They call Los Angeles the “City Of Angels.” I didn’t find it to be that, exactly. But I’ll allow there are some nice folks there. ‘Course I can’t say I’ve seen London, and I ain’t never been to France. And I ain’t never seen no queen in her damned undies, so the feller says. But I’ll tell you what – after seeing Los Angeles, and this here story I’m about to unfold, well, I guess I seen somethin’ every bit as stupefyin’ as you’d see in any of them other places. And in English, too. — The Stranger (the narrator in The Big Lebowski).
I present this — Hugh Laurie’s love letter to Los Angeles — to you guys today because I’ve never really been a big fan of LA. It’s always been one of those places I’ve been fine with to visit but would never want to live. But I have to say, Laurie’s pro-LA argument is quite persuasive. I’ve actually come to think that I wouldn’t want to kill myself or someone else if I had to live there.
You’re allowed to love Paris, up to a point, New York, more or less, Dublin and Glasgow, definitely, but loving Los Angeles is just plain wrong. Oxymoronic, in fact – if you promise to go easy on the oxy.
Los Angeles, and especially the abbreviated LA, has become a byword for the shallow, the ephemeral, the vain – and it is the duty of any right-thinking Englishman, properly cask-aged in rainwater, body dysmorphia and sarcasm, to scorn it. And it’s not just the British press who feel this way.
The rest of the world, and much of America, treats Los Angeles with the same weird mixture of envy and snobbery – qualities that ought to contradict each other, but somehow never do.
Well, I warn you now, I’m heading in the other direction. I’m sticking up for the beautiful city of Los Angeles.
For every hair-gelled slickster in a BMW trying to get on, fit in, match up, there is a dishevelled, flip-flopped Lebowski, walking his monitor lizard at three in the morning. For every blonde, high-bottomed starlet sucking ginger root on her way to yoga, there’s a crazed Madame Arcati wearing curtains and offering to read your dog’s feet, at four in the morning.
I love this about Los Angeles. I love the hippyness – better still, the collision between hip and yup – all set against the noirish, Philip Marlowe memories of my moviegoing youth. (Even now, I challenge you to drive west on Sunset Boulevard, peer in through those mysterious shaded driveways, dripping with jasmine and bougainvillea, and tell me that Norma Desmond doesn’t – couldn’t – live there.)
Yes, let’s never forget that if not for Los Angeles we’d never have Jeff Lebowski which means we’d never have The Jesus which means we’d never have this GIF…
So yeah, LA is alright in my book.