"Its a common greeting in Ireland, I'm used to saying it to anyone I meet when I'm home, although I'm saying "How are you?", its generally taken to mean "Hello" and not as an enquiry into ones well being as it may suggest. So for example, this is how it normally goes down: "Howaya?! Ah, Howaya!"
As I often travel to non-English speaking countries my "Howaya" is naturally replaced with the local greeting "Hej/Hallo/Bonjour/Hola..." depending on my whereabouts, but seeing as I was in America my usual "Howaya" greeting seemed to slip from my mouth quite naturally as its an English speaking country.
So I would walk to a news stand to buy some tic-tacs (ballin') and I would instinctively greet the cashier with a "Howaya", to which he would then respond with half his life story "Aw mannn, I dunno, I'm pretty tired today, its been a long day, been working a long shift, I still got two hours left ya know? How are you?" This response caught me off guard, I'm just so used to a one word response back home that I'd forget as I was actually asking people how they were and they were going to tell me wether I like it or not. It seemed most cashier's I greeted in this manner seemed to appreciate the enquiry and take it at face-value which I quite enjoyed I have to say, people aren't that forward or open back home, we just don't ask strangers how they are feeling!
Los Angeles is a very surreal place to visit. I can't recall many people recommending it to me and I remember two particular chunks of wisdom I got from two friends who had been there. The first response was from a Swede who said "Los Angeles, the city of lost souls, be prepared to spend a lot of time in a car". Fair point, duely noted. The second guy, a Irishman, had a more abrupt response even though I was enquiring about a different city. "Can you recommend anything to check out in San Francisco?" "Yeah, don't go to L.A!"
Still though, when I'm there, and I send out a few "Howayas" I'm generally met with some interesting stories from an array of characters, its nice getting to know the locals don'cha think?
Although L.A. has an understandably bad reputation I somehow manage to have a really good experience each time I visit. Helicopters constantly swirl above your head, nobody indicates on the 6 lane freeway, I.D. is requested for beer but not for guns, sidewalks seem un-inhabited and the entire place seems gripped by a palpable air of paranoia, everyone snipping around in their cars, trusting few and suspecting most others of crimes they have yet to commit! Its possibly because I know my visit is a temporary thing that I enjoy the place so much. My naive approach of trying to be nice or at least polite to anyone I come in contact with seems to provoke a surprised reaction each time. Perhaps I would be far more cynical if I lived there, but I'd never want to live there which I think is why I enjoy the absurd nature of the city so much, its such a strange place, humans seem to rarely interact with each-other on a non-superficial level from what I've seen, not a way I'd like to live! So I made it my business to act as some sort of new-age travelling missionary and enquire into the mental health of occupants of the city of angels, on review, it didn't look too good!
Oh yeah, why was I there? The reason for my visit was to present the US premier of Format Perspective and also set up a corresponding photo exhibition with my good Human Pyramids Collective
hombre and all-around champion of a man, Hovin Wang.
This visit was made particularly fun as by the completely coincidental presence my smiley Belgian mate Phil Zwijsen who was in town. Spontaneous street wrestling, spontaneous street burritos, casinos, craps, junk food and wheely planking were all consumed in the excessive spirit of the land we were in. We really took full advantage and it really was a lot of fun, a right 'ol time I tell thee!
I was also in town to attend the awards ceremony for the International Skateboard Film Festival where I was genuinely surprised to receive the best editing award, thanks guys! I promised I wouldn't cry, blub blub...I had to take to the stage several times on the night as I was also collecting awards on behalf of Pontus Alv (who also stars in Format Perspective) who did amazingly well by taking the gongs for Best Director, Best Soundtrack and Best Documentary, thoroughly deserved for his champion work on his masterpiece In Search of the Miraculous
. It was rad to see a nice international spread in the awards from a predominantly American academy and judging panel.
All in all, despite the reputation on LA, I have to say it was a really enjoyable trip, mainly due to the company I was fortunate enough to keep. There's a few snap-shots from the sojourn below that I should give you a good idea of some of the American past-times we took part in, including skateboarding dude! Thanks again to the film festival, Carhartt, Hovin Wang, bald headed eagles, Snoop Dogg, warm apple pie, beef jerky, Bart Simpson and Mexican Food.
Until our next "Howaya" LA, stay crazy."