I hear that back in the Motherland, the good people of Bristol are so incensed at being offered more consumer choice, through the planned arrival of a branch of supermarket chain Tesco, that a 24-hour riot ensued and several police officers were hospitalised.
I’m just thankful that the plan isn’t for a 24-hour branch of Seven Eleven; the locals might have spontaneously combusted.
Which does, really, raise a fundamental question; what’s in a name?
The Seven Eleven (or 7-11 if you prefer) chain was founded, obv, on the virtue of their opening hours – 7am to 11pm.
But if such a thing as a 24-hour 7-11 exists, is it actually a 7-11 any longer? Come on people, this a fundamental question here. Give it a degree of importance, please!
I’m asking because there is a 24-hour 7-11 opposite the club we’re staying in, and I’m beginning to think the place might be a cover for an alien takeover.
Speaking of branches everywhere in general, and alien takeovers in particular, yesterday, as previously threatened, we ‘did’ Hollywood.
On almost every block there is either a building labelled as ‘Church of Scientology’ or another with a sign that declares itself to be a ‘Scientology Test Centre’, or even the slightly peculiar ‘Scientology Celebrity Centre’!
I was wondering why these things only exist on the richest piece of Real Estate in the entire state of California.
Why aren’t there, for example, branches of this cult in the slums? Why don’t the Scientology cult members help the many hundreds of homeless people hereabouts?
The answers to these questions can’t surely be something as craven as the latter’s abject poverty, can it?
My keen ear has detected that, in downtown LA at least, the predominant language is Spanish.
By a margin of at least 60/40, Spanish is more widely spoken on the streets, in the shops and in the Metro, than English. Or American.
The signs on the Metro and in the buses are all dual-language. The recorded public transport announcements are all bilingual too.
And, as we walked about the Jewellery Quarter on our first day in town, two teenagers riding bikes shouted at me to get out of their way in Spanish, not English.
Yesterday’s travels were highly entertaining.
We went on an open air minibus tour during which, I have no doubt, we were pathologically lied to as to who lived there and who did what at that place. But it didn’t distract, rather it added to, the entertainment experience.
We also met up with some locals; it was enjoyable to talk to Americans who aren’t native Angelinos, to get their views on the place.
The Metro is an example of what the London Underground can never be.
Scrupulously clean and tidy and treated with respect by all of its passengers and staff.
London’s transport infrastructure is constrained by the past – and somewhat hidebound – imaginations of Edwardian and Victorian designers and engineers.
In LA, if something needs to be bigger, wider or straighter to cope with an increase in demand, they just dig it up and make it so.
In London the politicians wring their hands and just shove an extra 40 passengers per carriage on to the already overflowing system.
Which method really delivers a public service?
The architecture, in the downtown area, is stunning, particularly when the other-worldness of the palm trees are thrown in.
This is Pershing Square, half a block from our hotel. Our car is parked two stories below the surface.
But some of the most stunning design is beneath the surface.
Film reels on the ceiling and a white-tile mock-up of a projection screen in the distance give this Metro station a peculiar feel.
The level of detail in this theatre foyer is amazing.
And that’s it, for today.
We shot miles of video but that needs editing and sequencing and those are things we don’t have time to do right now.
But we will get around to it.
Tomorrow we begin the coastal journey; we’re going to drive westwards and do spots like Venice Beach and Malibu, before we pick up the coast and head northwards to the Big Sur and San Francisco.
I think we might come back to LA and spend longer here, at the end of the loop.
Soph wants to go drinking in some bar that Jim Morrison used to hang out in and I wouldn’t mind going to a stand-up comedy club.