Saturday, April 11, 2009

City of Angels (and Roads)

It made a change to go somewhere that we didn't fall in love with and want to live. Most of the other places we've been in recent years (Cornwall, west coast of Scotland, New Forest, San Francisco, even Madeira) have looked like great places to live and we've started to look at property prices and job opportunities with vague ideas of how plausible it would be to move there. That didn't happen with Los Angeles.

I was glad I went and I enjoyed my time there, but for once I didn't wish I lived there rather than London.

My abiding impression of LA is of roads, lots of big roads. As a non-driver a place that is so reliant having a car was always going to have its work cut out to win me over, but I thought it would have something more to it. There didn't seem to be a real heart to the place, rather lots of districts with their own character, connected by big roads.

Hollywood Boulevard reached surreal levels of tackiness, but there wasn't really much there unless you wanted your photograph taken with a Marilyn look-abit-alike or one of the three spidermen.

Sunset Strip with its infamous bars was a bit grittier (lots of hair and tattoos), but it didn't live up to its mythical status. Any last thoughts about River Phoenix's death being a rock n roll way to go were dispelled by the reality of the Viper Rooms being a dive at the side of a big road (if the drugs hadn't finished him off then the traffic probably would have).

I attempted to recreate "In Search of a Midnight Kiss" by walking around the downtown area looking at the disused and unloved theatres. The older parts of downtown had some beautiful buildings, but they were disgracefully neglected and now home to assorted shops selling assorted tat. The newer parts were impressive, I quite liked the Blade Runner skyline and the Walt Disney Concert Hall is stunning. But there wasn't really much there (plenty of roads though).

I still want to move to San Francisco though.


M said...

OMG!! I could have written this post.

I, too, just returned from L.A. -- was there this past Sat/Sun, in fact. Both my husband and I said it was not a place we would ever want to live.

I'd been there several times before, but there was something about this trip that solidified it for me -- Los Angeles has no redeeming value whatsoever. No culture, absolutely nothing to bond with emotionally. It's like one big traffic jam of really nice cars, depending on what part of town you're in. And that's about it!

We didn't do the Hollywood Walk thing (BTDT years ago), but we did do Rodeo, Sunset, Melrose and other notorious spots....all with the same feeling. This place is way, way overrated and leaves nothing to grab onto. I didn't see anything I particularly liked; I don't have a desire to go back; and unlike many other places, I could never envision living there. It is utterly charmless.

Not sure exactly what it is; I was trying to compare it to NYC whic his also busy, crowded, dirty and rundown in places....but NY has just feel it. L.A.? Nada.

When I get some time, I'll do my own post about it.

Roses said...

I've never been, but it always looks so incredibly disfunctional. Doesn't seem like a lot of fun to me.

San Francisco now, that looks like fun.

SandDancer said...

M - glad it wasn't just me then.

Roses - I did actually have a good time there - our hotel was fantastic, we drank in a good bar and ate in lovely restaurant, but there wasn't much fall in love with.

I do think that it is huge waste that the old theatre district has fallen into ruin. If the older areas of the downtown had been used properly, it could have had something special.

It felt like going home when we went back to San Francisco

Mellifluous Dark said...

Love your description of Los Angeles.

It's funny, I'd always envisaged LA to be a glam place for some reason, but it sounds like a mixed bag – like most cities, I guess. It sounds like a good holiday place – I know what you mean about going somewhere and not feeling that it might be better; it kind of lets you see it in its true light, if that makes sense?

Thank you v much for the work possibility, you mentioned, BTW. I can drop you an email if that's OK?

Feet In The Earth said...

Hi Sanddancer, its me, the ex lucyinthesky. Long time no speak, how are you, love?

Just caught up with your blog and I thought what you said about LA was really interesting. We were thinking about visiting there as part of our honeymoon, but I wasn't that keen- really glad I stuck by my guns!


SandDancer said...

MD - bits of LA were sort of glam but alot of it was just money rather than authentic style. Have replied at your blog about the writing thing.

Nat - hello there. It can't be long until your wedding now? If I remember correctly, you are a non-driver too, in which case I think you would be similarly daunted by the car-dependency of the place and the show-biz part gets tiresome quickly. Our hotel (the London West Hollywood) was wonderful though and I wish it could be transported somewhere else.

Mellifluous Dark said...

Hi SandDancer... the email didn't show but you can email me if you wish (it's on my profile) and I will reply...

Feet In The Earth said...

Hey, nope, only 9 weeks to go now! Majorly excited. Hope everything with you is good.

Yeah I'm not a driver, so LA would be a non-starter for me really. Doesn't seem to have much culture there either, just endless celeb-related stuff. x