Universal City, Los Angeles, California: I am in the lobby of the Universal City Hilton, wandering around looking for its seafood restaurant. As usual, I am dressed in black, albeit with a blue T-shirt on underneath my black cardigan. Yes, I am wearing a cardigan; it is the middle of what the local news stations are calling “The Summer Bummer“. It is hotter in London than it is in L.A.. A basic human right of being a Californian is being denied the People by God—and the People are not happy.
As usual my skin is beige and, thanks to the weather, it’s not getting any darker any time soon. It and my clothes are dark enough for me to be mistaken for a guest at the memorial service for the daughter of an apparently affluent local black family. Sadly, cancer has taken her away from them young.
I am guided/drift into the main hall, steered respectfully by a big black security guy. Once inside, I discover that this event is sad with style, however. The guests are indeed wearing black, but mothballed suits are not in evidence. I count two black leather top hats and a significant minority wearing sunglasses indoors. Did you know that there is an extensive sub-genre of music that might be described as “mournful hip hop”? I do because this is a wake with a DJ.
When I finally manage to escape and sit at the hotel bar waiting for my grilled prawn caesar salad, I overhear another sharply-dressed black guy explaining to the barman that he had been in the hotel talking with movie executives when he noticed some people he knew walking in. It turns out he vaguely knew the family of the deceased, but hadn’t heard about her sudden death. Once he’d finished up his business he had joined the “party”.
Welcome to California.