What was it about Chandler's vision of Santa Monica in particular that attracted you to it as an overriding theme?
On the other side of every desert is Bay City. I am tempted to stop there. If I were a perfectionist I would. At the heart of so much of American writing is the spiritual journey - Melville to Kerouac. It's no coincidence that the car featured in the first rock song, Rocket 88 by Ike Turner. The car is the nexus of technology and scale. It's natural that you drive the streets of LA expecting vision. You place yourself correctly so to achieve. Rock is the true American voice, a product of our unique perception of space and scale, and the firstborn son of magnetic technology - after Edison, Presley is only a matter of time. Bay City represents the end of the road, the end of the continent, the end of history. It's a terrible admission, a fearful expectation, but geography doesn't lie. We face the mirror. After the sacrifice and hard-won discipline, after the vision, revelation and satori, the place we reach is Bay City. It is the buzz of neon on the horizon that draws us through parched heat. Is the journey invalidated? What alternative do we have? We are trained by the landscape to see in certain ways. Eschew geography.
Also interested to know if you've been to the modern-day Santa Monica, which strikes me as less corrupt and venal than Gentrified, Yuppified, Mall-ified, and sort of bland.