Late Night On Melrose

The thing I love about being in a city is the absence of people, the strange untended times when folks aren’t yet up, or everyone is awake but hibernating behind their paper thin walls.

There are places, too, where no-one really hangs out: the deserted parking lots and corners behind stores and under piers, but those are too Walking Dead for me, bringing up my inability to shake off the spectre of the thousand dystopian, apocalyptic movies and post-human fables that assail us every day.

Far cheerier then to see a lone jogger or two, or even be one, in dawn’s early haze, or cruise through darkened streets in glamorous piazzas, or simply amble down a street like Melrose, fabled, lauded and degraded through large and small screen alike.
Like Venice with its shuttered streets, or a Moroccan market, where each turning is more confusing than the last, there are codes and rules to each seemingly random arrangement of human hierarchy. Uptown, downtown, Beverly Hills, the badlands, and in Hollywood, the demarcations are acute.

I love Los Angeles, and I love Hollywood. They’re beautiful. Everybody’s plastic, but I love plastic. I want to be plastic.
Andy Warhol

One moment you’re in Chateau Marmont, studying a gelato menu and listening to a starlet’s falsetto laughter from the garden, the next in front of a food spot, covered in graffiti.

Speaking of graffiti, so much of LA is tagged, on walls and skin, you start wonder how much effort it takes to make your mark here, how loud does the message have to be?

Maybe if we tweak this, change that.. Who knows?

But not everything in LA is plastic-plastic, some things have an honest, old-world plasticity to them. Ancient artefacts like the neon-lit signs of the fifties, adorning every burger joint and the diner car from a disused train, turned into a regular, stationary diner. Or the throng of Harley Davidson riders: not the Porsche-replacement crew, living it up in retirement, but genuine Marlon Brando-esque bad boys, giving us the thrill of a different era. Hollywood is old and new and sacred and profane at once, and nowhere more so than Melrose Avenue. I’d live in one in of these stores if I could, spending the day in Fred Segal or Wild Style, trawling through the flea market at Fairfax High School, emerging triumphant with some relic from a forgotten movie. A pair of too-tight stilettos, perhaps, or some winged sunglasses. Best of all, an Art Deco mirror, to admire my own plastic.

I Love LA.

Photography by Dear Velvet