So Philip and I were out at the mass demonstration with our comrades on Hollywood Boulevard demonstrating last tuesday. There was a good turnout -about 4 thousand people and the atmosphere was cheery. We were all being art directed and choreographed for the worlds press that had gathered so that an visual impact could be made.We just missed Alicia Keys singing but were in time for the bongo players and chanting of an Amy Winehouse version of "they wanted me to do a rewrite but I said NO NO NO'. This made me laugh for a full 5 minutes- worth every plod I took. There was every description of man woman child and beast on the march and a selection of fine camera equiptment was on display. I was rather miffed not to have a groovy red comrade teashirt and banner to wave. I shall make a point of acquiring one next week when I accompany Philip on his circular picket plod.Hollywood being the small town it is we bumped into several other writers . After listening to 10 minutes of rantings against the "mAN" we left but had forgotten where we parked the car so I march turned into a marathon hike around hollywood. One thing I find odd is that many people say "but is it wise to go on strike" -AS if there was a choice in the matter. They dont seem to realise that 93 per cent of the Writers Guild voted for this strike-Hollywood is a union town and sometimes what is best for the whole "sucks" for the individual. The writers had to fight for their priviliges 20 years ago so that we could benefit and now we are the ones fighting.
We have been settling into "strike Mode" the last few weeks . Philip took Gabriel to the CBS picket line where he got cooed over. The panic and fear have lifted a bit and luckily I have had the distraction of my friend Liza visiting who is one of those I have really missed from London.She was here to launch her book which has the American title "A charmed Life". In England it was called "Title Deeds" which was too dark for here and the Pun was wasted. Poor Liza arrived mid strike drama and every where we went people were talking about it. It is always interesting to get a newcomers take on LA as I am now used to it and have ceased to notice the monster trucks and the enormous amount of waste here that initially appalled me. She was interested in the amount of "work" a great deal of the women have had done here and it has often baffled me that rather than make them look younger they just look like they have had "work" . I can understand that it is a pressure when everyone around you is doing it. LIza remodelled and resurrected my garden after I had murdered it , she hung my pictures on the wall ..and generally left a trail of order and beauty. One of the things that has scared me most about the strike is the prospect of going back to England . I realise I have been seduced by the life style here , the weather , the friendliness and I have become soft and not so cynical.
If Philip and I could have looked into a crystal ball we would have not gone on that holiday to ojai valley Inn or put our daughter into an absurdly expensive school. The writers strike is upon us and we have no savings , enough to live on for about 3 months and both of us waking up at 6 am in abject terror. There is no safty net here , no dole , no social security, no tax credits , but we are taking each day as it comes. I am taking a stand against my "maniana" attitude and making calls to various galleries and people in position to help but so far I am coming up against walls. worse still are the people who say " I am interested in a commission " and I say ok -heres what it will cost ( a fraction of what it would cost in the UK) and then I never hear from them ..Also I dont want to appear too desperate - such a turn-off if you are trying to sell something.I am considering painting pets even... meanwhile Philip has sore legs from 4 hours of picketting per day..most people are showing great solidarity for the writers and I truely believe thay are doing the right thing in fighting for more of the share in DVDs and digital technology. Most people think that the writers make too much money but his is not true . Most are like us - middle class people with children to support .
It seems the biggest event in the year here in CA is Halloween , people prepare months in advance, creating vast tableaus outside and making stagesets out of ther front yards.Life size ghouls and fantams are erected on pully strings , lights are hung ,fake cobwebs are hung on trees and costumes are planned to meticulous degree. There was clearly a case of "keeping up with the Jones " in our street as the family that usually reign supreme re Halloween campery were out done this year by the Scotts who live opposite them. For the last month each time I drove past these two residencies , each had added a new scary gimmick or sound effect. By the time halloween came along the scotts had turned their garden into a graveyard , along with mist and sound effects , moving creepy figures and dismembered body parts. Children were scared to go trick-or -treating there. My children had permanant outfit crisis for about a week and we had numerous trips to "arghhs" the costume shop and rite aid to add new bits to their costume so as not to feel "Less Than " on the big day. The big day ended up being a non stop sugar highs and a "Super market Sweep " along several streets- the general attitude being fill your pockets with as much as youcan as quick as you can. You can imagine the next day the level of crankiness was high . I was just releived it was over. Now we have the writers strike to deal with . Philip has down ed tools and is off to the CBS picket line . we dont know where the next penny is coming from, hey ho, more will be revealed. I may have to start painting peoples pooches.