London - June 1979

You're not in Westwood anymore.

It’s June 1979 – You’re From L.A. – You Just Graduated High School – You’re In London – You’re A Foreigner – You Don’t Care.

London - June 1979
You’re not in Westwood anymore either.

Capital Radio – June, 1979 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –

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So you wound up in London. You scored a free roundtrip ticket and you got your passport. The picture looks nothing like you. The photographer told you not to smile, so you look like a serial killer. You’ve never been out of the country before. Ensenada with your parents, but that doesn’t count.

You’re in London. You’re freezing and everything smells like diesel fuel. You make your way to a Youth Hostel and people start asking where you’re from. It hits you that you’re in another country – and you’re the foreigner – and you’re the tourist. Your roommates are two Germans and a guy from France. The Germans have spiky white hair and ripped-up jeans – one has a black t-shirt that says Sid Lives and the other has a t-shirt that says “Pretty Vacant”. They drink a lot of beer. The guy at the front desk keeps yelling “verboten!”, but they smuggle it in anyway. The French guy looks like he fell out of 1968; full beard and soaked in patchouli, he carries everything around in a big knapsack. The Germans sneer and the French guy flips the finger, but they all seem harmless.

Your first day exploring you get directions to the nearest Marks & Spencer where you invest in a sweater – Summer is different in London than it is in L.A. – for one thing, it’s still light out at almost midnight. The other thing; it rains a lot. You think the weather reports are weird; “periods of sun” they keep saying. No Malibu, that’s for sure.

Three days in and you feel like you’ve lived here forever – you cut all your hair off and you’re thinking about dying it white. You’ve developed a taste for beer. You’ve taken to spending hours sitting at Piccadilly Circus with the Germans and all the other tourists, watching people. You think you might be developing an accent. You wonder what would happen if you just stayed here.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Here, as a companion and something of a snapshot, is a half hour’s worth of Capital Radio, recorded around the middle of June, 1979.

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