Posted by: martinworster | July 10, 2005

1. US of Eh?

Flying into Los Angeles it was hard not to jettison my pre-conceptions of California as we hugged the sparkling Pacific coastline. The last time I had been here I was 12 years old. From above LA looked like the sprawling urban mass that it is; an endless network of freeways, neighbourhoods and more concrete. On the ground it’s no different, an urban loop, replicating itself as it moves into the desert. Subway, Starbucks, McDonalds, Dennys, Del Taco, symbols of Americana metastasising the land.

Click to enlarge!It’s also hard to separate the real West Coast from the multitude of images we are presented through film and TV. People who haven’t been here probably feel like they know it. Whether it’s Pamela Anderson cavorting on Malibu Beach in Baywatch, or the Chips duo throttling it along LAs freeways, or the millions of other images we could use as references, Southern California lives through a lens.

Click to enlarge!For me California always held a special place in my imagination as most of the sports I like – and still like – originiated here. Surfing, skateboarding, BMXing..in fact a pretty healthy proportion of most extreme sports. I remember as a spotty youth poring over magazines with reverence as Eddie Fiola (early BMX star if anyone remembers!) pulled an aerial against a Redondo Beach backdrop. Venice Beach, Huntington Beach, Manhattan Beach, Torrance…all these places had a mythological resonance with me and now, here I was, 20 years later about to call this part of the world home. I have never grown up so it seemed fitting.

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