If It Wasn’t For You – Various Cruelties
Dark. Dreary. Drab. Depressing. Dire. Dismal. Doleful. Dreadful. Downer. Dose. Big bulbous buckets of gushing water. Tut. The week before Christmas the rain held a reign of terror over L.A. Brutal. In every way. I know. But it did. People can’t cope. Simply melt away at the sight of rain. Panic kicks in. Folk freak out. Mighty fun really. Particularly the week before Christmas. The week when the fun and anticipation is meant to be kicking in. The week when the Christmas spirit is mean’t to be freaking you out! In a good way. Instead. Just surrounded by wet moaning non-believers (in Christmas). Kind of weird too seeing as Christmas is full on advertised everywhere. TV non-stop. Every show has a Christmas special. Every shop has a Christmas sale. Every person… Doesn’t really give a hoot aboot it. Almost everyone anyways. Almost all Americans at least. Europeans were believers. Just surrounded by non. Asked an American buddy if he was looking forward to his Christmas dinner… Dinner? I’ll eat dinner when I’m hungry I guess. A burger or something? I don’t know. What do you mean? Oh Jesus. Christmas buzz, in full swing! Closest it felt to being like Christmas in any way was when I accidentally knocked over the Christmas tree in the foyer of my building. Lugging in DJ gear out of the rain. Wet shoes. Wet leaf. Wet floor. Slip. Catch. Bag. Balls. Fall. Tree. Fall. Catch. Ish. Christmas balls. Everywhere. Picked it up and danced on as quick as a can. And you know how quick cans can dance! No harm done. Just my composure. Shhh. And so this was Christmas… ?
Build It And They Will Come!
And then on Monday a Christmas tree was dropped off at my abode. What a mighty present! Just because there is no actual buzz, doesn’t mean we can’t make one ourselves, kind of thing. Time for a bit of Christmas shopping. Went wonderfully well. Meant to meet a buddy at a store that sells bears. Toy bears. Oh yeah, I know where that is, down in Hollywood. Bucketing bulbs of rain outside still. Cab down to Hollywood Blvd. Hop out, straight into a puddle. Wuu! Dancing around them in the rain. Eventually find the bear store. Shopping centre in the middle of Hollywood. Mall is packed full of photo happy Japanese tourists. Swarmed. Three o’clock, where’s my buddy? My phone drings…
Where are you? I’m outside the shop.
Me too. Can’t see you… Where outside?
Outside outside. Are you outside or just inside the door?
Outside outside! (Quick look around the small-ish entrance again). I can’t see you. Right outside?
Yeah. At the entrance…
Hmmm. Me too… Right outside?
The bear shop?
I’m outside the one in West LA. Did you not get the directions?
Oh. Right. Balls. No. Well yeah but I just assumed it was this one. Not sure why.
Good work. Well, what should we do?
Not sure. Ehh… Hang on two minutes! A group of Japanese tourists just asked me to take a group photo…
So, while I was taking a group shot of about 42 Japanese tourists it turns out my buddy was outside the other bear shop having his photo taken by the pap smears. Quickly had to make his escape. And I elegantly made mine. Headed back to Hollywood Blvd, jumping over and into puddles, trying to flag down another cab in the rain while an Elvis impersonator sang Christmas songs into a handheld karaoke machine. First attempt at a Christmas week, not the greatest. At least I heard a rendition of Jingle Bells of some sort, I do suppose. The Hollywood Christmas buzz was growing!
Little Women's 12 Pubs of Sunset!
Slowly but surely, inch by inch, day by day, the buzz crept up. Christmas tree up, decorations on. Presents bought, presents wrapped. Every chance I could, I was laying seeds in all my non-believer buddies. Christmas is mighty! Trust me! The greatest time of the year. It trumps Thanksgiving. Seriously. Join in. How about 12 Pubs of Christmas? Sent out the emails and the texts… Non-believers and believers, who’s in?! Three replies. Three yes men. Quantity nay, quality yes. A mighty crew to be true! Day of the 12 pubs, two can’t make it. We still have one. That’s all we need! (If you do not know, 12 pubs of Christmas involves going to 12 pubs and having a pint in each. Timed per pub. Usually you get a big group of you e.g an entire soccer club. Also pick up stragglers along the way. However, when in LA, whoever is up for it, is in. Poor showing by the Gypo soccer team here! Plough on…)
Bit of preparation goes into the 12 pubs, in case you were wondering. When in Ireland, you can find a string of 12 pubs within walking distance, with ease. In fact, in small little Cork where I am from, you can find about 10 routes if you like, at least. In big old LA, the big old sprawl, it is actually far harder to find a route at all. Plenty of pubs. Just all spread out. Unless you want to go down to Boys Town and do the 12 Gay Pubs of Christmas. Probably would be a good laugh too. Anyways, we found our route. The 12 Pubs Of Sunset. Even if some of the pubs were kind of restaurants. But if they had a bar, it would do. Route sorted. Now. What to wear? You don’t want to take a jacket. Hassle taking it on and off every pub. Don’t want to be cold, bit of walking involved. That light top will do perfectly. Probably can stay on. If it has to come off, so be it. If I happen to lose it, era shur… (If you’ve done a 12 Pubs, you should know this slight conundrum. Prepare to fail…) Now. Quick bit of food. Not too much. Not too little. Just the right amount, Goldie, and we’re on our way! Myself and my buddy Chris – el CD – a Scouser with a 12 pub background. Dancing!
I’m Ready – Fats Domino
CD shows up at 5 at the top of my street. Then goes home after realising his jacket was too warm and too big (Schoolboy!) On to the first pub in our route… Closed. Mighty! No worries, second is open… A Mexican bar. Cabo Cantina. Corona all over. Spanish music. Heaters making it feel like a sauna. All in all, a great Christmas pub to start in! Finish up quickly. Plough on. Second pub, a country western style pub called the Saddle Ranch. Again, zero buzz. Same again. Quick Guinness. Plough on! Pretty soon I realise we are ploughing on pre-tty quickly. Sky Bar. The Grafton. Caffe Primo. Clafoutis. BLT Steak. 7 pubs in under an hour. Well Caffe Primo is a cafe and the last two are restaurants but as they were serving booze they both served their purpose well! Still though. Quick pace!
Ploughed on! A horrendous 8th pint of some dark German beer in Eveleigh. Onto Mirabelle next door and we are in flying form! Order up at the bar and a group of three having dinner at a table next to us ask us to join them… I do believe we have our first group of stragglers! Now there are five of us, onto the next pub! Into Red Rock, turns out one of the stragglers is trying to ditch the other two she was with. Ok? Another straggler joins us. He brings another friend along, and we are on to bar number 11. Flying! One quick one in a bar called Isla and we’re off to the Viper Room – A mighty 12th pub for any 12 pubs!
We Hate Men!
First time actually ever in there I think. Small enough. An acoustic set is going on downstairs. We ask if Johnny Depp is around. No. Upstairs we go. Funny 80’s-lesbian band are playing upstairs. Hilarious. All I hear them sing is “I hate men! We hate men! Look at our tattoos!” And then the lead guitarist goes off on a riff. Great song! So great, in fact, I whip out my camera and start recording them. Bouncer is not happy. Not allowed to record. Ah yeah, no worries. I was just recording some stuff to try and make a vlogaruu for my blogaruu, you know what I mean? He doesn’t know. Time to go. Back to pub number 10 for pint number… Something?! Back and forth we go between Red Rock and Isla. Each get better each go. It’s getting late. On to the final port of call… Good old Barneys. Clever Chris and I decided to end up at the bar which is at the bottom of both our streets. Let’s just say… A quick pitcher to finish off the night? And then I went home!? Ok. Mighty 12 pubs! And even after 17 or so pubs I woke up to see my clothes were all folded neatly away as if I had never even worn them out! Was it all a dream?! My mind works in mazing ways at times. Fold on!
Oh Mr Big Stuff
12 pubs of Christmas is probably the best way to get the Christmas buzz going. Woke up the next day bouncing! Pumped for Christmas. There was even a slight chill in the air, felt like Christmas back home! Just had to get one more present. And buy a turkey. Present first. Went to the bookshop Book Soup near me to buy a gift. A mighty store. Saw my book while I was in there. Nicely positioned. A girl saw the book. Saw me, looking exactly like me on the cover of my book. Put two and two together. And I had a sale! Just as long as I signed it for her. Oh but of course. While I am writing a long meandering gibberish note about the 12 pubs of Sunset on the inside page, a chap in the queue next to us asks the girl behind the counter for wrapping paper. Sees me signing the book. Asks if I wrote it. I did indeed! Asked if it’s good. It is the mightiest book of the year! (I was bouncing off walls after the 12 pubs). Could he buy it here? You can! Up over there I think. Giddy up! I think I got another sale! And he was… Mr Big from Sex and the City! Mighty morning!
Christmas in Harlem – Kanye West
Christmas Eve was dancing. Snapped up a turkey. Big old beast. Reason being, it had somehow turned out that I would be cooking a feast on Christmas Day. Still not too sure how that transpired to happen at the last minute, but I was up for the challenge! Food bought. Christmas Eve night dancing. Then Santa groaned. Christmas Day came. Mighty! First, quick trip to mass. Good old Christmas Day mass in WeHo. Once again, an Irish priest was in charge. Once again, he heard I was Irish when getting communion. Once again, he told me to drink up the chalice of wine. Merry Christmas from Father Ireland! Ok! To say mass in West Hollywood is slightly different than in Ireland is slightly true. More of a performance here. Plus. The folk attending mass here are slightly different. On the back row next to me were three pretty big old women. Big as in tall. Big as in wide. Big as in manly. Big as in wearing big blonde, red and brown wigs. Big as in cross. Cross as in dresser. Slightly odder clientele.
Wrapping up, Christmas Day was mighty. Dinner was unreal, if I say so myself. 4 course meal for 6 people – Myself, a mighty believer, a non-believer (requested steak instead of turkey, tut tut) and three Jews. Two of whom did not have a clue they were actually coming for a Christmas Day feast. Last minute inclusions. Trick-a-jew! All had a mighty time though. Meal was described by one mighty believer as “the most amazing meal of my life!” Ted the Turkey was a Christmas hit! All aboot the secret sauce. Feast on. Christmas party that night. Another dancer of a night in the Christmas mix. All in all, a truly magnificent Christmas week. Just because I couldn’t make it back to Ireland, doesn’t mean I couldn’t get the Irish buzz going over here in Hollywood. Felt. Like. Christmas!