The Away Game, Three Years On.

It was 2016 when I landed at LAX, to start my ‘New World’ adventure, delivered by an airline who’s idea of a “veggie option” was a limp salad in a bun, seemingly fashioned from the rock face of Mount Rushmore.. So much for progression
Landing in Los Angeles is always exciting, at first…At least, if like me, your formative years were spent watching 12 too many American films and telly shows .
The first few months were spent retracing the footsteps of the sons and daughters of the silver screen, sorting legal papers and soaking the Vitamin D that rained from the forever blue sky. Well, England isn’t known for wall to wall sun or even one partition wall of sun for that matter, even in the summer (although due to global warming things are changing) thus, there was a lot of catching up to do.

That said, it only took a couple of months before I parked my sitting in the garden with top off days. There were a few reasons for this, the most important being, I noticed I was starting to resemble a Pakistani Elvis impersonator. It may surprise every being in the Milky-way, not to mention builders from Derry, but this was not the direction I was aiming for.

The fact is, after a few years the novelty of getting a summer beach sun tan merely by walking 4 minutes to the shop, going for a pint in a pub James Dean went in, walking down the street that was featured in Nightmare On Elm Street, strolling barefoot along the beach used in the original Planet Of The Apes movie or seeing your local park on various films and TV shows does start to dwindle.
One of the curious effects, life in LA has, is it seems to blunt the day and give one a kind of numb, spaced out feeling, akin to taking too many Prozac.
This may say sound spoilt, however the imagination needs fresh wallpaper after a time, no matter where you are and the soul needs more fertile ground- not to mention avoiding Kelly Osbourne in the Sunset Marquis does become a, minor, issue after a while.

At some point the riches of Los Angeles start to look shabby once you are an actual resident of the city … The taxes one pays are many and you have to wonder where they go. The moment you leave West Hollywood you encounter broken pavements, boarded up properties and a universe of people living in tents and cars.
The closer you get to skid row the more dystopian it gets, I could write about what goes on but you wouldn’t believe me, lets just say a minute in skid row and you start to think Dante’s Inferno was actually just a script for a show on Nickelodeon.

Then we have the matter of culture, point of fact there isn’t any… At least compared to Europe.. In terms of tech, LA (America in general) is out in front of the UK and Europe BUT when it comes to philosophy, idea’s and matters of the spirit, America is light years behind.
In many ways the soul purpose of American life is to work. That’s it . Work, purchase, have one week off a year and spend all your money you saved, working over 40 hours a week for 40 years, on a hip replacement in a Sherman Oaks Hospital.
In short, a human is made into nothing more than a work horse that’s only desire is to own product. The amount of stuff that’s brought and not needed, gets worse by the year..

I spoke to someone the other day and they said ” Oh you really must get an iWatch, It does nearly everything my cell phone does”
I replied “Well if you already have a phone that does what the watch does, why do you need the watch ?”
They said not knowing what they are actually saying, which is very LA ” Well, I don’t waste so much time on my phone checking emails and texts”
It’s true they may not be wasting as much time on their phone, however I’d say they are wasting just as much time, in general..Just on a different device.
In terms of rational this person’s logic was like the “one louder” scene in Spinal Tap and in terms of device addiction it’s like the scene in Woody Allen’s Annie Hall, when the child (speaking as his future self) says “I used to be a heroin addict and now I’m a methadone addict”
It’s hilarious the tech people have now, all of which they pretty much use for the same sort of thing- Desktop computer, laptop computer, ipad, cell phone and now iwatch …What next socks that make a noise when you get a text and underwear that lets you check your social media updates.

The worst thing about living in Los Angeles though is having to endure the air quality. It’s awful, so bad, you can dust your home at 8am and by 1pm it needs doing again, as the Mr Sheen clean surfaces are once again layered with black dust. Nearly everywhere in LA is near a freeway, highway, motorway or busy road ..A help if you need to drive somewhere but a hindrance if you would rather not go through life having to match your shoes and belt with a portable oxygen system.

Still when all is said and the washing up still isn’t done, there are worse places to be… I’m not living in a bomb shelter in Syria, I’m not having to survive on the streets of Mexico, I’m not having my home invaded in the State Of Palestine and I’m not having to endure an episode of Come Die Dine With Me, in a Bed and Breakfast in Swindon.