L.A 12th August 8.45am It was like Apocalypse Now, or that scene in Goodfellas! Last night, as I was trying to sleep, helicopters invaded us. They were sweeping low. There were at least three of them. Searchlights and everything. I walked into Paula's bedroom and asked what was going on. She said that it happens all the time, and it's the L.A.P.D looking for fugitives. I was expecting Jack Bauer from '24' to burst into the house at any moment and save me from myself.
LA: 8th August 7.30am The coffee is very good here. Strong and long. Even the cigarettes taste better with the java. The fruit is fresher too; it all looks like some commercial, ripe and irresistible, a Sainsbury's wet dream.
L.A: 17th August 9.02am I would like to die in a diner please. With Patsy Cline playing in the background, and a half eaten piece of pie in front of me. That would be a good way to go I think. After my Santa Barbara breakdown. I am now returned to the city of angels. I slept the whole way back on the train. The rolling motions of the Ocean Pacific railway a good sedative that has me curled up on a window seat.
L.A: 18th August 7.37am Mark Rothko gets me every time. It's only colour. So Paula and me go to the Museum of Contemporary Art. It's downtown and I have been there before. Saw a great David Hockney show a few years ago.
LA: 9th August 7.15am I had big plans for yesterday. Was going to go downtown in the sunshine, look at some art at MOMA, buy some postcards and eat some overcooked meat. It never happened though. Jetlag and a dispiriting message from home bamboozled me. The best laid plans of mice and men.
I've made a mess that is unfixable and now I have to simply give up. It's a relief. I'm too good and I value myself more than the constant trips to hell. Fuck it!
L.A 11th August 7.30am Ghosts everywhere and I cannot shake them off. Perhaps I don't want to. There is panic ensuing. Chaos at the airports. Rumour, then counter rumour on the radio. Out of nowhere the American flag is being unfurled on masts and in the windows of the houses of Madeira Avenue. We are still a while away from Labour Day. The fear is contagious and I have been here before, felt it and lived it at the closest of quarters.
L.A 13th August 8.56am In the baking sun I had to go for a little walk. My heart was soaring, and I was smiling and crying all at once. I have conjured redemption. I got an email from Elizabeth. I spoke to her on the phone on Friday, you might recall. It was nervy and strange, but I was glad that I did it. I hurt this woman many years ago. Ran out on her the day before she was going to catch a plane from Hollywood to London and marry me. She sold all her belongings to get to me and I slammed the door on her through fear and self interest. I have carried that guilt around in my back pocket for what has seemed like forever.
L.A 13th August 10.12am ' Crystal Meth is rampant here in Hollywood. Cocaine is dead.' Michael tells me this as we are driving towards the fleshpots of West Hollywood for a tour of duty that won't even have me leaving the car. I just want to look a little, a kind of affirmation that I have achieved something right over the last year. I have to keep myself at a huge arms length from a world that I only know too well.
On a train from L.A to Santa Barbara: 15th August 9.24am Sometimes a great ocean can make the world of difference. I have to get away for a couple of days on my own. I need to see waves and smell salt. The desire to have a solo adventure has been rising in me since Sunday. So I'm on a train as I write this heading for Santa Barbara. I love the romance of trains and this one is just right. It's a Double-Decker, full of old aged pensioners who appear to be on a kind of beano. They are laughing, chattering and sucking on boiled sweets. Outside there is a mist that phases the mountains that surround the city of Los Angeles. Occasionally, the train exerts its whistle and it makes my heart soar. Maybe everything will turn sepia in a minute and Marilyn Monroe may walk through the carriage, brandishing a guitar like the scene from 'Some Like It Hot'. Knowing my luck it will be Tony Curtis trying to sell me some of his terrible art.
Santa Barbara: 16th August 12.25pm Basildon Bonds. Even here by the Pacific Ocean. I have stayed in hostels before. Done my time all over Australia in1999/2000 with Jane. So the moment I walked through the door here I knew the score, the rules, or the lack of them. The mess and laziness.