Alex Baldwin is on the telly talking about parental alienation. Sybil the soothsayer is having a lie down. Maggie, my hostess, is in the kitchen and the last remnants of the gecko have been retrieved from behind the armchair. Sam the cat has just entered the room but mercifully his mouth is empty.
Sybil took me to Venice Beach. I have never, in all my life, seen a more seedy, ugly, unfortunate area. The palm trees line the walkway. The sand dunes lead down to the Pacific Ocean. All sounds good so far, but back on dry land we have:
- very bad musicians playing very bad music for a donation
- not very good artists doing not very good paintings for donations
- wasted men sitting cross-legged holding hand-painted cardboard signs with the legend ‘We will **** for marijuana’
- a jolly good juggler, so I did leave a donation
- okay jewellers making okay jewellery, for a donation
- tarot readers reading tarot for, you’ve guessed it…
There is a 26 mile bicycle track that runs parallel to the ocean, which I’m sure is a great ride, but the walkway is so depressing, whilst the food is reflected in several large human beings who have partaken of too much sea(side) food.
Sybil and I had yet more chips and onion rings by a palm tree. The lemonade drink was good but I managed three slices of nearly raw fried potato and four onion rings that had one ring of onion and 73 tons of batter. I cannot wait to have my mouth sewn up! It was hot, so the soothsayer and I decided to sit and people watch.
Incredible, half naked men with skin held together by tattoos. Their ‘women’ matching their men with inappropriate tattoos needled all over their bodies. Sagging human beings revealing so much flesh that my belly looks like a kumquat by comparison. And I know I am being rude about another culture, but as I speak there is still ‘a shooter’ at large in South LA. It was less people watching, more a freak show. Maybe Brighton is the same but I haven’t sat on the Pier for a few years so couldn’t possibly comment.
When we went to pick up the car, an automatic Mercury, a big man on a Penny Farthing bicycle drove out of the car park. It was funny – a touch of the past banging mud-guards with the future.
Sybil, my guide and confidante, originally from Blackpool, happily shared my jaundiced view of the passing trade, and calmed me down as I squelched at what passed us by as human. ‘Cum on luv’, she said with her best Northern twang. ‘Let’s get a cuppa.’ She then drove me back to the farmers market via Sunset Boulevard, past signs for ‘movie maps’ and ‘star guides’ until we could park for a fresh juice – pomegranate – and more people watching.
We both felt that we had o’deed on the body beautiful so it was a quick drive home past the Jew-Cross, which is a kosher zebra crossing with sensors. All the orthodox Jews, coming back from Synagogue, are able to cross the road without having to do any manual work, i.e. pressing any buttons. LA has several members of my tribe so it is nice to know that if I want to do nothing between sunset on Friday night and sunset on Saturday I can go to the Jewish crossing and keep my hands in my pockets as I saunter across the sensors and just think about the Torah.
I have one night left in La La Land and then it’s San Diego here I come. I wonder what the Sandiegans can offer? We’ll find out 2morrer. Cuthen.