A home built by my own hands, and I could not live without
these things and walls, the tickets and books, paper worlds
paper years, painstakingly documented and collected
I’ve diaries and I’ve snippets, pages that remind me easily
of the evenings in the old house, sitting on the floor listening
shaking and longing – take a train, climb a windowsill
and nobody will notice, but still, how far I have come
and I could forget, were it not for these papers and books
written by my own hand, torn and bloodied by headache mornings
missed school days, and of course, my stomach still
is aching and empty and full up with pills
but I have come far, not only in miles, not only in height
I have grown, despite the hands that reach from overgrown walkways
and neglected houses, field afternoons and missed school
they draw me back, I have been guilted long enough
now I can grow, I have built a home
from these things I have seen, the hand-written books
serving only to remind me that I have a past
as we all do, but I hope you can be happy too
I hope your desperate hands can lend themselves to you
despite hard feelings and fairly delivered blame
I hope for you that you can grow as those weeds did
A home built by my own hands, and I could not live without
I don’t post all that much personal stuff on here anymore, but I got back from California two weeks ago and the jetlag is still weighing down my bones while the memories beg to be shared. Despite obsessive chronicling of the trip through everything from notebooks to polaroids, it is easy for the beaches of Southern California to seem like a distant memory when I am in grey Brighton looking for a job.
♡ 30.07 ♡ We travel from Brighton to Gatwick, and make a friend on the plane to Las Vegas. She’s from Newport Beach and loves The O.C.. We drink G&Ts and she watches Chrismukkah episodes. I watch some shit movies and some okay ones and we land in Vegas, where we wait forever when the plane is delayed. At LAX we meet Brianna in her car, have some cuddles, and drive to Long Beach. LA is beautiful and I shed a tear when I see it lit up from the sky. We arrive to a lovely home on a warm evening, with everything set up just for us. I am home.
♡ 31.07 ♡ we wake up at 11:30 despite it being 19:30 at home. We get ready and drive to LA, to explore museums and get our footing. It’s hot. We eat Mexican in Long Beach and have a cute evening. Kelly comes over and we sing emo music and hug and catch candy corn in our mouths. I missed her madly.
♡ 01.08 ♡ A day in Santa Ana celebrating pride and hanging out with Bri’s grandpa. In the evening we drive again to LA at sunset and it’s my favourite. We arrive at Griffith Park for a screening of Wet Hot American Summer and find a place to sit and enjoy the warm evening. We receive free t-shirts, laugh a lot, and get to meet Joe Lo Truglio and director David Wain. It’s an amazing, surreal experience. David Wain asks if he can stay in my house when he arrives in London on Monday. I say sure. We drive home and I realise I will a) never get bored of seeing LA at night and b) never experience anything like this at home.
♡ 02.08 ♡ We wake up and get our shit together to drive to Laguna for a beach day. We teach Bri some British slang and she gets upset at how cutesy and dumb we are. We walk around barefoot and buy snacks in a stop n go and shout at small boys who fancy me. “Is your name Cory? Tyler?”. We sunbathe, swim, and Owain loses and finds his glasses in the sea. In the evening we have a bbq at Kelly’s and I get to play with her beautiful dog. It’s cute. We drink. I spill my soul to Kelly. I love California and sickly, sickly s’mores.
♡ 03.08 ♡ Kelly drives Owain and I to LA to enjoy The Last Bookstore and I buy some Melville and a book on Clueless. It’s lovely. We go to the toilet in Starbucks and there’s blood all over the men’s because Downtown is disgusting. As it gets to sunset we are a little afraid to hang around so drive to Downtown Disney and be cute. We dress up, watch the sunset, and sneak some booze to watch the fireworks with the poor people.
♡ 04.08 ♡ We dress up as gay as possible with some bandanas and go hiking in the Angeles Forest. With snacks. It’s beautiful, this area of pure nature on the edge of the busiest of cities. Of course the Angeles is full of dead bodies, but we ignore that and enjoy the waterfall. It’s exhausting and hot but I love it. In the evening we eat gross pizza, do our make-up as dark as possible, and sing a lot of emo on the way to Los Angeles emo night aka Taking Back Tuesday. AKA the tits. We sing and embrace our true emo souls.
♡ 05.08 ♡ An early morning drive to San Francisco is dusty and fun and full of singing. We arrive in SF at sunset and it’s pink and pastel and hilly and gorgeous. A lot like Brighton. We get set up in Bri’s grandparent’s guest house (rich people) and drive out to the city. We walk around a lot and end up at a random alternative show for drinks and dancing and cuteness. We drive home at 1:30 and have a proper sleep.
♡ 06.08 ♡ The most lovely of breakfasts followed by Bri’s grandpa offering to take us out. In his small plane. Sure. We fly over Skywalker Ranch and Endor, and see the fog over Golden Gate. We then drive over the bridge and take all the necessary photos before heading to lose a lot of games on the UFO machines in Japan town. Eh. It’s cute though. We then drive to Land’s end and take a lot of photos and cause a lot of trouble before a very creepy altercation with a man who is possibly the Zodiac killer, but at the very least a paedophile. We get out quickly and drive to eat and have an early night.
♡ 07.08 ♡ We spend a few more minutes at home and then head out to the woods, but there is a charge. Outrageous. So we drive down the coast to some random racist little Twin Peaks town and swiftly drive back again. The scenery is nice though. We drive down Lombard and then home from SF. We spend some time on PCH and cry because it’s just too lovely. Ugh. There’s an insane amount of traffic on the 5 and we don’t get back until midnight. Whatever.
♡ 08.08 ♡ A sleepy day with a good breakfast and an evening drinking and watching Clueless. Yas. No actors show up. Not even Paul Rudd, and he promised me. Whatever. It’s cute and I will never get sick of an LA sunset.
♡ 09.08 ♡ Owain has food poisoning so I go out alone with Kelly and Devin to Long Beach harbour with a few beers. We head out to a house boat and hang out with Scout and drink. We do a terrible job of getting the small boat ready and have to take the motor off. But we get out and we paddle around the harbour, being mocked by all the people with their huge boats. We, again, sit in peace and enjoy a pink sunset. Once home we buy pizza from the scariest guy ever and then realise we are just too tired to stay out. We plan to stay on the boat another night but it never transpires.
♡ 10.08 ♡ We trespass at Sunken City and take a lot of photos. I am a rebel. Afterwards we swim in a lovely, tiny bay and the water is calm and glittering. The evening is one of drinking and beer pong and I learn that Americans are lightweights and terrible sportsmen. They suck at winning and at losing. It’s cute but we go to bed early due to the lightweight situation.
♡ 11.08 ♡ A day with Kelly at Newport Beach, we get there via PCH in an uber. I love that little drive. I swim, and Kelly tries to teach me to boogie board. Once or twice it’s fine but I then crash into the ground and eat absolute shit. My ears, costume, mouth are full of sand. My body is grazed from my ass to my boobs. My bikini is inside out. And as we discover later, I have a black eye. It is truly an experience and I go and shower before we have a little dinner at BJ’s. The evening is spent walking Scout and playing bowling at a shitty little alley where Korean League night is happening. It’s the best. We all choose Wes Anderson names like big Indie nerds and we get four goes each. It’s ghetto and amazing. My favourite.
♡ 12.08 ♡ We again wake up early and drive to Malibu via PCH. We see the barbie house, Santa Monica, mountains and cliffs. The sea stretches forever and I can see Catalina in the distance. We hang out at a beach, have a beautiful dinner with mojitos, go on the pier, wander around some stores. It’s a lovely last day followed by an evening driving through LA. We see West Hollywood and drive Mulholland at sunset. We then go up Signal Hill in Long Beach to watch Perseids and I see four shooting stars. It’s a perfect evening.
♡ 13.08 ♡ I mess up the flight times and we have four hours longer than expected. We eat a farewell breakfast and sing a lot of Welsh Britpop. Bri loves it. We drive to LA and enjoy the Little Tokyo Mall and all its spoils. We go to Paddy’s Pub and take some white trash photos before heading to a film research library for some me time. We drive to LAX and sing some more Catatonia. I cry at the airport.
I had the most magical two weeks of my entire life, experiencing things I could never have at home with the greatest people I have ever known. The film stuff, the nature, the sunsets. I adore California with all my heart and I hope to see it again soon.
I just wrote a post on all of the fun film and TV things I got the chance to do in Los Angeles on februaryfilmandtv. As it details some of the things I got up to in California, I thought I better post it here, too.
In case you hadn’t guessed, I am home from California – with a world of new experiences under my belt. It’s bittersweet to be back – I may have all my things, my dog, and can get back to work – but I am 5000 miles from my friends and all things film. While I was in California (primarily Los Angeles) I made sure I not only hiked, swam, and explored as much as possible, but that I saw and did a few film things. I attended some film events, sought out filming locations, and some things just found me. I find that in California it’s impossible to not recognise most of the streets and buildings from movies, which makes it a perfect place for a big nerd.
- Dexter and Rita’s House – Long Beach
This one found me, as I was staying in Long Beach. Fans of Dexter will recognise the home that Dexter lives in with Rita for quite some time as, surprise, it isn’t in Miami. This was a quick fly-by, but interesting nonetheless.
2. Blade Runner – Union Station, Los Angeles
My friend took me to this cute art deco train station, which is often used for filming and the like. Most notably the first thing that comes to mind is Blade Runner, but that’s just me.
3. Skywalker Ranch – San Francisco
This was another one I was lucky with. When we stayed in San Francisco with our friend’s grandparents, her grandfather kindly offered to take us up in his small plane and fly over the county. When up there we got the perfect view of not only George Lucas’ home, but Skywalker Ranch and the surrounding Endor.
4. Paddy’s Pub – Los Angeles
This was a personal project. Last year we drove through the Arts District looking for Blue Bottle coffee, and stupidly had no idea that the exterior for Paddy’s was a ten minute walk away. This year we were given an extra four hours due to some flight confusion, and took the opportunity to pose like white trash outside Paddy’s. The street and surrounding warehouses were also recognisable from filming It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, as well as other shows and movies. The street was being used to film a Dunkin’ Donuts commercial at the time we took this, but we talked nicely to the security guard.
5. Wet Hot American Summer – Griffith Park
Probably the most exciting and unexpected turn of events. I had already planned to go to the outdoor screening of Wet Hot American Summer in Griffith Park, and was expecting just that. What we got was free t-shirts, and the chance to meet Joe Lo Truglio and director David Wain. Wain told me he was staying in London the following Monday and asked if he could stay at my house. I hadn’t the heart to tell him I don’t actually live in London.
These five moments stick out to me the most, but are by no means extensive. We also attended a Clueless screening, held a Wes Anderson bowling night, went to the Golden Gate Bridge, drove down Lombard Street, recreated some TV scenes, drove Mulholland, and of course spent so much time in LA and San Francisco that we probably saw more filming locations than we could possibly even recall. I love spending time in California and immersing myself so entirely in the world of film and TV, but it’s nice to be home and have my feet on solid ground for long enough to write about it. For this year, anyway.
Often I think I may have been paralysed since 2003, with a crippling desire to be different and better but without the means or access to achieve it. But with the records, the evidence provided in notebooks and packed boxes – it has become clear that I have never stopped moving. From friend to family, from house to home – in airplanes and train tracks I have never stayed still. I still want more and still, I am left without a way. My head is brimming with ideas of myself and things that I would die to achieve, but that I won’t get out of bed to reach. Whilst I am left scarred from where I have been, my circumstances could not be more different, now. From a haunted house and missed school, I emptied bathroom cabinets into myself in an attempt to make myself not here. But there have been those fleeting times when the cloud lifts and I have no desire to cut my life short or sleep it away. Those moments when I am so unequivocally here, whether laughing in a bowling alley on a warm night on the other side of the planet. Or out to sea in the one city I have ever felt still enough to call home. So whilst I still feel paralysed and clouded, I have not stopped moving or growing. Though damaged I am here, endlessly motivated.
I am alive.
Swept up in the just-got-home errands
unpacking and dusting sand off my shoes
journal-writing and I-miss-you-madly
as beach drives through Malibu sits distantly
as if that were a different me, sitting
separately in time-space to the one
lying in bed, jetlagged desperately
until four pm – for of course in Los Angeles
for of course in my heart, it is eight
and I am lying in a bunk bed to face the day ahead
– to regain myself and strength when home
is a task – without money or purpose
but I am here, and I can only recover
by throwing myself into all that is good
about Brighton, my books, and my home
otherwise – I may find myself on a plane
to attend to all I am missing in California