise

Away on business and alone on Valentine's Day. I decided to do the obvious thing and drive around LA photographing the more notorious parts of the town, and throw in a few hipster references along the way. As usual I brought my trusted friend Pikachu.

I decided it was best to start in South Central, and figured a white English guy had the best chance of slipping under the radar at 7 in the morning.

First up. The place where Sam Cooke died. It's not actually here. The Hacienda Motel on South Figueroa has been demolished and replaced with this beauty - the Star Motel.

Looking around the place I'd say it should be called the 1 Star Motel (Boom Boom! Thank you very much!)

Friday, February 13

Glamor!

Watch TV and movies, and you'll see a varied bunch of LA locales.

There's the glamorous surfer beaches, Tarantino style kitsch, ultra-chic playboy lifestyles, hip-hop ghettos, red carpet events and smog filled highways.

Fans of 24 will also recall lots of disused warehouses and freight railways tracks, where Jack kills terrorists and corrupt government officials.

I'm in that part of LA. View from my hotel.

Wednesday, February 11

5, 6, 7, 8

I'm leading a simple life here.

Up at 5, work by 7, back to the hotel by 6, asleep by 8.

Random things of note. There's an open designer outlet mall across from the hotel. I decided to walk there last night, brought my book with me, and grabbed a burrito. Only problem was the PA system made it impossible to concentrate on my book. They were piping the song "Free Nelson Mandela". Guys, he's free. The song was provocative and inspirational at the time, but it's hardly a foot tapper is it?

My maid (is that the PC term?) is great. She leaves the classical radio station on for when I return, and arranges my toiletries in size order! However I could use some fake sugar. Maybe I'll tip her some more.

The gym was full yesterday at 5.05am!! I got down at 4.55 today and snagged the last elliptical. No sign of that guy.

Oh well, Day 3 of 10 beckons.

Monday, February 9

Awkward

Today is my first full day of 2 weeks in LA.

Got up at 5am and headed for the hotel gym. It's your usual nightmare for unfit people like me. Mirrors and ESPN dudes everywhere.

However this morning I was on my own, until a guy about my age walked in. Noticed he was wearing an eerily similar combination of clothes to me, with the exception that his t-shirt was one size smaller, revealing a pudgy middle age spread. He then pulled out a bandana. I haven't worn one of those in some time ...

There's a bank of ellipticals and treadmills, but he chooses the one next to mine. Whatever. I have my headphones on and I'm running along to whatever the kids are listening to today. You know, C&C Music Factory and the Bee Gees.

Each time I look up, he nods at me. I don't think anything of it. It's early and we're 2 out-of-shape guys trying to burn off a few calories.

He leaves before me. But as I exit the gym, he's stood by the door. The keyless entry/exit isn't working, at which point he says, "It's like we are trapped in the closet together".

I mumble, because I have nothing to say. (in hindsight I should have started singing an R. Kelly jam)

Then we both leave by the fire exit, into the rain. Yes. It's raining in LA this morning. He starts jogging, so I decide to walk.

By the time I get round to the front of the hotel he is gone. I walk past reception guessing he already told them the problem. Our hotel is a built around a courtyard. I decide to walk right thru it. I'm already wet, so what's the harm?

As I reach the elevator, I see the guy again. He decided to walk around the courtyard.

I laugh and say "Hey", as we both get in the elevator. "Not quite the workout I had in mind", he says.

He's on Floor 3, I'm on 7. The doors close and he takes off his fucking t-shirt.

Why would he do that? It's not like he's ripped!

The doors open and he exits. I remain, moving up to Floor 7.

I guess it's nice to be hit on?

Sunday, February 1

LA, LA (Means I Love You)

A quick taste of February via my Google Maps. I'll be working out of LA for 2 weeks, and on my weekend off, I'm planning a macabre tour.

Hoping to visit where Marvin, Sam Cooke, Janis, River, Biggie, Phil Spector's Girlfriend, and a host of others checked out.

Also going to sneak off to Palm Springs, for a combination of retro design and (if I have enough courage ... which I won't) a nudist spa!!

Pussies!

Reading about snow in the UK on the BBC. Link here.

Erm. There's no snow in the clip?

I just ran down to Target, and they have a 16ft wall of icy snow at the end of the parking lot ... and traffic is moving fine.

Sorry to say it. But my native country are a bunch of pussies when it comes to dealing with snow.

I've Got 5 On It

This idea cropped up on a ton of blogs last year. I'm not spending $5 bills. Instead they go in a secret box in our house. Each month we deposit the bills in a savings account.

January: $320!!

Give a Brother a Break

Our house has a minimal feel. It's part design sensibility, part "We've moved so many times and don't want to pack/unpack stuff".

This year we've bought some of those back of the door shoe holders, and we're going crazy filling them with all sorts of assorted all sorts; scarves and hats, gadget paraphernalia, adapters, although noticeably, no shoes.

So I had a nice moment yesterday, as I was flicking through Domino magazine. They ran an article about this wonderful doo-dad, made by Brother (who I thought just made sowing machines).

And now I'm wondering around the house labeling the shit out of every box, cannister, container ... and pocket of the shoe holders.

UPDATE: Just read that Domino Magazine is closing down. Awesome! So glad I just subscribed. First Radar, now Domino. This leaves me with only 18 magazine subscriptions ...