Welcome To Hollywood – 6 Hollywood Boulevard, 7pm. Bring goggles. That’s all it said. He turned it over in his hand, looking for a name, a logo, a business…nothing. Just a black card with those 7 words emblazoned in gold letters.
*7pm, 6 Hollywood Boulevard
You step through the open front door and see people milling in a long, golden hallway. All of them look cooler than you, but that’s nothing new. Since you arrived in Hollywood, you’ve felt like a pitiful alien surrounded by beautiful, effortless Californian Creatures. You hear the intro to Childish Gambino’s Me & Your Mama drifting out from a room to your left. As you look down, you see smoke billowing out from underneath the door. Is it dry ice? You inhale and remember you live in Hollywood now. Everyone has anxiety. Everyone smokes the cure.
The song gets louder and louder, and just as you start to feel the bass vibrating in your chest, you notice people in the hallway have stopped talking. They’re all looking expectantly at the door. You start to feel anxious. What’s happening? The song builds and builds, and as the psychedelic space-junk-funk chorus finally explodes into life - do what you want - a man wearing a purple wig, golden jacket and red high heels busts open the door and starts screaming along to the words, smoke swelling around him. Like Axl Rose fronting Sly & The Family Stone. How is that possible? you think to yourself.
The man is carrying a golden plate filled with colourful narcotics you’ve never seen or heard of. I’ve got EPP, 34RE, TYU, 808s and Heartbreaks, MFIJ. The man is staring right into your soul, a maniacal grin plastered across his powdered face. What’s it gonna be newbie? You take a pastel pink pill, thinking it looks the safest option. You down it with a shot of tequila and immediately regret your decision.
LCD Soundsystem’s Dance Yrself Clean is now ringing out across the Hollywood Hills. The extended intro is giving you serious anxiety. Or is it the pill you’ve just swallowed? Is time slowing down? Has this song always had such a long intro?
There are lizard people all over Hollywood.
Are you a lizard person?
I…I don’t think so?
You’re not a lizard person. But I am.
Did you just blink sideways?
Suddenly the shuddering synth line kicks in, and everyone around you is dancing. You look down at your feet, and you appear to be dancing too. Much to your dismay, your feet are doing the Irish jig you learnt watching Michael Flatley DVDs as a child. Why am I doing an Irish jig? you think to yourself. It doesn’t matter. Everyone seems to be digging your Flatley moves. Suddenly, the Californian Creatures have formed a circle around you. Huarache Lights starts playing and your Irish jig is getting faster and faster. People are cackling and screaming and cheering. Everyone’s movements start to slow down. Are my feet moving so fast that I’m actually slowing time around me? Is everything in slow motion except for me? Am I just faster than everyone else? Suddenly you collapse to the floor and start sinking.
Deeper and deeper you go. Somewhere in the distance, you hear the spacey strums of The Sleep Jackson’s Good Dancers over the speakers. It sounds fucking amazing. It sounds fucking terrifying. You’ve never felt this alive and terrified. Or are they the same thing? The song disappears as quickly as it started. Wolf Parade’s I’ll Believe In Anything is next, ringing deep down in the cosmic hole you’ve fallen into. It’s warm in here though, so you decide to stay a little longer.
Just as you’re about to fall asleep, Thundercat punches your skull and you stand up and immediately continue your Flatley-esque jig. Except, this time, people don’t seem to be as enthused. You try pulling out the robot, but that turns people off even more. You think about yelling, I am a golden god, but realise that’s from a film and you’d probably look stupid. But before you’ve finished that thought, the words are already out of your mouth. I am a golden god! The rooms falls silent. Miraculously, the music also cuts out at this moment, despite there being no DJ and no-one near the connected laptop. The pause feels like an eternity. You consider jumping out of a window and rolling down the hill all the way to your flat, but you don’t need to, everyone starts clapping and laughing and the man in high-heels slips you another pill. This time it’s purple. Everything is great.
More songs follow, all blending into one cacophonous, dissonant blur. But it all sounds great. Whoever made this playlist must have taste. Really, really great taste.
You’re about to continue having fun, but the person writing your experiences is running out of steam and is beginning to wonder why he thought this was a good idea in the first place.
More songs happen. They’re all great.
You end the night looking out over the Hollywood hills as a new day comes to life and The World (Is Going Up in Flames) echoes out across the crisp, cool morning. You think to yourself, it really is going up in flames, but at least I have this playlist in my life.