Monday, 29 April 2013

Monday 29/04/13


My main problem with LA, and I don’t necessarily know if it’s exactly a problem, but the main thing that I notice about LA that is incongruent to me, is how everything and everyone is linked to films and/or the entertainment industry. I mean, I know, what kind of a moron am I if this comes as a surprise, but the reality of it is much more intense than any expectation someone who hasn’t lived here before may have.

The signs were there a few hundred miles away from the city, in the wilderness of Southern California, where I was during ‘Oscar night’, staying with Scott’s family soon after I first arrived in the US. (NB: when I used to write London Preppy I referred to my boyfriend as Scott. I will continue to do this now, even though Scott is a different person. My boyfriend will continue to be Scott until the end of the internet. However many different people this name ends up representing. Let’s make things easy. Who are these people anyway, to deserve their own nickname, etc). So anyway, yes, little town, middle of nowhere, Oscar night. Well, Oscar night is a big thing, and the whole average Southern Californian family watches it and has seen all the films and makes informed comments and discusses the actors referring to them by their first name (“Scarlett has a great singing voice…I mean, Scarlett has many great things, but also a singing voice”). As in, everyone’s involved. This is their award show, for their people.

Then you get to LA, of course, and almost everyone around you has a job that’s got something to do with celebrities / entertainment. I haven’t been here long enough yet to decided which of these jobs in particular I value the least and, in all honesty, I really hope I’ll never pay enough attention to differentiate between your publicists, your producers, and your network executives, but all these people (so, most people in LA then) have two things in common: a) they’re very, very loud, much louder than you and me, and b) they incessantly share celebrity anecdotes, but in a contrived, pseudo-implicit way that tries to come across like, yes, they represent Oprah Winfrey / that hot guy from The Vampire Diaries / Blake Shelton, but it’s not a big deal, you know? The answer to that, of course, is that it really isn’t a big deal, but I’m not sure they know it.

Then again, people may just be making (loud, very loud, that’s a given) conversation about their every day lives and that involves talking about their celebrity encounters and I’m just reading too much into it.

The point about all the above is that, unfortunately, my own personal interests don’t overlap with the interests that are the norm here in LA. I’m not saying this in a snooty, I’m-better-than-you way, which would be really quite pathetic, but in a pure, factual way: I don’t watch films. I can’t watch films, I just can’t sit through them and I don’t know anything about them. I’ll sit there in a room on my own and happily listen to albums or read books for hours, but there’s something about films that doesn’t hold my interest and something about actors that really puts me off. I think it’s the extroversion.

So in a city full of extroverted people talking loudly about they things that they do, or the things that other extroverted people they work for do, well, my reaction is to completely disappear, keep my mouth shut and stay in my apartment. LA is the place where a functional, quiet introvert can turn into an agoraphobic sociopath in need of psychiatric help. I’m typing this home alone on a Saturday night.

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If I do end up writing on here more often, I've decided to close all posts with a quote from somebody I overheard here in the US. These are quotes that might not be 'only in a America' (I haven't been to every country in the world) but they certainly are 'never in the UK'. So.

Never in the UK quote
Overheard in Whole Foods on a Sunday afternoon:
(Heavily tattooed female, late 30s, angrily, to friend) "I'm a stylist, not a designer [pause] well, I'm a DJ now, anyway"

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Tuesday 23/04/13


The main thing to say about America is that, whether I like it or not, I never want to love it. I don’t want to be American. I don’t really want to belong here. I don’t ever want to have lived here long enough and I don’t want to live here convincingly enough for people to think that I’m actually from here. Living here convincingly would be a ridiculous stretch of my character and my abilities anyway, so it’s probably for the best that I feel this way.

I don’t leave the house that often, nothing’s changed there, but when I do, I want people to think of me as an outsider, definitely a foreigner. This is the complete opposite to my intentions when I was in the UK. I lived in England for fifteen years out of my thirty-three in total. I’m going to write this down in numerical form as well, because it makes it seem higher than words, that’s how much it matters to me: 15 out of 33. It really kills me that it’s not half or more, I have to be honest, but it’s close enough.

Well in those fifteen years, from the very first day until the last, I believe that I took it very personally when somebody inferred that I wasn’t British – inadvertently or not. Particularly hazardous areas for that sort of thing were airports and such, where people have a higher awareness of other nationalities. But then, eventually I found a way to combat that. I would travel always with my British passport face up.

Every day situations were easier; I didn’t stand out physically that much as a foreigner in England…until I opened my mouth. Fifteen years later and I still sound foreign there. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to shake the accent off, despite it getting softer, despite me knowing exactly how things should sound in the accent that I want. My mouth just can’t make these noises. So I’m stuck with this really mixed up indistinguishable hybrid accent of my own that might not say Greek, but it certainly doesn’t say North London either. In the UK, new people that met me used to guess ‘somewhere in central Europe’ but they couldn’t say exactly where. Nobody wanted to pick a country, like Germany for example, because they know what a German accent sounds like, and even though mine had elements of it, it wasn’t it.

Here in America, people are even more lost. Depending on how culturally aware they are, some people will actually go along with it when I say I’m ‘from London’. Other unprompted guesses so far indicate that to some American ears, I sound Australian. Three different people have said that to me just by hearing me talk in public – and I wasn’t even talking to them. (American people will talk to you in public a lot, but more of that later). I’ll take Australian, because it’s closer to having a British accent than you might think. Somebody guessed I was Danish the other day, which puts me back in this very vague central European territory.

Anyway, I think I got sidetracked. My point is: I moved to England when I was 18. I had wanted to be English, to belong to England, ever since I first visited there at 12. And I spent the next decade and a half trying to blend in. Now I’m here, I don’t know for how long to be honest, and although I really like the place and it’s nice to me, all I want to do is stand out. Kinda curious to see how this goes.

I might start writing on here again for the following reasons:

Because I just finished writing my second book so I can finally face a keyboard without the guilt of ‘oh I should be writing for my book right now’

Because the idea of London Preppy in the US amuses me.

Because I’ve missed this a bit.

Because I’m lonely.