So anyone vaguely aware of who Al Stewart is, you'll know the song, the year of the cat. It's a classic old hippy track and perfect for a post about Santa Cruz. And perfect for my latest working-hanging-out-and-drinking-buddy, the wickedly witty and gorgeous Kat Bernstam.
Soooo, as I've been advised to take things easy, I decided to take a long weekend after SES, San Jose to do some drinking, eating and hanging out in the sunshine.
But isn't that exactly what you were doing in San Jose, Mike I hear you say. And the answer is?
Er... mmmm... er... No, this is a "different" kind of drinking, eating and..er... mmmm... and apart from anything else...mind your own flipping business!!!
I've long had a desire to go and hang with the starry old hippies on Pacific Avenue and the beach boardwalk at Santa Cruz. The place is famous for surfing beach bums, silver colored, long haired hippies and the roar of the odd ancient Hell's Angel reliving his youth, cruising a large beer-belly, tarnished earrings and grey beard at 1 mph.
It used to be such a big attraction, but its well past its glory days. There are so many beggars and weirdoes (so I fitted in very well :-)
On one occasion, on the boardwalk, I found myself sitting next to the most fucked-up weirdo I have ever met. He was very angry as he thought I had been taking his picture. So he came and plonked himself next to me on a bench and very aggressively told me he was going to confiscate my camera.
Now this guy was about 1000 years old, as thin as a stick insect and had some serious kind of tic. Not only that, his cologne was obviously directly from the "Urine for Men" range and his eyes looked like two piss holes in the snow. And he was threatening me!!!!!
It should feature in a movie. It's a little sad though talking to some of these guys and having to tell them the Beatles split and Jimi Hendrix is actually dead. They seem to take this latest news very badly.
Anyway, why would I want to be in such less than salubrious company? Well I'm the same age and you should see how fit I look compared to these guys :-)
Actually, it's something that goes back to my teens. Enough said.
The great thing is, it turns out that, my biz-dev partner at Acronym Media, Katerina Bernstam, happened to be in CA too. Kat's parents live in Palo Alto, so she was on vacation (and on duty at SES too, I should add) and hanging around after the San Jose show.
So, I rolled down to Santa Cruz, parked myself at a bar and grill on the boardwalk right on the beach...
And then called Kat to come join me for a serious bout of doing nothing all day but eating and drinking on the boardwalk.
And so she did. And so we started our little, gently paced adventure. Which, leaping ahead, culminates with Kat politely declining an invitation to take part in a Mexican, drug induced, gang-bang in a seedy looking house, with a chap in the smelliest undershirt you can imagine (also fat, balding and perspiring profusely to add to his intimately charming manner).
But first, the very camera shy Ms Bernstam settled in with the first of many Mojitos to come. Learning just how stinking the service was (although great location) Kat discovered it was best to text the waiter 20 minutes in advance to order our drinks.
With much pushing, pulling and sheer brute force, I managed to get Kat out of her seat to pose a little. Well, you know how I'm desperately trying to get used to this new camera. And although dressed more for a snow storm in New York (which paid off perfectly later in the evening when the temperature went sub-zero) I got a couple of shots.
Hehe! Nice to make "you" the center of attention for a change!
And then we headed for... Wait for it... The world famous giant dipper, roller coaster and... ice cream! Naturally, with ice cream floating on an unspecified number of Mojitos between the two of us, we passed on the ride :-)
We started walking aimlessly away from the fairground and found ourselves lost in a slightly unsavoury neighbourhood. Of course, it's always at these times you feel the need to... Pee!
And where is the public facility?
So we happen across something that looks like the local grocery store. Surely they would let a damsel in distress relieve herself?
No fucking chance.
I open the door and politely ask if they have a bathroom my friend can use... And they virtually reach for a gun to get me out of the store. No toilet they said. Shame, because the whole place smelt like one.
So taking one last attempt around the back of the building, we bump into Mr Personal-Charm himself. He says, sure we can use the bathroom... Mike first, of course. When I return from the crawling sewer it was, Kat grabbed me and whisked me back into the street at the speed of light. Are you sure you don't need to go, I'm asking.
Later. I'll tell you later... Just walk... Fast!
Yes, you know what happened while I was gone.
All was well, we found our way back to my hotel and then off for a wonderful dinner before she hit the road to Palo Alto.
Kat - thanks for keeping me company. It was a great day. You rock!
Of course, this left me on my own for the duration of my stay. What will I do tomorrow, I thought. Strange how something always comes along :-)
Back to New York for me.