Coming down towards the end of the away part of the LOCKED ROOMS tour, just Los Angeles to go, which I reach not by the traditional Californian methods of automobile or plane, but by (gasp) train. Only a New York publicist would think of mass transit to get a person from San Diego to LA. And to make matters even more peculiar, the train station is about two blocks from my hotel, so I shall set out on foot. Actually, they’e2’80’99d scheduled a car to pick me up and take me to the station, but I’e2’80’99m glad my escort Larry pointed out how close it was’e2’80’94I would have felt completely ridiculous to have solemnly climbed into the limo and driven for thirty seconds. Laurie King, rock star.
In San Diego, I’e2’80’99ve stayed at an unrelentingly hip hotel called, W. That’e2’80’99s all, just W. The sure sign of a hotel’e2’80’99s hipness is when the doormen wear wires coming out of their ears, like laid-back FBI agents. In the evening, semi-techno music throbs through the lobby bar, which is filled with Beautiful People (and being Southern California, they are young and beautiful indeed’e2’80’94I skulk through the perimeter in my Clarks clogs and my travel-wrinkled khakis, giving the elevator button many vigorous pushes.)
In fact, so hip is my room’e2’80’94waist-high window seat with bold throw pillows, a framed chalkboard hanging where an ordinary hotel would stick some boring and predictable painting, the buttons on the phone labelled with directions such as ‘e2’80’9cWhatever/Whenever’e2’80’9d (this gets you to the main desk), Rice (I think this is the restaurant), and the enigmatic ‘e2’80’9cWheels’e2’80’9d’e2’80’94so hip, as I say, is my room, that as I was talking to my agent I had to wonder aloud if one was permitted a nap in such a setting. But we decided that, to the truly hip, the Power Nap was the Next Big Thing, to be proudly announced by a call to ‘e2’80’9cWhatever/Whenever’e2’80’9d asking for a wake-up call at its appropriate end. I tell you, Laurie King is riding the wave of the future.
One drawback of this degree of cool is that it’e2’80’99s not always clear when something is being cutting-edge and when it’e2’80’99s just not working. So the television was on when I came into the room (wasted electricity is the modern equivalent of splashing fountains in the houses of dry countries) but set to some (I thought) dancing random channel, and when I searched for something resembling a room service menu, the closest I came was a catalogue of Lifestyle Ingredients where one could purchase the bath products and sheets one found in the room. I turned off the television (although it did in fact have some problem making it dance, which I would find until later when Brian Williams was seen but through a glass darkly) and called the ‘e2’80’9cW/W’e2’80’99 people downstairs to enquire humbly about mundane foodstuffs, which those of us who have not reached True Cool occasionally require. Turned out there was indeed meant to be a directory on my modular white desk, but when they brough tme one it was so cleverly packaged, the last people in the room must have taken it as a souvenir. Like an elongated deck of cards with heavy plastic covers and a grommet in the lower left corner, one investigates menus and the dry-cleaner’e2’80’99s numbers by splaying out the pages. Not a terribly successful design, since the grommet is too tight and the pages must get torn a lot, but damn, it’e2’80’99s hip.
See you in LA.