On my travels, there are not many places that I have truly disliked. Most places I will love, like or at worst be ambivalent towards. Some, like London, I have a love hate relationship with. But Los Angeles? That is the only place I have been that I genuinely did not like, could not wait to leave and have had no desire to return to.
From coming out of the airport and being unable to breathe due to the thick smog, to staying in Hollywood with glamour gone to seed, to feeling trapped by the poor quality of the public transport infrastructure and intimidated by reports of “dangerous” parts of the city and to feeling overwhelmed by the sheer size of the city, the overall experience of LA was for me not a positive one.
However, I did get to experience a uniquely Hollywood event as my last day in LA coincided with the première of Ocean’s Thirteen, prior to which Matt Damon, George Clooney and Brad Pitt all had their hand prints immortalised in the concrete outside the Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard.
Hollywood comes alive during a première – there was a buzz about it all day as people packed out the bleachers hoping for a glimpse of the stars. True to form, even this turned out to be a disappointment – we dutifully took our place on the bleachers lining the red carpet in the morning, expecting that the stars would be walking the red carpet before the hand print ceremony. This did not happen – they just emerged from the theatre and we watched it on the big screen.
I was so disappointed by this, that I decided to go for dinner instead of cramming into the bleachers for the actual première that evening. However, lured by the buzz and the chance of seeing some of my favourite film stars, I couldn’t resist tagging onto the crowd later on, and I was rewarded – this is Brad Pitt:
Or it is Brad Pitt’s forehead anyway (you will have to trust me on that!). He was the one star who came all the way down the red carpet to the fans tagged onto the bottom. He was just feet away from me, I had the perfect shot lined up when the guy in the white t-shirt launched himself in front of me to get to Brad Pitt. My picture was ruined, but Jim managed to snap the above picture. Sadly, our opportunity to meet Brad Pitt or get any further pictures was gone, as he then turned away to work his way back up towards the theatre.
Still I am insanely pleased with my picture of Brad Pitt’s forehead, and much as I didn’t like LA, I wouldn’t swap my experience of being there during a film première for anything.
As a bonus, here is another picture that I managed to snap using the maximum zoom on my camera, just to prove he really was there!