Los Angeles: Are they really all wankers? Annabel finds out


Most people are really mean about LA.

So fake! So vapid! Such annoying accents! So full of insufferable wankers! Traffic a nightmare!

Maybe I’m lucky enough to have only met really brilliant, clever un-vapid people there.

And I’m sure there are a lot of wankers in LA. But have you ever been to a place where there weren’t any wankers? No. Wankers are everywhere. 

In LA, the weather is fantastic all year round, there are palm trees and beaches, the food tends to be varied and wonderful, lots of people have dogs, everyone is late all the time without it mattering, and maybe one day if you’re really lucky you might bump into Leonardo DiCaprio walking down the street. 

… or in this case, walking on water because let’s face it… he’s that good

I stayed at a delightful little boutique hotel (I hate that term, but you know what I mean – small and expensively quirky) called Petit Ermitage, which was right up my street.

Dimly lit, scattered with interesting trinkets and shabby-chic furniture that doesn’t match, and boasting a rooftop shrouded in fragrant foliage which twinkles with candles and fairy lights.

Best of all – for someone like me – there are quaint little butterflies tucked into the crawling vines, and an owl with a distinguished top hat blinking out from an antique bird cage at reception. Not a real owl, obviously, and not real butterflies.

The well-dressed owl
A night-time viewing of Fantasia – cool points through the roof (pun intended)
Mismatched furniture which matches perfectly 

I had dinner there with my dear old friend Robbo, who is getting famous now because he’s really good at acting.

He’s been in Vikings and now he’s in Animal Kingdom, neither of which I’ve watched properly because honestly I find it a bit scary and confusing seeing him pretend to be someone else. But from what I understand these roles make him a Rising Star.

Robbo pretending to be a viking

Despite living in LA, Robbo is not a wanker. At least not yet. I hope he continues to be nice and listen to my problems even after he wins an Oscar.

Then I had lunch with my new friend Marnie; who is impossibly pretty and cool, has great taste in hats, is good at writing, singing and playing songs, likes dogs, and is also a stylist – but not a vapid one.

Another thing I did was to have my hair made all blonde-ish and tussled at the Andy Le Compte salon in West Hollywood. Derek Louden made it blonde and Angelo Tsimourtos chopped it in a tussled way.

I liked the people there tremendously because when I sat down, Derek’s assistant asked me if I was a model (score!) and so I said, “hmmmph pleuurgh, rahh, no!! (long pause) but I was 14 years ago”, and he said, “wait, so like, how old are you now?!” and I said, “29”, and he said, “OH MY GOD I thought you were, like, 23!”

They must train them to say things like that, so maybe this is the sort of thing people who hate LA are talking about. But I am far too shallow not to bask in a probably-fake compliment. 

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The blonde-ish tussled hair à la the Andy Le Compte Salon 

Lastly, I went to Chateaux Marmont, which is undoubtedly the most iconic old-school glamour establishment in Hollywood for drinking and merriment – mainly because it’s hard to get in, you can’t take photos inside, and because lots of historical triumphs and disasters have happened there over the years.

Stepping inside Chateaux Marmont is like peeking behind a dusty crimson curtain. Its gilded walls seep secrets and the bartenders glide around in the sort of composed and ghostly manner which suggests they’ve all worked there for exactly 100 years.

The gatekeeper is Anya, who is the strict regal English host. She decides who can enter and who can’t; seemingly based on whether she knows and likes them, or just likes the look of them.

The reason she let me in was possibly because my hair was looking nice that day, and also because I am Robbo’s friend and she absolutely adores Robbo.

The castle of Old Hollywood secrets

Anya has sparkly eyes, raven hair, high cheekbones and a ski-slope nose. She drips with elegant jewels, sprinkles charisma around her like glitter, speaks with a rolling mellifluous purr, and possesses that rare quality of being both over-flowingly warm and also formidably intimidating. 

I had dinner there with my friend Howard, a Very Important Producer who talks extremely fast, always appears distracted, but remembers absolutely everything you ever happen to have mentioned, no matter how trivial, or how long ago.

It’s weird.

He’s like my other Very Important Producer friend Kristin, who has this franticly busy temperament but can read someone’s personality in 7.6 seconds, and never forgets anything; even something boring you once mumbled six months ago over dinner while she was hailing down the waiter.

One of the bars at Chateaux Marmont

As I was waiting at the bar at Chateaux Marmont (Howard was late, because he’s from LA), I got chatting to a Very Important Doctor who runs a big chunk of the Cedars Sinai hospital and who I interrogated at length about lung transplants.

Usually doctors absolutely hate people, particularly strangers, asking them medical questions out of work hours. But Dr. P. Noble (actually his name) was very noble in giving me advice about my sprained ankle, even though he was eating alone at the bar out of choice.

See? All particularly interesting humans, none of whom are wankers.

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The only thing I will say in defence of the LA-haters is that the traffic is, indeed, a nightmare.

Next stop? Australia, to visit my stubborn father with the primary goal of painting his house and forcing him to eat vegetables.

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