Day off - Los Angeles

Due to an oversight in the hotel department, there was no room at the inn for me after my weekend in San Francisco, so since Monday I have been staying in a fabulous old deco hotel a little further up Sunset Boulevard. Its a bit of a chic watering hole - much indoor sunglass wearing, heavy mobile phone presence, Iggy-Pop-hanging-out-by-the-pool kind of place - where my "room" is not only an apartment, but one considerably larger than any in which I have ever lived. Needless to day I am far from gutted about this and today at last had the first opportunity to take advantage of my new billet.

There's a shady little garden round the back where I managed to spend an hour or two just sitting reading. I'm on to another biography, this one being of Charles-Maurice, Prince de Talleyrand. "Who the bloody hell is he?" I hear you cry, not unreasonably. Well it turns out he was a bit of a lad, really - a French diplomat and statesman 200 years ago. He was possessed of a wonderfully contradictory character, being at once a politician, libertine, bishop (albeit eventually excommunicated), ladies man, traditionalist, revolutionary and, incidentally, the probable biological father of the painter Delecroix. His time in history put him in a really interesting situation, being born into an aristocratic family just before the French Revolution. This required a bit of nimble thinking in the self preservation department, but he survived the Terror in Paris to become a council member, then was exiled to the newly born USA, finally returning to become Napoleon's right hand man. He outlived him, changed allegiance and was instrumental in the return of the Royalists, the restructuring of modern Europe and eventually becoming a French representative in the court of Queen Victoria. All this and we're only at page 171.

Reviews of the last two nights shows have been surfacing and are consistently positive, wildly so in most cases, so we're all very pleased. I'd planned a night out with some of the crew, but by nightfall my brain had turned to mush so I threw the towel in at about 10pm and tucked up with Talleyrand.

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