I've warmed up to California over the years, and the more I come to visit LA, the more I wonder whether I could live here. I think if I could get a nice place tucked away in Laurel Canyon, and drink margaritas at Saddle Ranch, I'd be alright. Get a car, drive to the mountains, get fake boobs when I'm 45 (which I'll probably do anyway).
But then I think of the people who I encounter here. I guess it's unfair to judge a city by who I see in bars and restaurants - no one would ever live in NYC by that measure - but I come across so many assholes here.
When I first arrived at House of Blues tonight for Billy Idol's Sunset Strip takeover, the first thing I encountered was a drunk woman in her late 40s or early 50s grabbing my arms and shoving me out of the way, saying, "Hold on, Jack, that's my spot." I'd noticed a big empty spot right at the front of the floor, and without having to shove anybody out of the way, I'd slithered up there. Now, I'd be more than happy to let her stand in front of me, but why did she have to manhandle me so? I was about to clock her, but instead, I asked her how drunk she was. When she said "not at all," I knew she must be really drunk, so I forgave her a little inside and started manhandling her myself, but in a weird David Lynch seductive way, stroking her hair and calling her Jackie. It was a bizarre scene, but my public scuffles often are. We finally resolved that she was a jerk and she would get her place to stand, and I would stand behind her. I was still only three people deep into the front section of General Admission, so what did I have to complain about?
Towards the end of the two-hour show, around "Rebel Yell" and "Mony Mony," some other chick started trying to use me as human monkey bars to climb up high onto the crowd to, I guess, reach up and touch Billy. I wasn't having it. Forunately I have a tremendous center of gravity and I pretty much spent the last 20 minutes of the show pressing hard up against her to prevent her from hoisting herself up or from squeezing in front of me. At one point she was dancing to the music and grinding me so heavily with her pelvis that I worried about impregnation.
I'd been to a Billy Idol concert at Hammerstein Ballroom several years ago during which I had a similar front-of-house experience, and it wasn't worth it to me to get crushed up against the barrier and lose all respiratory function so I moved to the back. But this time I was determined to withstand the pain and aggravation and have the kind of rock concert experience I never have, grasping onto Billy's clenched fist and making eye contact with Steve Stevens as he noodled on his guitar. I think some of their sweat cascaded down on me and it smelled like rain in there.
I've gotten into plenty of shouting matches in NYC (usually with cab drivers) and tonight I was ready to get arrested for biting somebody's ear off. But fortunately that wasn't necessary, and I even made it to Saddle Ranch for some tri-tip and margarita afterwards.