Sunday, 16 November 2014

Evans and Peel Detective Agency

Jamie and I moved house on Friday. The experience was always going to be a stressful one for me seeing as I'm a control freak. On the contrary, the day ran smoothly thanks to my friend Jonathan showing up in his company car to take my boxes of house wares to the refuse centre. Many thanks to Jonathan and Jamie for dealing with my hissy fits. Jonathan even finished Amar's only assigned job; to make us a new house fridge welcome message...
48 hours later and I'm onboard the Virgin train to Glasgow from London writing a little bit about the most worthwhile attraction around my old place.

Within the first week of moving to Barons court (a whole year and a half ago) we were advised to visit to Evans and Peels Detective Agency; a speak-easy bar posing as a detective agency. For entry to the Earl's Court venue you must call and make an appointment or apply online and state your case for review by the detectives.
We recruited our fellow Scots, Dani and Sean (The beginnings of this friendship is a funny story. I'll write about another time.)
I wrote our case and it went a little something like this:

"Danielle and Sean are missing a family member, Aunt Petunia. Yesterday afternoon at 2.43pm a shrill was heard from her kitchen and after reported to the police, she was nowhere to be found. Vivacious (and young for an aunt) Aunt Petunia often had male visitors take her out at the weekend near her quaint cottage in Kirkcaldy. Jamie's father is one of them. Danielle and Sean suspect some foul play as Aunt Petunia had left the gas on the cooker on - heating up for her famous chocolate fondue. Was she cooking for a visitor or just to indulge? Aunt Petunia was always careful with the gas cooker. Her car left in the driveway and all her life savings in her underwear drawer - Petunia's everyday favourite shoes sitting on the front door shoe rack. Neighbours only report hearing one voice, that of Petunia. Her daughter Samantha is less concerned about her mothers disappearance. Mother Petunia disappeared so many times before on the whim of her many terrible boyfriends. Samantha severed communication with her mother last christmas when she found her mother in a compromising position with her boyfriend of 10 years. Tonight we ask you Evans and Peel, can you find Petunia?"

Not knowing what to expect on arrival, we followed our google maps to identify the entrance.
FOUND IT
As we stepped down the staircase we weren't quite sure what or who would be meeting. A young lady with dark hair and dark skin faced met us at her desk at the bottom, typing up some notes on her typewriter. She quizzed us on our case and we awkwardly attempted to play our characters somewhat convincingly. She agreed to take on our case and stood up from her chair to bid us entry. We all stood looking at each other. The room had no doors. 

She opened the bookcase. I wanted to scream with excitement. The bar she led us into had a beautiful 20's basement vibe. We ordered from a menu of delicious cocktails. The boys got some sliders and we shared some pork chilli fries.

We were served by a super cute Syrian guy and a chick with a memorable bust. I only detail because it was hard to keep your eyes off her tatas as she served our drinks.
The bar had some great quirks: the house brew poured from the radiator tap, cinema row seats at the tables, 20's props everywhere. I didn't even feel bad about my headpiece or wearing my work shoes (which are disgusting but definitely in theme.)
Jamie's first drink was "Hemingway's breakfast'.  It came with a warning "Extremely strong. Not for the faint hearted drinker". It went down nicely. 
It was a darling evening. Mother Petunia, I'm sorry the booze got in the way of finding out your fate. I suppose the booze just didn't care too much.

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Hallowe'en in Hollywood!

This year I've been an extremely lucky girl! I found myself in LA once again. This time I was there for 3 nights and it was Hallowe'en! I had plenty of friends on my trip and we were all in agreement that we were going to do Hallowe'en big, as the Americans do.

On the 30th we bought tickets for The Dark Harbour at the Queen Mary. The Queen Mary is a retired ship that sits beautifully on the harbour at Long Beach. Construction of the The Queen Mary began in Scotland in the early 1930s so basically she's my homegirl. Originally I wan't convinced that I'd enjoy the fright night or that it would be worth the ticket price. I grew up watching horror movies (the worst at a pretty young age) and I'm not easily scared by spooks and zombies. I didn't realise how authentic these events are.
The effort put into the layout of the fairground and attractions was huge. The actors were relentless and their stage makeup was terrifying. 
The idea is that you arrive, grab a drink from the bar and maybe some nachos and enter one of the six themed mazes. Some of the mazes even take you through The Queen Mary herself. Here's some iPhone-tacular pictures...

The following day Jade and I decided to venture out on bikes to Target, in search of fake blood for our Hallowe'en costumes. Target had none and a gent at Starbucks told us that they usually sell out of Hallowe'en stuff the week before. This didn't hugely suit us. He informed us of a Halloween store nearby and we were thrilled when we pitched up our bikes and caught sights on the halloween warehouse - Spirit Halloween. They were low in stock given the date but seemed to have everything from full size skeletons to naughty nurse outfits and cute kids costumes. We bought some Hallowe'en essentials and embarked on the 40minute bike ride home; stopping at In-n-Out en route.

That evening we met at one of the guys room for a pre-drink. At 6.30pm we congregated in the lobby for some obligatory group photos then squeezed into our Limo; all 18 of us. The traffic was terrible and it took us 2 & 1/2 hours to get to Hollywood. I had to shout pretty loud for the driver to stop somewhere before I had a bathroom episode. Holding the bathroom for half an hour is not the Halloween dream. 
When we finally poured out the Limo in West Hollywood it started to rain and luckily there was a Hamburger Mary's nearby. For those of you not familiar with this joint, google it. Hamburger Mary's is pretty much a gay bar and drag institution in LA.
We stayed there for much later than we had planned and then agreed to split into two groups for two different clubs. Some of the girls and I made our way to a club called Hyde. We arrived really early and wondered if it would get busy at all but had some faith as the interior was pretty special. We thought there was no way people wouldn't come to a club this beautiful. The club got pretty packed and we danced and sipped to a mashup I can only describe as Hiphop Heaven. The evening had it's challenges too.
Waiting for the guy who got us on guestlist to sort us drinks took about a decade. Trying to convince the Hyde security guard to let us out to grab McDonalds proved a fail. McDonalds staff later serving drive-thru only posed a serious challenge however we managed to get the McDonalds security guard to take us through the drive-thru. The best challenge of all included an hour wait for a taxi and the eventual $390-odd Uber home was just what we planned. 
All in all, despite our late-night whining, we certainly had a night to remember. I don't know when I'll next have the opportunity to spend my Halloween in LA.