Dom Joly: Stuck in LA, I watch TV and brood about cat litter

Related Topics

I've been stuck in LA all week – another victim of the volcano that nobody outside Iceland can pronounce. Every time I thought I was getting out of here, Twitter or the BBC would warn me about bigger, better volcanoes getting ready to blow. Eventually, like many stranded Brits here, I started to make it my home.

Every night we all meet at the extraordinary new Soho House and cry into each other's mojitos about how much we miss our families and the British weather. I'm now convinced that several movies will come from unintended volcano get-togethers. I was here for one meeting and have now notched up my 20th – Armageddon is good for show business.

In between roaring around town in the smallest car in California, I have been watching a lot of American TV. I love TV over here, although I'm sure I would tire of it after a two-year eruption. But, for the moment, I'm hooked. Everything here is designed to reduce your "life effort". I actually saw an advert with people having nervous breakdowns over having to deal with cat litter. "Never deal with cat litter again!!!" boomed the voice-over. The ad showed a nervous-looking cat entering what looked like a small white spaceship. Then a close-up showed a hand hitting a blue button. "Wham – it's all gone!!!" said the proud voice-over. It was unclear whether it was just the litter or the cat had gone as well. It was equally unclear where it all went. My guess was somewhere in Mexico. LA: the city where you get a new cat every time it takes a dump.

Then I watched an ad warning about household germs. The worst place for these was... the handle of the hand-cleaning dispenser you put into your home when the last ad warned you about household germs. The solution? A no-touch, hands-free dispenser for hand-cleaning goo. Someone has too much time on their hands.

I know LA is a one-industry town, but it's absolutely extraordinary going out and eavesdropping. In the Chateau Marmont, I sat right behind a very bored-looking Johnny Depp who was being pitched some terrible movie by an absolutely insane-looking director. He actually used the words: "As you know, I've always been a huge fan of the French new wave."

In less famous surroundings, while having a Tex-Mex lunch, I was spoilt for choice. To my right was a man who was on a date with a much younger and rather stunning blonde (men seem to only ever lunch with younger women here). He was a producer and was playing the vulnerable line: "I'm of Cuban descent, both parents, but I can't do Cuban – I can't dance, I got no rhythm. I have a Cuban attitude to women, however."

I longed to know what this was, but my attention was now going left to where two huge fat men were interviewing a stick-thin girl. "So what do you want to do, eventually?" asked Fat Man Number One. "I either want to run a studio or be an actress," said the girl, who was not lacking in confidence. "For the moment, will you be content with PA?" asked Fat Man Number Two. "I guess so. I'm writing all the time, so something could come out of nowhere at any time."

Confidence is key in this town. Everybody is bullshitting. "Nobody knows anything," is William Goldman's favourite line about the place – and he is so right. You can't be British out here for very long. After a couple of Hugh Grant-like fumbling meetings (I don't mean with women; I mean business meetings) I became ridiculously self-promoting and "in your face". I would have been so embarrassed to do anything similar in the UK, but over here you reinvent yourself. I guess that's the attraction of the place.

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Planner

£35000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen withi...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£13676.46 - £15864.28 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Re...

Recruitment Genius: Existing Customer Telephone Consultants

£13000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Every day they get another 1000...

Recruitment Genius: Contract Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of refrigeration, mechan...

Day In a Page

Read Next

Daily catch-up: the endless and beginningless election campaign goes up and down

John Rentoul
Zoe Sugg, aka Zoella, with her boyfriend, fellow vlogger Alfie Deyes  

What the advertising world can learn from Zoella's gang

Danny Rogers
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor