US Dispatch: The Farm of Beverly Hills, California
439 North Beverly Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
+1 (310) 273-5578
by Emma Ricano
So I’m standing on stage (crate of Heineken) at the top of a North London pub (maroon carpet, vinegar smells) delivering pithy one-liners and the next thing I know, a stocky man in a black suit who looks like a budget version of Tommy Lee Jones is pumping my hand, “I’m gonna make you a star,” he says and thrusts a card into my sweating palm. Turns out he’s a top Hollywood talent agent who can introduce me to Mr and Mrs Money.
A few weeks later I’m on a plane to LA. I call Budget Tommy when I touch down. His assistant says he’s in a meeting and he’ll get right back to me.
Two days later he’s still in a meeting so I hightail it to Beverly Hills and cheer myself up with breakfast at The Farm. The joint’s got a sunshine coloured awning and is bathed in rays and happiness. Wish I could say the same for the waitress who is Surly As All Hell. She slams down my banana stuffed brioche pancakes with a side of whipped butter. She makes me so nervous that my palms sweat like a fat kid's and I drop the side of maple syrup clean onto one half of my pancake. I ask for more syrup and soak the other half. Ten minutes later I am high as Howard Marks.
On my next visit I feel guilty as a Catholic priest for indulging and pinch an inch on my syrupy hips. No casting director was going to hire me with a muffin top like that so I opt for an austere oatmeal. It is watery and grey and I decide then and there I could make better myself, so I do - I ask Surly As All Hell for raisins, muscovado sugar and milk and knock myself out with a new creation. I feel better – life gives you lemons, you make a better oatmeal. I follow up with a dish of seasonal fruits; pineapple, cantaloupe and strawberries. Everything is seasonal in California, including my agent. Still no call from the bitch (male).
I return once more the next day because there’s nothing else to do in LA apart from stare at other people’s abs and wait for the phone to ring. This time I expect Surly As All Hell to recognise me but she gives me another death stare and tosses a menu in my direction. I decide to behave how I want people to see me so I order like a successful American film star. I say get me the vegetable omelette – hold the goat’s cheese, replace the asparagus with spinach, add more oven roasted tomatoes. It tastes good but not great - I wonder whether it would have been a knock-out had I not meddled with it. I order whole wheat toast and drown my sorrows in grape jelly while pummelling my pillowy hips.
What kind of meeting lasts seven days? I order a chocolate muffin and hurl it at the agent’s window. Then I wonder whether he’s been in some kind of accident and vow to call him the next day.