Sunday, 27 March 2011

Hooray for Hollywood.......

With the death of the divine Liz Taylor hot on the heels of Jane Russell, it really is the end of an era. Beautiful though Angelina, Julia, Kate and the rest maybe, they don't come close to Hollywood glamour in it's heyday; the impossible perfection of so many stars sparkling on the red carpet at galas, parties and premiers or heads up, hands down in the cement on Hollywood Boulevard. The diamonds and pearls, ribbons and bows....and that's just the pets...... defined the period of out-of-this-world-extravagance, no hair out of place, no nail un-painted, no-lip un-slicked with red. These people were not like us and that's why we loved them.

Being a devotee of the movies, the best bit about living in LA 17 years ago, for me, was the set. I'd seen this back-lot so many times in so many films: Mulholland Drive, Sunset Strip, Hollywood Boulevard, and now it was me behind the wheel, cruising along PCH, heading for Malibu. I was living my dream. And it looked the same....but different. The white washed villas, the palm trees and bougainvillea, the blue skies and 24 hour diners, still staffed by waitresses with white aprons: Sherry, Cherry and Annie-May from Idaho, pens poised.....
"How d'you like your eggs?"
They tap-danced through the menu.
"Whole, wheat or rye toast?"
Still waiting for Cecil-be-the-man-from-the-movies to sit at their table and make their day. Now, hitting 60 will it ever happen?

The movie, 'Swingers', depicted my life in La-La land perfectly. Once at a party in the hills I watched a band called Zebra-Crossing, infamous Brit boys lead by the too-beautiful Charlie, an early Russell Brandian chap, dressed in a tu-tu, hugging the mic. He sang, we danced and then a total stranger started kissing me. For hours. Up against the rail of the deck, the lights of LA sparkling behind his head. He was 24. I was not. His name was Peter. He was South African.
"What man?" he said, when I pulled the err-South-Africa-face, "It's cool, Mandela is free."
"Ecstacy", he murmered in my ear.......It took awhile for me to realise it was something he was on rather than how I made him feel.... The party was in a house Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall used to live in. In all the parties in all the houses in all the Hollywood Hills, it was always Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall's house. They sure did move around some.......

Top tip:Instant glamour: head-scarf, sunglasses and's the way forward.


  1. Never been to LA - you have led a very glamorous life! I wish scarves looked good on my head - I need showing how to carry that look off! Pop over and take a look at my Mr Darcy. xxx

  2. Wow, your time in LA sounds fab - love Swingers, excellent film.

  3. Dear Jo, another brilliantly written post.

    I went to a party in Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall's house. I wonder how many houses they had? Imagine if we were at the same one!

    Lovely to talk to you tonight. I was in veg out mode. Speak in the week, love, C xx

    PS. You're right about the headscarves

  4. You're right about the headscarves and the lippy....AND the lack of stars that burn as bright as the old 'uns.

    I can quite believe you and Christina would be at the same party :-)

    Sounds like a BRILLIANT party. Did you have sore lips after all that kissing?!


  5. What a life you have led, sister. Holy shit.

    I adore you. If you're ever in Ohio, I'd love to have a cocktail or three. Let me know.


  6. Loved your article, I agree with class nowadays like the good actresses of the time gone by. Scarves... yes! Following you from Trapani, Sicily!

  7. I live by head scarf and lippy glamour - totally agree :o) Although my two trips to LA been v disappointing, i think i only saw the grubby parts :o( Scarlett x

  8. I used to love the descriptions of the old Hollywood, like the stories from David Niven's "The Moon's a Balloon", but the whole place seemed to go a bit tawdry and self-obsessive in the 80s and 90s. It must have been really strange working there. I honestly don't know whether I envy you or not, but I bet it was interesting.

    Scarf and Lippy don't work for me.
    I've no hair left on my head, so scarves tend to slide off. I've also got a heavy moustache and beard, so no one can see my lips.

    *Dilemma; beard or lipstick?*