Tuesday: stop for lunch at Lucy’s tacos in South LA on La Brea. The harsh metal windows where mostly Mexicans come for their 40 minute lunch break wait in the austere painted brick walled cell of the dining room. A plump Mexican lady chatters away in the corner under a mural of a South American scene again painted on brick. Her husband gazes into middle distance as she natters, drawing shapes in the air of the sofa and flat screen tv her sister has bought.
Motorcycle Performance Service, the garage on La Brea holds the KZ1000 Police bike hostage as I was shooed away after I discovered it had just gone on the ramp two hours after it was checked in. Thats ok, I said, see you in a coupla hours. A new rear tyre was found and the oil to be changed, any other horrors to be discovered. I hope thats it. I dont think there will be much more as I examined the bike carefully when we did the purchase although I suspect a new chain and sprockets will be required soon. 300 bucks for the chain and we have to order it,
the owner Alex White, ex-racer said. The chain turned out to be ok but as a city bike, not a highway patrol bike, it has had a hard life so I will keep giving it oild changes as we progress – I will try for a frequency of every 2000 miles, keep lubing the massive back chain and a close eye on the old lady. 67,000 city miles = 100,000 highway miles. Ok lets see what happens.
I speak to Gail of motorcycleservices onhttps://www.motorcycleservices.com/ on the phone and she has already been working on my insurance policy but needs a few documents – like the bill of sale and the Dept Motor Transport transfer documents – all to prove the bike is legally mine, then I will have to wait until Thursday when she will email me the certificate of insurance. Over here, no insurance is met with a fine and is a misdemeanor – I dont want to go on the journey until I have insurance sorted out.
I dropped by into the bookshop and chatted with Jack Grapes and his wife. Jack a rotund beat poet who was selling his collection of Bukowski books, pamphlets and drawings – beamed at me and we went off talking about how he had got to know Bukowski by writing to him to ask permission to use a line from one of his poems in his own text. Bukowski replied, granting him permission and Jack, at 17 or 18 years old became a life long friend of Bukowski. His slim and tiny wife also chatted with us. Matthew has a great job, meeting all these old beats – this was just one moment I had glanced upon. What a contrast to the fractious and harsh world of the trading floor. I don’t miss that one jot. Their son wants to be an actor and they are encouraging that – I boasted as usual about my children who had already become world-famous in my mind! Heh. Jack is a lecturer in Creative writing at the University of Los Angeles and was having a bit of a clear out from his house. Many fabulous treasures pass through the bookshop in this way – “I will be back with some more on Friday – I will sign them in my name as that will increase their value”, he chirped. Matthew looked up at Jack sternly over his reading glasses, “Really…? Ok , Jack, see you Friday”. Jack appeared in a trashy biker B movie as the main baddie – who got his come -uppence in the end.
I cant remeber the title something like Her habit becomes her.. I will Google Jack Grapes later.
Last night we were served by Jesus (the waiter) at Mao’s Cafe after mooching around a comix/second hand music shop on Melrose, run by an aging punk. He advised us to go to the open air theatre to see the premier of the new film by Joe Strummer and told us he was filmed under the Westway as a stand-in for the film with his wife when he was last in London: “I’m gonna see myself!” he chuckled.
We had delicious glasses of iced jasmine tea to wash down a huge meal which came to $33 for us both. I could not eat my main course and a cardboard box was provided so that it could be placed in the fridge at home and then thrown away in a few days time to avoid feeling guilty at our gluttony. Mao’s Cafe is fun, kitsch communist propaganda film show and the whitewashed walls are covered with red painted Maoist slogans with beautifully framed posters and pictures of the peoples revolution. I selected something from “A New Beginning” off the menu and we chatted about the old days, about Nic Korner who died in such sad circumstances – committed suicide in his flat in Queensway in 1986. Nic was a colourful character at school Matthew and I have had a lot of time to check and cross reference the minutiae of our earlier lives together and I have really enjoyed that. Back home, he showed me bundles of (optically originated) photos of burning man. Jason who had been round over the last few days organised the tent that Daniel Pinchbeck gave his talks – there is quite a lot of that on the internet already so I will not elaborate! The first Burning Man looked the best (judging by the pics) – I enjoyed seeing Daniel in London at the Horse Hospital and read Breaking Open the Head and 2012 his new book.
Earlier that day I did my first bit of sight seeing, I took off to Laurel Canyon, climbing up the steep residential back streets, stopping at the little general store run by an old hippy with backcombed hair like magic grey candyfloss… and on into the Hollywood Hills, along Mulholland Drive with its breathtaking views and Coldwater canyon. I must see Paris Texas again when Harry Dean Stanton is brought back to LA and gradually finds his old identity again.