Palm Springs, located just over one hundred miles from LA, is a traditional playground for the stars of Hollywood. Offering seclusion and a balmy winter climate, it became fashionable after the war, and the well-healed commissions allowed architectural modernists to flourish in the desert.
I was invited by a set of old Glasgow University friends, one of which was getting married at the impossibly cool Parker. Combined with the July 4th weekend, it made for a great get-away for a few days, and a chance to catch up with some of my old mates; plus of course setting up some sofas in LA to crash on when I make the trip down.
I have never been anywhere quite like it. As if air-lifted from space, lush vegetation, palm trees and swimming pools are set against a backdrop of a brutal, arid landscape. The place is entirely unnatural, and feels very much like being on a film set – I found myself tapping rocks and walls to see if they were fibreglass. I felt a touch guilty, thinking of the madness of spraying water mist into the pedestrian areas, the unimaginable volume of water needed to maintain perfect green golf courses, and the energy requirements to keep everyone happily air-conditioned. It was the polar opposite of attitudes in San Francisco (at least on the surface), but accompany the sun setting against the mountains with margaritas sipped by the pool and I can begin to understand the charm.