Wednesday, January 12, 2011

'The' Industry

One of the interesting truths of socialising in LA is the way the movie industry dominates. So much so it’s shorthanded to The Industry. As in, there can be no other industry here.

I notice it every time I meet someone for the first time. In New York or London people ask ‘What do you do?’ so they can immediately pigeonhole you as a banker, a lawyer, the creative type, or something else. I don’t blame them, I do it too. But in LA people always ask ‘Are you in the industry?’ And you know they don’t mean mining.
This must be the biggest city in the world so thoroughly dominated by a single industry that it can be referred to as The Industry without entertainment being specified. Weird.

And the LA glance is a phenomenon I notice everytime I walk into a restaurant, bar or hotel lobby. Everyone turns to check out who has just entered. They want to see if it is someone of note. They give me a quick once over, realise I am probably just a management consultant, clinging to the fringes of a non-Industry social scene, and return their attention to their table. Or, in many cases, to scoping out the other tables. Most – or at least, many – people here are running a constant survey on their surroundings, checking for celebrities, hot producers, power agents, and has beens. I bring disappointment wherever I go, as I lift my Raybans up and take my baseball cap off and reveal that – no, it’s not Charlize Theron going incognito, but a pastyfaced Brit after all.

I am rather proud of my refusal to take part in the LA glance. I’ve lived in London – where most British celebs have been rounded up – for long enough to prize nonchalance over looking like an overexcited tourist or fringe gawper.

That said, when TLMOL and I saw Jodie Foster, with her kids, in Bristol Farms we were pretty excited and I have to admit to indulging in a quick stare. That’s because Jodie Foster is a truly private celeb, so it was like spotting a rare, timid, wild deer. I hope she knew that, and didn’t think I was just gawking like the rest of them.

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