“OMG, sorry for the delay! The traffic was terrible today”. This is released by a five-year-old girl who is late for her ballet class and registers it Overheard LA —heard in Los Angeles—, an Instagram and TikTok account that, basically, is dedicated to sharing the most ridiculous, funny or simply symptomatic phrases of life in that city. It is a portrait of the mess that Angelenos make between their many parallel obsessions: organic food, money, drugs, the body, sex, anxiety and the purest and simplest snobbery. Actually, Overheard LA he was discouraged from the self-absorption of almost any inhabitant of a large capital:
Person 1: I’m going to Idaho this vacation.
Person 2: Where?
Person 1: Idaho, the State of Idaho.
Person 2: No idea.
There’s others overheard —New York, San Francisco— but the best is still the one in Los Angeles. The picture could be summed up like this: a jaded consumer of lattes with almond milk, immersed in a spiral of failed dates, complains about his latest mishap with an Uber driver and combines spirituality and economic precariousness with a $140 cloth bag from the supermarket bio erewhon. (The bag in question and the establishment itself have their own videos on Overheard LAwhich obviously by now also sells its own merchandising).
“Of course Los Angeles is tough. It is full of people who were too good for the place where they were born”, says someone, not without some bitterness, on the Instagram of Overheard LA. Frequently, whoever is in one place had to leave another previously. “I think that everyone in the town feels identified with wanting to get out of there. Even if you love your town, you hate it at the same time”, says Luna Pamies in the interview signed by Daniel Soufi in the May issue of ICON. The actress shines with Alberto Olmo in Water, that beautiful and slightly disconcerting film that reflects the oppressive feeling of growing up in a small town. Pamies was discovered in a bottle by Elena López Riera, the director of the feature film, and today, at the age of 19, she lives in Orihuela and makes a living painting apartments owned by a bank. Olmo did move from Murcia to Madrid, where he works as a waiter. The cinema still does not give them a living but, for now, they star in one of the two covers of the number (the other is for Taron Egerton, the Welsh actor who put Elton John’s face in Rocket man and now stars Tetris. Egerton does live off his work, but he also had to leave his town, Aberystwyth, yes, to later buy a house and return).
I write this while reading The Shards, the newly published novel by Bret Easton Ellis. Between sun, swimming pools and crimes, the author of less than zero He describes with pleasure how grown up he felt at 17 driving alone through Los Angeles and lists, in that detached style of his, the names of bars, clubs, movies, songs and groups that filled their days. Going to the movies, seeing people, getting out of your immediate surroundings—everyone should try growing up in a city, even if they risk becoming an obnoxious girl who complains about traffic, a laughable character who doesn’t know what Idaho is, or someone who Suddenly, he finds himself in Madrid paying 26 euros for two bagels and a packet of coffee. It happened to me.
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Going to the movies, seeing people, witnessing a crime? A defense of growing up in the city