After having comfortably wrapped myself in a blanket of denial all week long I now woefully have to acknowledge reality again: the holiday is over and there is work to be done. But I musn’t grumble, what an unforgettable three weeks it’s been! San Francisco is my newest favourite city on the globe, loved it. Las Vegas was insane, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Death Valley and Big Sur all breathtaking in their own right.

However, to quote The Decemberists, the one place I was hoping to find new exciting music left me wretched, retching on all fours (quite literally…): Los Angeles. Horrible. The gritty, grimey, bleakness of it all, the faded sequin shimmer and boobjob beauties, the neon signs with all but 1 desperately blinking letter long busted… How do people live there??


We went to the Whisky a Go-Go… Granted, we probably should have known better. But its rock and roll legend status made it a must see on our one night stint in LA. We were excited at first: the line-up consisted of three ‘up and coming local bands’, sounded promising. However, once we got inside our disillusionment started: the place was filled with barely-teens (why do they let these infants in?) in rediculously hip outfits, beer was served in those horrible plastic cups at 7 dollars a pop and the whole place resembled a Museum of Coolness Past more than anything, with its naff Hard Rock Cafe style memorabilia in display cases. As my friend R said, after a few angrily downed vodkas to mourn the Doors-drenched magic she associated with the place up until that night: “Is nothing sacred??”

But worst of all: the bands. First of all we were treated to “Tim and the 23’s”, with the guy on vocals, presumably Tim, impressing us all with tales of drunken nights and drugged out episodes in his fascinating life. Lyrical highlight of the set: “I’m wasted again, the bottle bottle bottle is my only friend”. The following act, Dick Calibur (honestly…) sounded marginally better, but the fact that they were all dressed as pirates didn’t do much for their image. Again though fellas, you might want to use some of the fashion creativity on composing some decent lyrics: “It’s a disease, I’m on my knees, oh baby please”…


We couldn’t take much more and decided to trade the third band on the bill for a binge session on Sunset Strip, which worked a treat as we didn’t remember much of what went on the following morning (hence the retching…).

As we drove out of LA, less than 24 hours after having arrived, feeling slightly taken advantage of and extremely rough around the edges but still having had a good time, this song by The Decemberists was the perfect soundtrack.

The Decemberists – Los Angeles, I’m Yours:

There is a city by the sea
A gentle company
I don’t suppose you want to
And as it tells its sorry tale
In harrowing detail
Its hollowness will haunt you
Its streets and boulevards
Orphans and oligarchs it hears
A plaintive melody
Truncated symphony
An ocean’s garbled vomit on the shore,
Los Angeles, I’m yours

Oh ladies, pleasant and demure
Sallow-cheeked and sure
I can see your undies
And all the boys you drag about
An empty fellow found
From Saturdays to Mondays
You hill and valley crowd
Hanging your trousers down at heel
This is the realest thing
As ancient choirs sing
A dozen blushing cherubs wheel above
Los Angeles I love

Oh what a rush of ripe élan
Languor on divans
Dalliant and dainty
But oh, the smell of burnt cocaine
The dolor and decay
It only makes me cranky
Oh great calamity,
Ditch of iniquity and tears
How I abhor this place
Its sweet and bitter taste
Has left me wretched, retching on all fours
Los Angeles, I’m yours