Posted by: martinworster | March 10, 2005

10. LA IS MILTON KEYNES

Drinking in LA. Whisky a no go. Cigarettes and alcohol…LA reminds me of Milton Keynes

Click to enlarge!Admittedly I haven’t really seen much of LA – I know there’s a lot more to see. I have only scratched the smoggy surface. But there really is something I just don’t get over here. When I first arrived I always thought; what do all these people do? This place is packed, where do they all go? I imagined them in the evening all hanging out somewhere. At the gym. The mall. Roller blading down the sidewalk. They certainly weren’t out boozing in bars. There does seem to be a bit of a sanctimonius vibe when it comes to alcohol (and cigarettes). Being British I find this hard to grasp. I just want to find the nearest Californian and pump their liver full of ale whilst staining those over white pearlies with nicotine.

Click to enlarge!I’ve been out a few times but everthing seems a bit regimented here. The ‘entertainment’ complexes here consist of restaurants, bars and cinemas located next to the shopping mall. It’s all very redolent of Milton Keynes. It’s an easy segmenting of life. Now you are in the entertainment zone and we have fun. This is the retail sector: we spend money. I sat in the smoke free bar nursing a Miller Lite TM eating my Chilli Fried Fries whilst watching NFL on the flat screen. The waitress flashed her white teeth at me. Something was missing (not in her perfect teeth, please note). I longed for the waft of Benson and Hedges over a luke warm pint whilst the sweet aroma of soggy beer soaked carpets completed this romantic pastoral vision of an English pub I hold true to my heart.

Click to enlarge!I am sure there are more characterful places with characters in them somewhere here but I have yet to find them. We did have a good night out recently on the comedy store on Sunset Boulevard. It was chokka full with comedians – 12 of them each with only 15 minutes. They were actually quite good, although one died on her arse. But again, the whole place lacked the pissed up, heckling, smoky atmosphere of comedy nights I was used to back home.

Whilst I’m on the subject of drinking. It’s law out here that if you drink on the streets you have to have the container in a bag. Now I really think that is one silly law. What is the point of that? Does it stop you getting drunk and disorderly? Is it supposed to make it less obvious that you are drinking alcohol. Often you see people with those brown paper bags drinking their Lo Carb Budweiser. Or else they’re vagrants (bums as they are known here) drinking the US version of Thunderbirds, whatever that is. Even the tramps and vagrants here, don’t seem real.

And whilst on the subject of silly laws. Why can’t you drink till you’re 21 here? You’re allowed to die fighting Iraqis. You can drive on the roads at 16. You can vote for a new president at 18. But you can’t slake your thirst with a Jack ‘n’ Coke till you’re 21. I was speaking to someone here and they told me that underage drinkers got sent to alcohol class to learn about the dangers of drinking. I told here we also have alcohol cass in England for young drinkers. It’s called a pub. Lessons start at approximately 15 when you learn about the wonders of the elixir until roughly three years later when you have to be stomach pumped after too many Snake Bite and Blacks.

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