Los Angeles, past and present

Firstly, let me say, in case anyone thinks this is one, its not a tourist guide to the city. As yet, its somewhere I’ve never been as yet. Mainly because I was told, many years ago, that for a non driver like me, its not the easiest place to get around and see. Whether that was true then, or not, is it still the same nowadays? Because lets face it, though Louise Brooks didnt leave much of a mark on the city, she was there for a while. No, she never got a Hollywood Star, probably because she didnt play the game as the film makers wanted her to. Of course, to be fair, her more famous films were actually made in Europe, but even so…

But yes, her reputation, and style ensured she never got one! Jean Harlow did though, it must be said, and that is one star I would love to see. Might also like to see Doris Day’s as well, but…If I could only see one. Oh fine, Veronica Lake too, maybe, as one friend reckons I look like her, but as that is very close to Jean’s, that wouldnt be hard to do!

And equally, I have no idea how easy it is to reach Glendale, as a non driver, but to pay my respects to Baby, if I got there, would be wonderful, as I did with Brooksie, in Rochester. And maybe, just maybe see that infamous house in Easton Drive (more at the end) that she supposedly haunts!

But if L.A is impossible/tricky for a non driver, then maybe its a challenge too far? So can it be done by public transit, or not?

Anyway, for all that, thats not what brought L.A to the forefront today, it was someone on Twitter, posting a link to this place, which is definitely not still there

http://www.retronaut.com/2012/10/the-zep-diner-los-angeles/

No, it didnt even survive the 30’s, let alone until now. Regardless of prices, that would be such a fun place to eat! Now, its a McDonalds, and car park, aargh! A great shame, we need more fun places to eat nowadays, not the wall to wall sameness of the major franchises.

OK, the video, yes, that supposedly haunted house. Will I ever get there? If I do, will I see Jean’s ghost? Maybe to the first one, I suspect not to the latter, but who knows? But a brief video, about the place…

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The ultimate 30’s transformation (for me at least)

Alright, I’m now hoping for fine weather on June 14th, as I’ve decided to do the Postmodern Jukebox concert, in Manchester, in style. So I’m booked in for a 30’s style make up session (I’ll miss those infamous Harlow eyebrows though) with someone, might even get her to give me a beauty spot (a la Jean), why not?

I’ve also arranged for my hair to be styled that day, and I really didnt even have to tell Sophie what style of look I was aiming for, she knows already!

No, as far as I know, I dont have any genuine vintage outfits, though I may have struck lucky in a charity shop without knowing it. But lets settle for vintage style look, and I have plenty to choose from! Dress, just maybe, but if I’m going by train, on the night that England play their first game in the World Cup, it might look a bit out of place. But a blouse, and slacks, under a coat should be fine, and Jean always preferred the latter look of choice, anyway.

Given most of my readers here are in the US, this is more a touch of wild optimism, but…if anyone reading this, knows of anyone going to the concert, from the Huddersfield area, with a spare seat in a car, then let me know. Happy to provide petrol money, will cost me about £12 on the train, plus a taxi home when I get back, so…would be so much more fun in an old fashioned dress!

Oh, and if any hypnotist out there wants to trance me, so I think I am Harlow going to the show, then…yes, kidding, I think? 😉

Sadly, the 30’s transformation, this time around at least, will be for 1 night only! Unless…

The video, despite the comments, I’m pretty sure its not Harlow singing, as far as I know, her singing voice left something to be desired, and was always dubbed. I’m not convinced its her playing the piano either!

Jersey day 8 (movie star moment), and then back to earth with a bump!

OK, lets tidy up the loose ends, before we return to the more normal blog stuff on Wednesday, my first day off from work this week.

When I arrived in Jersey, a week ago yesterday, I’d pre arranged a shuttle to pick me up, and take me to the guest house, as a matter of simplicity. To be honest, if I’d waited around for, and got a bus into St Helier, I would still have needed a taxi to get me out to the place I was staying, due to the weight of the bags and things, even if my sense of direction was good! Given I’m blonde…

So I had this shuttle, what you would generally describe as the larger type of vehicle used by taxi companies and the like nowadays. Nice, spacious for one, but sort of expected when you pay a fee for the privilege. So yes, yesterday, going back, I was expecting more of the same. Especially when I saw one of those cars park up across the road about the time I was due to be collected.

So when the driver comes in, picks up my bags, and escorts me outside, I start to head for that vehicle, only to be told, no, you’re going in this one. This one being a large coach, designed for over 40 people, and seemingly all to myself. Me, feel like a movie star, you bet I did! No, I resisted waving to the people as I went by lol! But oh God, it feels amazing, especially when your coach pulls up at the airport, the driver rushes out with a couple of bags, followed by me, and just me!

No, no photographers or journalists waiting for me, so not quite the full Harlow treatment, but I guess I know what it must have been like for them! Alright, secretly, I loved it.

Then as mentioned, back down to Earth with a bump. The flight back to Manchester was due to leave at 3.15. We were expecting to be called to the gate at 2.45, but in fact they did so just after 2.30. In fact, even allowing for late arrivals, we were all on board before 3.00. And we sat there, and we sat there…about 3.20 we had announcement made to say that there was a ‘delay in the paperwork, that we should be off very soon’, and then nothing more. We finally took off at 3.55, no other news, beyond the same information as we finally left the gate about 3.50.

Even bigger bump in the morning of course, back to work. At least the train shouldnt be busy, given its a bank holiday. But yes, in non movie star fashion, I will be travelling second class! Ah well, at least I’ve got the World Cup football to not look forward to lol! 😛

The video, to celebrate the fact that I felt like a movie star yesterday, travelling in a large coach, on my own, is

Oh, and Kiki comes from Bradford too, what a star!

Finally, a picture of a real star, or is it me?

Jean Harlow2

Fine, yes, its Jean, but it could be… seriously, unless anyone finds a way to shrink me about 9 inches, I could never be a true lookalike, but a taller version…just maybe? 😉

Jersey day 7 (last full day) – Young and beautiful???

Yes, the last blog of the holiday, as the next one should be from Yorkshire again, all things permitting.

Today was pretty much just a round up day, as is often the case with me on my last day of solo holidays. I did go out this morning to something claiming itself to be ‘The Jersey Story’, and pretty much, it was!

After that, back to town, for one last walk around, to say goodbye to a few places, as I’m pretty sure I wont be back, and if I am, it wont be for quite a while, so like before, it will have changed dramatically by then! Followed by a quick bus dash back out to Gorey harbour, to get one last look at that glorious view, then back here, for the last night, and things.

The thing that continues to amaze me, is how many guys are calling me, Babe, darling, and other terms of affection. Even more so, given how young some of them are, its highly flattering. Are they seeing me, or an aura of a young Jean Harlow, I have to ask lol?

I think on the whole, I’m glad I came back to Jersey, even if some things have been a bit strange to see again, after so long. Yes, one memory I could probably have done without, but that really is it. One meal I wish I’d chosen differently where to eat, but the irony is, thats the one chain I’ve eaten at (Pizza Express), all the local places have been lovely.

So, in tribute to all those who have called me flattering names during the holiday, I dedicate this song. Mind, I wouldnt say I was young, but…

Firstly, Postmodern Jukebox, my next big social outing, 3 weeks tomorrow

Secondly, the Lana Del Ray version from ‘The Great Gatsby’, set in the 20’s of course.

Sadly, this is all thats left of the original 1926 film, a tragic loss

Jersey day 6 – Please don’t post your views anywhere near me!

In terms of exciting news about my day here on Jersey, there isnt much. Did a circular tour of the island by coach (pretty much the only way for non drivers to see north, and north east coastlines), which was nice, and at least gave me the chance to say goodbye (for now, for certain, maybe forever?) to most of the island. Tomorrow, St Helier will get the same treatment, though I will go back past the edge of town, on the way to the airport on Saturday.

No, I honestly have no idea when, or if I will be back. If it comes to a 32 year break, I will be 88 (if still alive?), so I doubt I will be back then. Clearly, when I finish work, and the cost of insurance for medical reasons to the US gets prohibitive, well who knows? But for the foreseeable future at least, for most of Jersey, today was it.

But no, as you might have guessed, that delightful trip is not what the title of the blog refers to.

Given that this blog seems to have a large North American dominance (as opposed to mine, which seems UK, and Ireland strong), I will explain it. Today, in this country, we were holding elections for the next European parliament. Amongst the far right parties, there is one that currently gets extra notoriety, UKIP, or the UK independence party for full. Their logic is in their title, they want the UK out of Europe! Fine, I can understand some feeling the same way about things, even if I disagree myself. Unfortunately, this party, and its candidates are of the worst, right wing, racist, homophobic types on the whole. I’m sure not every one is, but, it might be a close run thing! So me, and most of my friends hate them with a vengeance.

Tonight, when I got home, and logged into Facebook, what did I find? One of my so called friends (no one I know, one of those mutual friend picks, I assume?) shouting proudly about having voted for UKIP, which I might just about live with, but also adding some ‘wonderful’ homophobic remarks after that! Unsurprisingly, he’s no longer a Facebook friend!

Well fine, my Facebook account gives no hint to me being bisexual, lesbian, or anything akin (I’m asexual, but if I had to define, it would be one of those I’d use, I guess?), but regardless, I want no friend who is homophobic, real life, Facebook, or otherwise!

So please, do me a favour, if you are homophobic in any way, dont send me a Facebook friend request, on the Merry Brooks account. If you’re already there, and are homophobic, please, please unfriend me, I dont want you.

OK, rant over, lets just say this video sums up my feelings about this guy

Jersey day 5 – Invasion of the Channel Islands

Yes, thats right, its not so loudly recorded in the English history books, perhaps because of the way that Britain just left the Channel Islands to ‘do the best they could’, but part of Britain was invaded during World War 2. From July 1940, until May 1945, all of the Channel Islands became part of Hitler’s Third Reich, after Churchill, and the Navy declared that protecting them (given they were only 14 miles from occupied France at the nearest point) wasnt practical.

So after one brief bombing session on the 28th June (after which the Germans were quietly told that the Islands were demilitarized), the invading force arrived on the 1st July, and didnt leave until the 9th May 1945, after the war was over, given the Allies bypassed them on the D-Day invasion, and given the strong German defences, didnt go back and help until after the war was won! Given that the Island’s supply route was cut off at the time of D-Day, the situation there, for the locals was pretty awful before the end, not that for some it was all that good before then.

Today I paid a visit to the War Tunnels, built by the Germans during the occupation, created by a combination of exceedingly badly treated slave labour from Eastern Europe (due to every abuse known, men generally survived about 6 months of this, and far better paid workers from France, Spain and the Islands themselves.

Over 30 years ago, when I last visited the tunnels, the display was basic, to say the least. Nowadays, care of modern video and graphic capabilities, the display is far more impressive. Of course now, even allowing for inflation, its far more expensive to get in.

Obviously its impossible for me, at this point in time, to conjecture as to why Churchill did what he did, but…

All I know is, the Americans, when the Japanese invaded the Aleutian Islands (far less populated, far less a strategic outpost), they very quickly drew up plans to regain them, and did! But Britain…rolls eyes! In a sense, its amazing they still want to be part of our country!

The video, an amusing touch. A German lady, singing in both German, and English, about a little peace. More than these islands got during World War 2!

Jersey day 4 – never try to renew old memories

The principal event of the day

Given that the gap was over 30 years since my last visit to Jersey, lets say that most memories of the place were pretty blurred. And walking around St Helier has only confirmed two things, one that it has changed dramatically in the interim, and that beyond a couple of landmarks, I don’t remember anywhere!

So fine, you know already what one of those memories were, or do if you’ve been reading the rest of the blog this week. The Alexandra Hotel, gone about 10 years or so, and the one place outside the hotel that Sue and I would eat together, which I havent mentioned before, a really good curry house, which as far as I can tell, is also no longer there.

Why I say that is simple, the town centre has changed so much, that when I get down town, I cant get my bearings as to which way I would have gone, when going from town, back to the hotel. And the back route for that, is where the curry house was. So yes, highly unlikely it is, but, it could still be there, and I just cant find it. Chances of that, less than 1%, but… I’ve decided that before Saturday comes around, I need to walk up the front, to West Park, go to where the Alex used to be, and try and find that road, so I can at least vaguely try and work out where it was, and what it is now.

Right, get to the story. Last night, as I was either going into the bus station, or leaving it, what did I spy across the road, yes, you’ve guessed it, an Indian restaurant. And fine, like a fool (as I now know) I thought it would make a good place for an evening meal, for old times sake, and all that.

So tonight, I went in. One thing I am sure of, especially having looked at a town map of St Helier, that wasnt it! Keeping this brief, the food was really good, the service was equally good, and it was all reasonably priced. But I couldnt go back there again, not even for a million dollars! Why, simple, talk about invoking the ghosts of holidays past, big time! All too much, thinking back on the times of curry houses, in St Helier in the past, with her, way too much for me. I know she wasnt there tonight, but it really felt like she should have been!

Fine, I got through the meal, but as soon as I’d eaten my main course, I called for the bill, paid it quickly, and went just as quickly once I’d done so. Yes, as I discovered, way too much of an emotional experience doing something like that. So, if anyone from the Jaipur restaurant, on the Esplanade should read this, or anyone who knows anyone who works there should read this, say I’m sorry. The reason I almost rushed out of the place had nothing to do with them, and was entirely down to some memories of events over 30 years ago, that the place invoked for me.

The video, well, this was the most Indian song I could think of, nothing more. Great song though

Not really much else I can say after that, still a bit overwhelmed by it all. But in all honesty, beyond a couple of pleasant walks around a pair of harbours (St Aubin, and Greve De Lec), there wasnt much else worth mentioning!