Los Angeles '19 Part 1. - Ligaments, Legacies & Lynch.
Since 2012 I have visited Los Angeles regularly. I love the people, the positivity, the laid back vibe and of course the sunshine. I tend to go in February as the weather is warm but not too hot and this year was no different. By that I mean I went in February as normal, but the weather was VERY different. It rained, and rained, and then there was a little sun, and then it rained. But the non-typical LA weather didn't deter me, and little did I know as I landed back in my second home, how eventful this trip would turn out to be!
Day One and I awake at my good friend Aliethea's house with a smile on my face feeling overjoyed to be back. We trotted off to The Grove to partake in some serious Sephora therapy. However, some other form of therapy was soon needed as just a couple of hours later I managed to tear a ligament in my left leg simply by stepping up a kerb onto the sidewalk. DAY ONE! Over the course of the next few days my leg would need some serious support and painkillers and would see me walking with a cane by the end of my trip - but more about that later.
A few days being back in LA and I was on my way to my pal Richard Green's studio to record my interview for the upcoming documentary
'I Know Catherine, The Log Lady'. Last year Richard led a triumphant Kickstarter campaign and secured over $300,000 to make a doc about the wonderful Catherine E. Coulson. Most know her as the Log Lady from 'Twin Peaks' but Catherine was also an accomplished stage actress, could turn her hand to a production role, and was a good good friend to many. She was also a big support to me when my mum died, had visited the Twin Peaks UK Festival twice and was always on emails for a chat and giggle. Sadly Catherine died in 2015 shortly after filming 'Twin Peaks: The Return', but she meant a great deal to me so I was honoured to be a part of this important film.
When I arrived at the studios my friend, Kimmy Robertson was finishing her piece to camera and delighted in telling me how she had just told Richard about my epic fall at Jim Belushi's feet last year - I'm seriously never going to live that one down! I then spent the next couple of hours with Richard and his team talking all things Catherine, and it was a joy to remember all the fun stories from her visits to London and also learn so much about her in the process, and Richard if you're reading this, I thank you for allowing me to have this experience.
While at Richard's I received a text message from one of my best friends who happened to be in LA at the same time as me, asking me to join her and her husband at dinner that night. I say goodbye to Richard and an hour later I'm at the
Sunset Tower Hotel on Sunset Boulevard. The Sunset Tower Hotel (pictured), built in 1929, is a swanky Hollywood dream where legend has it, John Wayne used to keep a cow on his balcony for fresh milk. We were dining in the Tower Bar, an elegant, classic restaurant re-imagined, as it used to be the apartment of Bugsy Siegel - the infamous mobster! What followed was an evening of insane laughter, messy artichoke hands and the filthiest desserts I've ever had. I highly recommend this beautiful place for dinner or drinks (or a swim in the pool) or even just to take in the breathtaking view of Los Angeles at night. Just bring a big wallet!
Sunday morning I said goodbye to Aliethea (who was off on an epic trip around Europe) and headed to my lovely pals Courtenay and Bob in North Hollywood, or NoHo as it's known, where I would be staying for the next part of my trip.
Situated in the Valley just north of Studio City, NoHo has seen a bit of a positive change in recent years and is known as the Arts District. It's a wonderful bustling community of theatre's, bespoke coffee shops and art galleries. Just walking along Magnolia Boulevard I got a sense of the characters that hang out there including the most friendly homeless people I've ever met, all with their own anecdotes of life in Los Angeles.
Courtenay and Bob are 100% #couplegoals. Their union is tight and their friendship is unconditional and for the time I stayed with them, they made me part of their family. That same day they took me to what quickly became one of my favourite places in Los Angeles. Idle Hour (formally the Idle Hour Cafe) is a pub within a barrel, a big big barrel, and dates back to 1941 when the car culture of Hollywood was in full swing. Business owners made their buildings eye-catching from the road to catch the passing traffic, as this was the time that Angeleno's gave up walking in favour of whizzing down the Boulevards in those flash, classic cars. In the garden of Idle Hour is a private hire cafe shaped like a dog with a pipe in its mouth. Of course. The vibe was a perfect Sunday afternoon chill with a live band in the garden playing favourites from oh-so-cool bands such as Creedance Clearwater Revival, The Beatles and Free.
As I scanned the garden with my badly smashed iPhone ready for an Instagram story, an amusing man was getting up from his seat and decided to dance in front of my screen. As he walked past me he tickled my back...and I spent the rest of my time in North Hollywood trying to find out who he was cause he was cute and I'm an over romantic! Yes slightly stalky but dammit, I was on vacation!
Monday morning and I was up early to meet my pal Rebekah Del Rio for breakfast at
Bob's Big Boy. Rebekah received legendary status when she appeared in David Lynch's 'Mulholland Drive' as the mesmerising singer in club Silencio who stopped everyone's breath, and still does, with the song 'Llorando', a Spanish version of Roy Orbison's 'Crying'. If you've never heard this incredible song have a listen below, although I do recommend watching it within the context of the film itself.
Rebekah has graced stages the world over, and even her first recording contract with WEA Warner was in Nashville as a country singer! She's hugely talented, hugely funny and loves Bob's Big Boy as much as I do! Bob's Big Boy is an American institute, and we were having breakfast in the oldest working Bob's in America, situated in Burbank, serving up burgers since 1949 and the decor hasn't changed much since!
This is the same Bob's Big Boy that David Lynch used to come to around the time of
'Blue Velvet' and make notes on his napkins of ideas that came to him. In fact he went there every day at 2.30pm for seven years to have the chocolate milkshake as it was at it's coldest then after the lunchhour rush. If you know 'Blue Velvet' then you know there is a disturbing character in the film called 'Frank Booth', played to unsettingly perfection by Dennis Hopper. The inspiration for Frank came to David Lynch while he was sat in Bob's Big Boy. A man walked into the diner and headed to the counter and gave Lynch a feeling, nothing more, just a feeling, and from that feeling, Frank was born.
Every Friday night in their huge rear car park, Bob's Big Boy host a classic car show where stunning Chevy's and Lincoln's sit alongside 1960's Cadillac's and even a 1915 Ford Model T has been spotted there. Sadly I didn't get to witness this wonderful event myself but these pics from the Bob's Big Boy website and Special Car Store will show you these superb vehicles. Oh, and if you ever head to Bob's, make sure to have the Big Boy Burger - the original double patty burger, which may remind you of another golden arched restaurant's "Big" burger.....Bob's Big Boy came first, that's all I'm saying.
During breakfast at Bob's, Rebekah pulled some strings and secured me a pass to visit the Warner Bros Studios in Burbank. Not only was I headed out to see the world famous tour of the studios but I was given a pass to the lot too. Very dangerous! More of that in Part 2!
(Myself and the lovely Rebekah Del Rio)