So I’ve landed in LA. Get a cab from the airport and I’m amazed by both the number of billboards and the number of billboards advertising lawyers. Challenge your parking tickets or get representation for your motorbike accident. Although not based in LA I guess Better Call Saul should have prepared me. Almost everything here is a single story high. And there are so many take away joints. Mostly burgers, pizza or Mexican. It’s strangely seductive, but I’m not nearly drunk enough to deal with this level of depravity. But since everything is so spread out and based around a block of shops, it seems everyone drives everywhere. And the US are so up tight about booze, I struggle to see how anyone could get drunk enough to be able to deal with this. I’m starting to relate to Hunter S. Thompson on a deeper level.
I’ve checked into my hotel, which isn’t cheap, but has a distinctly road-side motel grimness to it. My very glamorous friend Lenka apparently lives nearby, but this definitely doesn’t seem like a neighbourhood with any charm, let alone glamour.
Short taxi ride and I’m in the Rainbow. It’s fully booked for dining which wasn’t the vibe I was expecting. I thought low key dive bar, not pre-booked restraint.
There’s a maitre d, which is weird enough in itself, but here’s wearing a cheap suit and tie with a slicked back, greasy hair-do. He looks more like one of these lawyers on the billboard than the bouncer at rock bar, but I’ve learnt long ago that the US operate by their own rules.
Mostly a metal soundtrack including Slayer, Def Leppard, Bon Jovi and some Depeche Mode thrown in. The elderly Italian bar man is rocking the place. He’s skipped Bryan Adams in favour of Black Sabbath.
Rob Zombie is playing next door at the Roxy, and tickets that were at a face value of $50 are being on-sold for $200! Looks like I’m not making that.
On to the Whisky-a-go-go for a local band that weren’t half bad…
Several whiskies later, I’m in a taxi back home.
So what are my initial impressions? America has a brashness, an arrogance and such a high level of over confidence I just can’t gel with it. I like self deprecation, politeness and gentlemanly charm. All of which seem to be missing here.