Tuesday, October 13, 2009

LA DIARY - Monday, 13th October 2009

Today is Columbas Day. Seems an appropriate day for someone from Europe to be here. Jim thought the Freeway was empty...

Last night we drove to Evensong at St. James', Wilshire Blvd. A well-attended service and very large choir who sang Stanford in G magnificently. In fact, I have rarely heard it sung so well (not that I attend Evensong that often). Their diction had a very English sound but the arrangement of the music had an unusual feel to it, more akin to operatic singing. But it was memorable. As was the meal afterwards at Taylors Steak House on 8th. A well-known old LA dining place: the food was excellent and the Martini's very dry! Two old friends of Jim and Michael's took us there, John and Sarah-Jane Thies. John is an honorary Canon of the cathedral and a very committed Episcopalian. He manages a lighting company and co-owns a vestment making business.

This morning Jim took me to Venice Beach. The skies were overcast and there was a light drizzle at times. The seafront bears no relation to anything in England! How to describe it? One side of the broadwalk is lined with the usual shops one would expect, although slightly more tattooists! The beachside is home to a multitude of hawkers, many of whom seem to be leftovers of the '60's hippy movement. Relaxed, friendly and slightly eccentric - artists, musicians, incense-sellers and poets. Signs of marijuana everywhere, for medicinal purposes, of course. We ate well at what seemed to be the only restaurant on the front.

Afterwards Jim drove me to explore the canals of Venice. A remarkable development of a number of canals and bridges dating from the '20's. Some years back they had fallen into neglect but after renovation it's now a wealthy suburb. Then onto Mulholland Drive. Wow! 24 miles of winding ridge-road along the Hollywood Hills section of the Santa Monica Mountains. Such views! One side - the (San Fernando) Valley and the other LA. It was interesting to see, at the viewing places, pictures of what the area was like in the days when Hollywood was starting up. And to discover the corruption that allowed the development of the Valley to occur - all thanks to Mr. Mulholland.

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