Posts Tagged 'Hollywood'

‘Fifty cents for your soul.’

Well, I’m certainly due an update. Last you guys saw me I was in San Diego, and now I’m significantly further up the coast. Let me fill you in on what’s been going on.

On the 19th, I left JAEF and his cookies behind and rolled up to Hollywood, arriving in the mid-afternoon. I do love it when a plan comes together, but it’s equally as fun, sometimes, when it falls apart. A sudden and rather frantic change of circumstance saw me wind up a big converted manor house called Orange Grove, that is now a hostel. It’s one of those odd, turn-of-the-century style houses, all narrow corridors and bewildering staircases, but its location was superb – just off the famous Sunset Boulevard.

I took a series of bus and metro routes (glee! Capable public transport!) from the greyhound, to downtown, then up to Hollywood and Highfield. I jumped out and walked up the star-scattered road, with very well-dressed actors kitted up as The Joker, Bumblebee (of Transformers fame), Jack Sparrow etc. mingling around and doing their thing. All great fun, even if hopelessly touristy.

I was exhausted when I arrived at the hostel, for various reasons, and actually found out quite the extent of my fatigue when I fell asleep whilst making up my bed and woke up a couple of hours later trapped in the twisted sheets and feeling rather confused. But refreshed! By this time it was 7pm, and I decided it was time to eat. What I found was surprising to me, but I think I shall make another post about that sort of thing later on in my trip.

I munched away on my dinner in the hostel kitchen, watched Kill Bill Part 2 (pretty good; Tarantino uses homage so much though that one starts to wonder where the irony ends and the cinema begins), and wandered out into the street at about midnight. I strolled down the broad sidewalks for over an hour until the names beneath my feet got more and more obscure and, finally, flickered out. The Boulevard is a little run-down now, a little seedy, still full of gimcrack gift stores and eagle-eyed tour operators in the daytime, but the actual stars have long since left the place behind, and the old hangout where budding hopefuls would wait to be ‘spotted’ is now swaddled in a slightly dog-eared air of past glory, fringed with nightclubs and the occasional brand store.

It’s still a fun place though, and certainly some people have very definite objectives on their mind for here. Back in the hostel the following morning, I was studying the apparent corpse of someone slumped over himself in the armchair of the tv room, when to my mild relief he suddenly stretched up, rolled over and eyeballed me with a curving grin. ‘Maaaan,’ he said, ‘everyone I was with got laid last night’.

Hollywood has changed, I think. The history is still literally written in the streets, but apart from a couple of glitzy premieres at the Kodak, the modern industry has rather left it behind. That doesn’t mean, however, that what it stands for is any less fantastical, or that it’s not still a thriving hubbub of commotion. It’s very different from LA – I’ll post about the city separately – but should you find yourself in the City of Angels, go visit what used to be the street of a thousand different hopes and dreams, and put your hands into the imprints of long-ago stars.

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