Living in L.A. (a brief update!)

We’ve been in LA for a week now and getting into the pace of life here.  Our apartment is in Venice Beach and therefore away from the madness of LA itself.  This, we have decided was a good decision.  The city seems permanently grid locked with traffic and therefore highly frustrating to get around.  At last the weather has picked up.  Until yesterday it had been overcast and cold.  However it rose to about 21 degrees yesterday which makes a real difference to ones outlook – well mine anyway.  Below are a few brief highlights of the week since the last posting.

The Getty Villa in Malibu is a replica of a Roman Villa created by J Paul Getty. It is spectacular and a fine example of money, good taste and attention to detail coming together.  Incredibly he never saw it first hand himself.
On Malibu Pier where we had lunch.  You can tell what the weather was like from the leaden sky.  Behind Linda are examples of the much lauded beachside homes..  Some are impressive, other have seen better days, none looked like they do on the telly!  I asked our waitress how much they sell for, she said $100m. This I checked later on. In fact they go for a mere $13m!  Talk about market forces at play.  Most of them are literally and simply wooded constructions on stilts.  The world’s gone mad.
I was introduced to the architect Frank Lloyd Wright via the Simon & Garfunkel LP Bridge Over Troubled Waters in 1970.  “So long Frank Lloyd Wri-ight” (are you humming it?).  I can remember purchasing the album and still have it.  I don’t know why, but he has always held a fascination for me, so it was a pleasure to visit one of his most famous houses, Holly Hock House in Hollywood.  This is an aerial photo taken shortly after it was constructed in 1921.  The surrounding area looks nothing like this now.  Frank, as was his want apparently, went four times over budget, fell out with his client and the development was never fully completed.  Nevertheless it’s well worth a visit to see first hand his incredible creation and unique designs.
Terrible photo I know, but what do you expect from an iPhone, David Bailey?  In case its not obvious, this is the blond pointing at the Hollywood sign.  Well we are on holiday!

I think I have mentioned this before, it is a great sadness to me that America allowed  its iconic car industry to fall into decay and replace it with bland Japanese models.  The only slight exception today are the GMC, Ford and Chevy etc muscle trucks which I think look great and very fitting to American streets anyway.  They are also remarkably cheap.  Thankfully a few dedicated folk restore some of the beauties of yester-year.  Above is a 1955 Ford pick up truck, which Joseph its owner has devoted 8 years of his life and $100,000 to restoring.  He tells me that its market value is $60,000 but he has no qualms about this as it was always going to be a learning project. It really is a work of art.  Joseph recently threw in his well paid job with Netfix’s to do this full time.  Lets hope the next one shows a profit.  Hell of a nice guy.

The one below I have no info on whatsoever.  Possibly a Sting Ray?  It displayed no means of identification. No matter it’s an aesthetic treat to be sure.

I know its pathetic, but this is my highlight in LA so far.  As a collector of guitars and an avid blues fan, one is very thankful to Youtube for all it offers in terms of information and education on each of these subjects.  To this point, let me introduce you to Mark Agnese, the general manager of Normans Rare Guitars.  Norman Harris is a world authority on the subject of guitars (unfortunately not on site yesterday).  He began trading rare guitars in the 60’s as a means of supplementing his meagre earnings as a key boards player.  This sideline grew into a multi million dollar enterprise.  If you want the best in rare guitars, go to Norman.  If you are interested, have a look on Youtube for ‘guitar of the day’.  There you will meet Mark who talks about and demonstrates a different model each day of the week.  I have learned so much from him over the years and therefore it was real pleasure to meet him and his team in person.  The words ‘cool’ & ‘dude’ were invented for Mark.  He’s exactly the same in person as he is on Youtube.  We were on site for about 3 hours and Linda wandered around chatting to everyone while I indulged my hobby.  It was a forgone conclusion that I would leave the place carrying something made of wood and shaped like a guitar.  My relatively modest purchase was a 2001 Martin 000-28EC Acoustic (EC for Eric Clapton).  This is a replica of the model he used on his masterpiece 1991 album Unplugged.  Eric had to be persuaded to make this album as he wasn’t convinced that anyone was interested in an acoustic record by him.  It is now one of the best selling records ever.  Last time I looked it had sold over 30,000,000 copies.  Mark handed me an original just like Erics which played like a dream and carried an asking price of $90,000.  If Linda asks about the one I bought, can we run with the replica story?  I wish!  Tune into guitar of the day on Youtube.  You don’t have to be collector to appreciate Marks knowledge, enthusiasm and musicianship.  Many thanks to Mark, Nick (a Brit), Jen & Joel for all their time and hospitality.  What a day!

We we are into our last few days of the trip and have much to pack in.  The weather forecast thank goodness is showing continuous sunshine and improving temperatures.



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