I've been here four days and already it feels like four months. In a good way.
I hiked up to Sunset Boulevard yesterday (literally, it's a massive hill) to meet British actress, writer and director Sarah Dawson for lunch. She's been in the States for years so had loads of useful info on living in L.A. and places to go. Thanks Sarah!
We met at Caffe Primo, where she's seen E from Entourage before. But sadly, no sign of him yesterday! I did see a guy after who could have been Adrian Grenier. But then again, I did have Entourage stuck in my head.
I squeezed in some writing (has to be done) before going for a meal with Frank, an editor from New York who's out here working on a movie, and his partner. We went to Roscoe's, which is a bit of a Hollywood institution. On the way, we passed the 1950's-era Formosa Cafe, where Guy Pearce confused Lana Turner with a hooker in L.A. Confidential. Someone's built a strip mall right beside it, which as Frank correctly pointed out, makes it kind of difficult to shoot anything set in the Fifties now. Plus it's really ugly (and who goes to a place called Crazy Rock'n' Sushi??)
Roscoe's is a bit of a throwback too, with a menu that I don't imagine has changed much since it opened in 1975. They serve fried chicken and waffles. On the same plate, with butter and maple syrup for the waffles. It was surprisingly nice - the chicken was AMAZING. And even the Prez seems to agree - there's a photo of Obama himself posing with the staff on the wall.
Today started out really dull, with the Hollywood Hills shrouded in mist. It was the June Gloom, but in August! Of course it burned off by 10am and the usual hot sunshine took up again. I have a pretty busy weekend planned so I decided to visit Graumann's Chinese Theatre this afternoon. It's obligatory - like a pilgrimage.
I've seen it and Hollywood Boulevard before, but going there is always an experience. You have the hand prints and the pictures of the elegant stars from yesteryear, and then the craziest people in the world everywhere you look. It's like all the people who failed the extras audition for The Grove for being too weird got sent there instead. Or maybe like the Cantina in Star Wars sent along some tourists.
Today was no different. There was a man singing into a bin. Not singing while sifting through the bin, he was serenading it. Another man struggling with his Spandex Spiderman costume in a stairwell. Two men doing karaoke and rapping about sucking balls.
All this in front of the Chinese Theatre, with bemused tourist families walking around in a daze. And I can see why they're bedazzled - after all, I'm a tourist myself. It's all bright lights, hucksters and expensive junk food. Everyone's selling something or trying to get noticed. Fittingly for a street famous for its hookers, it makes you feel cheap. And yet I have a soft spot for it.
I went to see the next movie showing, which was The Watch. A movie only watchable because of Billy Crudup's brilliant cameo as a creepy neighbour and Richard Ayoade from the IT Crowd, who's basically playing Moss in American suburbia. It felt good to see a film though - it reminded me of why I'm here. To write something that people want to watch.
Tomorrow, my first Brits in L.A. brunch (I can be an honorary Brit...)