Back to LA
Back we come overnight from Phoenix to a sodden Hollywood for an early morning check-in prior to the Kimmel show booking. Fat raindrops trail down the window pane of my room as traffic swooshes below in a river of white noise. The sky is all mist and moisture. You expect Sam Spade to be lighting up in a doorway in hat and Mac.
A luxuriously appointed automobile ferries us the short trip through the rain to the ABC studios and we enter the realm of TV time where Earth minutes are not respected. We wait for hours, soundcheck and wait for hours more. By which time we are all getting antsy, nerves suddenly jangling. Live TV (well, taped as live) is always a high-wire act and lack of practice leads to wobbly walks and occasional spectacular plummets. My own nerves are not helped by the sight of host Jimmy Kimmel intently watching our little set. In our brief meeting and watching him talk to the audience during ad breaks, Kimmel comes across as charmingly genuine and unpretentious. I’ve never seen a chat show host so relaxed and engaging. We get the all-clear the minute we end (these people don’t fuck about) and after a quick change at the hotel our good friends from the ‘80s kindly pick us up and take us to dinner at a “whiskey tavern” in Burbank. I scoff a jalapeño burger and slurp tap water as we all try to ram years of catching up into a few hours. A photo album is produced and I wince at the 1988 version of me. I’m dressed like a lesbian from the ‘90s for some reason. At least I was ahead of the game.
The next afternoon we board the bus for the quick ride to the Roxy. I take an amble along the Strip and order a breakfast burrito at a place called Dialogue (oh, I get it – like, scripts right?) taking a seat outside in the fresh spring air. To my left two thirty-something black T-Shirted white guys discuss some business involving filming, hyperlinks, a bank loan for “two seven” and a house sale. I can’t begin to fathom what the fuck they’re planning to do: make a movie or steal someone’s property. To my right two young women are lunching light, their little dog groomed within an inch of oligarch. The tidy mutt keeps barking and they keep shushing it but I like it’s bark. It’s impulsive and sincere, unlike the spoilt automatons around me. Suddenly it puts its paws on my lap as if pleading, “Help me, you don’t know what they make me do…”
The Strip is as glaringly soulless as ever, the beautiful people as empty and young, the traffic as blank and relentless. Book Soup is still there so I buy a Cary Grant biography. Walking back to the bus I see a fat man walking a small round fluffy pooch whose entire back end has been shaved for some veterinary emergency. It looks like someone’s dipped it in acid, its arse an absolute disaster. After helping with load-in I take a walk downhill from Sunset Boulevard (I watched the Wilder movie on the plane – it’s aged very well) using an alley to avoid traffic. I pass the beware of dog, do not trespass and instant armed response signs posted on every back gate. Ah, the paranoid rich. Who could be bothered being so terrified. I hit a little triangular park where some buffed-up sexagenarian in baseball cap and media spectacles nags archly into his Bluetooth earpiece. His shorts are too tight and he reeks of pillock but his dog is handsome and way more patient than I would be with this fart-container. He’s probably fit enough to run a marathon and I wish he’d run into the traffic. He looks like the kind of character who’d die a really horrible death in a Cohen brothers movie. He’s a twerp, dressed like a cunt and he won’t give up droning into his phone. It’s almost a pleasure hating him so much. He probably works for UNICEF. Over by a fountain two Mexican maids play with their toddler charges. A man goes by on an electric scooter singing at the top of his lungs. Finally pillock-man hangs up on his confrère’ and drags off his recalcitrant hound. Peace reigns in the triangle.
I walk back up the hill this time along the fronts of the same grand houses, shuttered from the street by thirty feet high hedges. I take a seat in a rock pub a few doors down from the Roxy. Oasis’s Sally Can’t Wait is blaring from a crappy speaker above my head followed by Aerosmith. I drink lukewarm filter coffee and iced water. Closing Time by Semisonic comes on and I’m back in the ‘90s. Loud/quiet/loud. Perhaps the reason the nineties rock revival never kicked off is because it was all so overrated in the first place. A misguided reinterpretation of a misunderstood 1960s. Don’t look back in fondness, look back in shame.
19 Responses to “Back to LA”
Justin I hope your enjoying your us tour and I hope you n the guys come back again you put on a great show .sorry for the lously weather we’re having a lot of rain . This spring . I wish you could of sighned my book Monday nite . Maybe next time. you are so talented . I listen to to the dells all the time can I ask a question why didn’t you ask the tall guy from pallbearers to be in the group instead of Chris . I thought that guy was great .
You need to cheer up mate. Life is fucked but we carry on. Seattle was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. Thank you. You have made me so happy. Please be too.
You’re living the life..
I’m dreaming of arranging gigs at some shithole in Wigan.
Keep on keeping on.
There must be another Manchester gig soon…
Enjoyed the read, the missus has booked a small fest in Durham, if I’m sober enough by the end of the day I will sing along 👍
Thank you for Jimmy Blue, first time seeing you at Berkeley last night. (Fellow Scot with tartan bunnet near front) I adore you
KereD unfortunately named, so I spelled it backwards.
If your tour diary was published as a book, I d be the first to buy it.
It always made my day when you toured during the pandemic last year.
Looking forward to see you Dels, again, in Hamburg in September Enjoy all all venues and travels til then, nad dont forget to write …;-) xxx Uli Kringler
It is! – https://www.blurb.co.uk/b/11055575-my-life-is-good
FWIW I didn’t think you ever looked like a lesbian, tho I came aboard around 1993, so perhaps I missed that phase. Glad to see you here less than a week & already completely annoyed! 😂😂😉
Thanks for a beautiful show in Berkeley last night. I hope you’re all enjoying a well-deserved respite today, soaking in the hot springs in our ancient redwood groves. California is bizarre yet also beautiful .. ..
A most enjoyable breakfast read, thank you.
I have enjoyed the return of your travel blogs and am as eager to read your impressions of my now-soulless hometown of Toronto as I am to see you perform with the band. Please be as brutal as you like, we are apparently “world class” now, sadly.
I’m so nervous about what you might write about Philadelphia in 2 weeks….. I think you’ll find the World Cafe among the best venues of its size, and the crowd will be down up earth. I’ve been lamenting the mess being made of my ex hometown at the Jersey Shore and I hope you will play “Surface of the Moon” in Philly . It’s one of my favorites and you could have written it for the mess happening here right now.
JC played at The World Cafe in 2008(ish) – great place…
I was at that World Cafe show… with a first date. It was brilliant, the show, not the date.🥳
PS: JC also played Tin Angel in 2014. What an intimate and memorable show that was.
Always loved reading your missives. Welcome back to the US Justin – safe travels and I hope the tour goes well for you all!
My friend Paul was in Rock n Reilly’s before the show at the Roxy, and I am now emailing him to let him know that he probably should have looked around a little bit more.
Thanks for the show last night!
“Fart container” I haven’t heard that expression since the 80’s LOL. Looking forward to the Barra’s in June me auld Dogs festering fart bank.
Love these little, well described glimpses you provide on tour.