Last week started as I gathered with some of my lady friends on monday evening..I had bought a wedding present for my friend M, whose wedding party I had attended the previous friday. I was horrified to hear she had been burgled the night of her wedding as she stayed in the honeymoon suite of a Beverly Hills hotel. It was made all the more terrible by the fact that we all expected her to be in post marital bliss rather than in post traumatic stress.She was very dignified and philosophical about it all. It was the coldest week I have ever known in California which brought my attention to the fact that our central heating was not working as we shivered in our arctic like living room. When I tried to tell our far from sympathetic landlady she said it was tough , this was a maintenance problem for which we would have to pay. I rushed out to buy a heater and guess what ?? most stores had sold out of heaters as it seemed like my fellow Angeleans were having the same problems as me. I went back to the house and thought I would bottle up my troubles by hanging out the washing in freezing cold and feel virtuous about still being Green..alas I discovered a mangled set of head phones and worse ..a nearly new ipod broken and soaked. I had thrown in a dirty old sweatshirt of my daughters without checking the pockets.It was now beginning to feel like I was lurching from one crisis to another. Things could not get worse but they did.... The next day I managed to find the last heater left in K mart..hallejulah ..at last good luck ..I took it home and switched it on immediately..within minutes the whole electric system had fused and would not mend...no power, no heat 3 children ..it did not feel pretty and the POOR MEs had begun in earnest. I rang our trusty plumber Edwards who came to the rescue and then the electrician hoping they would restore order in the home..It was now friday ..Philip was due to fly to Vermont from Van Nuys airport..after driving to what seemed like the nieghbouring state ..I dropped him off only to have to pick him up again 30 minutes later due to bad weather on the East coast.Once back in central LA , P went to take Grace to her doctors appointment in West LA ...half an hour later Philip called to say the car had been impounded due to lack of smallsticker (car tax) on the number plate and why I had I not paid...but I had paid...bla bla bla ..there then began a farce like chase across LA trying to get the relevent documents in order to get the car released..sadly we did not manage it and the car stayed the weekend in the pound and I have the task of getting it back tomorrow. On a good and final note ..the heating was fixed and so was the electrics and I managed to get our wedding photos after 2 and a half years at a discount price....
This has been far from a holiday for me , i have been trapesing around a multitude of highs schools, attending open -days calling admissions officers etc all in the hope of getting our lovely teenager into a descent school for 4 years. My preference would be to put her into a tunic wearing make-up banning all girls convent( my inner Nun dictates here) but I have been told that imposing my will on her future might lead to rebellion. All I know is that private school is out and trying to find a public school which is not dominated by gang warfare is my goal...me and a load of middle class parents who are victims of the credit crunch and looking at LAs public school alternatives. As well as the High school debacle i have been doing my tax returns for both the English and American Tax man. There is a curious irony about me paying tax in the US given that I am not allowed to vote, work , have a social security number or do jury service, or have a Target store card. You may have no rights here but you may pay tax thank you.!My 03 visa has just been renewed for another 3 years . i have not bought or wrapped one xmas present , I have not sent one card and am hoping to cram it all into one day before the end of term .It feels increasingly odd not to be in a cold crisp climate for xmas and to be honest i miss it. Xmas lights and palm trees just dont mix and there is an orgy of sentimentality that goes on around here that makes me gag.I thank the heavens for small mercies , that Philip still has a job, that there is no strike, and that we have no involvement with the stock exchange.Things could be alot worse
I attended a Batchelorette party on saturday in a beautiful home in Beverly Hills...As i found out at my own hen party there is a tradition here of giving gifts that my enhance the wedding night. I was at a loss..giving too much of a "slutty" present might offend and yet what does one buy the woman with everything?? I began my search at a shop which had intrigued me for some time called "Trashy Underwear" on La Cienega . As I entered this dark gothic shop which had their xmas underwear on display ( santa claus themed briefs) I was informed by the scantilly clad shop assistant that I needed to be a member to browse the thongs and panties and I was asked to hand over $2 ..I was outraged at this ..that i should pay for the privilage of entering a shop so I left promptly and decided to cruise up and down Santa Monica Blvd in West Hollywood where I had been told by reliable sources that the were a large variety of naughty shops. Sure enough I found one within minutes where I thankfully was not taxed on entrance and a very helpful shop assistant. I told him I needed an amusing gift for a batchelorette Party (3rd Marriage) and he led and talked me through the sex toys and latest novelties. I was very tempted by the gold lame panties with back thong 'for him' but I thought it might be a touch over familiar buying such an intimate gift for her betrothed so I settled on a vibrating phone and 'low carb' edible underwear for him. The hen party was a tasteful ladies tea party with scones etc ..one of the gifts was a lap dancing demonstration(with lap dance instructor) who gave us a lesson in how to entice the man from his football game and the art of moving in a 'come hither ' way. It was most entertaining but I reflected that if my beloved would probably be highly alarmed if I started doing the "slow slow moves " and might think I need extra phychotherapy. She encouraged us to come to her weekly pole dancing class which she said was a great workout for the 'Abs'
here is philip as Camilla parker bowles ...I wish i knew how to add video links to the blog but I am not there yet. the sketch will be aired tonight and i cant wait to see it..he certainly looks like he enjoyed himself.
Here in CA doing out door sports is virtually compulsery..I made a decision at about 11 years old to" drop out"of any sport because a/ it was deeply uncool and for losers and b/ what would happen if God forbid I should lose? c/ complete unwillingness to go through the pain of learning something new lest I look a complete fool and the intolerable experience of not being "brilliant" at something immediately.However coming here to California I have taken up two things I dropped out of ..riding and tennis..My wise and wonderful friend Oscar says you learn more from doing a sport than anything else..and I would agree. I go through the whole spectrum of emotions ranging from rage to elation. At both these things which I had tried out as a child and never really mastered because I was not Olympic standard immediately.Learning to manage competition is not easy , there have been times I have wanted to murder my tennis opponent and this is a great opportunity for rage management. I have also wanted to break down in a heap in the middle of the court weeping with despair and give up . It is also hard to cover my glee at the occassional game that i have won. As for our 4 legged friends..I never stop learning from dealing with animals - like children you have to show them whos in charge. I had an interesting experience last week . I went up to malibu to see my friend and meet her beautiful new horse who is housed in a very posh German Barn. I got an introductionary lesson from her trainer. I have to say it was more than a humbling experience. My friend warned me that my riding would be "deconstructed" As I mounted the horse I was told that everything from my neck down to my little toe was out of place, that my 3rd virtibrae needed to be more to the left, seat bones more undernieth me ..as I rode around in circles and the German instructor "deconstructed" me I became more and more nervous and agitated and started to get more and more wrong. The horse then picks up on ones fear and starts to act out. As i drove the many miles back to West Hollywood I reflected on what a soul destroying experience I had just had and that it had ruined my ride. I then did a clinic with a visiting Brit Islay who is one of the heads of the British Horse Socoety ..I was dreading this and expected to be named and shamed..and ticked off within an inch of my life a la English instructers of my youth but no ...Islay proved to be the Delai Lama of the riding world ..she instructed all of us to get relaxed with the horse and not to worry about toe or heel positions. Within minutes I felt this wonderful connection to the horse and that we were able to work together in harmony.Once again I was proved wrong by my expectations and contempt prior to investigation.
After the longest election campaign and a nail-biting build up Obamas enormous landslide victory has restored our faith in America. I have to say that I went to an election party all hyped up expecting to be there well into the wee hours watching the state chart a la Bush -Gore but no there was no build-up , no hysteria , just a calm mention at around 8 oclock that Senator McCain was going to do his resignation speech. I cannot deny I did not feel a touch cheated out of a frenzied close call and that it was a tiny bit anticlimactic but made up for by the sheer joy that finally there is a President with brains ,beauty and good old fashioned common -sense not to say integrity. At last we can all relax and not feel ashamed to be living in America . I feel sad that Obama has been left such a tough legacy by the Bush administration and will have to turn the light on a very untidy room which he will have to clean up. In these tough times I cant help feeling it has given Americans a boost of hope . I read in the papers that England is being hard hit by the economic climate and It occurs to me that in England people are fed their daily dose of terror and despair just by looking at the newspaper stand or turning on the TV..its a "we're doomed" mentality that quite frankly I dont miss at all. Fear begets fear and as I listen to all the economic professors and experts talking about the recession on KCRW and the one thing they all say is that each particular country should try and avoid panic in order to recover. How do those poor people in England expect to get on top of it when fear is so readily marketed?
Well I can't believe i actually have a spare 15 minutes or so to write the old crumbly blog...I believe the limited audience that was now no longer reads it as the entries are so spasmodic...I aspire to make my blog like my friend wwwmisswhistle.com who posts fascinating articles poems photos,recipes etc on her blog and it is a general work of art. Or the wonderful , moving and funny ganderlady.blogspot.com - my beloved sisters blog ... the dust has been settling after the sudden and tragic suicide of my friend..it has shaken many of us in our small community and the legacy that is left to some is harsh ..She had a wonderfully dignified funeral at Hollywood forever Cemetry and it felt strange on a boiling October day to be singing beautiful old English Hymns and yet oddly fitting as well. Halloween and the election have been welcome distractions from the sadness of this whole thing. There have been the usual costume crisis, my eldest 13 year old daughter took me to the party shop displaying costumes for "teens".these costumes..little red riding hood , Dorothy from the Wizard of OZ etc looked more like adult role-play costumes designed to add spice to the bedroom.for couples .given that the skirts were very short and ample clevage to be revealed and yet they were marketed at teens..after much pleading i relented and bought one for my daughter.When I went to see her and her fellows in the Halloween parade I noticed that many were dressed in these "costumes" ..I get confused by America ..its very puritan -there is pure horror if one lets ones toddler go naked on the beach and yet its ok for teens to dress up like hookers ah well... Tomorrow is election day ..avery exciting time to be in America ..we pray Obama wins..
On thursday night I went out for an exquisite dinner at my friend and chefs Crispins place. I never normally answer or even take my phone out but on this evening I chose to not only take it but also to pick up ..I found it odd that someone should call me after nine pm so I answered it to hear the devastating news that someone I had been very close to had taken their own life only an hour before. I felt so saddened by the news which is still haunting me and was only reflecting a few days prior how much this person had contributed to my settling here in Los Angeles. I had been given her phone number by a mutual friend in London in 2006 and during my first few bleak weeks of living in a new country I had called her and although our conversation was somewhat bizarre it was comforting to hear a British voice . We met by accident about a month later and became instant friends. She asked me to help her with a specific problem of hers of which I had a bit of experience and it was the beginning of a pretty intense friendship..she was intelligent ,open and lovable and was often gloriously irreverent ...she was a real individual and truely English in her eccentricity...she was also never far away from intense mental and spiritual pain. For about 7 months we would speak up to 4 times daily and the distraction of her troubles would take me away from the loneliness and despair I felt about leaving England..She was a blessing to me..After about a year we started drifting in different directions and following seperate pathes and I knew I could no longer help her.In the last year I saw hardly anything of her...but the question still comes into my head ..I wonder if there is anything I could have done to prevent such an out come?The answer is no..sometimes the pain people suffer is just too much..I hope she is now at peace.
Well its all hotting up re the elections..and turning into a right old mud slinging contest ,but mainly the dirt is being slung at Obama who seems to have no dark secrets but the McCain Palin camp try tirelessly to associate Obama with terrorists and no -gooders..the links are so tiny and tenuous its laughable..if not that then they are terrorising the Americans by saying ooooh its all so scary Americas falling apart you cant possible risk a vote on that new upstart..better vote for us again..we're safe and the devil you know. etc etc..and yet the definition of the word "insanity" is repeating the same mistake over and over again and not learning from past mistakes.Does America want to repeat the old mistake ?. A well informed friend told me that since the Bush administration the Rich are 8 times richer while the poor and middle class are much worse off and God forbid theres a medical emergency because if you dont have the proper Insurance you will possibly end up selling your house or going bankrupt.. Britain gets some things right ..God Bless the English National health System ..we salute you despite long waits etc ..I have delivered 3 babies in the capable hands of the NHS without incident or complications and I now hear that Gordon Brown is advising the Bush administration on how to deal with the credit crunch..good old Blighty.
So it is all going off here this week in the USA..the credit crunch debacle and mixed in with the build up to the election...but there is no doubt the person people are still all talking about is Sarah Palin who is getting more than her fair share of negative attention.I feel it is a very exciting time to be living in America and would love to be able to vote but sadly no can do..I am also acutely aware that I am a guest in this country and have to frequently remove myself from the British high Horse and of hundreds of years of imperialism that are in my DNA.As an observer this is what I notice. 1/ That whoever has been running the country for the last few years does not seem to know what they have been doing and that ignorance is bliss up til now that it has bitten everyone on the arse . 2/That the election seems to be a popularity contest and not unlike the "X factor or" strictly come politics".Who does better on TV? Who slags their opponent more ..who has a more sexy or exciting vice pres? 3/ Until the recent economic crisis it seemed the election was about God and Guns..with a little bit of War in Iraq knocked in. 4/ That now there is someone who is more inarticulate and bumbling than George W not to say clueless re current issues ..that is Sarah Palin. 5/ That the American people yearn for change and feel very wronged and are unsure which way to turn.
With the much dreaded Embassy visit over it was time to Blitz culture and friends and God children confident that we would be on a plane by wednesday. I managed to get Grace (teenager) to walk across Hyde Park and Battersea Park on several occassions. I realised that my relationship with distance has completely changed .What used to be an unthinkably long journey (From Beaufort st to Prince of wale drive in Battersea ) now seemed like popping round the corner, so I now walked all over London and also discovered the delights of the overland train.After spending many many hours in the car in LA Londontransport was a novelty and odd to be travelling at such close quarters with others. In Los Angeles you can go for days without having any contact with other humans as one is either in the metal box or the wooden box -house..in London it is hard to avoid others. I regenerated my very underused brain cells by going to some great exhibitions -the Hammashoi at the Royal accademy and the drawing exhibition at the Tate Britain with my dear friend Lize .I spent most of the time reading Tracey Emins scrawled school girl memoirs and realised she has made a great living from self involvement and rcording the various stages of self. By tuesday i was ready to go back to the US having made our various courtesy calls but alas no seats on BA flights a la virgin for wednesday or thursday so we had to tell our beloved tolerant host Frank that we would be staying..by this stage the girls dorm was getting very out of hand mess wise and one could not even open the door..sadly our chaos was reaching beyond our room and Franks office had been colonised...by Grace on facebook and me on the computer frantically emailing BA..Frank took it like a gentleman.
It too k several hours to get over the sense of injustice of not getting an upgrade on BA....and odd to find oneself back in England after such a short time..We were staying with our friend Frank who lived in the ultimate of "bach -pads" along with 2500 DVDs stored alphaceticaly , 2 zero-gravity lazy-boy chairs in front of wide flat screen tv,office with no less than 4 computers etc Frank however is not typically Bach as he is not only a very good cook , homemaker but also one can talk to him about anything and he's not gay.Grace and I were staying in the girls dorm which very rapidly degenerated into what looked like a set of "animal house"..you could barely walk through the door for stuff ..So the next morning it was up after a sleepless ,jet lagged night to go to the Embassy again where I am on virtually 1st name terms with the security guards.This time despite getting our paper work well prepared I made the mistake of taking several electronic devices in my bag such ipods and 2 mobile phones.. I was told to deposit them at the local pharmacy for a small fee of $10 and then to pick said items up after our embassy visit.. I was running back and forth along Upper Grosvenor street like a mad woman so that we would not loose our place in the queue, once again I was searched for devices and oh dear they found my bluetooth ...".but thats just a cell phonehead piece "I insisted..oh no that small device was capable of much terrorist mischief I discovered and bombs could be detonated from this seemingly harmless item..so it was running again up to the pharmacy on upper grosvenor street.. ( now on 1st name terms with these guys as well as the US Embassy Security guards) to deliver my head piece...It was not unlike a c"carry-on film". Any way the rest of our business went smoothly ..there were no swat teams waiting to surround Grace and myself and we managed to get visa stamped.
so after a month of travel and minidramas I can write the blog again.. a potted history ..Grace and I went back to Blighty flying Britsh airways (I'm afraid not as good as Virgin and flight totally packed so no lying across 4 empty seats(as was my fantasy) and getting a good kip.Unfortunately one has to walk through Business class on the way to coach and get a glimpse of the beds...after a dreadful moisture and humour extracting flight we arrived at the new very wow terminal 5 building which was like being in a science fiction palace or star wars set...very efficent as well and bags were collected.. I was a little piqued as I saw an acquaintance who I had also seen 2 nights befre in LA looking rested and relaxed after the 11 hr transatalantic ordeal...I had a sneaking suspicion but I had to ask...and how was your flight?"great I slept all the way back..." "and why was that?" "oh I was upgraded ...I happened to be standing next to a pop star who gave me his seat as he was upgraded.." How dare she ! I thought..anyway we were picked up by dear Alan our friend and taken to Frank ps place where little did he or I know we wouuld be spending many days....
So many things have happened in the last few weeks- we went on Hols to Mexico -club Med to be exact - in Ixtapa -a tried and trusted location..there was an enormous blip in our trip though which was we were unable to take out teenage Grace. We were all very upset and spent alot of the holiday ogling other teenagers and wondering who Grace would hang with if she were here too. I also noted that to my knowledge there were no "hot Boys" and eagerly passed this information onto Grace. It rained torrentially for the first two days and we spent alot of time fighting over umbrellas.Grace said this was Karma intervening on her behalf and maybe she was right. One of the great things about club med are the shows -there are shows every night and one is forced to participate because ones children are usually in them -doing hip hop or circus activities..one is expected to join in the sing songs and dance to "hands up, baby hands up give me your heart baby...." I love this sort of thing but for others it can be buttock-clenchingly cringe worthy.Luckily my buttocks have been surgically unclenched over my 2 and a half year period of living in southern California where sentimentality runs rife and cynicism has not yet been discovered.So I made a complete tosser out of myself doing aqua aerobics , poolside line dancing and taking daily tennis lessons.
I have two new modes of transport- My brand spanking new Chubbies bicycle- a retro design with giant handle bars and very comfortable squishy seat tooboot.. my other mode is a 22 year old codger of an ex race horse called Ranger. I have leased Ranger from a nice lady called Liz who found me in tears at the equestrian center having had a melt down after having ridden yet another cranky old horse who would not move and behaved as though he had had a huge amount of valium administered to him. For some bizarre reasons the center always allotted me horses with behavioral difficulties-either too hyper or too sluggish. I fell madly in love with a horse called Connetticut who was a dream and excellent dressage horse but my heart was broken when one day I discovered he had been leased by another..So I am getting to know old Ranger who has hidden dressage skills and is very affectionate and gentle. The only problem so far is that if I ride him out in the open and he sees no fence he thinks he is on the race course and goes into a gallop.Its all learning. My exhibition i London ended on saturday phew .. most of the larger work has sold which delights me no end - what does not delight me is that more and more people I discover did not receive their invitations.. much to my shame and embarassment..I can sense that .."oh blaming it on the post again line.." but this time I am truely astonished at the decrepid London Postal system . I did not leave any stone unturned re invitations such was my fear of being resesnted . what ever went wrong I am more than powereless living 6000 miles away..I still continue to write grovelling letters however..
Its all very well sitting in isolation doing ones paintings , its when its time to put them "out There" that I go to pieces. I start to get more neurotic by the day on the build up to a show, the anxiety fear and self critiscim gradually building to a crescendo in my head.Negaria peaks and I start asking questions like =why are you making luxury items when you should be stopping global warming or helping earthquake victims in China? Despite amazing support from family (thanks MA and PA) and friends I still end up in a shame vortex and in the bondage of self obsession. Luckily this year there was enough distraction to quell the hysteria... the novelty of London -meeting my new God Daughter Rose -I did a fair amount of converting dollars to pounds in my head which stopped me shopping (an excellent detterant for the spender when bored syndrome) - wow what temptation along Kings rd! I really practiced restraint of "walllet" . I saw nieces nephews old friends. I went all over London on the underground and bus. The day of my opening it pissed with rain- a great putter offer of social engagements- I went and saw my dear friend Lize who gave me one of her splendid boxes - small moral tableaus with play mobile men- I was thrilled with my new piece- also a good distraction. Bt 5 oclock I had decided I would not attend my own opening at all and would sit on Albert Bridge and listen to my ipod and be tragic. I then remembered my friend Miss Whistles Book that she so kindly lent me "THE WAR ON ART" - it said "a professional show up and awaits the out come no matter what." I inhaled and walked into the gallery to await my punishment -which of course never came. I sold 11 at the opening and there was a great party in swinging LOndon.
Well, My mission is complete.My lack of blog has been due to my global movements and extreme stress and lack of time.I have exported my paintings, catalogues and myself back to the UK, got my visa stamped . It felt like a mammoth task a few months ago particually as I was not sure I would be allowed o reenter the USA with relevant stampings. I got an unbelievable warm reception from my wonderful friends. Things that struck me about the Uk as an outsider and a visitor after 2 years 1 Its cleaner - I no longer have to scour the ground in order to dodge dog shit 2 Less traffic- Red Ken has done a great job as mayor of London 3 The food is great , I ate out and ate very well - the brits are getting it together food wise after many centuries of neglect. I ate at Roly Leighs new place Cafe Anglais (where macdonalds used to be in Whitelys ) can you believe! 4 It is a great pleasure to walk around London - I ended up walking vast distances -it all seemed so near after being in LA 5 The Brits are warm but viral negaria is always on the lurk and can be caught easily- I have been infected by viral upbeatness of USA 6 Im afraid status anxiety and keeping up with Jones and obsession with celebrity is rife- largely due to tabloids and OK and Hello-esque mags -Ugh 7 London looks beautiful - new gardens planted in Hyde Park , more work on the south bank- thanks again Ken, London has gained pride in its appearance and had a makeover. 8 Sadest news for me that the PAn bookshop is no longer there.
I have been a single parent for 10 days which went suprisingly smoothly and without "incident" but am am ready for Philips return and happy at the prospect. I am now so used to spinning plates- here are the things I have been multitasking..finishing off paintings, shipping paintings ( now on 1st name terms with my shipper-Dean) sending off invitations and catalogues, retrieving missing addresses..cooking , shopping ,washing clothes ,telling stories, doing homework, taxying services- for children,paying bills organising summer camps etc etc the list goes on- luckily I was given a 3 wheely chairs by my neighbour cos it means with 1 shove of the foot I wheel myself from the computer area to the cooking area to the painting area. Then I go to bed and read my book only to waken in the middle of the night thinking of all I have to do and all that can go wrong.
having shipped adn fed-exed and obsessed and worried about my luxury items and spiralled into a self absorbed vortex of "how difficult it is for me" I allowed myself the luxury of a film and I chose the 11th hour - Leonardo De Caprios film which was a very sobering and unpalletable watch infact it made me squirm and feel a sense of powerless about the world and what we are doing to it in regards to global warming and pollution.He described the problem as spiritual and cultural- that we have grown so away from nature that we believe we are not a species not part of nature infact above it and that by robbing the planet of its natural resourses we are infact self destructing as a species. The Earth will regenerate but we may not. He said that we work and we consume and do little else apart from keeping up with the Jones and getting that must have car or outfit.We are bombarded by Brands and Logos and advertising which makes us feel bad if we dont have this" stuff"He also says that while the money making corporations running the country are the authority it will be hard to make the shift needed to arrest global warming.We can do something about about what we buy - is it locally made or grown?-did it come from a sweat shop in China?He says the answer is to become aware of the problem..Living here in America which is the worst offender re global warning I am aware of how unaware everyone is compared to Europe. The other thing I have noticed is that its easier to be green if you have money- I would love to buy a hybrid car but cannot afford to. I will however invest in a $400 bicycle.
I waved Philip off on the plane today..he is going back for 10 days to see Lena his Mum and attend his friend Johns wedding, he will also go to London for a few days. He like me is scared and excited -its been over 2 years. I finally got my paintings shipped-after weeks of indecision and hysteria not helped by getting a nasty bout of flu. Origionally I had sought the cheap quick option for shipping but when the secretary told me the paintings might get damaged on the way to the warehouse having not even reache d a ship-big alarm bells began to ring. After speaking to a few sensible people who reminded me that this was 2 years work and did i really want to play damage roulette not to say 'where will they end up" roulette I changed my mind and decided to go to the local specialists in packing . The whole thing has been a real palava - shipping , organising the catalogue all 5000 miles away from the actual gallery and has reaked havoc on my mental health but the end is in sight.
I am always amazed that people read this blog and am horribly flattered if i meet someone and they make a reference to it. The fact that people dedicate their precious time to reading my rantings makes me feel very honored. P says that I have an "honesty compulsion" that can cause concern or offense so I should practice "restraint of tongue and pen" not always easy. I had the ultimate compliment this week when an unknown blog reader compared me with my hero -Larry David.. The great one,,you can not imagine how Larry kept my spirits going for the first very lonely months here in LA while I was adjusting and homesick. First I would watch "curb your enthusiasm" every night in my jet lagged state and this would make me forget my misery for 45 minutes of the day, secondly I had a fantasy about bumping into Larry and us becoming friends which gave meaning to my being in Los Angeles. This did not seem unlikely as within my first couple of months here , living in West Hollywood I had spotted many actors loitering in supermarkets, I had even managed to strike up a conversation with John Malkovitch in our favorite bookshop, Chevaliers in Larchement. After about a year I had given up all hope of meeting Larry and had nearly forgotten him when...oh the horror of it.. our friend Ian came to stay from London and he had done the whole tourist thing here , the Chateau Marmonte and venice beach but imagine my shock when he reported that he had seen Larry David on Venice beach filming Curb your enthusiasm..I was gripped by a horrific flood of envy and wanted to throttle poor sweet Ian (who was also taking us out to dinner at the Beverly Hills Hotel I might add) when he bombed me with this information. I am happy to report that today I have "right -sized" larry in my mind and that I have found "meaning" in being in "SO-CAL' other than him.
I feel like "Terry Shields " this week -notorious pushy mother of the lovely Brook. While One small child had her debut at ballet and tap the elder trod the boards as "Macabeth' in possibly the only Junior Shakespeare company in North America. Esther had been begging me to do let her do ballet for quite some time so we went to a small class run by Miss B for a "try out". Within 5 minutes of the class beginning I heard terrible wailing and sobbing and Esther was taken out ."wheres my Tuttu? and wheres my ballet shoes?" I should have realised that the whole point of ballet for 3 year olds was the tuttu. Luckily this is where LA comes into its own - there is always a handy costume store at hand not to say dance equptment, so within minutes . These shops are every where and stock a range of gear ranging from risky kinky sexy get up - maids costumes and S&M gear to serious dance attire. Very handy indeed if one wants a hasty change of look. Grace had been rehearsing for months with the LOs Angeles drama Club which my friend Sophie..introduced us to . Sophie is a Green Activist and has recently had a book published ."Gorgeously Green" also there is "gorgeouslygreen.com" for useful lady green tips.Any way previous to the LADC Grace had been in the very hammy and veryy expensive YADA productions. "Youth Accademy of Dramatic Arts" Where children would perform well known musicals such as Annie , high school Mucical and Greace. The kids would "belt " out songs and have a great time but the finished productions were errrrm. This production of Macbeth however was a breath of fresh air - tots as young as 5 were learning complex parts and speaking Shakespeares lines with conviction and understanding. It was very touching . Of Course Grace was incredible as MAcbeth and everyone was spellbound by her soulful dagger speech .It was 104 degrees here in LA yesterdy and the show went on.
ANother very exhausting week as we juggle various stresses - an enormous tax bill - just what one does not need post strike, Grace rehearsing 2 plays at the same time, causing mass indignation with both drama tutors and mild hysteria building as my show approaches..Craig is doing the White house Correspondence show which is huge as he will be going before George w himself so P has been boning up on political jokes- the ratings for "the LATE Late show" have soared due to beating Conan Obrien ( main competitor) . We went to a gathering up at Zuma Beach in malibu last week and I was astonished to see that all the women had the same blond hair and had obviously been to the same surgeon as well . There were so many trout pouts and clearly alot of money had been spent unwisely. I was horrified. Maybe they dont notice as everyone else looks like a freak so everyone fits in. LA is divided up into Cities - Siverlake and Los Feliz -where it is mandatory to have at least 8 tatoos on your body. The great thing about here is the words "odd" and "eccentric" do not exist- it is a misfits paradise where no one bats an eyelid if you wear the wrong thing or say something contra versial . One of my first conversations I had with a Los Angelian when I arrived here was 'When did do first find Philip Hot?' I had no idea what they were talking about - also I had only just met this person- I was agogue. not to say cynical and scathing at the audacity of this .but today nothing shocks me and give me straight talk anytime.
It was Earth day here in the US yesterday, and just to remind us of the enviromental crisis , temperatures soared into the 100s while in Britain I hear about snow storms. It was really uncomfortable as we sweltered with no AC and the children could not play outside until dusk. We went to a themed Childrens Birthday Party where the kids were encouraged to do enviromentally friendly things -reuse recycle etc plant a tree- although there is an awareness here there is not the urgency there is in Europe. Most of my neighbours have Hybrid cars but not one person uses a washing line (too trailer trash ) is suspect.Climate change is treated like a wierd religion - do you believe in it or not ??!! Another legacy from you know who.Rhyms with "tush" Although I am increasingly aware of my carbon footprint I am pleased to say I have kept my long-haul flying to a minimum and I have finally booked my ticket back to London in late May in preparation for My Exhibition on the 4th June .I am rather nervous and scared about going back - how will it have changed -but also very excited.It has been over 2 years since I left and I realise I am no longer a British resident. Anyway enough self self self .. my capitalist problems were put into perspective when I read my sisters blog "Ganderlady" she is living in Kampala and has just had a baby. I was horrified to read in her blog that her neighbours 7 month year old died of Diorrhea the other day and that apparently common place , happens all the time -is preventable but no cash means no cure and the no1 killer in Africa.
I have recently taken alot of time to teach my 7 year old boy to read...yes they start a year later here but all catch up eventually. After many painful sessions of virtually handcuffing him in front of a book he is now fluent and reading childrens books about Pompeii. As he has become literate however he has also become computer savvy as well as learning to spell "ugly words". He takes huge delight in writing the F word and the S word and I find various pieces of paper littered around the house with profanities written on them in his child like scrawl. I turned a blind eye as i believed it was good for his phonic practice. Yesterday though as P and I looked at the history of the computer we noticed that someone had been going to www.F*ck.com and also sh*t.com...it did not take long to work out who this was.Grace told us that he had confessed and had come across a predictably unsavoury porno site with f*ck.com but sh*t .com was about grading ones poos! so now we are off to the apple store once again to get a a blocker for children.
well easter is long gone now and due to lack of internet , TV and phone for a week ( it sent us all into a post modern techno trauma) i will summerise..Easter break , kids off school , take them skiing for a day at mountain High - one hours drive from LA -with pretty descent slopes.I went with my friend Ellen who is an OLympic trained skiier (although she failed to mention this to me ) any way i felt a little awkward as she sped daintily down the slopes as I tumbled .For Easter we went to friends in Bel Air ,they are French and have made their home into a replica of a south of France Holiday home with olive groves . orange and lemon trees etc.most of all i have been trying to finish off pics for my catalogue and having mild panic attacks about my show in June. I have taken to painting at night and it has helped me kick minor harmless addictions ie internet scrabble ( whod have thought?) The big news is that i am now an auntie of 6 ! My sister Sc gave birth in Kampala , U ganda , to baby Katherine who was delivered in a blackout - the only light available to see the deivery was the light off my brother-in -laws laptop which was pointed at my poor sisters nether regions and saved the day.!!!