When I was a much younger man living in West London in the late eighties I think, I was a keyboard player in a mainly Jamaican soul band. Musicians have always mixed with other races and cultures but you don't see much of it Down here in Sussex. The reason? Next to no black or Asian folks live down here. They must like to stick together like white Brits Abroad in Spain or the South of France or Florida (flo-rida?) or Australia or Somewhere.
When I was living in Los Angeles in about 2003-4 I felt like the Mexican immigrants. A bit of an outsider in someone else s' world. I would relish the trip to the English shop and restaurant on Alameda (I think). The same street that Disney, Warner Bros and NBC with Jay Leno - (their flagship show) were situated upon. As an aside, I once went for a tour around NBC and the slim young tour guide/TV wannabe girl got quite offended when I explained that in my country, a canned laughter machine, no matter how antiquated, was nothing to be gushingly proud of.
For those of you who don't know; when you see some awful American sitcom of yesteryear and the jokes aren't funny (Jerry Seinfeld anyone?) yet everybody in the audience is howling with laughter; that's canned or sampled laughter. Some bloke sitting out of view presses down keys on a box to simulate varying degrees of laughter, which must be soul destroying work, considering how crap the "jokes" are. An absolute crime to proper comedy in my book, as any proper comedian would agree.
As usual, I digress.
It was a trip down homesick lane where you could have a pint of Mc Kewens (spelt wrong) , a bowl of cocky-leaky soup and a fry up, followed by a visit to the ajoining shop for a packet of Digestives and a bottle of HP sauce at hugely inflated imort prices.
Aah you could practically still smell the expensive aviation fuel on the packets...and yes the biscuits at the end were still broken just like at home..
So whilst I may mention LA in a future blog (you don't know what I was doing there yet; unless you know me in which case you'll be bored rigid with the story) I will just say that I can see why immigrants/expats/poor natives or whatever tend to stick together geographically at least. It's very comforting and somewhat homely. Having said that, I always feel like it's a good thing when you see others venturing outside those parameters. Not just because I like to see young love, but because the more integrated we are, the less mystery and false rumours about those others in that group over there that ultimatly lead to conflict, are aloud to grow.
See video number 5 on the video page. One thing I didn't find out though. Why do Ghanian men spend so much time on their mobiles? Some hardly saw the reception at all. Whatever it was must have been important..