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?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

C#.NET Developer

£300 - £350 per day: Harrington Starr: C#.NET Developer C#, WPF,BLL,MVVM, SOA...

Service Delivery Manager - Derivatives, Support,

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Service Delivery Manager - (Derivatives, Support...

Technical Account Manager - Java, FIX Protocol, FIX 5.0, C++

£30000 - £55000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Technical Account Manager - Java,...

WPF .NET Developer

£300 - £350 per day: Harrington Starr: WPF Analyst Programmer NET, WPF, C#, M...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

The daily catch-up: heatwave update; duck tape and market socialism

John Rentoul
David Cameron's 'compassionate conservatism' is now lying on its back  

Tory modernisation has failed under David Cameron

Michael Dugher
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform