Friday, May 29, 2009

vacant lot

It's another contribution to the will miss/won't miss cataloguing of 962 N. Hoover St.   The morning glories twine round the deck with huge exuberance - they never need cultivating, just propagate and re-seed - a Californian miracle compared with my mother's careful practice of germinating morning glory seeds through immersing them in boiling water and then placing them for days in a damp environment on a warm window sill till they start to sprout - just like we used to grow peas and beans on blotting paper in my junior school.

But then, beyond them, is The Vacant Lot.   The VL is a constant source of anxiety.   It's been there since a couple of cottages that were used as meth brewing establishments, or somesuch, went up in flames (quite possibly deliberately) - this was during the reign of 962's previous owner.   Since then, the land has been for sale, has exchanged hands a couple of times (on one occasion - for we are sleuths on the internet - to Mr Gay Leather Los Angeles), has been granted planning permission for a block of condos (we read the plans in the city offices back in the summer of 2005, gauging with apprehension quite how close they would come to 962's boundaries).

As you can see, nothing has happened - just erosion, and anxiety every time there's a little earthquake, and lots of dried grass (and hollyhocks - those red blossoms), creating its own new fire hazard.   And then there's the gang graffiti behind - the once-white back walls have been covered over in various devices that are doubtless locally significant, but which are fairly sub-standard so far as L.A.'s quality wall decorations can go.   So for all the presence of cypress trees, which always make me think of Italy, and of D. H. Lawrence's poem "Giorno dei Morti", which for some odd reason was set as a theme for a painting prize when I was in my first year at SPGS (and no, I didn't win it - Claire Barlow did, and I see that she's now head of Materials Engineering at Cambridge University, which I don't think was predictable from her picture) - for all the presence of cypresses, it'll be a weight off our minds not to live next door to it.

What's more, this is a very flat photograph in terms of its lighting.   And that's attributable to June Gloom - an atmospheric phenomenon (I know it's still May) that casts a grey pall over Los Angeles at this time of the year, and makes everything utterly depressing outside - I will not miss this one little bit.

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