I met up with my friend Chloe last night in Sillicon Valley. Silly Con Valley, they call it. Chloe and I used to work together at Harper’s Bazaar UK but we have both since decided to spread our wings. Here we are at the gala to launch the Pace art gallery in Menlo Valley last night
I always imagined Silicon Valley to be something glittering and exciting, like the Emerald City. Or at least a place where there’d be a lot of lush pasture and people on horses galloping around. In fact, it’s a huge great strip of highway with Walgreens and McDonalds on either side and lots of mini-billionaire people having secret meetings and working out how to spend their cash. The Pace show was interesting – lots of “art consultants,” lots of video art that was simulated to make life look even more interesting that it really is: a vista of black, swirling waves; a massive wall showing screen image of what an ayahuasca trip looks like: a “Crystal Universe;” a room with carpet on the walls and flower-power sunflowers projected everywhere. It was very clever, and very beautiful, a lot of it. But it makes you wonder if thousands of people around California are sitting in their penthouses looking at black waves and ayahuasca visuals and forgetting that they could go outside into the real world and do the real thing themselves. Here’s a guest inspired to do a hand stand again the sunflower wall:
I cycled to Sillicon Valley from Presidio in San Fran (the leafy, Hampstead Heath- style part). A 45 minute ride to the Cal-Train station on 4th street and then a hour’s ride to Menlo Park. Then down the motorway for a bit. The Cal-Train is great for bike transportation. They are very advanced about that sort of thing over here. At the party, they had grilled cheese sandwiches and Champagne, Which I never came across, even during my Harper’s Bazaar days. I approved.
Afterwards, I had to sit at the station for a while waiting for the last train back to San Francisco (11.04. SV is early-to-bed town). But I tried to pretend that the cold bench and the grumpy commuters and then finally the bleary-eyed ride home were all part of some fantastic video screen simulacrum of real life.