All posts by Andrea Gibbons

California Dreaming

January 2007, god damn but time goes fast, no? Back at work now, so so so sad, but I don’t mind so much because I’ve only 33 more days to go before my move and the count down has begun! Work makes it go faster at any rate, most of the time I hate my days passing as frantic blurs behind me, slipping away into mist. With something so looked forward to however, they can race as fast as they please. I’ve a feeling 2007 will be brilliant anyways, I’m doing something absolutely mad to start it off, and a year so well begun can only promise great things. I’m leaving all of my baggage and material possessions in the states, I’ll have quit the mad crazy rush of work at the height of my powers, I’m single again, I’m moving to the UK which I have been thinking about since I sat in a kitchen at the tender age of 5 and contemplated a bucket of fresh milk and cream on my Gran’s devonshire farm, and all these things are inspiring a million thoughts and dreams to rocket about my head, who knows what I shall do?

I don’t fucking care at the moment in the general sense of the word…as long as I grow and grow and grow, break out of shells, ruts, and habitual ways of being, it is what I am demanding of 2007. I love New Years and its reflection on the past, dreams of a better future, it’s a good time to think once you’ve gotten over the hangover…not that it should be the only time. But life is so short, so short…and it goes by so fast. If you don’t take stock and push yourself, whatever time of year you may choose to do it, how can you live without regrets? This is all a build up to a couple of stupid new years resolutions, but I take mine seriously and you all can hold me accountable. I do not want to conform to low level misery and boredom, a world narrowing about me, a hollow in my couch cushion that conforms precisely to my ass.

1. To be bolder, wilder, and live life to its fullest. I’ve been getting better and better at that, and my shyness is going, going, perhaps it shall be gone?

2. To bring out the best in those around me (a bit hokey I know, but how better to move the revolution along?)

3. To make approximately one million new friends in my new city and have people i can always call up to go out with, travel with, laugh with, go to pubs with, dance with, see live music with, play cards with, be football mad with, take random day-trip adventures with, go hiking with, talk crazy politics with, walk the city with, rebel against the world with, watch movies with, be a bit lazy on Sunday mornings with, cook with, try new things with, bike with, build a beautiful world with…because these things make life so so good to me.

4. Clearly doing much more of the above list of activities

5. Write as I’ve never ever dreamed of writing before

That’s it, not a bad list I think, I shall enjoy fulfilling it. If I could sing I’d scrap all the above and be a long cool blues singer in a black dress, but as it is, I think I shall have a damned good year. As shall everyone lucky enough to be my friend.

Tucson Christmas

Christmas was marvelous, all three of my brothers at home, folks doing well, reunited with the dog and the cat…thought I’d just give the highlights though, it was eventful:

Friday went to Berky’s Bar with Mike and T, only 5 blocks from my house and full of crazy bikers in black leather, where you can hear all of your favourite classic rock tunes played live…an eventful evening but I am writing a story about that so I shan’t share here. I did rediscover my love of classic rock and motorcycles however, especially given the Bush bashing from the lead singer between songs which restored a little of my faith in america.

Christmas eve spent making cookies, wrapping presents – I love to wrap presents, apparently that’s strange but so it is. Played hearts with the family and I WON! It was unprecedented, and I now have the confidence to take on the whole world. Also played Oh Hell, and I came in second and that’s a bit unprecedented as well.
Christmas was lovely, opening presents is always lovely, I love opening presents as much as I love wrapping them. Some of my tags included:

To: Everything sucks, give me a beer (somehow they all knew that was me)
From: Dan

To: The revolutionary
From: George W. Bush’s Biggest Fan (that’s a joke btw)

To: The Beast’s Id
From: T’s Ego

To: Andrea
From: Santa

It’s nice to know Santa is still around. We played boggle before dinner and I WON! Again, unprecedented. Not that we’re a competitive family or anything. I drank steadily after the small family spat at the beginning of dinner, tension was high…the boggle rematch after helped to calm things down, and i discovered I play dismally while drinking. Luckily while drinking I don’t care. Went out on the town after, to Ray’s houseparty first, huge bonfire in the backyard, a keg of Killians, and his band filling up the whole front room of the house so that everyone had to kick it in the kitchen to listen. This particular configuration has only been together a couple of months but sounded really good. After Ray’s we headed over to the Buffet…another dive bar, absolutely packed full and everything on tap was sold out, suppose Christmas is a popular day for drinking. They are called the buffet, but the only food they sell are hotdogs cooked in Coors, luckily I wasn’t quite drunk enough to try one of those…and on the way out some guy grabbed my hand and actually asked me, “Hey beautiful, where have you been all my life?” I smiled, patted his shoulder and thanked him for a marvelous line never yet directed at me, and continued out the door. T was behind me and he said, “hey man, that’s my sister,” upon which I cursed under my breath and turned around, but luckily all went well, the guy responded, “then you can be my brother-in-law,” everyone laughed, shook hands, and we were off.

Boxing day…fucking huge ass hangover. We watched the dvd’s we’d gotten for Christmas, the daily show, boondocks, father ted…we weren’t good for much else I must say.

More dvd’s the next day, went down to Hotel Congress to see another band, they were accoustic and cheesy. The first is alright, but the second really unforgivable when the singers are actually taking themselves seriously. We contemplated following up with more beer at the Hut, but T was off at 4:30am the next morning so we called it a night.

T left the next day with only one emergency and one tantrum, to Scotland the bastard which is where I should be, and I was sad, but we had an amazing thunderstorm…I sat outside in the porch and wrote and the lightening cracked impossibly across the sky and the thunder rumbled deep and the mountains were cloaked in black and grey and then it began hailing. It smelled of life itself, nothing smells as good as the desert in the rain, and I do believe I achieved enlightenment…well, at least I realized that in the midst of a thunderstorm I am entirely happy and alive and…can’t describe it, but the cold whips through you until you are entirely tingly and awake and nothing exists outside of the moment and the flashes of light and the wind and thunder’s sounding and you desire absolutely nothing more but to be there, to be…

vacation settled down after that high point, a little shopping, lots of eating, more games none of which I won. Final Thursday night at Berky’s, grateful dead night with Ray and his dad’s band…it was rocking, they play in front of these huge tie dyed banners and have their die hard fans who dance their pot smoker dance to every song. We were there talking and watching the 50 most ridiculous moments in sport (muted which made it even better) it was incredible, needless to say, and we drank ’til the bartender kicked us out. Today was again a bit painful, low key…and here i am home again. I’m off once more tomorrow on grand adventures and the new year festivities appears to hold tents, a bonfire, music, and a beach in Mexico so life will be good until Tuesday morning.

1st downtown beer and bike crawl

It all started at Theosophy Hall, but if you want to hear about that you’ll have to ask me, I was planning a hilarious expose but though I shan’t convert I did like the folks there too much to mock…or maybe I’m just too hungover to remember much…or maybe it will end up in my great novel for the ages…can’t tell.

So, we started it all at the infamous Golden Gopher. I remember in my baby days in LA accidentally walking down 8th street between Olive and Broadway in the early evening, a never repeated error as it consisted of the sketchiest bars imaginable complete with hostess dancing and hotels above renting rooms by the hour…I was propositioned twice in the space of one block and found the experience a bit traumatic. However it has changed a bit, the Bristol Hotel was actually a residential hotel and the current asshole owner when he bought it emptied it of all 120 tenants within 24 hours, some at gunpoint. I’m not saying all of the tenants were lovely, but they did deserve to have their rights respected and some time to remove their belongings and themselves to somewhere other than the streets of skid row. The owner has since mostly paid for his criminal activity, though certainly not enough, and his bar the Golden Gopher is open for business, and amazingly full of slightly obnoxious hipsters. Happily Club El Gaucho complete with hostess dancing is still open next door…funnily enough we didn’t consider going in, though the steps down into it were lit up purple and inviting…

It’s not too bad, the coolest thing about it is the exterior, though if you get there early enough you can actually drink your beer while listening to Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline, though that sadly transitioned into some techno pop as we finished our beer and ran out the door.

Next stop the Broadway Bar, very cool interior and almost empty…

they had the most entertaining bartenders, we ended up drinking two beers there instead of the one as planned, as we were bribed to stay with happy hour prices long after happy hour was done and three dollars for the jukebox. The only bar with a jukebox btw, and it was indie-rific, they actually had the Kaiser Chiefs and the White Stripes and the Smiths and a bunch of other good stuff. So two quick stories, one of the bartenders was an aspiring actor (surprised us, that did), and had gone to an audition for an infomercial with the scientologists…they weren’t give any of the lines before they showed up, and when they did arrive were given pamphlets that looked remarkably like propaganda for the scientologist cause, when our friend (drunkeness has erased his name, everyone’s name in fact, I apologize) went into the room he began reading, and the woman stopped him and asked him if he understood what he was reading. He was surprised, but actually there were a lot of words that he knew but were used in a completely different context than he was used to, so she began explaining things to him in a preachy sort of way…starting with the idea of becoming clean…she stopped after a short while and asked him to come with her into an adjoining room where she showed him these two metal rods hooked up to a machine that you were supposed to take into each hand, and they ran an electric current and you sat there while you were asked very emotional questions about abuse and such, supposed to measure the amount of emotion you registered upon hearing each question, the more emotion you felt the less “clean” you were. She suggested he should join up and then he could really do justice to the part…he said he’d think about it and then ran. Scientology really is the most ridiculous thing, much worse than theosophy I must say. Second story is much shorter…the other bartender used to work for R.J. Reynolds, the big tobacco company as a rep selling cigarrettes to bars, and he said that for a while he had to try and push these “smokeless” cigarrettes, which essentially were designed to smoke inside without bothering those around you. Needless to say they were total crap and never made the big time, though I should have dearly liked to try one.

So, now 3 beers later we got back on our bikes and headed to the Redwood recommended by our new friends, but on the way we passed La Cita and made the split second decision to stop…and damn, I am so glad we did! Undoubtedly the best in terms of ambience and general coolness, here it is from the outside:

Not much to look at, a bit divey in fact though I’d never hold that against a place, but inside…

It was fantastic, it’s been there for decades, it had red velvet, all the lights were red, the pillars holding up the ceiling were covered with small mirror tiles, you know I’m going to go back on the weekend for some serious ranchera action…on this wednesday evening however, it was all but empty, one or two hipster folks, Hendrix and Black Sabbath playing. Some pasty faced guy wandered in wearing a suit and told the bartenders that his uncle was the owner and then he wandered out again…ridiculous git. Anyways, me and Jose downed another beer, a smooth Bohemia for me this time, I was pretty happy by then, probably because I’d gotten to play with a tequila bottle shaped like a gun though mercifully I was sober enough not to sample its contents…

He was playing it cool as befitted his surroundings of course…and we were off.

The Redwood…we had high hopes, had heard good things…

Sadly, we walked in, and first thing that strikes you is the ridiculous fake pirate decor…and it was ridiculous. A big plastic skull and crossbones over the bar, fake ropes everywhere, a non-functioning canon…second strike was that Jaws 3 was playing on the flat screens…i personally do not care to watch people getting chomped by sharks while drinking my beer. third strike was that the place didn’t even smell like a bar. And fourth strike was the clientele, the two guys sitting near us atthe bar were rating the women in the movie on a numerical scale – “now she’s a hot seven, what do you think?” “Oh, she’s a four, definitely a four.” And then one of them told a story about how he was in a bar and some girl slapped him in the face, fucking idiot, i felt like slapping him in the face myself, I would of done it too if it wouldn’t have revealed my horrible habit of evesdropping in public places…so we downed our beers and took off.

We had been planning to end up at the Gold Room, Echo Park’s safer kind of dive bar, we had talked about El Chubasco, but weren’t drunk enough to dare given the quantity of blood and teeth mopped up outside every morning. But no dinner and five beers and 1 am and work in the morning and the bike…I had to call it a night because I’m a bit of a lightweight and five beers is a lot, even when stretched out over a period of happy hours and vigorous excercise. We went in search of the taco truck at the end of my street and the bastard wasn’t there…the only disappointment of the evening. A fantastic night all around, and the echo park bike and beer crawl will be scheduled for January…or finishing up the bars downtown, but all that are left are the really super shi shi ones, so perhaps we’ll give it a miss.

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The Great Adventure at Theosophy Hall

There is a peculiar beautiful old building in the neighborhood of the office, the Hall of Theosophy, it is entirely unexpected where it is on Grand and Jefferson and surrounded by factories. I also read W.B. Yeats’ biography a while ago and some fragments of what theosophy was stuck with me…Madame Blavatsky and her familiars, bizarre is what I remember mostly, very bizarre.

So tonight, with the support of Jose J. Zamarripa and the knowledge that I will soon be leaving this place forever, we are going to investigate by attending the weekly wednesday introductory talk on Theosophy. All have warned us against it, all have declared us fools, none have dared to join us…we have left the address with five different friends, together with detailed instructions on how to extricate us if we do not return home within three days…

If all goes well, however, we will listen for a while, sneak out the back door early and without having given up our identities, and go to the few remaining bars downtown that we have not been too…since this list is different for both of us, it should be quite a few. So, to increase your anticipation for the exciting finale to this adventure I leave you with a short description of theosophy which sounds happily and utterly ridiculous…but first, my favourite part of their declaration…” The work it has on hand and the end it keeps in view are too absorbing and too lofty to leave it the time or inclination to take part in side issues.” I’m going to start using that myself…

from Blavatsky.net:

“Theosophy is a fragment of the ancient, once universal, wisdom teaching.

The masters of Theosophy, located in Tibet and around the world, preserve and extend this ancient wisdom. Periodically they send forth one of their own – or a messenger – to help spread this teaching to all of humanity.

hpbyoungIn the 1800’s they had been searching for a century for the next messenger and finally settled upon Helena Blavatsky, born to a noble Russian family. She saw the master who would be her teacher in her dreams as a child. She met him in Hyde Park in London when she was 20. She managed to enter Tibet and was trained by those masters in Tibet from 1868 to 1870. From 1875 through her death in 1891 she spread that message around the world.

Theosophy is the name Blavatsky gave to that portion of knowledge that she brought from the masters to the world. It comes from the term “Theosophia” used by the Neoplatonists to mean literally “knowledge of the divine”.”

Andrei Rublev

Just saw this movie and have no idea what to think of it so I am writing about it in hopes that some insight will strike, and so I won’t lie in bed thining about it instead of going to sleep…it is my tried and true method that works about 50% of the time. And I will write like the wind because work rises menacingly in the morning. So, Andrei Rublev…”a cinematic masterpiece,” that bit sounds alright, “a mesmerizing account of 15th century Russian monk AR follows the painter as he faces violence, political persecution…” so far so good, “the soviets suppressed this sweeping epic,” now you can see why I requested it…still, I think it should be subtitled 50 reasons why you should be glad you are not Russian. I might be joking, I suppose almost everyone in the fifteenth century wandered about in mud and pouring rain with rags wrapped round their feet and holes in all of their clothes. Though there was a subtle emphasis on the noble brutish peasant and the all-powerful god like high prince that I felt was a bit unique and certainly not for me.

So, I should have realized earlier that epic meant really really fucking long movie…and this is the culture that spawned tolstoy and pushkin after all. The cinematography was indeed masterful, nice sweeping scenes, nice camera work around trees, some lovely shots of blood and paint swirling in water and snow…a great deal of symbolism of which I probably did not understand a quarter, it takes about an hour to really get into it…it started to get good at the orgy scene connected with witchcraft, and mass skinny dipping on a scale never before seen by the likes of me, who knew the 15th century was also fun? And how brave was the director for trying to show that in 1966 Russia? That’s where Andrei’s crisis of faith first sets in, and about time too, I was hoping for the next 2 and a half hours (as I said, the first hour you really have very little idea as to what is going on) he’d strip off the black hood, and settle down with marya the tempting heathen seductress for a long overdue roll in the haybarn and a jolly nice life, but that would have made it less of a masterpiece I suppose. The tatars were good, I had forgotten all about them, there were definitely a number of shots of evil orientals spearing women, setting things on fire, and laughing a great deal while doing so. And so I felt a little battered after getting beaten around the head with the message “brother Russians unite against the evil outsiders,” and “the great Russian motherland will suffer, but she will always endure.” I suppose that was the gist of things, a good bit about the evils of envy that doesn’t come together for the perceptive viewer until the very end, and finally that it is a sin not to do what you were born to do if you have a great talent, I might possibly agree with that, except for the sin bit because I don’t believe in sin particularly. There were more subtle messages and it was quite layered, i’m probably being flippant so I don’t have to admit I didn’t catch everything, I might read about it tomorrow because I’m curious and then watch it again ten years from now. So Andrei paints icon’s again and Boriska – symbol of a new succesful Russia reborn from war and plague and famine perhaps? – continues making bells and all is well. Except for the 4 or 5 horses that I am quite sure had their legs broken and were put out of their misery on film especially for this movie, and the cow that got set on fire. I don’t imagine that back in 1966 they had the special effects to produce what I saw without harming any animals…

It had an impact, I’ll not deny it, and set my mind working, definitely worth watching on a nice leisurely Sunday evening, especially if you’re drinking wine. The mulling was unsuccesful so I cracked open the other bottle (I might be convinced it’s a sin to waste a good bottle of wine, i do feel terribly guilty), I think I was thinking of mead anyways, though I don’t know what mead is, it does sound nice. So, just one last thought on icons to finish up, or perhaps religious decoration in general. Because icons puzzle me a great deal… I was in Greece and it was extraordinarily beautiful: deep azure sea, rich brown earth, and these incredible dazzling white churches in the hot sunlight that looked as if they had risen up from the ground itself, round and oddly shaped and lovely. And I kept wanting to go inside and see a clean empty space, round and oddly shaped and lovely, with walls of dazzling white because i rather believe that if god exists god would prefer such a space. And instead what strikes you is the darkness, and the overpowering scent of incense and these pale oval faces staring down at you with huge cold eyes and tiny pursed lips that I find singularly unpleasant, and scenes of the last judgement and fire and pain…there was a line in the movie something like “God will forgive you, but you should not forgive yourself. You will forever walk between god’s forgiveness and divine torment.” That’s from Theophanes the Greek who rose from the grave to speak these lines amidst a smoking mass of dead bodies (damn tatars) so I hope I got it mostly right, but still, it captures what orthodox churches are like, but without the forgiveness part, honestly, it possibly solves the great question of the Russian temprement, but which came first? Spanish churches are as bad, I stopped going into them because everything is gilded and flashy, and all the saints are gloomy and accusing, and jesus is here there and everywhere spouting blood. Makes me glad to be English, where you have the great cathedrals soaring up into the sky, of pure unpainted stone and wood and stained glass, and they are vast and echoing and focus your mind on anything but guilt and darkness and blood. Though I daresay were I not speaking of them in comparison to what is far worse I should be able to be a bit more critical.

Anyways, bed for me, i shall stop being terribly un-pc now as I have probably mortally offended anyone who is russian and/or greek orthodox or a spanish catholic, or a new world catholic for that matter because Mexico and Brazil at the least are just as bad. Worse, in Brazil I went into a room that was full of ancient mummified dignitaries still dressed in full canonicals and a full size statue of Christ with red velvet ropes coming out of his side, his hands, and his feet, and connected to another life size statue of a monk kneeling before him. Couldn’t sleep for a week after that horrifying experience, still, they can blame their colonizers for such a monstrosity. Right, can’t believe I reminded myself of that right before bed, this is not one of my prouder moments…

street art graffiti art and art etc.

I’ve gotten over myself finally and am almost back to sunniness…and I’m sitting here pleasantly tired, think I biked over 10 miles today, almost bit it too, made me happy about the small things in life like a face, and no broken bones of course. Some stupid city official felt it necessary to cut a square out of the road about 1X3 feet and I’d say a good 6 inches deep…hitting that at high speed on a road bike almost brought on a strong attack of religion. As I flew I swear I prayed, but I hit the ground safely though my front wheel isn’t so happy…That was in South Central off course.

Anyways, I’m back to things I love about LA because I’m leaving I’m leaving I’m leaving (I’m singing this, I’d like to write a ska tune about it, with lots of horns and a mellow reggae section in the middle). I believe this is graffitti, though I could be wrong, somehow, though, I don’t belive it is a city comissioned art piece though it’s kept up…

I like it though, it’s just around the corner from the Morrison Hotel on Pico. I suppose when the building finally sells it will get painted over. These two are from Pico Union, but Selena has definitely seen much better days

She used to be directly opposite from a mural of Princess Diana…I always wondered what exactly Lady Di was doing in the heart of the largest Central American population outside of Central America…she did get painted over years ago, and I still regret that I never got a shot of her. But they have painted this mural which is beautiful

I shan’t get started on the war or who exactly are the Americans fighting it, they’re all recruited from this neighborhood though, fucking recruitment centers in high schools, immoral is what it is.

And art etc? Check this thing out

What is it?? I have no idea…it looks like one of the forts I built with my brothers back in the day…much nicer though, we didn’t have access to that kind of material. I like building forts, how long has it been since I built a blanket fort in the middle of the living room? Might be fun to do, I’d take in a bottle of wine, lots of pillows and a couple of good novels and just chill…

Anyways, here’s my contribution, a little still life

Bet that kid is sad he ever forgot his toys and let me get my hands on them! Hope he comes back to collect them, nothing sadder than toys ownerless and unplayed with!

Joshua Tree and the Salton Sea

Went camping the last two nights at Joshua Tree and it was beautiful, beautiful! Just look at these plants, they are amazing.

I haven’t been camping in so long, forgot how much I loved it! We arrived Sunday and went for a short hike then up to Keys Point for the sunset

The wind was blasting and we were chilled to the bone and stayed that way for approximately 24 hours, I have never been so cold for so long. As I lay in our tent shivering with no feeling in my feet the guys at the campsite next to us were drinking beers, talking loudly, farting, talking loudly, belching, talking loudly…that was the worst bit of the trip though the funniest thing to think back on since both bev and I were lying awake listening to these assholes, some quotes are “have you ever had the palpable taste of shit in your mouth? I mean, so thick you can actually taste it?” he was talking about staying near an outhouse…”I can’t believe you forgot the mayo! You know why this shit is so good? It’s 100% saturated fat, that’s why, nothing better.” “I fucking hate the lakers! I can’t believe you hate the lakers too!” “Hotdogs! God damn I love hotdogs.” And on, and on, and me shivering all night long and the marrow of my bones beginning to ache…

So the next night we went over to walmart and bought some fleece – a purple princess blanket for me and little booties, stopped over at the crossroads cafe where we were able to rationalize breakfast every morning in fact, and back to hiking. Here’s Ryan’s Mountain…

and then over to Cap Rock…when Gram Parsons died in the Joshua Tree Inn, his parents sent for his body to be shipped home. Two friends stole it from LAX airport and brought it all the way back to be burned here

Now, there isn’t even a plaque or anything to let anyone know this facsinating piece of musical history, but if the park rangers had an ounce of humour, they would use the following sign

Cap Rock

But they don’t…ah well, I suppose it might be considered in slightly bad taste. Second night was better, very quiet and toasty, took a last drive through the park, through the cholla gardens which were incredible

and then we were off to the Salton Sea in search of Salvation Mountain and Slab City. We found Salvation Mountain…it’s amazing!

Mr. Leonard Knight has been building this thing for years, and lives right behind it, right on the edge of slab city…which used to be a government outpost. When the government left, the people moved in, and now it is an outpost of people who are united in their dislike of civilization, here’s a view over Salvation Mountain

Salton Sea is an eerie place as well, made famous by the Val Kilmer movie which I must admit I have not seen. We were on the North shore which was abandoned to all intents and purposes. It was filled in 1905 when the Colordao broke through a levee, and now filled with pelicans and herons and gulls and other birds…but along the shore we found these

Never a good sign, and this picture frightens me even though I took it. There were hundreds of them, I have no idea what could have happened to kill them all, and there was no one to ask…

So that’s the photo bit done…I really wanted to go to the desert because I am thinking thinking all of the time, cannot stop my mind, it runs on and on and will not cease as my future looms up and the past looms up as well and i feel like I’m in some kind of trough between the two and I do not like it, it’s like treading water or walking up an escalator that’s going down, i cannot progress and I hate this effort to do nothing but stand still, like Alice in Wonderland I am tired and out of breath at the end of the day and have not left my square. I wrote, a lot.

Some places when you arrive you feel welcomed, held by the hills and the earth itself, a homecoming. Even though this is desert, not so far from my very own desert where i know every rock, every cactus, love every line of light and wind that breath and sing over the stones…still, it is foreign. There are no answers for me here, and so emptiness wells up a bit, the familiar and much loved song of the quail in the dusk, the coyotes in the dawning, they bring tears to roll silent down my cheeks. Some places comfort you like a mother would, and that is what I wanted. I lie awake, the wind is buffeting the tent and moaning across the mouths of the empty bottles on the table, I can hear it pouring over the rocks like water. It picks up one corner of the tent then another to send canvas against first my feet, then my side, I wonder if it could dislodge us entirely, send us bouncing across the desert the way I have done in my dreams, unhurt, almost flying, spinning and weightless. The flap speaks to me ceaselessly, rattling back and forth, and sand hits the tent, in waves like the sound of bees, and sometimes clumps, like a mischievious child dumping a small bucket of pebbles over us. Grit interferes with the slight scratching of my pen and the marrow of my bones hurts, my heart hurts…and the words still spin in my mind memories of the past and fears for the future, great excitement and great sadness and a great wondering of what exactly I need to be happy and fullfilled. What exactly I need to be able to jump out of bed glad to start another day. I shall find it I think, but not here, and forget all those sages who say that it lies only in yourself, because I think what I did find today was that some places hold you, keep you, make you well just being there, and the place I am, this place I have been? It does not.

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Seeing the Pogues live at the Wiltern Theatre

I fucking love the Pogues!  I have loved them since always and will love them forever and even if Shane MacGowan is a wreck who looks like he was hit by a truck, even if he looks twice as old as he should and has no teeth, even if he was drunk off his arse and frankly painful to watch between songs, even so…when he stood up in front of the mic with his cigarrette lit and sending blue clouds of smoke curling round him, the backlighting obscuring all faults and setting a golden halo through his unbrushed hair, his voice as gravelly and powerful as always and the band sounding fucking fantastic, well, I struggle to find words, there simply aren’t any.

Hommage done, on to the rest of the evening.  It was at the Wiltern, this cool old Art Deco theatre on Wilshire…some advice if you go and are in the back floor section, make sure you are either right in front or in back and whatever you do, do not stand directly under the edge of the balcony because cups full of various alcoholic beverages came plumetting over from time to time…we were right in front and I had a perfect view – the high heels helped with that cause they make me almost 6 feet tall though I pity the folks behind me and my poor feet at the end of an evening…

I went with Bev, who is both totally punk rock and eminently practical, I suppose the only explanation of such mad inconsistency is that she’s Canadian, and the fact that both of her parents are from Newfoundland explains even more.  She couldn’t quite get over how old all of them looked so didn’t enjoy it as much as I did…I was sad too but more cause I think it’s a damn shame that rock stars can’t age while in all other kinds of music age just means you’re that much better.  Look at the blues, I don’t think you can even take a blues singer seriously if they’re under 30 or even 40, and all the greats are these old men and women roaring into the microphone with every year of hard living and heartache sounding in every fiber of their voice.  Still, Mr. MacGowan was in eminent danger of strangling himself with the microphone cord, or possibly giving himself a black eye, as he swang it around his head during the instrumental bit of the Turkish Song of the Damned…and he was knocking the mic stand over and attempting to catch it rather in the way you would do if you were drunk and trying to prove you weren’t quite as drunk as everyone thought and yes, he did  knock the whole thing over more than once and yes, he was drunk of his arse and yes, I did find it a bit sad.  But as I said before, who could care because when he was singing it was magical…second encore was a rainy night in soho, and people tried to hold their lighters up but security went rushing about to put them out, that was amusing.  Third encore was fairytale in New York, dunno who the chick was singing but all this white confetti came down as they danced at the end.  The woman next to me was hilarious after it was over, imagine the broad California valley accent, and exact words were “Oh my God!  That was fucking amazing!  Oh my God, yes! yes! yes!  That was fucking amazing, Oh my God!  Yes! Yes! YES!”  and so on and so on, she was clearly having a “when harry met sally” moment.  Bit embarassing to listen to.

One of the best parts of the evening though, was Ollin opening!  They are a fantastic but still not well known homegrown East Los band, and turns out they were playing a gig and the Pogues were there and actually invited them to open the last night in LA, what an incredible break for them!  Last I’d seen them was a good while ago, and Bev last saw them in an Inglewood bowling alley…they were even better than I remembered  though the crowd could have been more excited for them…it was not exactly the punk ska cumbia xicano crowd I suppose, but Ollin brought out all these tunes half Irish and half mexican and played in honour of the San Patricios…They came up on stage with the Pogues during the last song, I have never seen such frenetic happiness!  They were even racing their fucking harp back and forth behind the band, and their honorary Boyle Heights Irish band member fell down on stage and threw his shoe up in the air and everyone was hitting themselves in the head with these silver trays and then throwing the bent remnants out into the crowd…insanity and a perfect ending to an incredible evening!

Sunday Morning Golf

Beautiful day today, even though I got up at the crack of dawn to play…golf!  My first time, got home to find that the Sunday after I left on holiday, Davin, Tafarai, and Chris had started going out Sunday mornings to play…coincidence or did they need something to fill the void I left in their lives?  When invited I thought I would go, after all, I have never really understood the lure of golf and found it quite curious…and my internal clock is still waking me up abominably early do what I will…this is what the world looked like on the way to Davin’s in Lincoln Heights:

Sunrise over the scenic LA river and the assorted school buses and factories that line its banks…must say, they almost look beautiful in this light!

Went to Pasadena, bumping the Young Jeezy (It’s understood, I do it for the hood) in Chris’ “new” truck, I think we made quite an entrance.  Had breakfast first, then hit the driving range for a warm up.  Chris showed me the ropes initially, but the guy next to me was hitting the hell out of his balls, straight and all the way to the end of the range, more impressive than I can say and making me feel quite low.  Until that is, I had what can only be called a “beautiful girl” experience, though I was unshowered and not especially nice looking this morning.  Now, I’m sure everyone knows what these are: beautiful women get the special treatment wherever they go, and men carry their things and do things for them and help them when they just stand around looking like they need it.  Needless to say this never happens to me.  But this lovely Japanese man stopped his practice, fixed my grip and stuck two tees between my thumbs and forefingers so I could tell I was holding the club right, fixed my stance, watched me hit poorly and gave very helpful suggestions, and even lent me his glove.  Would have let me hit some of his balls too when mine were done, but by then the others had finished our buckets so I had to bid him adieu.  He said he really hoped I came to love golf…and I think I do!  He’ll never read this, but I’d like to thank him because he really did make a world of difference in my swing!Went to the shop which was open by that time and bought my own glove…feeling like a cross between Michael Jackson and hot professional golfer, we started the first hole.  First shot went 10 feet to the right directly into a large bush, but I remained uncrushed.

Anyways, here is Chris…he is the only one of us who actually knows what the f$%k he’s doing and came in at 11 over par…

And that’s in spite of the fact that he had to work all of last night.  He gets to wear his name on his shirt, I’m a bit jealous, and shall add it to the criteria of what I’m looking for in my new job.

This is Davin, his fourth time playing and he came in second, shan’t give you any more scores cause they’re a bit embarassing…still, he came in second after hitting three balls into the water, so that gives you some idea.

And Tafari in third on his third Sunday, though I beat him on the first 9!  Was feeling like a prodigy until I really started playing like crap.

No photos of me, sorry to disappoint…but I shall never more talk shit about golf as a sport, and must admit I’m feeling it a bit in places I didn’t know I was supposed to have muscles.  Though the fact I hit the ground rather hard a couple of times could explain the sadness of my right arm, especially going into the second 9, I would have been quite happy to call it a day before that.  The good news is that I can hit straight, just not far – that will come, right?  And I don’t like putting, it makes me feel like Happy Gilmore with the cursing and breaking things, but shall work on it.  Because I can think of few things that feel as good as getting a clean hit on a good swing and hearing that sound the ball makes when you hit it square and watching it sail away (not too far away in my case, but still)…it’s like that perfect shot in soccer when your foot catches the ball in that sweet spot and it feels absolutely effortless though the ball rockets off and goes exactly where you want it to go…I miss that!  I should try and start up soccer again…

It was quite extraordinarily entertaining, I admit I was a bit dubious, but think after all I shall be joing the Sunday ghetto golf brigade.  Might even buy myself a polo shirt.  I shall wait on the shoes, what right have they to charge $150 for golf shoes?  Makes me want to liberate a pair, but my conscience makes me keep pretty well to the straight and narrow.

Scotland Remembered

Scotland remembered

So…struggling to keep awake and reset the old internal clock…up at 5 and I was absolutely finished today about 3 pm, but caught my second wind after I’d left work (I am hating this whole work thing I must say) and spent some quality time on the couch.  Nothing good to report about being in LA except being reunited with my chanclas (flip-flops to the Spanish deficient, and that reminds me, a chanclatada is a slap you give someone with your chancla, so I invented the spanglish word flip-floptada, but I don’t think it’s catching on), so I shall relive my holiday, and present…

drum roll please…

Edinburgh!  Lovely to be there with T and Chris, it shall live long among my happier memories.  We saw many sights, but just the city itself is lovely as you can see here

And here…

And here…

And here:

And here:

Went to a great pub and drank steadily, it is highly highly recommended but sadly I cannot remember its name…missed the train home but that wasn’t all bad…it was all right actually.  And finally, a few words of wisdom:

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