John Walker's Electronic House

Where The Murder Rate Is In Decline

by on Sep.15, 2005, under The Rest

LA then.

It’s not really possible to answer the question, “What do you think of LA?” It’s a bit like being asked, “What do you think of England?” It’s sprawling, and seemingly very different depending upon where you are. We were in Westwood, and I can report back that it’s a surprisingly ordinary place, if a tad rich. However, that didn’t mean there weren’t other places that looked like this:


It was like being trapped inside a horrible Disneyfied cartoon. But there was a pretty girl in the Hot Topic shop, who sold me a Postal Service t-shirt, which made it all better. Unfornately, it was then made all bad again by the outdoor karaoke stall at the end of the street.

But for me, LA was about the puns. The first was encountered at Universal Studios, which requires a short digression…

Walking around Universal Studios: Hollywood is like being in the sort of haunted theme park you’d expect to see in a Scooby-Doo cartoon. Faded paint, rusty metal, the entire place feels as if it’s been designed with a 1992 theme. The reality is, that was probably the last time they changed anything there. There are rides with vaguely more recent film names, but as soon as you enter it becomes obvious that it used to be the interior for something similar. Van Helsing being probably the most recent title to appear was very obviously some other cartoonish horror in a previous incarnation, and tellingly doesn’t feature either bats or werewolves, making the name rather peculiar. The main rides are still Terminator 3D and Back To The Future, the latter now so dated as to have taken on a “retro” styling. “Hey kids, this was how they used to do simulation rides when I was young.” The name takes on a deeper resonance. Terminator’s stage-show-meets-3D-movie is pleasingly effective… once you’re inside. Outside, during the queue, and the gigglingly bad introduction video, the aging nature of the decade old arrangement is all too obvious. Aging grey monitors show what might have looked futuristic in the early 90s, looking surprisingly like this:

Tonight we're going to party like it's...

The best part of the day was the studio tour – something I was expecting to be terrible. Driving about Universal’s lots is an impressive sight, in a well put together tour. We drove past the remarkable plane wreck from the recent War of the Worlds – a full size 747, destroyed for Mr Speilberg’s pleasure.

But more excitingly than anything I could have possibly expected, we went to Sunnydale! There are a number of ‘streets’ in the outdoor lots, each looking entirely real as we drove down them, but all completely fake. Even the trees, utterly real looking in every way, are all plastic and polystyrene. Everything in the following, which I think might have been Buffy’s house, is fake:

The vampires have been removed since filming ended.

And here’s a weird thing. The same cul-de-sac on which the building lives, and indeed if you’re a fan you might have already noticed, is where the residents of Desperate Housewives glare at one another.

But the pun. It’s so glorious. Outside the Back To The Future ride, depressingly closed (adding to the haunted park theme) was the following stall:

Nothing can be added

If that’s not enough, then the “Chick Mall” we visted on Tuesday morning should convince you to book tickets to the city immediately.


Splendid stuff.

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