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

Share
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

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Marketing Manager

£40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity working ...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Journals Manager

£33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The prime focus of the role is to assist...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Bristol

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment C...

Recruitment Genius: Purchasing Administrator - Chinese Speaking

£17000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This rapidly growing company is...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

The era of graduates from the university conveyor belt is over

Hamish McRae
The UCAS clearing house call centre in Cheltenham, England  

Ucas should share its data on students from poor backgrounds so we can get a clearer picture of social mobility

Conor Ryan
Giants Club: After wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, Uganda’s giants flourish once again

Uganda's giants are flourishing once again

After the wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, elephant populations are finally recovering
The London: After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

Archaeologists will recover a crucial item from the wreck of the London which could help shed more light on what happened in the vessel's final seconds
Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

The invention involves turbojets and ramjets - a type of jet engine - and a rocket motor
10 best sun creams for kids

10 best sun creams for kids

Protect delicate and sensitive skin with products specially formulated for little ones
Tate Sensorium: New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art

Tate Sensorium

New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art
Ashes 2015: Nice guy Steven Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

Nice guy Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

He was man-of-the-match in the third Test following his recall to the England side
Ashes 2015: Remember Ashton Agar? The No 11 that nearly toppled England

Remember Ashton Agar?

The No 11 that nearly toppled England
Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks