There’s one thing I dislike more visiting downtown Santa Monica, and that’s Santa Monica during the weekend. This area of Los Angeles is filled with shops, restaurants, bars and tourists, It has one main pedestrian area called Third Street. During the weekend this area is mobbed with out of towners attracted to Santa Monica’s retail therapy and street performers, like moths to a flame.
But needs must, and when Red’s iPhone took an accidental swim, I had to brave 3rd Street to visit the local Apple Store in Santa Monica.
After a sad confirmation from my Apple Tech guy, I went in search of a tea and sympathy, and was rewarded by a vision of a line of Union Jack, waving in the heat vapours of Third Street. Moth-like, I went to investigate.
All these years in LA, and it’s taken until now to stumble across “Brit Week”; a brainchild of Bob Peirce (former British Consul General for LA) as a way to “celebrate creativity and innovation between the UK and US”. I was intrigued to find out how “we” represented ourselves to the outside word, and luckily I had topical sunglasses on to look the part. (designer knock-offs from Bodrum, Turkey bought as a joke but now worn with pride!), and investigate how we put our best foot forward.
Based on the stalls with prominance us Brits like to eat. The Scots were there with their shortbread – they may want independence from the UK, but their not adverse to using images of the royal family on their tins.
The Welsh were represented with a fruity array of Welsh cakes. Smaller versions of a scone and just as dry – unless nuked in a microwave (I bought two packets of 4, but could only muster enough saliva to get 1 of the 8 down — my waistline thanks me!)
How did the English represent themselves?
I feel we were badly stereotyped – the first iconic image was a Black Cab – doors open so that all of LA could climb in to get a real feel of London.
The London Times were represented, and if you signed up for a subscription, they’d give you a free bag – theoretically to keep all of the separate sections together; Man that paper is still big.
Ben Sherman had pride of place. I’m a sucker for this brand, and forked over too much money for a t-shirt as a gift. I thought it might soften the bad news for Red “hey, you’re iPhone’s gonna die soon, and nobody will be able to call you – but at least you can look sexy and hot in this new Ben Sherman shirt”.
I thought my new Ben Sherman acquisition was expensive until I came across an F-Type Jag posing at the end of 3rd Street. An elegant little run-around for a mere $95,000 – Union Jack included.
We’re also a nation of dog lovers. Britweek dog owners were encouraged to take photo’s and then tweet and post them to Facebook. No dog? No problem … the friendly folks from the neighbouring “Adopt a dog” stand were on hand to provide a panting stand-in.
And to wrap of this party nicely; James Bond waiting for me at the Madame Tussaud’s booth. Lucky for me I had my Bodrum knock-off shades at the ready. Bought as a joke by Red, but I’m not adverse to wearing them with pride when the moment strikes.