Thursday, August 21, 2008

Torment by Beach Boys

In the summer of 2006 I went down to L.A. for a week to celebrate finally graduating from college. I stayed at Venice Beach in an old, refurbished, hotel right on the water. I went down via Arcata and Berkeley, doing the whole thing in three days each way. There was a very unique soundtrack for the trip, one that consisted of Genesis P-Orridge's Industrial/Psychedelic outfit "Psychic TV", some more straightforward gloomy industrial music, European psychedelia like Amon Düül II, and a few zingers like Brian Wilson's "Pet Sounds Live".


I got down there during a light weekend traffic jam, light because it wasn't one of the epic traffic jams you hear about in L.A. although everything was at a standstill. I made the most of the situation by putting in "Pet Sounds Live", having my windows all down, and turning up the volume. At first nothing happened, but as the minutes wore on and it became obvious that this car was going to be blasting happy beach music indefinitely while everyone was stuck in traffic one of my fellow drivers yelled at me to turn it down. I kept doing it for a little while longer then, indeed, turned it down. I figured it would be kind of hard to justify some sort of mob action against a guy for blasting, not heavy metal, not gangster rap, but the fucking Beach Boys from his car.

But everyone has their limits. Although the headline might appear nice to read, the idea of being the victim in the "Driver beaten for blasting Beach boys" story might not be that fun. Leave it for some other enterprising young man to go down that road fully.

Cruised into Venice Beach shortly after, going through Santa Monica during their annual festival, which I didn't know anything about at the time. Exploring L.A. and Venice Beach took up so much time that I never actually got to walk around Santa Monica, which is right next door. Even then, just exploring the city focussing on Melrose Avenue, West Hollywood, and good old Santa Monica Boulevard, it was immense. Went to icons like Barney's Beanery, a burrito joint featuring an extensive foreign beer collection and loads of rock and roll dive memorabilia from when the place was a central hang out for L.A. '60s and '70s rock stars. Hung out at Bodhi Tree bookstore, New Age central. Was kindly bought a water in the squelching heat in West Hollywood by a kind man who didn't want a boy wandering around West Hollywood to have to use his debit card.

Melrose avenue....all of that, although cool, is somewhat of a blur since I tried to do the whole thing at once and ended up walking from Bodhi Tree, which is at the west edge of Hollywood, all the way to the end of the Melrose avenue shopping district, quite a ways away, and then back to my car that was located precisely between the two locations.

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