Los Angeles (CA), House Parties and Gun Scares.

•December 12, 2011 • Leave a Comment

We arrived in Glendale just north of the city of Los Angeles early evening to meet Jason, a friend of the others that used to live in Salinas, but now has an apartment in Glendale. We had a rest there for a while until I got a call from my uncle. Prior to the journey down to Los Angeles, I talked to my uncle who lives in Silverlake Los Angeles about where we could stay while we were in the city. He suggested that we stay in my aunty’s mum’s old house that she still owns but doesn’t live in anymore, located in North Mariposa.

My uncle called and asked if we wanted the keys to the house, so Omar, Kyle, Sebatian and I drove from Glendale to Silverlake to go and see my Uncle and cousins. It was great seeing them, I hadn’t seen my cousins in around  18 moths so we spent half an hour or so there catching up. My uncle suggested he drove down to the house so Omar could follow.

None of us knew what to expect, I thought I’d been to the house once when I was very young but I didn’t remember what it was like at all. When we arrived we were stunned; the house is beautiful. Typical Californian architecture, a huge front garden with steps leading up to the porch, leading into a well furnished large hallway that led into an open plan kitchen and living room. Upstairs were four rooms big enough to accomodate two to three in each so we knew there was plenty of room for all of us.

My friend Audrey lives in Pasedina, a town further north of Los Angeles. I called her earlier that day saying we’d be in LA on the 17th and if she wanted to come hang out, and seeing as the house was big enough to accommodate more than the 15 of us already there I told her to bring some friends so we could make a night out of it.

The others who were still in Glendale headed to the house and picked up drinks on the way. My uncle left so we had the house to ourselves, Audrey turned up with four other friends. We all played a drinking game called mushroom cup for a bit, then the rest of us got here from Glendale and it was turning out to be more of a house party. I couldn’t believe I was able to make a house party happen in Los Angeles, if I could boast about anything it would be that.

I can honestly say it was one of the best nights of my life. We hung out in the garden a lot because it was so warm there, and I’m sure everyone else had a lot of fun.

Gayanne who owned the house had a graffiti artist paint on the side of her outback garage.

The next day, we went out to have a look around Silverlake and Hollywood. We got coffee that morning on Sunset Blvd. in Silverlake, then headed to Hollywood to check out the guitar centre. The guitar centre there is a musician’s heaven. The three story high walls are lined with all types of guitars, ranging from consumer to $85,000 limited edition Gibsons. Then upstairs, there’s a larger drum section.

We ate at Roscoes Chicken and Waffles, a place Auggie and the others had been telling us about for a while now. The meal I had there definitely lived up to it’s hype. A huge waffle and two pieces of well cooked southern fried chicken breast, served with maple syrup and traditional mexican hot sauce.

That night, Jason suggested we go out to a club. A lot of clubs in Hollywood are open to people 18 and up, if you’re over 21 you get a wrist band that allows you to buy alcohol there. There’s a gay club called Rage that Jason said was great. Gay clubs are very different in California though, they attract gay/straight and bi people, and you can avoid the alpha mail types that you get in regular clubs. We bought drinks prior to going in, and once we were in it was awesome. The club was packed and the music was good. It’s a lot of fun getting talking to people there as they find the english accent interesting. We had an amazing night.

The club closed at 3am, so we walked back to Aarons car and drove back to the house with the others.

The night changed completely as something completely unexpected happened in the following hours.

Kyle and Aaron have an A4 stencil of a storm troopers helmet they take around with them at times to mark places they’ve been to, just for fun. Down the road from the house, there is a billboard that had an American Apparel advert on at the time.

Without anyone expecting, Kyle and Aaron ran inside the house and slammed the door, locked it and told us to switch all the lights off. We didn’t even know they had gone. I asked them what happened and Aaron told us that they had gone out and stencilled the advert, though shortly after they were confronted by a young man creeping towards them from the free way.

Kyle said the man looked Mexican and shouted “Where you from holmes?”. He said the man was holding a handgun which he was attempting to conceal under a bandana. Both Aaron and Kyle started running back to the house and didn’t look back.

When they got in I switched off all the lights, went to a room upstairs that had a window that overlooked the street to see if anyone was there but thankfully no one could be seen.

Aaron was pretty shook from the experience, we sat talking downstairs for the rest of the night.

It got to around 4AM and I headed to bed. At this point everyone was asleep, and as I was drifting off I was awoke by two loud knocks that sounded like someone at the door. This scared the hell out of me, I walked down the stairs a bit and looked out the window into the porch but no one was there. I went back to bed and a couple of minutes later, I heard the same thing. Two loud knocks at the door. I checked out the window but no one was there, after I headed back to the room I was sleeping in and checked out the window overlooking the driveway, only to find out that a cat was sitting on the bonnet of Omar’s car, causing it to dip in and out every now and then and make a noise remarkably like that of someone knocking on the front door.

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Small Towns

•February 5, 2010 • 1 Comment

Today, we (we being Rob and I) ventured half an hour out of our student infested town that goes by the name of Shelton. What we found was a town that looked looked like it hadn’t been touched in fifty years, apart from the pension homes of course. The residents weren’t too on track either; we noticed this when a seriously sketchy looking ‘skin-head’ approached us as we were in the wooded area, claiming to be a policemen off duty (that’s why he didn’t have his badge). He asked us for our names, where we were from, and then told us he ‘could have’ run checks on us (checks for what? Did he think we wanted to bomb this lost cause of a town?). Anyway, he unfortunately didn’t have his badge on him, nor any uniform, or any proof whatsoever that he was a member of the fuzz. So we were free to continue our adventure, which ended not too long after that when we realised our lecture started four minutes ago.

The City of Angels

•December 29, 2009 • 3 Comments

We arrived in my favourite city; Los Angeles at 3pm wednesday afternoon. Since then we’ve been up to Griffiths Observatory, walked along Hollywood Blvd, seen Pierce Brosnan and been to the top of City Hall.

Seb Hue

•December 5, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Seb Hue, 19 has been drumming for four years. For the three years i’ve known him he’s been constantly ahead of me, which is depressing considering I started drumming when I was 13 and I’m as old as him. Seb plays a Tama Starclassic kit with a variety of Zildjian and Meinl cymbals.

Drumming has to be my second biggest hobby, after photography. It’s the perfect time killer, and something you can take your anger out on at times. In our shed (soundproofed) we have the drum kit, one guitar amp and one bass amp. Many evenings with Seb have been spent taking turns in showing each other new fills and rhythms, or having death metal jam sessions with me playing guitar.

Seb currently studies Music Technology at Kingston University and plans on moving out into halls of a house September 2010. At the moment my kit is still at home so I only get to play every two to three weeks or so, however one of our house mates here in Stoke recently moved out and left us his rather large room. So hopefully if the neighbours don’t mind, I can move my kit here after New Year’s.

Working Life

•December 2, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Just of Leek Road, there lies a small and some-what nostalgic feeling garage called Kennerly’s. I decided to photograph Kennerly’s after walking past it many times thinking I could make some interesting photographs of all the tools and nuts and bolts lying across their long working shelves.

At first I was told only to photograph the place from the front due to health and safety hazards inside. Then Mark, one of the very polite and good willing members of staff came out and allowed me to photograph inside the workshops if he came with me.

This was the desk I was most interested in shooting. It was covered in hundreds of different sized bolts and cogs, lined with different tools for just about everything you’d need to fix a vehicle. The opaque glass windows above also cast a great soft light over the bolts.

The Youth Of Today

•November 25, 2009 • Leave a Comment

While walking around the Hanley area, I found it difficult to decide on a ‘Local Interest Story’ to cover. It wasn’t as much a consistent lack of material but a lack of intrigue on my part, I just couldn’t find anything that I could connect with and show the genuine ‘interest’ I was primarily looking for. After endlessly roaming and just coming to a complete lack of motivation I stumbled across Dazed. Dazed Retail LTD, launched in 2001, is a store which stocks a fine yet niche collection of clothing, footwear and skateboard decks. Instantly I was captivated, I hadn’t a clue anything of this sort would be on sale in Stoke-on-Trent, I was obviously wrong. After browsing the goods and conversing with some of the staff, I found the store did more than just sell skate wear but it actually strives in bringing the skate community together.

Drew, an employee had this to say:”It’s more than just a skate shop, it’s a place where kids can get away from troubles they would find outside of home.” He told me how the store would fill with youths from around the area and they would just literally ‘chill out’ which to my surprise was simply fine by the staff, they would even promote it. I’d never heard of a store allowing youths to come and find safe heaven within their store. Dazed is different, Dazed are an inspiration. Though this community may be small within the Stoke area, it doesn’t mean that it has no strength.

Around four years ago, the council built a stake plaza within the confines of Hanley park. The community immediately grew and became stronger because they had someplace to practice their sport but most importantly their passion. However, what they told us at Dazed was that, yes the plaza is great but the english weather is just so impractical and this somewhat renders the facilities dysfunctional because of the wet surfaces which cause endangerment to health. What the community really needs in an indoor or covered section in which the youths could use all year around. But away from and above all the negatives Dazed does it’s best in bringing together a community under one roof out of the cold and out of trouble.

The City At Night

•November 11, 2009 • Leave a Comment

A five minute walk from where we live, in the valley between Hanley and Burslim, lies the remains of Shelton Steelworks. Shelton Steelworks stopped producing crude steel in 1978 and instead concentrated on rolling Steel Billet trains loaded in Scunthorpe. The Rolling Plant finally closed in 2002.

D700 | 3200 | f/1.4

Stoke also housed repair shops of the North Staffordshire Railway, yet these were also closed in 1927.

Industry Avenue

Shelton Steelworks were greatly involved in World War 2 industrial effort. Reginald Mitchell, the designer of the Supermarine Spitfire, had his apprenticeship at Kerr Stuart & Co. Ltd’s railway works. The Supermarine Spitfire was one of the sole reasons for the RAF’s success.

Overpass

Regardless of a somewhat dire subject focusing on the downfall of Stoke’s industrial iron and steel making industry, new developments are being made in the area.

Construction Site