Mr Grumbly wanted for light balloon duties

You will be stationed next to a large metallic object the looks like a massive toy balloon and is the work of world renowned artist Jeff Koons. This is an exceptionally tactile piece of his work and is set on a plinth at the LACM Galleries here in Los Angeles. This plinth also reflects the work.

Your duties will be to observe anyone getting too close to the artwork or, heaven forefend, actually touch it. You must advise them to step away from the balloon.

You will be suitably armed with a plastic covered identity badge and a sullen manner, as well as a personal radio so that you can warn the authorities that the work is likely to be seriously compromised by visiting small children who think that this display, is what it seems to be.

This is an extremely tough assignment as temptation will be high on busy days, whereas on quiet days it is likely you will spend many hours contemplating exactly where your own life went wrong.

Salary will be commensurate with exactly how miserable a ‘vibe’ ( as they say in these parts ) you can impart.

It has to be emphasised that the present incumbent is well established in the post.

Seriously though this is a brilliant piece of sculpture, and it’s well worth a trip to LACMA to view it, and the poor guy who has to stop people who get too close!

Jumping Spider-Man

I think this is a really super poster, and it sits nicely above the chair. I suppose it would need to be a Hercules chair for Spider-Man. The drawing here is first rate and the composition adds to the drama, can’t fault it. The addition of typical L A blue skies helps too.

No image can do it justice, and there‚Äôs little justice.

My recent pieces have been about signs and other things that I’ve found interesting here in L A. The item below is a bit of a departure. Social media is about how good things are for the writers and I’m no exception but this one is not.

We have been in L A for a few weeks wandering the streets, taking pictures of all sorts of items that I find either stimulating or amusing. Some areas are better than others and a so called poor district can be a street or so away from one where they advertise “armed response” security in little signs on the beautifully kept lawns.

Yesterday, I walked back to where we have been staying from the car hire place after returning the car to them. “You’ve only gone just over a 100 miles” said the Avis man. May be I said but believe me I’ve sat in that car for quite a long time. It took us 2 hours to get the 20 miles back from Santa Monica.

On that trip we drove through, or crawled to be exact, through some of Hollywood’s richest districts. At one point a massive vehicle that looked like a Brinks Mat armoured truck pulled out in front of us driven by blond housewife seemingly on her way to collect the kids from the local private school. It looked for all the world like a military vehicle. No one was going to mess with her.

So on my walk back from the care hire I took the opportunity to take a few more pictures. In an area of Korea Town on the main road, there on the pavement was a bundle of what looked like rags, all in black. A man of small stature, bearded and possibly in the worst state I have encountered a human being. Sitting crouched down like a wounded animal, which he was really. Quiet but desperate.

Absolutely the dirtiest human being I have ever encountered. A white man that looked like he’d been down a coal mine. In fact the last time I have seen a man so dirty was many years ago in the North West of Lancashire when I was a child of seven seeing miners leaving work, their teeth, unlikely to be their own, shone white from blackened faces. They were smiling, this poor man looked like he might never smile again. A picture could not do this justice and the least I could do was not to take one and with it what remained of his pride, if any remained.

Poor desperate people are not uncommon here. They carry all their worldly belongings with them, in bags or shopping trolleys or both.They populate the areas near the freeways and try to set up camps and shelters under bridges with bits of plastic and their inadequate bedding.

The other day we were going out in the car and as we stopped at a traffic light, there beside my window was another man, down on his luck. Not more than 30 years old, matted hair and again a filthy state. He looked me in the eye and I turned away, I’m not sure quite why, so looked back at him, he was looking at the ground so as to avoid any eye contact, not just with me, but with anyone. Someone’s son off the rails and alone in possibly the richest city on the planet. We have our fair share of poor and homeless in the UK, but these men were really the very poorest I’ve ever encountered.

It’s a blight on this country that they do not seem to look after these poor souls a little better than they do.

Sign of regeneration

Not far from the Getty Villa there are walks in Topanga National Park, we took a trail behind the Villa and climbed to the top to get the view over the coastline and in to L A. It’s worth it. It would seem that this area too has been affected by fire with blackened stumps here and there, but nothing too devastating, and it was good to see the trees regenerating with fresh green shoots appearing out of the blackened bark.

This is a biggie!

If there’s no handy building big enough for your sign they can put it on one of these monsters, but if there is a handy building then job done. Though don’t forget that if it’s up that high it might look a tad smaller than the roadside jobs, and there’s a danger of crick neck when close to the building.

Many years ago I thought I’d arrived when one of my drawing appeared on a 64 sheet poster. That’s one of the uk posters that are at the roadside and not like this on a huge gantry. The state of “arrival” here I would think is when one has a poster on the entire side of a building, like the one below. 64 sheets is supposed to represent the number of separated printed sheets that make up a poster, so it’s pretty big. I doubt that they do it that way any more, certainly for the side of a building.

The Getty Villa, the best bits.

This relatively small sculpture from the Getty Villa, a house built by the multi millionaire on the coast just close to Sunset Boulevard was one of the really great things I found at the place. The actual place left me a little cold, it’s quite monumental and although the main entrance is on the main road and a short walk up a hill to the place itself, one has to reach it by four wheels. As the museum is free and the parking 15 dollars this might make sense, but it seemed like madness to me. I suppose it was to discourage people like us who just parked on a side road.

We had to summon a shuttle bus which took us these few “unwalkable” yards. The driver was Mr Taciturn, young bearded and bored, but then who wouldn’t be if you spent the entire journey driving in not very big circles. My policy of cheery engagement did nothing to cheer him so we got the trip off to a poor start.

The villa design is inspired by the Villa Papyri at Hurculaneum. Concrete can never really replicate ancient stone. I’ve visited ancient places and they have a distressed charm that was lacking here. The place feels like a bunker, quite unlike the Getty Centre in L A itself which is a modern architectural triumph, this just does not seem to work for me.

It’s in a lovely spot on the coast but the gardens are fairly small and the whole place had the feel of a rich man showing off. That aside there are some really lovely artefacts to see and this one above, which is thousands of years old, was my favourite together with the one below. Quite a small sculpture, again centuries old, but what a wonderful face.

If you are in the area, then go and visit, but pay the 15 dollars to park, otherwise you are left to feel like a delivery of “povvies” to a concrete stately home.

The restaurant is very good and although the food is quite pricey, it’s very good quality and the service we had was first rate.

Bruce the builder, he can fix it!

Everyone’s a film start here in LA including the guy on the stairs here, take a closer look at him getting his publicity photos ready for the big push into film land. He’s wasted in the building trade. He has the look of Bruce Springsteen, and I bet he’s in a tribute band. Rock on!

For the time being though, the star of this picture is the building and not the builder.

I had no idea that this guy was doing this when I took the picture.