Posted by: martinworster | May 27, 2008


I opted for a walk yesterday on another gorgeously sunny Sunday afternoon in Southern California. We walked on the broadwalk next to the beach south from Newport Beach to Balboa Pier. It’s fun observing the vagaries and characters of SoCal beach culture.

Rollerbladers whizz past. Lithe youths play beach volleyball. Muscled surfers walk past clutching their boards under rippled arms, looking off into the distance, probably disappointed at the lack of waves on that day. Attractive girls in skimpy bikinis cycle past on beach cruisers.

It’s all very sunny and perfect, as if there’s no room for discrepancies or anomolies. It’s almost Aryan in it’s idealised pursuit of beauty, youth and material prosperity.

Walking along the sidewalk multi-million dollar homes with ocean views sit on the beach. Some are small shack like buildings – but still worth millions. Others are chrome and glass artworks, modern design pieces as featured in magazines and architects portfolios. On their beachfront verandahs Californians sit in the sun, sipping wine and revelling in the good life. It’s a form of ‘look-at-me’ peacockery. We’ve arrived. Aren’t we great?

On other verandahs teenagers party, drinking and smoking and listening to bad music. I wonder if they’re at their parents house? Or do they actually own this beachfront property? It reminds me of the ‘reality’ shows about Southern California – ‘The OC’ and ‘Laguna Beach’. Everythings perfect, everyones good looking, everyone’s seemingly happy, nothing is out of place. It’s ironic that they make ‘reality’ shows about a place that clearly has no reality.


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