Jaci Stephen: There are worst places to die – I could have been in the feminine hygiene aisle

Way Out West

Share
Related Topics

Earthquake Preparedness Month posters are up again. But this time round, after a year in LA, I was able to explain all to my visiting friends.

After my first earthquake last May, I heeded the advice of the hardware store that first put my kit together. I sleep with money and a torch next to my bed, and there's loads of bottled water in the apartment; and I know to run to a door frame or under my dining table when disaster strikes. My friends were impressed.

Or would have been, had we not been 14 floors up in Soho House's new members-only club when Mexico's 7.2 earthquake struck on Sunday afternoon.

The West Hollywood venue is spectacular, as all Nick Jones's ventures are. When I recently returned to the UK, I stayed at the London Club's new hotel in Dean Street, where the pillows are so spectacular, you need crampons and a compass to make it into bed. If I picked anyone up en route, I have no idea, as I would never have found them.

Soho House LA is a mixture of modernity and old Hollywood, and has quickly become everyone's favourite place. I have been a member of the London Club since day one, and I adore the new place even more. So, with 360 degree views over the city, and the best roast dinner I have had in years, I was quite content when the light fittings started to shake. Shortly followed by the room. It was only when I saw the fish clinging with their gills for dear life in the restaurant's lake, that I really started to panic.

The whole scene appeared to pause in freeze-frame. I hadn't ordered flying fish for dessert, but one looked suspiciously close to landing on my plate. These were the people I was going to die with. I thought that the man on the next table, who had brought his brand new Apple iPad to lunch, would never get to use it (although it would be the first thing I would steal when the walls started to crumble). Gone. We would never again see what have to be the nicest and best-turned-out staff in the world – the beautiful Ally, who welcomed us, along with our faultless waiter, Phil. Gone. The cocktail glasses, apparently modelled on Marie Antoinette's breasts, would be mere shards among the rubble. Gone. OH YE GODS! WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE TOGETHER!

The eerie silence lasted for about a minute, but felt like 10. Then, when the shaking stopped, and we realised that the earth had moved but not caved in, a strange thing happened. People started to chat to complete strangers, almost deliriously, relieved we were all OK.

Or, I wondered, maybe we were not, and we had gone to the afterlife. I wouldn't have minded, to be honest. With its open roof, imported olive trees that canopy the restaurant, and great food, if Soho House was Sixth Sense II, I wasn't going to be complaining.

There were worst places to die. Rite-Aid, for a start. I wouldn't have wanted to be found among the hundreds of products in the Feminine Hygiene aisle that have so fascinated me since I came here.

Or I could have been in Sports Club LA, where they would have found me like an inflated lobster. Or in City Century's AMC cinema complex, with the Buffalo Burger down my front.

Yes, there were definitely worse places to die than Soho House.

We quickly learned that the earthquake had registered as 6.9; then it was up to 7.2. Our new best friends thought that for dramatic purpose, we would tell everyone back in Britain that it was 11.3.

We also learned that our building was on wheels, which apparently made it earthquake-proof. This worried me even more, as I had visions of us freewaying down the Hollywood Hills, careering into unsuspecting Big Mac diners, who had not been so fortunate as to have enjoyed the dining experience that we had just had.

The event has made me reassess my plans for Earthquake Preparedness Month. If you're five miles from home, what use is a torch sitting in your bedside cabinet?

Now, I am going to carry my EPM kit around with me, and it will consist of just two things: my Soho House membership card and a corkscrew.

Because, at the first hint of another rumble on the news, I'm going to be out of my place quicker than Marie Antoinette's breasts in her boudoir, and over to Soho House. And when the fish start to fly, I just want to be drunk as a skunk before they find me among the rubble with a goldfish up my nose.



To read Jaci Stephen's blog, LA Not So Confidential, in full, go to LAnotsoconfidential.blogspot.com

React Now

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

Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Serena Williams  

As Stella Creasy and Serena Williams know, a woman's achievements are still judged on appearance

Holly Baxter
Corbyn's style has the authenticity of being true to oneself  

Do modern leaders need ‘charisma’?

Boyd Tonkin
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones