Regarding Woody

Most people , probably, wouldn’t want to order this first quarter of 2020 , if it was a menu option
In fact , I wouldn’t be surprised if the masses demand we re do this whole year .
The entire world will get together and pretend this was just a collective nightmare, that vanished as soon as we awoke into our new “do over” year,- like the famous season long, Bobby Ewing, dream sequence in Dallas.
This would also be handy if you are 21 and want to stay 21 for a year longer, it would be helpful if you were on death row and due to go to the electric chair this year. Although, granted this would be a nuisance if you had to reschedule your Dignitas appointment.

For me, apart from January, I always hate January, this year has been nice. Yes, Covid-19 is frightening and heartbreaking,.. However, it has meant I can work remotely and not have to share an elevator with people who’s total number of tattoos is greater than their IQ score- life is a game of give and take.

One of the delights of this year, so far, as far as I’m concerned, is that Woody Allen’s autobiography was, finally, released and what can I tell you, it’s brilliant, utterly hilarious .

I remember, the fantastic, Victoria Wood once said that Woody Allen had become ashamed he was ever funny, he now just wanted to be a “serious” dramatist. Apart from being not true , it implies Woody had stopped being funny
You only had to watch a number of his films, around the time Victoria said this and beyond, to see it wasn’t true.
This book is further proof that the Woody Allen of old, is pretty much the Woody Allen of the present.
In a way, it’s, almost, impossible for Woody not to be amusing, as his humour is based around his philosophy on life and the many abusdaties that imbue it and flow from it.

It’s the reason he has such a loyal core fan base, which since I first discovered him in my teens I have been a part of, if you “get” Woody, if you are a fan, its largely, due to having a shared view of the world.

“There was no trauma in my life, no awful thing that occurred and turned me from a smiling, freckle-faced lad with a fishing pole and pantaloons into a chronically dissatisfied lout. My own speculation centers around the fact that at five or so, I became aware of mortality and figured, uh-oh, this is not what I signed on for. I had never agreed to be finite. If you don’t mind, I’d like my money back.”

Woody Allen

I say all this, as if you buy, borrow or steal, the book you won’t be let down. The book over spills with “it’s funny because it’s true” observations and Samurai sword sharp quips .

He is, also, open hearted, at least for Woody, discussing his parents, his loves, his likes and his loathes. As well as taking us through his relationships- of course, he gives his side of the story regarding Mia, her children and his wife, Soon Yi as well.

“I helped her get work in TV when she moved to the city. We had no secrets, we were closer than family. This extreme and pleasurable closeness continued decade after decade until I sued her.”

Woody Allen

“But the arguments we had over free will and monads, while heated, were never as combatative as the ones we had over our marriage. I knew I was in trouble when, in one philosophical discussion, Harlene proved I didn’t exist.”

Woody

Anyway, if it doesn’t sell out, the book should be available, at most, closed for Covid-19 book stores, as well as with the usual online sellers
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For what it’s worth, going by the evidence he gives and from what I’ve read in the past, I can’t help but think Woody is innocent and I can’t help but feel Mia’s greatest acting achievement (even greater than her brilliant performance in Rosemarys Baby ) is her ability to fool people into thinking she should be anywhere which isn’t a Psychiatric Hospital .

I will leave the last word to Woody himself

“As much as we whine and moan and insist, often quite persuasively, that life is a pointless nightmare of suffering and tears, if a man suddenly entered the room with a knife to kill us, we instantly react. We grab him and fight with every ounce of our energy to disarm him and survive. (Personally, I run.)”

Woody Allen

“All that I ask is my ashes be scattered close to a pharmacy.”

Woody Allen

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Cats life..

People dying, people not able to pay rent due to being laid off.. Canceled, this and closed down that..

However, I have to say, I feel sorry for the world’s cats.. Who are used to having the sunny spot on the bed to themselves, all day.. Able to glide around each room undisturbed.. The whole home their playground..

Now they have to endure being picked up and kissed every two minutes by a human, who won’t stop talking and whom is, seemingly, surgically attached to their smelly, biscuit crumb coated pyjamas. Who never leaves the house.
“what the hell has happened to my life” they must think.

Poor Kitty cats of the world.

Hit The North

Thus, we left the lazy hazy LA dream world and headed North. In truth it wasn’t my idea to leave Los Angeles and move to Seattle. In fact, I was dead against it.
I liked the true blue skies, the romance of scenery used in films and the wild west aspect of LA. I liked the “anything goes” architecture- from Jetsons-like Googie designs to Flintstones like Spanish style bungalows. I liked the Americana shop signs and billboards. I liked bumping into people whos films, telly shows and music I, at one time, had used as a means to escape- after all even bad pop culture is often better than “real life”.

In contrast. I had not a slither nor a jot of romance for Seattle- I also thought, as I’m English, if I’m going to live in a climate which was like that of Britain and Ireland, then I may as well live in Britain or Ireland, spiritually I’d definitely be more at home, I miss the poetry of British conversation ….Not to mention the British and Irish dress better, Seattle seems to have a population who wouldn’t look out of place as castmembers in Ironside.

All that said, I can’t drive to Vancouver in 1hr or fly to LA in 2 and a half hours from the UK. Seattle also has some fantastic scenery and, generally speaking, is more civilised than Los Angeles. Its much cleaner, people tend to be more civically minded and most importantly the air quality is better.

You can never really breath in Los Angeles., it could be argued most people never actually live in Los Angeles either… Its a place where large swaths of people merely exist, fighting for every scrap, lots clinging to their pop culture heroes to try to make good of the bad. Obviously, there is intelligent life in LA, just as intelligent as anywhere else in the world, though these are mainly in West Hollywood, Echo Park, Silver Lake kind of areas…Beyond that, well….
For a major city that is home to the entertainment industry, it’s kind of amusing how backward it actually is there

LA is known to be a shallow place and this is true to a degree. It’s not that fakers, scene movers and life’s plastic people are exclusive to Los Angeles, it’s more that the city is Earth’s Mecca for this ilk of person. For these their design for living is simple, those that can do, those that can’t become “Influencers” and those who can’t manage anything become DJ’s or anything else that lets them grab at the slipstream of the popular.

Of course, there is more than one aspect to any city and I found some good friends in LA and still plan to be a frequent visitor, especially if I can get a credit card with frequent flyer miles.
Although my wife didn’t enjoy living in the city as much as me, she still likes the place, however, her family are getting on in years and she wanted to be closer to them..She had lived away from them for over 14 years, so that’s fair enough. Also, she never actually really wanted to move to Los Angeles, not really….Try as I might I can’t blame anyone for wanting, slightly, more out of life than having shopped in the same convenience store than someone who once made a fleeting appearance in St. Elsewhere. Although, that was enough for me, naturally.

On top of that, while I was working from home and Billy Liaring around town, she was the one commuting 4 hours a day and carrying most of the burden.
With all that in mind, it was only fair to give the North West a go, so on 10/12/2019 we boarded United Airlines and flew to a new adventure….

08/12/2019 West Hollywood- Sweetzer suprise

Krissy (my wife )  has been under a lot of pressure of late, so I decided to take her for a night out last night ..We went to the usual haughty haunts, with a detour or two.
After having chips in our favourite pub, and on the way to the Sunset Marquis, I decided to take Krissy to the Chateau Marmont. Which isn’t really our kind of place, generally speaking…As far as I’m concerned the best bit about The Chateau is the iconic sign, a mocking reminder to passersby that once there was real glamour and style in the world ….But alas that was yesterday.

 

I had popped in there before but Krissy never had, like me, she found the shabby decor appealing and like me, she wasn’t a fan of some of the people that hung out there-. Lizard humans, devoid of anything approaching warmth, spirit and soul…The type who would kick their own Mother down the stairs if it meant the chance of a photo in Vanity Fair and, quite possibly, list their children on Ebay if it meant they would secure a 5-minute slot on TMZ
This gang are seemingly in competition with each other to have the most noticeable plastic surgery in the room …Long gone are the days when their surgeons tried to make their “improvements” look natural…Now it’s a fight to look as “worked on” as possible. Plastic Surgery, to them, shows status. The results weren’t, quite, a horror show but I would suggest they should only be allowed on telly post-watershed.

 

Still, the people watching was fun and sat behind me in a wheelchair was Scotty Bowers.. Scotty was an “arranger” for Old-world Hollywood closet cases and balcony boys .. His tales are many and, almost, legendary. Sat with him were two young males, ready to “inhale” anyone who would pay their rent. All of this was lost on Krissy, who was more interested in the film, Dirty Dancing, being projected on a wall near the bar. She thought it was “Neat”

 

We finished our drinks and set off for The Sunset. On route I lead Krissy up a hill on Sweetzer, there is a nice view of the city I wanted her to see. As usual, I walked way ahead of Krissy, who was busy taking things in for the first time (and of course talking ). As I got to the top of the hill, the gates to one of the houses opened and the floodlights turned night into a bright 11am .
A fella came out followed by his assistant in a golf buggy…To my surprise, the first fella looked at me nodded and then came over for a chat.
Now, we were in a cul de sac, it was night time and only a few days from the 50th anniversary of Sharon Tates Murder- which also happened at night, in a Hollywood home, on a cul de sac. I decided just because one may well get killed, one need not throw good manners in the bin. So, I merely nodded back and waited for the man to join me.
He was polite, considered and quite European in nature. (for an American).. As we stood talking Krissy finally caught up, so I said ” Oh, here’s My wife Krissy”.
As they shock hands Krissy looked at the guy and suddenly realised who it was, she said “Oh, you alright “with her words BUT her wide smile and eyes said “Oh my, its Johnny Depp”

 

I was impressed by Johnny, he seems more like an artist than an actor. Although he is a real mimic .. When I shake hands, I tend to bow a little, he copied that, he also decided to speak with an English accent at some points. He told us he was going to the studio ” to make some noise” Krissy got the distinct impression he wanted us to join him, I did too but I brushed the notion off, not because I didn’t want to BUT because I understand Depp is still into “recreationals” and I didn’t want Krissy to start mouthing off her disapproval. Thus, I made my excuses and pretended we had to be somewhere.
The end
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I know when to go out , I know when to stay in

A few weeks ago I had my first experience of an earthquake. Actually, there were two Earthquakes in the same week. The first one was around 6.4 on the ricka scale and the other was 7.1.
I actually didn’t know the first one was an earthquake, as it happened when I was sat at my desk listening to Skeeter Davis and watching old 50s film clip on YouTube, I could hear people outside my apartment walking around so I just thought it was an overweight person walking past and making the building vibrate but the vibrations went on a bit too long and became a bit too strong …..People on social media then confirmed it was indeed an earthquake.

The second one happened while my wife and I were watching the telly show Stranger Things in bed (my wife is a fan of the show) … That one was very strong and quite scary, during the shake of the quake I had a flashback of every disaster movie I ever watched and thought ” I may die”. The next speeding thought was “Well, If I’m gonna die, I may as well die in bed.” which was in turn followed by “Although I’d rather not die watching Stranger Things, It could at least be Murder She Wrote.”

A week later there was a health warning sent out. The air quality was classed as “Dangerous”. On hearing about this my poor Mum said ” what kind of place have you moved to… It’s like you are living in the end of days”

She had point…

It’s worrying that in 2019 knowing what we know about the environment the air should be allowed to get to such dangerous levels, especially in such an affluent modern city.
That said, it’s not surprising… LA is a place where people talk about the health benefits of a plant-based diet, just before sticking 4 grams of coke up their nose…LA is a place that has multi-million dollar houses in the same street as people living in cars and tents…LA is a place where they talk about giving free health care to illegal immigrants while defunding social care for citizens…LA is a place where there are peaceful protests one day and shootings at supermarkets the next

I like the place though, it’s a lovely place to live, for a while. The scenery, in places, is remarkable…The sunsets and blue skies are beautiful, not to mention the links to pop culture are fun and many.
However, the air quality is a worry…It’s not top of most peoples wishlist, to have a future, where to stay alive you have to match your Plimsolls with a portable breathing apparatuses..

Due to this and the city having a higher number of the pathologically shallow people than any other city in the world (even more than Brighton in the UK ) my wife and I have been thinking of moving .. During one discussion my wife said ” LA is like someone you go out with for sex when you are young. You know it’s going nowhere but its fun for a while”.

I smiled and nodded then went in the next room and thought 1. I never went out with someone merely for sex and 2. Maybe my wife used to be a “loose woman” .

The next sign, that maybe it’s time to embrace another adventure and move is right outside our apartment a number of condos are being built.
We used to have a great view of Los Angeles including the Hollywood Hills. This is now ruined by this obnoxious building- It seems that responsible civic planning is not a priority around these parts
I noticed an elderly Mexican lady, who lives nearby, looking at the condos being built in dismay and went out to have gossip.
The lady doesn’t speak any English and I don’t speak any Spanish, Thus, we communicated via hand signals and the raising and creasing of eyebrows Admittedly this isn’t the method of communication advised by either the British consulate or the Lonely Planet or Rough Guide books.. However, we get by.. One of the plus points in this communication method is it’s impossible to slip a lyric by Lil’ Kim in the conversation .. Knowing this makes me feel more secure in my daily interactions.

The end

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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.

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08/04/2018- Shopkeeper Fatty and the Fatwa

9.38am and 85 degrees..Such is life in a sun slam desert town..
Off to spend the day at the movies, another new film today. A rush to industrial air con with no delay

In the heat warped desert land of LA ethnic groups talk of the “Blue eyed devil” and the cruel whip hand of the white man .
Although there is truth in whats said, its hardly as if “whites” are the only racists in town .

In a place where many cultures are thrown together to mix , although they do mix, often what happens is a ghetto mentality , an annexation of spirit and land. The “us and them” mentality is pervasive

The whites are racist against the blacks and Mexicans, the Mexicans are racist against the blacks and the Koreans, Chinese and Japanese are polite and careful BUT racist against everyone.
Muslims are treated as pariah. Catholics and Jews make the rules of the game and play them well (well, its Hollywood honey )

Of course its wise to be wise and avoid conversations about race, however at times through no conversational mapping of your own, you find yourself deep in the thick it.
And so it was , I went to buy some ice cream ( ice cream isn’t childish) , the shop keeper and a group of locals ( all of Mexican heritage ) were all talking about LA and blaming all ill’s on the “black man”…..

I should have I walked off BUT I was hot and they annoyed me so I said ” What the hell have the blacks done to you thats so bad, nothing..You say they are lazy
but the blacks have done well for themselves . They were bought over as slaves , they are still to this day treated as second class citizens.
Yet with all this against them , they have become a very important part of the American story . They gave the world writers like Maya Angelou, James Baldwin ,Alice Walker , E. Lynn Harris . Social reformers like Angela Davis, Martin Luther King , Malcom X, Huey Newton, Elaine Brown, and Kathleen Cleaver.
Not to mention Obama , a man with impressive oratory skills and a gifted writer, is probably the most intelligent and best president the USA has had since Abraham Lincoln.
On top of all this , they are a heavy influence on the worlds musical landscape birthing the the blues, jazz, Motown, funk and Hip Hop … What have your lot given the the world Mariachi and taco’s ”

I got sworn at, given a fatwa and banned from the shop,..I may be being over sensitive but I took this as a negative reaction to my assertions.

( I didn’t like the shop anyway )

 

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Mother’s Cry – 0050 Cielo Drive, Los Angeles. August 8, 1969

We are approaching the anniversary of the Manson murders, which doesn’t mean as much in the rest of the world or even in the rest of America, as it does in Los Angeles.

For most, it’s a time to think of the death of the beautiful and pregnant Sharon Tate.. Murder in a hurry, by empty voids.
The women who happily grabbed the last breath and final heartbeat out of a screaming woman, begging for them to spare her and her unborn child’s life, were obviously ugly, unremarkable and incurably dull. This is why they couldn’t resist the crime – Like fat, repulsive teenagers who deface the pictures of models on billboard posters and magazines…Their jealous shopping list of emotions were a DNA deep cry of “I can’t shine, so why should they? ”
It’s tempting to suggest one wonders how Mr Manson, a short man with unfortunate facial hair and nought discernible talent, could become a guru…. But then virtually anyone can be a guru in California it just takes the will, not to mention in Britain, even, Noel Edmonds once had a following of a kind. Thus, I guess anything is possible.

Alas, this is America a place where people reach for “edge” by thinking being 45 and smacked out in a Hollywood carpark is “cool”. Worse its a place where people think attaching themselves to murder and serial killers makes them dark, offbeat, gritty and “Other”. Essentially, these people will like anything if, they think, it will make them look “Cool”.
People like Marilyn Manson ( of course his name is a juxtaposition of Monroe and Charles, of Hollywood tragedy and warped glam which plays and pays well via the forever suburban teens) and Trent Reznor , who is extremely talented but businessman “normal” , thus he borrows dark intelligence from Joy Division (a group of English street lads who created gothic art BUT who, like Siouxsie, would rather pack up shop and go and work in a Blackpool Bingo Hall than be labelled “gothic” in the boring late 20th century American sense) and by collecting possessions once owned by murders. He even purchased the house, Charles Manson, once owned, how pathetic is that

Thus, with all this in mind, it’s a predictable shame that the anniversary of the murders should cause media ripples that, intentionally or not, celebrate Manson and his followers.
If it was art being made, endeavours that looked into the human condition it would be fine, as art should examine the darkest impulses of the human condition and it’s tractor beam effect. I for one have spent a day too many in the True Crime section of Blackwell’s bookshop .
HOWEVER, what we have instead is a group of witless types writing articles that glamourise Manson and his gang- by the way, if I met a person who told me they were collecting recordings by Mark Chapman, I’d happily push them in front of a speeding tram like, Rita did to Alan Bradly, in Corrie.

There are actually club nights being held here in Los Angeles “Celebrating the Manson Murders” ( I have no idea how anyone can bring themselves to write the sentence “Celebrating the Manson Murders” as a tag line to a “Knees up” )
What makes me laugh is I know a few vegetarians going – If you wear a belt made of an animal that died in 1942 they would have a fit so big it would shake the Capital Records building, yet it’s fine to celebrate the killing of innocent humans.

Dorothy, we may not be far from Kansas but we are a universe away from England.

Personally, I always celebrate the life of Sharon Tate, at the time of year, a beautiful, stylish and open-hearted woman. It’s her fame that should continue, her face that should be remembered Not those of her killers.

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